The Bachelor of Music program at Peabody Conservatory is designed to offer gifted students the training to prepare themselves for careers in performance, composition, computer music, music education, recording arts, and related areas of professional activity.

At the end of this program, students will be able to:

  • Exemplify excellence in all aspects of their music-making.
  • Display a strong foundation in the defining traits and analytical approaches to the music of the Western common practice period, as well as a working knowledge of other genres and musics.
  • Create connections and understanding of musical traditions within one’s area of study and performance in dialogue with historical and contemporary perspectives.
  • Study and interpret the thoughts of others while effectively communicating their own perspective.
  • Foster and share musical expertise through performance and professional engagements across diverse communities through advocacy, performance, and teaching.
  • Navigate the realities and responsibilities of being a successful 21st-century citizen-artist.

Degree Requirements (BM)

Freshman Students

Matriculating freshmen students will satisfy between 142 and 182 credits in four years through passing grades, transfer credits, or onsite placement exams. (See Academic Credit, above.) Undergraduate students must be enrolled as full-time students for eight semesters and are required to remain enrolled in one-hour major lessons for all eight semesters.

Transfer Students

The applied level of transfer students is determined by the Office of Academic Affairs in consultation with Departments before a student matriculates. Once set, the transfer student must be enrolled as a full-time student in one-hour major lessons until the conclusion of his or her adjusted senior year

Common Curriculum Components

Major Area Study

Each student taking applied music must demonstrate satisfactory progress as determined by the faculty in the major and minor applied area. Study in the major field must continue through the last semester of enrollment. For most students, this will consist of eight semesters of major field study. It is not expected that entering freshmen will be granted advanced placement in applied study. Freshmen exhibiting extraordinary progress and extensive repertoire may, however, complete their four performance examinations in three years upon recommendation of the major teacher and approval by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

The progress of each student is monitored by the department at intervals not greater than two semesters. Advancement and assessment is accomplished by individual lessons and departmental examination (a “jury”). Lessons and juries are the essential learning modalities of a conservatory education, but are also for-credit classes that require grades of at least a B- for students to maintain satisfactory academic progress. Every performance major must play a departmental jury for credit by the end of each school year. A student who does not play a jury or a recital is not considered to be making satisfactory academic progress. A graduation recital is required of all degree candidates. Some departments require a half-recital in the junior year.

109—The freshman jury is considered an advising aid to the student and his or her teacher in planning the following year’s study.

209—The purpose of the 209 jury taken at the end of the sophomore year (4th semester or credit hour equivalent) is to assess the student’s overall progress and to determine whether or not he or she should be advised to continue in the chosen curriculum.

On the basis of this jury and the student’s overall record, the jury committee makes recommendations for the student’s remaining years of undergraduate study. It is in the student’s best interests that a careful professional assessment and subsequent recommendation be made.

309—The 309 jury is taken at the end of the junior year. A half or full recital may be accepted in fulfillment of the 309 requirement, if juried by the majority of the department. Where the 309 also includes technical examination and/or orchestral excerpts, students shall present those during the regular jury period.

395—The 395 is the recital for the Performer’s Certificate. Candidates for the Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education also perform this recital in their junior year and qualify for the Performer’s Certificate.

495—The 495 is the senior recital.

Students majoring in Composition and Computer Music Composition receive private lessons with a member of the Composition Department. Weekly seminars are scheduled with the entire Composition Department in attendance, providing ongoing departmental evaluation for each student. Every composition student will be assessed at the end of the sophomore year in a portfolio review process that is the equivalent of a 209 jury.


In addition to pedagogy courses offered in specific majors, studio repertoire and master classes provide for regular discussions on principles of pedagogy, enabling all performance majors to achieve competency in this area.

Large Ensembles

All undergraduates participate in large ensembles in fulfillment of their degree requirements. Performance majors must participate in large ensembles in every semester for which they are enrolled in major lessons. The regulations for performing in large ensembles are set by the Ensemble Office.

String and percussion majors are required to enroll for four semesters of chamber music. Woodwind and brass majors have a two-semester small ensemble requirement. To earn credit, a minimum of 10 certified coaching hours and a performance must be completed. After completing the sight-reading course in their freshman year, piano majors fulfill accompanying and chamber music requirements specified in the curriculum.

Supportive Courses in Music

Friday Noon:30 Recital Series

Friday Noon:30 Recital Series provides a weekly program throughout the academic year. Students have the opportunity to hear a variety of solo and chamber works, as well as occasional guest performances of music outside the classical tradition. No classes or lessons that enroll first-year undergraduates are scheduled during the Friday Noon:30 (12:30 pm) hour, and all members of the campus community are encouraged to attend. All first-year students (freshmen and transfer students) will be required to attend 10 Friday Noon:30 recitals in their first and second semesters of residency at Peabody. All second-year students (sophomores and second-year transfer students) will be required to complete a concert attendance project during their third and fourth semesters.

Music Theory/Ear-training/Keyboard Studies

The music theory program is a three-year requirement for all students. Enrollment in Music Theory 1 presumes a firm knowledge of the fundamentals of music, i.e., rhythm, meter, scales, intervals, keys, triads, and inversions. Entering students who are not strong in this area are encouraged to review their preparatory work during the months prior to the beginning of the freshman year. Those who are not able to show proficiency in these areas will be placed in a remedial section. Advanced placement in music theory is possible. See sources of Credit in the Academic Regulations section of the catalog.

Ear-training and sight-singing classes are closely coordinated with the music theory sections during the first two years of study. Students who are not able to show proficiency in ear-training will be placed into a special ear-training review section for which no credit is given, in addition to Ear-training/ Sight-singing I.

Keyboard Studies classes are coordinated with the first two years of music theory and ear-training classes. Auditions held during fall Orientation determine placement in sections which are grouped according to piano and music theory background. Advanced placement is possible, based on the audition.


All undergraduate degree programs at Peabody,with the exception of jazz, require a four-semester sequence of courses (History of Music I, II, III, IV) covering all periods of Western art music from classical antiquity to the present. Students must take the courses in sequence and are encouraged to enroll in their third and fourth years of study. Students who are unable to take the courses in sequence due to scheduling conflicts must consult with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Jazz majors are required to take two of the available offerings as appropriate for their interests.

Transfer credits will be considered for approval by the Chair of the Musicology Department on a case-by-case basis. See Sources of Credit in the Academic Regulations section of the catalog.

For more details about the Bachelor of Music degree, see Section 2-1 of the AY 2019-20 Academic Catalog.