Master of Music
The degree of master of music may be taken in performance, music education, composition, music theory, or music history. Performance majors may specialize in piano, piano pedagogy, collaborative piano, voice, percussion, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, violin, viola, cello, double bass, guitar, jazz pedagogy, or conducting.
Requirements for all M.M. Options
Master’s degree students must establish an overall grade-point average of 3.0. A representative public recital is required of candidates majoring in performance. Composition majors must submit as a thesis a composition in a large form. All candidates for the master of music degree are required to participate for credit for two semesters (or summer sessions) in a performing group which meets at least two clock hours per week and which is selected with the advisor’s approval. A general comprehensive oral examination must be passed by all candidates for the master of music degree. Unsuccessful candidates may repeat this examination after a three-month period. The results of the second oral examination will normally be considered final. The examining committee will decide immediately after an unsuccessful second attempt whether a petition for a third attempt will be granted. Students must complete all requirements following admission to a degree program in eight calendar years. Failure to do so will result in the loss of credit for courses taken at the outset of the program.
Master of Music in Collaborative Piano
The Master of Music in Collaborative Piano provides students wishing to specialize in piano accompaniment an opportunity to study and achieve an advanced degree in this highly demanding and lucrative professional field. Students in the Master of Music in Collaborative Piano program will develop the necessary skills for collaborative performance in today’s market, including opera and art song coaching techniques, diction, and vocal and instrumental accompanying, and will engage in a wide array of performing ensemble settings already in place in the Division. Applicants should hold an undergraduate performance or collaborative piano degree. In the MM in Collaborative Piano degree, students will further develop their performing abilities as highly skilled and marketable pianists.
Application and Audition Requirements for MM Collaborative Piano
1. Three letters of recommendation. It is recommended that these letters describe solo and collaborative performance as well as sight reading and music learning abilities.
2. Application that lists both solo and collaborative repertoire studied and performed.
3. Audition requirements:
- Two contrasting solo works, memorized.
- One movement of an instrumental sonata from the standard repertoire and two contrasting art songs from the standard repertoire.
- Sight reading may also be included.
- For the audition, the collaborative works may be submitted as a DVD or CD of performances within the past year.
Master of Music in Performance
Audition repertoire for the M.M. in Music Performance should be chosen that allows candidates to demonstrate their current level of achievement. Early in the application process potential students should contact the major teacher in their area and discuss audition repertoire possibilities.
M.M., Jazz Pedagogy Program
The program is designed to prepare students for independent jazz teaching, public school teaching, college or university studio or group teaching, ensemble coaching, and the teaching of jazz improvisation and pedagogy at the college of university level.
Applicants are required to sight-read both musical notation and chord changes. Applicants should be prepared to play common jazz scale forms and improvise in a number of jazz and contemporary styles. In addition, applicants may choose additional music that best reflects their technical ability, overall musicianship, and musical interests. The applicant should demonstrate their versatility and creativity.
Master of Music in Conducting
Teaching/Conducting Experience: It is strongly recommended that those desiring admission to this degree have a minimum of 2 years successful teaching/conducting experience beyond their undergraduate conducting courses.
Prepare and conduct a 15-30 minute audition with the Symphony Orchestra or Wind Symphony. The applicant will conduct and rehearse the ensemble on designated repertoire and will be evaluated by appropriate conducting faculty.
The applicant’s knowledge of the historical development of instrumental music and knowledge and experience with instrumental literature will be assessed by appropriate faculty.
The applicant will prepare and present a 20-minute rehearsal audition with a designated choral ensemble before the conducting faculty.
The applicant will demonstrate piano ability by playing selected segments from designated choral scores. This portion of the audition is designed merely to determine if the candidate can utilize the piano in some way as a study and teaching tool. Elements of this portion of the audition will include simple open-score part reading, transposition of melodic lines and simple accompaniments.
An overview of the applicant’s knowledge and experience with choral literature will be assessed by appropriate faculty.
The applicant will demonstrate a basic knowledge of singer’s diction in English, Latin, Italian, and German by reciting and singing brief prepared excerpts drawn from standard choral repertoire.
Master of Music in Composition
Applicants for entrance to the composition program should send a portfolio of compositions that must include a major work and two or three other shorter works in various genres. The score may be on paper, bound the usual way, or as computer-notated files (Coda Software’s Finale preferred) on compact disc or ZIP disc. Portable document file format (Adobe Acrobat) is acceptable. Please do not use floppy discs. Music files may be sent as attachments to an e-mail message (firstname.lastname@example.org), Recordings of application compositions are welcome but not mandatory. NOTE: Graduate instruction in composition is generally in classical styles; no more than one application work may be in some other style (jazz, popular song, etc.) Questions about the application portfolio compositions should be addressed to the Composer-in-Residence or Director of Graduate Studies.
Master of Music in Music History
Students completing the Master’s Program in Music History acquire a broad-based knowledge of Western Music. Courses and seminars explore both art and vernacular traditions, and the curriculum encourages the development of an understanding of how musical styles evolve within a larger social and cultural context. The theses of recent graduates have explored the rise of Russian nationalism as revealed in 18th century opera, the formation of German-American musical culture in the 19th century, and the musical sub-cultures of 20th century Greek and Italian immigrants to western Pennsylvania. Recent graduates have entered leading American doctoral programs or have found employment in occupations drawing heavily upon the expertise and skills developed through our degree program.
- Students seeking admission to the graduate program in music history must successfully audition on their principal instrument.
- The audition will be heard by members of the performance faculty from the appropriate applied area who will provide a written evaluation of the audition and assign a level for informational purposes.
- All students who are admitted to the program will be required to successfully complete four semesters of studio lessons on their principal instruments. The successful completion of this requirement will be measured by the semester grade and the jury at the end of each semester. We do not intend to admit students who will be unable to draw upon the performing experiences in any meaningful way as they engage with music in a historical context.
Master of Music in Music Theory
The MM in Music Theory is intended for performers and music educators who desire advanced training in the analysis of Western art music and preparation for teaching basic musicianship in either a high school or college setting. This degree can also prepare students for doctoral work in either academic or applied areas, depending upon the electives chosen. It is recommended that those considering this degree have above average keyboard skills; specifically the student should be able to place select Bach Two-Part Inventions and be able to sight read a hymn or chorale.