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Prepare for professional performance success.


As a performance major, your focus will be the mastery of your primary instrument through participation in a variety of ensembles, including orchestra, opera, and classical chamber music. Performance majors enjoy working closely with the faculty member appointed as their major teachers and receive extensive performance opportunities as soloists, chamber musicians, and orchestra members.

The program is offered in 20 instruments: flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon, percussion, trumpet, horn, trombone, euphonium, tuba, piano, harpsichord, organ, violin, viola, cello, bass, guitar and voice.

With our Bachelor to Doctoral degree offerings, you have the advantage of working side-by-side with students in multi-level music programs. Within our NASM-accredited program, you work collaboratively in class and studio, making music together on stage and off, and building professional relationships across program boundaries. This comprehensive environment fosters the sharing of expertise, experience, and perspectives to add immeasurably to your development.

Our accomplished faculty is composed of many talented musicians who are dedicated to helping you expand your talents and find success in the music industry. These concentrated courses of study are for those wishing to pursue careers as soloists, orchestral and band musicians, opera and concert vocalists, college-level applied music teachers, conductors, chamber musicians, recording artists and studio musicians, church musicians, and other avenues as professional musicians.

You will enjoy state-of-the-art music facilities, and work with a large and diverse community of faculty, students, and industry professionals. You’ll have the opportunity to attend numerous concerts, clinics, and master classes given by students, faculty, and visiting artists that will broaden your experience. Additionally, the University’s location allows limitless opportunities to plug into a vibrant music city and perform.

Admission + Audition Requirements

Interested students should complete the University of Memphis application and apply to the School of Music. Performance auditions are held to determine admission into School of Music programs and to award performance scholarships and graduate assistantships. All students who want to major or minor in music, or who seek a music scholarship must audition.


What degrees do we offer?


Delve into the applied classical performance area as you expand your talents and find success in the music industry. The Bachelor of Music in performance is designed for students who exhibit exceptional potential as performers in their principal applied area. Our mentor program pairs you with a professor for dedicated and personalized instruction throughout your degree program. 

Scholarships are available.

Outcomes: 

  • Performance students will develop specialized musicianship skills and techniques that will lead to a professional career as a solo classical performer or graduate study as a classical performer. 
  • Performance students will master specialized musicianship skills and techniques for working within an ensemble leading towards a professional career or graduate study as a classical performer. 
  • Performance students will develop the musicianship and skills needed for preparing and performing in a wide range of ensembles and collaborative experiences
  • Performance students will possess fundamental knowledge both of their major instrument as well as music in general with the goal of establishing specialized musical career interests. 

View Bachelor of Music in Performance for required courses for degree completion. 

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Combining advanced music performance training with additional study in both traditional and contemporary disciplines, you’ll specialize in your applied classical performance area with a secondary component in the teaching of that area. With your MM in Performance, you will attain industry standards of preparation for a career as a performer, scholar, or teacher. Our mentor program pairs you with a professor for dedicated and personalized instruction to develop skills to a professional level. 

Graduate assistantships and scholarships are available.

Outcomes

  • Performance students will achieve specialized focus in their musical development for continued cultivation towards a career path.
  • Performance students will demonstrate the ability to prepare musical experiences/performances that are informed by an understanding of historical performance practice and advanced musical analysis and frame the results in a scholarly manner
  • Performance students will possess the extended knowledge of pedagogical methods and experience in the area of studio teaching and rehearsal settings, including conceptual and practical applications that support learning

View the Master of Music in Performance sample degree plan.

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Students who wish to continue from the MM into a DMA program of the same concentration have the option, with the audition and approval of the major professor, of following an accelerated track. This four-year track can save you two semesters of coursework compared to the traditional five-year MM to DMA path.

Our programs combine the rigorous study of performance to challenge you to reach the highest standards of professional performance. Students are prepared to enter the profession as highly qualified musicians with the potential for long-term professional success.

Graduate assistantships and scholarships are available.

MM/DMA Accelerated Track in Performance Degree Plan
MM/DMA Accelerated Track in Performance Recommended Timeline

Outcomes

  • Performance students will have a specialized focus in their musical development for continued cultivation towards a career path.
  • Performance students are capable in the preparation of musical experiences/performances that are informed by an understanding of historical performance practice and advanced musical analysis and frame the results in a scholarly manner
  • Performance students will  master the extended knowledge of pedagogical methods and experience in the area of studio teaching and rehearsal settings, including conceptual and practical applications that support learning
  • Performance students will perform and rehearse in an area of specialization at the highest level of professional practice.

View the Accelerated MM-to-DMA in Performance sample degree plan. 

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Designed for students seeking the highest degree in the field, the DMA is a rigorous three-year course of study culminating in a doctoral dissertation. The Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Performance is intended for those musicians planning to work at the most advanced academic and professional levels of music. This program offers you an opportunity to bring creative and performance achievement to a high level while enriching individual backgrounds with academic studies, including specialized training in music history and theory, and other areas. 

Students are expected to demonstrate strong academic capabilities in addition to a high level of achievement in performance. Our programs combine the rigorous study of conducting techniques and literature with related work in performance, music theory, and musicology in a vibrant and intimate setting, all within a major research university.

Graduate assistantships and scholarships are available.

Outcomes: 

  • Performance students will perform and rehearse in an area of specialization at the highest level of professional practice.
  • Performance students will display a thorough understanding of the history of their instrument and comprehensive knowledge of the repertoire and literature specific to the area of specialization.
  • Performance students will demonstrate historical and theoretical knowledge supportive of the development of individualized interpretations within a full range of musical styles

View the Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance sample degree plan.

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The Artist Diploma is a one-year program for gifted performers who are looking for advanced studies without the additional academic demands required in a Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) or Ph.D. program. Applicants must have already earned a master's degree. This program is limited to the most advanced instrumentalists and vocalists who are in the beginning stages of professional careers as performers.

Working closely with a faculty mentor, you'll supplement your existing qualifications with a selection of graduate-level music courses and performance experience with School of Music ensembles.

Outcomes: 

  • Performance students will demonstrate the technical mastery and musical expertise requisite to having a significant professional career in their chosen area of performance.
  • Performance students will demonstrate historical and theoretical knowledge supportive of the development of individualized interpretations within a full range of musical styles.
  • Performance students will display a thorough understanding of the history of their medium and comprehensive knowledge of the repertoire and literature specific to the area of specialization.

View the Artist Diploma in Performance sample degree plan.

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Areas of Study


 

commencement Brass  
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commencement Keyboard  
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commencement Percussion  
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commencement Strings  
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commencement Vocal Arts  
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commencement Woodwinds  
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