School of Music

MM in Performance

The Master of Music in Performance has the following concentrations:

  • Performance - Brass or Percussion
  • Performance - Organ
  • Performance - Piano
  • Performance - Strings
  • Performance - Voice
  • Performance - Woodwinds

For more information, see Requirements, below.

Performance– Brass/Percussion
Requires a minimum of 30 credit hoursCredits
     MUS 510 Bibliography and Research in Music3
     MUS 520 Seminar in Music History3
     MUS 530 Seminar in Music Theory3
     MUP 603 Applied Music (brass/percussion performance)12
     MUP 690 Recital (two)0
     MUS 521 Literature of the Major Instrument2
     MUS 500/501/508 Orchestra/Chorale/Wind Ensemble1
     Electives–Any MUS, MUP, or MUE 500- or 600-levelcourses6

Performance majors in the areas of brass and percussion must present two full-length recitals for completion of their degree program. The recitals will include at least sixty minutes of solo repertoire. Chamber music may be included and must be approved by the graduate advisor (and/or the private instructor). The candidate must be a featured soloist in the repertoire.

Performance–Organ
Requires a minimum of 30 credit hoursCredits
     MUS 510 Bibliography and Research in Music3
     MUS 520 Seminar in Music History3
     MUS 530 Seminar in Music Theory3
     MUP 603 Applied Music (organ performance)12
     MUP 690 Recital (two)0
     MUS 506 Chamber Music and/or Accompanying1
     MUS 518 Organ Literature I*2
     MUS 519 Organ Literature II*2
     Electives–Any MUS, MUP, or MUE 500- or 600-levelcourses4
*Organ Literature I and II must be taken unless equivalent courses have already been taken at the undergraduate level.

Twelve credits of applied music in organ (four semesters of three credits each) will be scheduled as private lessons. Students are required to take jury examinations in each semester of enrollment in organ until the recital is successfully completed. A one-year residency is required.

Students must present two complete recitals. One must be a lecture-recital, with a thirty-minute lecture and thirty minutes of solo repertoire. The other must include sixty minutes of solo repertoire. Recital programs must be approved by the private instructor and/or the program advisor.

In addition to the general exit examinations in music history and theory, students must pass a proficiency exam in sight reading.

Performance–Piano
Requires a minimum of 30 credit hoursCredits
     MUS 510 Bibliography and Research in Music3
     MUS 520 Seminar in Music History3
     MUS 530 Seminar in Music Theory3
     MUP 603 Applied Music (piano performance)12
     MUP 690 Recital0
     MUS 506 Chamber Music and/or Accompanying2
     MUS 524 Piano Literature I*2
     MUS 525 Piano Literature II*2
     Electives–Any MUS, MUP, or MUE 500- or 600-levelcourses3
*Piano Literature I and II must be taken unless equivalentcourses have already been taken at the undergraduate level.

Twelve credits of applied music in piano (four semesters of three credits each) will be scheduled as private lessons and will be supplemented with studio class participation. Students are required to take jury examinations in each semester of enrollment in piano until the recital is successfully completed. A one-year residency is required.

Students must present one full-length solo recital from memory. The program, which must be approved by the program advisor, must include a minimum of sixty minutes of solo repertoire.

In addition to the general exit examinations in music history and theory, students must pass a proficiency exam in sight reading.

Performance–Strings
Requires a minimum of 30 credit hoursCredits
     MUS 510 Bibliography and Research in Music3
     MUS 520 Seminar in Music History3
     MUS 530 Seminar in Music Theory3
     MUP 500 Orchestra1
     MUP 603 Applied Music (strings performance)12
     MUP 690 Recital (two)0
     MUS 521 Literature of the Major Instrument2
     Electives–Any MUS, MUP or MUE 500- or 600-level courses6

Performance majors in the area of strings must present two full-length recitals for completion of their degree program. Each recital must include at least sixty minutes of music, one portion of which may include a collaborative ensemble, and must show a range and variety of historical styles (at least one piece must be from the twentieth century). At least one major work on the program must be memorized. This is a graded recital in which a grade of B or better must be earned for credit.

Guitarists and harpists may, in consultation with their program advisor and studio teacher, fulfill the one-credit ensemble requirement by enrolling in other appropriate ensembles.

Performance–Voice
Requires a minimum of 32 credit hoursCredits
     MUS 510 Bibliography and Research in Music3
     MUS 520 Seminar in Music History3
     MUS 530 Seminar in Music Theory3
     MUP 603 Applied Music (voice performance)12
     MUP 690 Recital0
     MUS 522 Music Literature: Voice I2
     MUS 523 Music Literature: Voice II2
     MUS 501 Chorale1
          or MUS 505 Chamber Singers1
     Electives–Any MUS, MUP, or MUE 500- or 600-levelcourses6

Students are required to take jury examinations in each semester of enrollment in voice until the recital is successfully completed. A one-year residency is required.

During the final semester of graduate study, the student will be required to present one complete recital from memory (minimum requirements: sixty minutes of music with no more than twelve minutes of ensemble performance) demonstrating evidence of interpretive skill and vocal technique in English, French, German and Italian repertory.

