Music — Performance

Program Type
Master’s Program
Master of Music (MM)
Mode of Study
In person

Tuition & fees

Costs include tuition & fees. Tuition rate varies depending on residency. New England residents may qualify for a tuition break. See cost details

Credit hours

30 required credit hours. Most courses are equal to 3 credit hours. Browse course list

Financial aid

Over 150 graduate assistantships available with stipend & tuition assistance, plus scholarship, fellowship & research opportunities. Explore aid


No GRE required. Apply for fall, spring, or summer term. View application process & deadlines

Program highlights

  • Earn your degree on your terms: Study full-time and finish in as few as 2 years or study part-time and finish in 4 years.
  • Tailor the program to your performance area: Brass or Percussion, Organ, Piano, Strings, Voice, or Woodwinds.
  • Benefit from community partnerships with esteemed organizations such as the Portland Symphony Orchestra, Casco Bay Wind Symphony, Portland Jazz Orchestra, Opera Maine, and others.
  • Learn from a faculty of nationally and internationally distinguished performers, teachers, scholars, and mentors with experience in a comprehensive range of genres.
  • Gain experience performing as a soloist and as part of a variety of ensembles in both on-campus and off-campus opportunities.
  • Study in a program that is accredited by the National Association of Schools and Music (NASM).
A view of Corthell Hall with fall foliage.

Faculty of distinguished performers

The School of Music offers a personalized and opportunity-based approach to educating musicians, featuring a faculty of distinguished performers (nationally and internationally), teachers, scholars, and mentors with experience in all styles of music.

The Southern Maine Symphony Orchestra on stage at the Merrill Auditorium in Portland.

Program requirements

Choose a concentration in brass or percussion, organ, piano, strings, voice, or woodwinds. Our graduate students prepare for performance careers through private lessons, studio classes, University ensemble rehearsals and performances, and a final recital.

A group of french horn players perform.

Professional preparation

Our alumni perform as soloists and with renowned ensembles throughout the U.S. and internationally. In addition to holding positions in music leadership and serving as top-rated professors, our graduates have gone on to sing with the ​​New York Metropolitan Opera and the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and become Grammy winners.

A cellist performs in a symphony, and the conductor is in the background.

Our performance season

Attend and engage in our Faculty Concert Series; the Southern Maine Symphony Orchestra; Scholarship Gala; Chamber Singers; University Chorale; Concert Band; our annual musical; opera; ensembles of jazz, vocal jazz, winds, and composers; as well as student recitals, masterclasses, and performances by internationally known guest musicians.

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Graduate student support

Our Office of Graduate Studies connects you with opportunities for professional development, scholarships, and graduate assistantships. They also foster our graduate student community through Peer Mentorship and the Graduate Student Board.

Browse resources
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Scholarship opportunities

Scholarships offer financial aid that doesn’t need to be repaid. We encourage students in graduate degree programs to apply for scholarship opportunities.

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Do you live in New England?

You may be eligible for a reduced tuition rate, as part of the NEBHE Tuition Break Program.

Check eligibility
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Connect with us

Our monthly Graduate Information Sessions are an excellent way to learn more about the benefits of our program, as well as our admissions and financial process.

Register today
Next Steps

Our graduate admissions counselors are here to answer your questions about the admissions process, our academic programs, and student support services.

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Admission information: Masters of Music in Performance

Application deadlines

We accept applications on a rolling basis and review them continuously.

Application deadlineFall term startSpring term startSummer term start
FinalAugust 1December 15April 15
International applicantsJune 1October 15Not available

Applicants to the School of Music graduate programs in Performance 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).
  • 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 application in the Office of Admissions is complete, the Osher 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. 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.

Applicants are required to provide the following materials:

General requirements

  • Application: Online application
  • Application fee:
    • In-state, out-of-state, and Canadian applicants: Free to apply
    • International applicants: Submit US $50 fee to apply
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, excluding the seven campuses of the University of Maine System (UMS transcripts are accessible to USM). A transcript is official when sent directly from the institution.
  • Resume: Submit a resume or CV that outlines professional, volunteer, and community experience.
  • Students whose first language is not English may be required to take one of the following: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Pearson Test of English (PTE) or Duolingo. Applicants must submit official scores as part of the application process. See additional information regarding test scores and requirements.

Additional requirements

  • Personal statement discussing your reasons for pursuing graduate study, your professional goals, and how you think this program of study will contribute to these goals.
  • Two letters of recommendation: Recommendations should be from individuals who are qualified, through direct experience with your academic or professional work, to comment on your ability to undertake graduate study and your chosen profession.
  • Recent recording of a live performance. Recording may be submitted to the separate Get Acceptd application platform.
  • Audition: See details above in the Applicant Qualifications section.

International student instructions

View additional application requirements

English proficiency test scores

View test requirements

Where to send application materials

Get our mailing address and email address