The program leading to the degree of Master of Music provides for intensive development of performance skills, extensive knowledge of the literature in the major field of study, and achievement of a broadened knowledge of the art.

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

  • Display excellence, independence, and critical sophistication as a performer.
  • Write effectively about music: developing an argument, identifying appropriate primary and secondary sources, and using precise analytical vocabulary.
  • Display fluency in reading scholarly writing, demonstrating the ability to distill the main points of an author’s arguments, commenting critically on the content and structure of the text, and relating scholarship to the repertoire studied.
  • Develop specific and appropriate points of connection between scholarship and performance, actively seeking ways to enhance one’s work as a performer through scholarship.
  • Navigate the realities and responsibilities of being a successful 21st-century citizen-artist.

Degree Requirements (MM)

The Master of Music degree requires between 30 and 50 credit hours. The total number of credits varies by major: a detailed list for each major may be found in the Catalog. The requirements for each degree must be satisfied with coursework at Peabody, certified transfer credits, or placement examination. Performance, Conducting, and Composition students are required to remain enrolled in one-hour major lessons for four semesters of full-time study. Musicology and Music Theory Pedagogy majors are required to maintain full-time enrollment for four semesters of study.

A maximum of six semester hours of graduate coursework completed at other accredited institutions may be applied to the Master of Music degree program at the discretion of the department chairs and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Deficiencies in the areas of music theory, ear-training, music history, keyboard skills, or English must be corrected by remedial study at the Conservatory.  Note: Students placed in ESL courses are not permitted to enroll in graduate seminars in music theory or musicology until they pass an English examination given by the Office of Academic Affairs; as such, placement in ESL courses may delay the completion of the degree.  Review courses do not count toward fulfillment of degree requirements, and the grades earned are not calculated in the student’s GPA; however, the hours are counted as part of the course load for tuition determination.  Students must satisfy any review requirements in music theory, music history, or keyboard skills before enrolling in other graduate-level courses in these fields.

Common Curriculum Components

Major Area Study

Each student taking applied music must demonstrate satisfactory progress as determined by the faculty.  Study in the major field must continue through the last semester of enrollment. For most students, this will consist of four semesters of lessons.

Every performance major must play a recital or a hearing in every year of study.  Lessons and recitals 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.  A student who does not play a recital or hearing is not considered to be making satisfactory academic progress.

Large Ensembles

MM students must participate in ensembles in fulfillment of their degree requirements. Orchestral instrument majors must participate in large ensembles in every semester in which they are enrolled in major lessons. Students in other majors participate in large ensembles as required for their curriculum.  The regulations for performing in large ensembles are set by the Ensemble Office.

All graduate instrumental majors in the MM program participate in one or two semesters of chamber music as required by their individual program (this may be studio accompanying for pianists).

Core Curriculum

The Master of Music core curriculum consists of Music Bibliography and seminars in music theory and musicology.  Full-time MM students are strongly encouraged to take Music Bibliography in their first year of study.  Most MM students are also required to take two graduate seminars in musicology; see individual program descriptions for details.  Before students may enroll in graduate seminars, they must take placement examinations during Audition Week and Orientation Week.  Based on the results of these placement examinations, students may be required to enroll in review courses.

Electives and other requirements

Unless otherwise specified, the term elective means class elective.  Ensemble credits cannot be counted as elective credits.  Only courses designation as “G” (Graduate Elective) in the master schedule of classes may be used to fulfill graduate elective requirements.  Curricular Practical Training (CPT) may be used to fulfill a maximum of three elective credits.  Questions about the appropriateness of courses for elective credit can be directed to the Registrar’s Office.

Additional Curriculum Components


Performance/Pedagogy does not indicate a separate degree program; it does indicate pedagogy emphasis accomplished through elective credit within the student’s M.M. performance program. Pedagogy emphasis is currently available in the areas of harp, guitar, piano, violin, viola, and voice. On occasion, pedagogy emphasis may be achieved for other areas (i.e. string bass) through a 2-year internship.

For more details about the Master of Music degree, see the Academic Catalog.