Piano Performance and Music Theory MM
Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts / BOYER COLLEGE OF MUSIC AND DANCE
Learn more about the Master of Music in Piano Performance and Music Theory.
About the Program
Guided by the philosophy that the development of both performance and theoretical skills is vital for students, the Department of Keyboard Studies in the Boyer College of Music and Dance developed a master's degree that combines significant performance and theoretical components. A historical connection exists between the two fields that continues to this day.
The goal of the Piano Performance and Music Theory MM degree program is to prepare graduates with music theory knowledge that makes them well-rounded practical musicians who are able to apply skills and knowledge to performance. Students acquire additional valuable skills and credentials for use in the field.
Time Limit for Degree Completion: 6 years
Campus Location: Main
Full-Time/Part-Time Status: The degree program can be completed on a full- or part-time basis.
Accreditation: This degree program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).
Areas of Specialization: Study focuses on both piano performance and music theory, with additional coursework that supports advanced development in both areas.
In Piano Performance, students study privately with professional artist-teachers and enjoy opportunities for performance in solo recitals and large/small chamber music ensembles. Piano Performance studies culminate in an adjudicated solo recital.
In Music Theory, students engage the field’s current analytical trends and applications. The theory portion of this program is organized into a series of small seminars. Through discussion and research, strong analytical skills and advanced tools are developed for use in both performance and academic environments. Theory studies culminate in a comprehensive examination and a written project.
Job Prospects: The program prepares graduates to pursue substantive professional activities in both performing and academic venues.
Non-Matriculated Student Policy: Non-matriculated students may enroll in selected courses in music with permission, but may not take applied lessons until they have been fully admitted and matriculated.
Financing Opportunities: Boyer College of Music and Dance offers a number of assistantships and academic internships to matriculated graduate students. Full awards carry a cash stipend plus full tuition remission for the Fall and Spring terms. Partial awards also are available in values of 1/4 or 1/2 of a full award. Duties for assistantships and internships vary, but typically include teaching, tutoring, classroom assistance, research, artistic performance and/or direct service related to academic programs. Assistantship and internship awards are made only in the Fall term for up to two terms: Fall and Spring. Awards may be renewed on an annual basis (typically up to one additional year for master's students and up to three years for doctoral students) based on departmental needs as well as satisfactory academic and musical progress by the recipient.
Admission Requirements and Deadlines
Fall: March 1
Spring: November 1
Applications are processed as they arrive. Late applications may be considered for admission.
APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.
Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 2
From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from evaluators who can provide insight into the applicant's abilities, talents and aptitude for graduate study.
Coursework Required for Admission Consideration: All applicants must present credentials that are the equivalent of the appropriate Bachelor of Music degree at Temple University, which is based on a curriculum of 124 to 135 hours.
Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A degree in Music is expected.
Statement of Goals: Share your special interests within the discipline and expectations for the program.
Standardized Test Scores:
Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:
- TOEFL iBT: 75
- IELTS Academic: 6.5
- PTE Academic: 51
Audition: See https://www.temple.edu/boyer/admissions/graduate-admissions/audition-requirements.asp for audition repertoire requirements.
Resume: Current resume required.
Transfer Credit: A student who wishes to transfer credit should speak with their academic advisor and obtain a "Request for Transfer of Graduate Credit" form, found in TUportal under the Tools tab within “University Forms.” Transfer credits must be approved by the advisor, the department chair, and the Associate Dean. The maximum number of credits a student may transfer is 6.
Other: Due to the large number of applications for admission and the competitive nature of its music programs, the College admits only a portion of its applicants. In addition to the general admissions credentials required of all Temple University graduate applicants, specialized admission criteria (i.e., auditions, portfolios, interviews, recommendations, departmental term papers, and standardized examinations) are very heavily weighted in admission decisions of the Boyer College of Music and Dance. Graduate applicants may be rejected for admission for failing to obtain the required level of proficiency in any one area of the specialized admission criteria regardless of the level of success in meeting the Temple University general admission criteria. In addition to the level of success demonstrated in the above-mentioned criteria, a final admission factor is the College's Optimum Enrollment Policy. This policy may preclude the admission of any student who meets the minimum requirements.
General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 44
|MUSC 8404||Piano Major||3|
|MUSC 8414||Piano Major||3|
|MUSC 8424||Piano Major||3|
|MUSC 8461||Piano Pedagogy I||2|
|MUSC 8465||Piano Pedagogy II||2|
|MUSC 8477||Baroque Keyboard Performance Practice||3|
|MUSC 8478||Classical Keyboard Performance Practice||3|
|MUSC 8510||Instrumental Ensemble (2 terms)||2|
|MUST 8701||Research in Music||3|
|MUST 8713||Canon and Fugue||3|
|MUST 8738||Schenkerian Analysis 1||3|
|MUST 8748||Seminar in Post-Tonal Theory||3|
|MUST 8749||Current Topics in Musicology and Theory||3|
|Music Technology Elective||3|
|MUSC 8484||Piano Major-Recital||3|
|MUST 9996||Final Written Project: Music Theory (2 terms)||2|
|Total Credit Hours||44|
All degree credits are to be earned at Temple University.
