Master of Music (MM) in Performance

The Master of Music in Performance at Boston University provides training to highly advanced instrumentalists and vocalists, focusing on the study and performance of solo repertoire as well as chamber music, orchestral, wind ensemble, choral, and/or opera repertoire. The program includes study in music theory and musicology as well as elective courses in areas such as diction, orchestral excerpts, new music, historical performance, pedagogy, and literature for specific instruments and voice. The intensity of study in this School of Music set in a College of Fine Arts is further enhanced by the extensive cultural offerings of the city of Boston, providing exposure to Boston’s resident and touring soloists and professional performing ensembles, and drawing guest artists who frequently present master classes in the various vocal and instrumental majors.

Performance Majors

  • Bassoon
  • French Horn
  • Organ
  • Trumpet
  • Cello
  • Harp
  • Percussion
  • Tuba
  • Clarinet
  • Harpsichord
  • Piano
  • Viola
  • Double Bass
  • Historical Performance
  • Saxophone
  • Violin
  • Flute
  • Oboe
  • Trombone
  • Voice

Each student is assigned to a member of the faculty for private instruction. Individual instruction is given in one-hour lessons. Every effort is made to consider the student’s preferences in studio assignment.

Degree Requirements

The MM is granted upon successful completion of a program of study, a comprehensive review, and terminal projects appropriate to the student’s field of specialization. Students must earn a minimum of 32 course credits with grades no lower than B- in graduate-level coursework. All degree requirements must be completed within five years of the date of matriculation.

Participation in musical organizations is a vital component of the graduate programs. These organizations and ensembles include:

  • Chamber Chorus
  • Chamber Orchestra
  • Collaborative Piano
  • Opera Theatre
  • Opera Workshop
  • Percussion Ensemble
  • Symphonic Chorus
  • Symphony Orchestra
  • Time’s Arrow New Music Ensemble
  • Concert Choir
  • Wind Ensemble
  • Women’s Chorale

Proficiency Examinations

All entering Master of Music students are required to take both the Proficiency Examination in Music Theory and the Proficiency Examination in Musicology. These examinations are given before the start of classes. Incoming students are notified of the exam dates and are responsible for taking them. Exam results are used for purposes of advisement and may establish prerequisite or required coursework. Material covered in these examinations is commonly presented in most undergraduate degree programs in music. Detailed descriptions of these exams are supplied to incoming students in advance of exam dates.

Students whose exams indicate insufficient background in music theory may be required to take CFA MU 400 Graduate Theory Review, which may be used as elective credit. MU 400 is a seven-week, online course given three times per year in the second half of Fall, Spring, and Summer Terms.

Strings and Harp Program Outline

Music Research Techniques 2 cr
Applied Music, Levels 9, 10 12 cr
Musicology and/or Music Theory 6 cr
Chamber Music* 4 cr
Musical Organizations 4 cr
Approved Music Electives 4 cr
Total 32 cr

*Bass and harp majors may substitute approved electives.

Terminal Projects

Two recitals are required, each containing a minimum of 60 minutes of music.


Winds, Brass, and Percussion Program Outline

Music Research Techniques 2 cr
Applied Music, Levels 9, 10 12 cr
Musicology and/or Music Theory 6 cr
Chamber Music 2 cr
Musical Organizations 4 cr
Approved Music Electives 6 cr
Total 32 cr

Terminal Projects

Two recitals are required, each containing a minimum of 60 minutes of music.


Organ Program Outline

Music Research Techniques 2 cr
Applied Music, Levels 9, 10 12 cr
Musicology and/or Music Theory 6 cr
Continuo 4 cr
Organ Seminar 4 cr
Music Organizations—Chamber Music 4 cr
Approved Music Electives 2 cr
Total 34 cr

Terminal Projects

Two recitals are required, each containing a minimum of 60 minutes of music.


Piano Program Outline

Music Research Techniques 2 cr
Applied Music, Levels 9, 10 12 cr
Musicology and/or Music Theory 6 cr
Musical Organizations—Chamber Music 2 cr
Approved Music Electives 10 cr
Total 32 cr

Terminal Projects

Two recitals are required, each containing a minimum of 60 minutes of music.


Collaborative Piano Program Outline

Music Research Techniques 2 cr
Repertoire Coaching 12 cr
Musicology and/or Music Theory 6 cr
Chamber Music 2 cr
Performance Seminar in Vocal Coaching 1 cr
Song Literature 2 cr
Diction/Vocal Coaching for Pianists 2 cr
Duo Instrumental Sonata Repertoire 2 cr
Approved Music Electives 3 cr
Total 32 cr

Terminal Projects

Two recitals are required, each containing a minimum of 60 minutes of music, including vocal, instrumental, and chamber repertoire.


Voice Program Outline

Music Research Techniques 2 cr
Applied Music, Levels 9, 10 12 cr
Musicology and/or Music Theory 6 cr
Practical Piano 2 cr
Voice Department Elective 1 cr
Musical Organizations (2 sem.) 1 cr
Special Topics in Song Literature 2 cr
French, German, and Italian Diction 3 cr
Approved Music Electives 3 cr
Total 32 cr

Students must either take two credits of practical piano or pass a proficiency examination. Contact the department chair for details.

Terminal Projects

One recital is required containing a minimum of 50 minutes of music.

Master of Music Comprehensive Reviews

A satisfactory comprehensive review or examination is required for graduation. The faculty in each major area determine standards for this review and its format, and conduct the evaluation. In each case, the comprehensive review concentrates on the major area and other related fields. Unsatisfactory performance in this review may require remedial work and/or a repetition of the review after counseling with the student’s advisor. Descriptions of the departmental comprehensive reviews or examinations are found in the School of Music Graduate Handbook, available to enrolled students on the School of Music website.