Professional Music

Berklee's professional music major provides students with the opportunity to blaze their own path, and synthesize a variety of skills, ranging from performing and songwriting to production and business. Focusing on the entrepreneurial aspect of a professional music career, students work closely with an advisor to achieve individual goals through intensive curricular planning. Through their coursework, the student will learn the skills, concepts, and methodologies necessary to develop proficiency in the designated area of concentration typical of that found in the professional music industry. The student will complete a major final project in the designated area of concentration whose content and/or enactment is equal in quality and extent to the demands of the current professional music environment.

Through interaction with instructors, the student will develop an aesthetic and critical vision of quality work in the designated area of concentration, will be able to define quality using both general and musical criteria, and will be able to apply those criteria to his/her own work and to that of others. By working with teachers and other students on various projects, the student will learn to work effectively with others in groupings typically found in the context of the designated area of concentration within the professional music industry.

The student will develop sufficient background and depth in the chosen area of concentration to enable him/her to cope with and adjust to changes in the professional music environment.

Entrance Requirements
  • 2.7 GPA
  • Approval of program chair
Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of a major in professional music, students will:

  1. Synthesize and integrate knowledge in chosen area of concentration (e.g. songwriting, production, business management);
  2. Apply entrepreneurial skills;
  3. Lead a creative project from conception to execution;
  4. Play principal instrument in a variety of styles;
  5. Communicate effectively in business and performance environments; and
  6. Synthesize secondary areas of knowledge.
Read more about this program

30 credits for the major:

  • PM-375: Music Career Planning Seminar
  • PM-475: Final Project Seminar*
  • PIxx-311: Private Instruction Level 5
  • PIxx-312: Private Instruction Level 6
  • Eight credits approved specified electives
  • Two credits ensembles/labs
  • 16 credits designated concentrate courses (to be determined by student in conjunction with his/her advisor)

*Required completion of a significant culminating project per student based on the designated area of concentration whose content and/or enactment is equal in quality and extent to the demands of the current industry environment. 

Assessment Evidence

Students demonstrate their learning through the following types of projects:

  1. Discussions with advisor to plan program of study and assess progress towards professional and educational goals;
  2. Written examinations;
  3. Musical compositions (e.g., songs, short work for instrumental ensembles);
  4. Performances (e.g., senior recital);
  5. Experiential learning opportunities such as internships, externships, and study abroad; and
  6. Capstone project for PM-375. The project is developed in consultation with the student's advisor and delivered at the end of the eighth semester of study. Projects have included compositions, recordings, portfolios of student work, and performances.