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Graduate Music Programs in New York

Students who wish to pursue graduate studies in music might wish to focus upon academic knowledge, teaching expertise, or performance opportunities. This article presents the range of graduate degrees available in music, as well as several schools in New York offering such degrees.

For students who wish to pursue graduate studies in music, attending school in New York is often a consideration. Home to a wide range of nationally recognized musical ensembles and music businesses, New York offers students a range of opportunities to grow as performers, teachers, and students of music. Here, you can learn about some graduate degree options, as well as several schools offering music programs.

Graduate Programs in Music

Those who wish to pursue graduate studies in music have a range of options, including the Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Science (M.S.), Master of Music (M.M.), Master of Science in Music Education (M.S.Ed.), Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.), and Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) degrees. Read on to find out further information about what some of these degree programs entail.

Master of Music

The M.M. typically focuses on obtaining a high level of professional performance expertise. Students study music history and music theory in addition to working extensively on their area of musical expertise, such as vocal performance, instrumental performance, conducting, or composition. Recitals are frequently an expected component of the degree, as well as oral and written examinations. Graduates with an M.M. might consider advancing to a D.M.A. program, which is the doctoral-level performance degree.

Master of Science in Music Education

For those who wish to pursue a career as a teacher of music, the M.S.Ed. will provide the necessary coursework to qualify as a teacher of music in New York state. Programs will typically require students to develop a deep understanding of music pedagogy, conducting, and classroom instruction. Understanding educational psychology and the role of the music program in schools is also essential.

Doctor of Philosophy

Students who wish to pursue a career as a professor or researcher in the field of music may consider a Ph.D. in Music. Ph.D. studies can focus on a wide range of areas of scholarly expertise. Typically, coursework, comprehensive examinations, and a dissertation are required components to complete the Ph.D. in Music. Foreign language requirements may also be a component of the program.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

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  • Music History and Literature
  • Music Merchandising and Management
  • Music Pedagogy
  • Music Performing
  • Musical Conducting
  • Musicology and Ethnomusicology
  • Piano and Organ
  • Stringed Instruments
  • Voice and Opera

Graduate Music Programs in New York

University at Buffalo

The Department of Music of the University at Buffalo offers Ph.D., M.A., and M.M. options for graduate music students. Ph.D. options include historical musicology, music theory, and composition. Those who are studying musicology or theory have the opportunity to learn a wide range of musical repertoires, while composition students may be able to see their works performed. The M.M. in Performance focuses on studio lessons, performance ensembles, and academic courses. The M.A. in Music History examines primary sources and the cultural contexts in the development of music, while the M.A. in Music Theory focuses upon major areas of Western music theory.

Bard College Conservatory of Music

At the Bard College Conservatory of Music, students can pursue the M.M. Students can focus on vocal performance or conducting through this program. The vocal music program consists of a range of core seminars, private instruction, and workshops. Frequent performance opportunities are offered and expected of students in these programs. The conducting program focuses upon a common curriculum, including ear training and score reading, and then allows for focus on choral or orchestral conducting.

Syracuse University

At Syracuse, students have many options for graduate study in music. Students can undertake an M.A. in Audio Arts. This program takes fourteen months to complete and is designed to prepare students for careers within the music industry. Courses may include telecommunications policy and audio arts practices. Students are exposed to the recording industry using ProTools. A Winterlude program in Los Angeles exposes students to leaders in the music business. A capstone of the program is an internship the summer after coursework is completed. In addition, Syracuse offers a wide range of M.M. programs in composition, conducting, and voice pedagogy. Each of these programs offers performance opportunities through the Setnor School of Music ensembles. For those who wish to become music educators, a joint M.M./M.S.Ed. prepares candidates for New York teacher certification in music education.

Queens College

Students can take coursework towards the M.M. or M.A. at the Aaron Copeland School of Music of the City University of New York (CUNY) Queens College. The M.M. in Classical Performance focuses on the needs of classical performers and includes private instruction and courses in historical practice. The Jazz Studies M.M. program requires students to participate in private lessons, ensembles, and courses in improvisation and arranging. The M.A. at Queens is designed for those who require training for composition or master's level studies before undertaking a Ph.D. program. Students can also undertake an M.S.Ed. program to prepare as teachers.

Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University offers students a wide range of opportunities for the study of music. Those interested in performance can undergo training leading to the M.M. or D.M.A. degrees. Ear training is an essential component of the performance program. M.A. and Ph.D. programs are also offered in composition, history/theory, and ethnomusicology. Students in these programs are encouraged to also pursue coursework in related fields. Ph.D. students are required to develop their own doctoral contract.

Graduate programs in music are available in a wide range of specialty areas, including those focused on performance, education and scholarly research. New York offers comprehensive options for graduate study in music at both the master's and doctoral levels.


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