Bachelor of Music in Performance: Bass

  • All students at Berklee College of Music study a principal instrument and will ultimately select a major in their second semester. We offer 12 diverse majors; many students choose performance, the largest major at the college.

As a bass player majoring in performance at Berklee, you will learn the skills, concepts, and methodology required to demonstrate professional-level proficiency on your principal instrument. You’ll achieve this through private lessons, which include proficiency-based final exams, bass labs, and performance studies classes.

You will complete a performance portfolio, including a juried senior recital (supported by recital preparation lessons and classes) that meets current professional performance standards. Most students also engage in extracurricular and cocurricular concert performances, and each performance major participates in ensembles and public performances in the college’s recital halls and venues such as the Berklee Performance Center.

Listen to a podcast featuring Berklee alumna bassist Katie Thiroux:

As a performance major, you’ll take specialized courses in ear training and harmonic applications designed to develop your improvisational skills; you’ll also participate in classes given by visiting master performers. Through these activities and interactions, you will develop an aesthetic and critical understanding of the meaning of quality performance, and you’ll be able both to define quality using technical and interpretive musical criteria and to apply those criteria to your own work and to that of others.

In addition to your bass courses, additional activities available through the ensemble program may include recording sessions and on- and off-campus concerts, festivals, and tours. All of these experiences will help you develop a sufficient theoretical, conceptual, and philosophical background in the area of bass performance such that you will be ready to work effectively with others and adapt to changes in the professional music environment.

Entrance Requirements

Successful completion of PIBS-111 and PIBS-112.

What the Program Gives You

Upon completion of a major in performance, students will:

  • Synthesize and integrate knowledge of posture and instrumental technique into daily practice routine;
  • Demonstrate technical proficiency on principal instrument;
  • Play in a variety of contemporary and traditional styles;
  • Play in ensembles of varying size, instrumentation, and stylistic orientation; 
  • Apply knowledge of musical styles and harmonic practices in improvisation; and
  • Synthesize and integrate knowledge of contemporary and historical styles into musical interpretation.
Required Courses

30 credits are required for completion of the major:

  • ILRE-375: Recital Workshop for Performance Majors
  • PFSS-311: Survey of Bass Styles
  • PIBS-311: Private Instruction - Bass Level 5
  • PIBS-312: Private Instruction - Bass Level 6
  • PIBS-411: Private Instruction - Bass Level 7
  • PIBS-412: Private Instruction - Bass Level 8
  • RPBS-211: Recital Preparation - Bass Level 3
  • PSH-xxx: Health and Wellness for Musicians
  • PSHR-321: Harmonic Consideration in Improvisation
  • RPBS-211: Recital Preparation - Bass Level 3
  • RPBS-212: Recital Preparation - Bass Level 4
  • RPBS-311: Recital Preparation - Bass Level 5
  • RPBS-312: Recital Preparation - Bass Level 6
  • RPBS-411: Recital Preparation - Bass Level 7
  • RPBS-412: Recital Preparation - Bass Level 8
  • 10 credits of approved specified electives