Minimum proficiencies

  • Completion of two semesters of undergraduate Italian and two semesters of undergraduate French of German
  • Diction pronunciation proficiency exam in French, Italian, and German
  • Ability to play at the piano: I, IV, V, I chord progression in keys up to 3 sharps and flats
  • Ability to sing a melody
Performance–Woodwinds
Requires a minimum of 30 credit hoursCredits
     MUS 510 Bibliography and Research in Music3
     MUS 520 Seminar in Music History3
     MUS 530 Seminar in Music Theory3
     MUP 603 Applied Music (woodwinds performance)12
     MUP 690 Recital (two)0
     MUS 521 Literature of the Major Instrument2
     MUS 500/501/508 Orchestra/Chorale/Wind Ensemble1
     Electives–Any MUS, MUP, or MUE 500- or 600-levelcourses6

Performance majors in the area of woodwinds must present two full-length recitals for completion of their degree program. The recitals will include at least 60 minutes of solo repertoire. Chamber music may be included and must be approved by the graduate advisor (and/or the private instructor). The candidate must be a featured soloist in the repertoire.

In addition to the general final examinations in history and theory, candidates must pass an exam on woodwind literature and performance practice.

Information for Matriculated Students

Graduate Competency Exams

All incoming School of Music graduate students must pass competency exams in music theory/ear training and music history and literature prior to enrollment in MUS 530 Seminar in Music Theory and MUS 520 Seminar in Music History. These exams will be graded pass/fail. Each exam may be taken no more than three times. Students unable to pass after three attempts must withdraw from the program.

Special Requirements and Standards

All music graduate programs must be completed within six years from the date of matriculation.

Students must maintain a B average in all course work and must have no grade lower than B-. Students who receive grades lower than B- will be reviewed for retention in the graduate program. Jury reviews are scheduled each semester for majors in performance and jazz studies. Consult the School of Music for policies on jury review.

Each program requires that students demonstrate mastery in their primary area of study. Students meet this requirement through the presentation of one or more recitals. Consult the individual requirements below for more details.

The following conditions will apply to all recitals:

  • Required recitals must be performed after successful completion of the comprehensive exams
  • Grading of the recital will be by a committee of no less than three jurors. The jurors will be drawn from the graduate faculty, the degree candidate's graduate advisor, and the degree candidate's private instructor.
  • The candidate must receive a grade of B or higher on each recital. If the grade of B is not achieved, the candidate must perform another recital that contains at least 50 percent new material. If the grade of B or higher is not achieved at this recital retake, the candidate must petition the faculty to remain in the degree program.
Transfer credit

Six graduate credits may be transferred to USM from another NASM-accredited college or university.

Admissions credit

Additionally no more than six graduate credits for work earned at USM in the five years prior to matriculation may be credited to the master's degree.

Residency

A one-year residency is required for most performance programs.

Exit Requirements

Exit requirements are specific to each performance area. Please see recital descriptions above.

Contact the USM Office of Graduate Admissions for an application and instructions. Visit Graduate Admissions online at: http://usm.maine.edu/graduateadmissions.

Every applicant for admission must submit:

  • An application form.
  • The application fee.
  • Official transcripts of all previous college and university work.
  • An essay of 300-500 words on your professional goals
  • A professional résumé

In addition, applicants to the School of Music graduate program must fulfill the following requirements prior to enrollment:

  • A baccalaureate degree or its equivalent in music or music education
  • An audition (by invitation only; see details below).

Applicants in performance must also submit:

  • A complete repertoire, specifying those works that have been performed.
  • A recent recording of a live performance.
  • Vocal performance applicants must show evidence of completion of two semesters or equivalent of undergraduate Italian and two semesters or equivalent of either undergraduate French or German; show evidence of completion of undergraduate courses in Italian, French, and German diction.
Music Audition

Once the Office of Graduate Admissions application is complete, the School of Music Graduate Studies Committee will review the materials and make a recommendation to the School's coordinator of graduate studies. The program advisor for the specific performance area (brass, keyboards, percussion, strings, or voice) will contact applicants selected for an audition.

Each degree program has specific audition requirements outlined below. Acceptance into an area of study is exclusive to that area, and a separate application and audition is required for each area. Due to the intensive and individualized nature of a graduate program in music, admission in specific areas will be limited.

In addition to a sight singing exam taken by all students at the time of audition, specific requirements are:

  • Organ: perform three major works: one of J. S. Bach and one each from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; sight read an organ composition at the level of a Rheinberger trio.
  • Percussion: Timpani: play either an étude from Solo Timpanist (Vic Firth) or March (Carter); Drum: play an étude from First Twelve Études for Snare Drum (Deleceuse); Mallets: play a four-mallet solo and three orchestral excerpts.
  • Piano: perform from memory a major work of J. S. Bach (such as a suite, toccata, or prelude and fugue from the Well Tempered Clavier); a complete sonata by either Haydn, Mozart, or Beethoven; a major work from the nineteenth or twentieth century; sight read a piano composition at the level of a Haydn sonata.
  • Strings: perform the first movement (or equivalent) of a standard concerto (with cadenza); perform one movement from a nineteenth or twentieth century sonata; perform two contrasting movements from an unaccompanied work by Bach. It is recommended that at least one of the three excerpts be memorized. Harp and guitar performers may substitute an advanced étude of their choice for one of the above categories.
  • Winds: perform a complete concerto or sonata from the Classical era; perform one composition each from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; perform six standard orchestral excerpts.
  • Voice: perform a twenty-minute memorized recital of repertoire from various stylistic periods, including selections in Italian, French, German, and English; play at the piano the following chord progression: I, IV, V, I in all keys up to three sharps and three flats.

Auditions for Community Area Musicians

Youth vocalists, Southern Maine Children's Choir and Southern Maine Youth Chorale will hold auditions on Wednesday, September 3 beginning at 5:30 p.m. Schedule online.

Adult musicians, Southern Maine Symphony Orchestra auditions will be held on Wednesday, September 3 at 7 p.m. More information.

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