Bachelor of Music in Performance

As a student majoring in performance, you will declare a principal instrument. Select a category to explore further:

The performance program will teach you skills, concepts, and methodology sufficient to demonstrate a level of proficiency on your principal instrument typical of that generally required in professional performance. This is achieved through private lessons, which include proficiency-based final exams, instrumental or vocal labs, and performance studies classes.

To demonstrate mastery of these skills, you will complete a performance portfolio, including a senior recital, that typifies current professional performance standards. You will also:

  • Attend recital classes and take specialized courses in ear training and harmonic applications designed to develop improvisational skills;
  • Have the opportunity to attend classes given by visiting master performers;
  • Develop an aesthetic and critical understanding of the meaning of quality performance;
  • Learn to use technical and interpretive musical criteria and to apply them to your work and to that of others;
  • Work effectively with others in situations typically found in the professional performance field;
  • Participate in ensembles and public performances in the college's recital halls and at the Berklee Performance Center; and
  • Explore activities available through the ensemble program such as recording sessions, concerts, festivals, and tours.

Upon completing the major, you will have developed a theoretical, conceptual, and philosophical background in the area of musical performance that will enable you to quickly adapt to changes in the professional music environment.

Entrance Requirements

See individual requirements for each instrument.

What the Program Gives You

Upon completion of a major in performance, you will:

  1. Synthesize and integrate knowledge of contemporary and traditional styles into musical interpretation;
  2. Synthesize and integrate knowledge of posture, breathing, and instrumental technique into your daily practice routines;
  3. Demonstrate technical proficiency on your principal instrument;
  4. Demonstrate the ability to sight read music in a variety of styles;
  5. Play music in a variety of contemporary and traditional styles;
  6. Play in ensembles of varying size, instrumentation, and stylistic orientation; and
  7. Apply knowledge of musical styles and harmonic practices in improvisation.
Required Courses

Specific courses/requirements for the performance major vary by instrument. Please visit the instrumental departments for more information. 

General requirements are as follows (30 credits for the major):

  • PIXX-311 - PIXX-412 Private Instruction 5 - 8
  • RPXX-211 - RPXX-412 Recital Preparation 3 - 8
  • PSHR-321: Harmonic Considerations in Improvisation (Note: Not required of drum set and voice performance majors. Drum set performance majors must take PSPC-341. Voice performance majors must take PSVC-425.)
  • ILRE-375: Recital Workshop for Performance Majors 1
  • PSH-XXX: Health and Wellness courses 
  • PFSS-XXX: Styles Survey courses 

10 credits of approved specified electives chosen from the following options:

  • PFET-XXX: Performance Ear Training Courses (specific to principal instrument)
  • ENXX-XXX: Ensembles
  • ILXX-XXX: Instrumental Labs
  • PSIJ-XXX: Jazz Improvisation Courses
  • PSIM-XXX: Genre-Specific Improvisation courses
  • PSIS-P364: Melodic Variation Techniques in American String Traditions
  • PS-495: Professional Performance Internship


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