Diagnostic examinations in Aural Theory, Written Theory, and Music History are required for all entering master's students. The exceptions are students in Jazz Studies and Music Therapy who have their examinations arranged within their respective departments. In addition, Keyboard students take an additional two-hour examination in Keyboard Literature. As stated in the Boyer College Graduate Handbook, master’s "students may not take final qualifying examinations nor perform graduation recitals until all diagnostic examinations have been successfully completed."
The exams may be taken in one day or split over three days, or the exams can be taken online for a fee. Preparations are provided upon registration. Visit the Boyer College of Music and Dance website for the graduate music examination schedule and registration form.
Please note that registration for a student's first term of study is completed in consultation with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. Please re-read the admission letter, especially the “Special Notes” section on page 2, regarding any entrance deficiencies. If any remedial coursework is required, it must be completed by the end of the first year of study. It is also best for students to complete MUST 8701 Research in Music, which is required of all students except those in Jazz Studies, Music Education, and Music Therapy in the first year of study.
A. Graduate Diagnostic Examination in Aural Theory
The examination lasts approximately 40 minutes and consists of a written portion in which students are asked to:
- Dictate a chord progression that modulates and contains chromatic harmony by writing out the bass line and identifying chords by Roman numerals and inversions.
- Complete a two-part melodic dictation that modulates and contains chromatic pitches.
B. Graduate Diagnostic Examination in Written Theory
The examination lasts one and one-half hours and is in two parts:
- Harmonic analysis of two chorales: one that uses diatonic harmony, and one that uses chromatic harmony.
- Analysis of the form, motives, and phrase structures of the first movement of a Classical-era piano sonata.
C. Graduate Diagnostic Examination in Music History
The examination lasts one hour and contains objective questions in a multiple choice and/or true/false format. It covers composers, forms, instruments, musical works, styles and terms from 1450 to the present. Sample questions are:
- The basso continuo came into use in about which year?
(a) 1500 (b) 1600 (c) 1650 (d) 1700
- Who composed Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth)?
(a) Mahler (b) Bruckner (c) Brahms (d) Schumann
- Which of the following instruments would not be found in the score of a symphony by Haydn?
(a) horn (b) oboe (c) timpani (d) trombone (e) trumpet
D. Conditions for Exemption from Diagnostic Examinations
The requirement to take the Diagnostic Examination in any area is waived only for graduates of the Boyer College of Music and Dance who:
- matriculate and enroll in the term immediately following completion of all undergraduate degree requirements; and
- received grades of "B-" or better in every undergraduate course taken in each individual examination area to be waived.
Professional Development Policy:
In addition to taking the required subjects for their degrees, all students in the Boyer College of Music and Dance are obligated to serve in a number of capacities in order to enrich their academic and musical expertise. Boyer College of Music and Dance believes that such experiences give impetus to successful professional careers. Among the duties that may be required are conducting laboratory classes; tutoring; teaching private lessons; coaching; participating in the distribution and inventory control of Temple University-owned musical instruments and instructional materials; participating in ensembles; accompanying; performing at admissions and open house events; supervising performance classes; and engaging in other academic activities.
- Touring: All students in touring performing ensembles are required to participate in all scheduled tours. These tours, usually one or two weeks in length, often take place immediately after termination of terms. Students must arrange their schedules to accommodate this requirement.
- Participation: Master's degree candidates in wind, brass and percussion instruments must be available for ensemble assignments at the discretion of the department chair, including participation beyond curricular requirements.
- Non-Credit Participation: With special permission, graduate students for whom there is no ensemble requirement, or where previous ensemble credits exceed the graduation requirement, may participate in choral and instrumental ensembles without cost, with prior permission from the ensemble director, the department chair and the Associate Dean.
Independent Study Courses:
Independent study courses provide a special opportunity for graduate students to work in a highly individualized setting with one or more faculty members. All such study must receive the approval of the faculty member providing the instruction, the students' major advisor, and the Associate Dean. Approval is granted only after the student has presented a detailed description of the intended independent study project. Approval of independent study projects is granted only for students whose academic and musical record provides substantial support for the benefits of this type of study. In no case may more than 20% of a graduate student's curriculum be taken as independent study. Private lessons beyond those required in the curriculum are not an appropriate form of independent study.
All students, including those for whom English is not the native language, are expected to present all written work in acceptable English. No double standard exists to differentiate students on the basis of proficiency in the use of the English language. Students are also responsible for becoming familiar with the College's statement on plagiarism and academic honesty.
Graduate Private Lesson Policy:
Weekly one-hour private lessons are provided for all matriculated master's and doctoral performance majors in good standing, provided at least three additional credits of programmatically required graduate-level study are taken simultaneously. A $250 per term lesson fee (subject to change without notice) is charged for all private lessons. Tuition remission may not be used to cover the private lesson fee.
Private applied lessons beyond the four-term requirement currently in effect for graduate performance students may be extended with the permission of the jury, department chair, and the Associate Dean or Dean of the Boyer College of Music and Dance.
