Boston Conservatory at Berklee's percussion performance master's program prepares students for vibrant careers in music through specialized performance and audition training, a broad range of opportunities to perform publicly and refine musicianship, and focused studies in career building and entrepreneurship.
Performance opportunities are plentiful at the Conservatory. In addition to solo and studio recitals, percussion graduate students participate and act as leaders in a number of Boston Conservatory ensemble groups, such as Boston Conservatory Percussion Ensemble. The variety of ensembles at the Conservatory and Berklee provides a unique opportunity for students to become familiar with numerous musical genres and styles. In order to replicate the pacing and structure of a professional music company, students rehearse and perform with various ensembles each semester, including symphonic orchestras, chamber ensembles, string quartets, contemporary ensembles, and pit orchestras for dance, opera, and theater productions.
Throughout the program, students work closely with esteemed faculty members in private lessons to hone their artistic voice and build their technical skills. In order to achieve professional readiness by the end of the program, students will expand their audition and performance repertoire, compile professional materials, and begin to articulate their career goals.
Individuals in the percussion performance graduate program are driven by their desire to uncover the various career paths available to them as percussionists. They are fearless creators committed to becoming masters of their instruments and experienced players in a vast range of styles, from standard repertoire, to early music, to classical contemporary. They are collaborative by nature and are open to learning new musical techniques and ideas from their teachers and peers.
In their first year, students expand upon their artistic skills and solo and ensemble performance techniques, while continuing to build their knowledge of percussion repertoire and music history. They participate in a variety of performance events, collaborate with Conservatory instrumental and vocal students, attend weekly Percussion Performance Seminars, and receive weekly private lessons, in which they refine their technique and plan for their degree recital. Students may elect to study privately with one teacher, or divide time between multiple teachers to take advantage of the wide-ranging talents and specialties of the Conservatory's percussion faculty. Meanwhile, students are encouraged to take advantage of on- and off-campus performance and collaborative opportunities to build their artistic and professional networks.
In the second year of the program, students continue to perform with ensembles and prepare a degree recital with their private studio teacher(s), adding on elective courses to enhance their musical studies, such as Complexity in Rhythm, Pedagogy, Alexander Technique, Career Skills for Musicians, and Improvisation, to name a few. For their degree recital, students are responsible for coordinating with their fellow student instrumentalists and vocalists to produce a program of music that showcases their unique skills and abilities.
The Master of Music in Percussion Performance program requires students to complete 34 credits, consisting of the course requirements listed below. View the Sample Curriculum by Semester for additional details.
Upon matriculation to the Master of Music degree programs, candidates take proficiency examinations in music theory and music history. These exams are designed to identify minimum competencies in both areas reflecting a typical undergraduate preparation in music. Any deficiencies revealed by these exams must be corrected within the first year in residence through successful completion of prescribed review courses in ear training, harmony, or music history.
- M-AP 0009 / M-AP 0509 Applied lessons (12 credits total, 1.5–3 credits each)
- M-EN 0069 Instrumental Ensemble (4 credits total, 1 credit each)
- M-EN 0509 Percussion Ensemble (2 credits total, 1 credit each)
- M-EX 6001 Oral Comprehensive Exam (0 credit)
- M-SK 0009 Recital (0 credit)
- M-ST 0509 Performance Seminar: Percussion (4 credits total, 1 credit each)
Academics and Electives
What You Will Learn
The Master of Music in Percussion Performance program seeks to take an established musician with a strong foundation of skills, identify areas of desired and required growth, and build upon them to enhance artistic potential and impact. Upon successful completion of the program, students will:
- prepare, research, and accurately perform a wide range of musical styles, genres, and repertoire with a high level of technical and musical understanding developed in applied instrumental lessons, large and small ensemble experiences, coachings, master classes, and observations, as well as through genre-specific repertoire courses, and the focused study of music theory and music history;
- apply ear-training skills, knowledge of theoretical and harmonic analysis, as well as historical context to the study and performance of a score;
- express the artistry of a score with respect to its tradition and informed by its context through intensive study and analysis, modeled in the coursework affiliated with the program;
- analyze instrumental technique to overcome technical challenges, with an ability to communicate the details of that technique to another, as studied in applied lessons;
- research and perform works of underrepresented composers and appreciate the necessity of promoting those works;
- develop innovative artistic collaborations with partners across the musical and artistic spectrum;
- cultivate meaningful connections to the communities in which they perform and teach, informed by their experiences in large and small ensembles, and through special partnership programs at Boston Conservatory; and
- establish an artistic identity that represents their individuality, celebrating music of past and present, and serving as a champion for the future of our industry.
Alumni of the Conservatory's percussion performance program have won prestigious competitions and are creating fulfilling and dynamic careers in solo, ensemble, and orchestral performance, as well as in arts administration and teaching positions around the country.
- Boston Modern Orchestra Project
- Boston Pops Orchestra
- Kansai Philharmonic
- Malaysian Philharmonic
- New World Symphony
- Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
- Belgium International Marimba Competition
- Concert Artists Guild Competition
- Houston Symphony Ima Hogg National Young Artist Competition
- International Marimba Competition
- Libertango International Music Competition
- Montreal Symphony Standard Life Competition
- Percussive Arts Society Marimba Competition
- Prix d'Europe
- Southern California Marimba Competition
- Tromp International Percussion Competition
- World Marimba Competition
- Young Concert Artists Competition
- Berklee College of Music
- Hochshule fuer Musik–Detmold (Germany)
- James Madison University
- University of Evansville
- University of Oregon
- Winchester Community Music School