Boston Conservatory at Berklee's piano 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, piano graduate students collaborate or perform with a number of Boston Conservatory ensemble groups, music students, and repertoire classes. 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.
Students also have regular exposure to high-profile artists who visit campus as part of the school's revered Piano Masters Series, or who are in Boston to perform with the nearby Boston Symphony Orchestra. These guest artists give master classes to Conservatory piano students that offer supplemental artistic guidance and career advice.
Individuals in the piano performance graduate program are driven by their desire to pursue a career in the arts. They are committed to becoming masters of their instruments and experienced players in a vast range of styles and genres, from standard repertoire, to early music, to classical contemporary.
In their first year, students expand upon their artistic skills and solo and ensemble performance techniques, while continuing to build their knowledge of standard piano repertoire and music history. They participate in a variety of performance events, collaborate with Conservatory instrumental and vocal students, attend weekly Piano Performance Seminars, and receive weekly private lessons, in which they refine their technique and plan for their degree recital. Meanwhile, students are encouraged to take advantage of on- and off-campus performance and collaborative opportunities to build their artistic and professional network.
In the second year of the program, students continue to perform with ensembles and prepare a degree recital with their private studio teacher, adding on elective courses to enhance their musical studies, such as Alexander Technique, Career Skills for Musicians, and Conducting, 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 Piano 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 Applied lessons (12 credits total, 3 credits each)
- M-EN 0399 Improvisation Workshop (1 credit)
- M-EN 0xxx Collaborative Options (4 credits total, 1–2 credits each)
- M-EX 6001 Oral Comprehensive Exam (0 credit)
- M-SK 0009 Recital (0 credit; taken twice)
- M-ST 0619 Performance Seminar: Piano (4 credits total, 1 credit each)
Academics and Electives
- M-LT 5103 Writing About Music (1 credit)
- M-LT 5104 Communicating About Music (1 credit)
- M-LT 712xx Graduate seminars in Theory & Analysis and/or M-LT 713xx Music History (6 credits total, 3 credits each)
- Xxxxx General electives (5 credits total)
What You Will Learn
The Master of Music in Piano 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 others, 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 piano performance program have gone on to win international competitions and awards, and have performed with some of the world's leading ensembles.
- Dallas International Piano Competition
- Honens International Piano Competition
- International Franz Liszt Competition
- Paloma O'Shea International Piano Competition
- Piano Teachers National Association Competition
- Unisa International Piano Competition
- Baden-Baden Philharmonic
- Berliner Symphoniker
- Calgary Philharmonic
- Finnish Radio Symphony
- Gstaad Festival Orchestra
- Guangzhou Symphony
- Hamburg Symphony
- Johannesburg Philharmonic
- Juilliard Symphony
- La Havana Symphony
- Lublin Philharmonic Orchestra
- Miami Symphony
- National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine
- Northern Sinfonia
- Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra
- San Francisco Symphony
- St. Petersburg Philharmonic
- Tokyo City Symphony
- Winnipeg Symphony