Students withdrawing from the recital requirement during the recital term receive an Incomplete and must register for extended study for non-degree credit (MUSC 5000 Recital Extension for 2 credits). Recital Extension must be taken each term until the recital has been presented. This course is offered on a "Credit/No Credit" basis only. Upon satisfactory completion of the recital, the Incomplete for the recital course is replaced by a letter grade and MUSC 5000 Recital Extension is issued a grade of "CR." Credit derived from Recital Extension is not counted toward degree requirements.
- Recital Extension Fees: Tuition for these additional terms of private study is the cost of 2 graduate credits plus a $400 Recital Extension fee. Graduate assistantships and other forms of University-sponsored financial aid do not cover the Recital Extension fee.
- Exceptions to Recital Extension:
- Students who perform their recitals during the first three weeks of the Spring term are not required to register for Recital Extension that term.
- Students who register for Recital Extension during the Summer may perform their recitals during the first three weeks of the Fall term. However, any student who does not take Recital Extension during the Summer may not present the recital in the Fall term, regardless of the date, without also registering for the Fall term of Recital Extension.
- Failure to Present Recital: The degree status of students who are unable to present a recital after one term of Recital Extension is reviewed by the Associate Dean and the major advisor, who, in consultation with the major teacher and department, determine whether or not the student may continue in the program. Inability to present the recital after one term of Recital Extension may be grounds for dismissal from the degree program for failing to maintain reasonable academic progress.
All incomplete grades and keyboard proficiencies must be fulfilled by the first day of the month in which the student expects to graduate.
Comprehensive Final Project:
All candidates for the Master of Music degree must submit a list of all repertoire studied with their studio teacher(s) while enrolled in the MM program. Students choose two stylistically contrasting pieces from their final recital program. (Students enrolled in programs without a recital requirement, such as Opera Coaching, choose two contrasting works studied with their assigned studio teacher.) Students choose to give either an oral presentation or submit a written document that addresses at least several of the following topics:
- Form and harmonic language of the piece
- Historical background of the work
- Aspects of the composer’s style
- Relationship to other keyboard works by the composer
- Performance practice considerations
- Specific technical problems and their solutions
- Other relevant information about the piece
The goal of the presentation or paper is to demonstrate cumulative knowledge and skills gained during the course of study at the master’s level. Courses taken in research, theory, history, pedagogy, and performance practice can inform the discussion of the particular works chosen by the student.
If the student selects the oral option, the presentation is scheduled during end-of-term juries. At least two representatives from the graduate faculty in the Department of Keyboard Studies adjudicate the oral presentation. The session should last approximately 30 minutes with some extra time for questions from the faculty members following the presentation. Students can perform small sections of the work if germane to their discussion. Lecture notes with cited sources for information should be submitted to the Department of Keyboard Studies no later than ten days before juries.
The written document, if chosen, should be a research-quality paper of approximately 20 pages, double-spaced, and include appropriate references. This should be submitted to the Department of Keyboard Studies no later than April 1 for May graduation or November 15 for January graduation. At least two graduate faculty members from the Department of Keyboard Studies read the paper and confer about the final decision. Students must follow the guidelines for academic honesty found in the Graduate Bulletin.
Each reader grades the project as either pass or fail. Any student who fails is not allowed to graduate at the end of that term. Another document may be submitted after suggestions for improvement by the Department of Keyboard Studies faculty, or another oral presentation is arranged and graded as before. Students who fail a second time are dismissed from the degree program.
Performance majors present a public recital as the culminating event for the master's degree (MUSC 8484). Graduation recitals are typically one hour in length, presented on-campus in either Rock Hall or Klein Recital Hall, and adjudicated by three full-time music faculty members. The student must show evidence through Temple University transcript records of having taken private lessons up to the time of the graduation recital. Students who wish to play a recital in the early Fall should plan to register for and complete the final term of lessons during the preceding Summer months.
A recital approval jury must be held to demonstrate the student's ability to perform the degree recital successfully. Normally, this occurs at the preceding term's jury. If, by departmental approval, this jury does not occur, then a jury must be scheduled at least four weeks prior to the recital. If the jury is not successfully completed by that time, the department reserves the right to cancel the recital date. Further details are available from the department chair.
This three-hour written examination includes two lists: one of terms to identify, and the second of music theorists to describe and explain. The examination also requires short essay answers about current theory and an analysis of a work provided. Students should contact the Associate Dean of the Boyer College of Music and Dance in writing at least one month before the scheduled date of the examination. This exam is generally given in the first week of April. The exam is graded by two graduate faculty members.
Final Written Project:
A final written project (MUST 9996) that is 30-40 pages in length is required for completion of the degree. This is not a thesis. Students choose an advisor, who approves the topic of the project in Music Theory. Students are strongly encouraged to begin their final project no later than the beginning of the second year of study and complete the project in their final term of study. The completed final project must be approved by the advisor and a second reader, generally a faculty member in Music Studies.
Program Web Address:
Dept. of Keyboard Studies
Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts/Boyer College of Music and Dance
2001 N. 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122-6079
Submission Address for Application Materials:
Dr. Charles Abramovic
Dr. Charles Abramovic