The Music Performance Major: Players, Pedagoges, Practitioners

What is a Music Performance Major?

The music performance major is the heart and soul of musical pedagogy. Students who pursue music performance programs take a single concentration and apply it to many facets of the music industry.



Music Degree Concentrations

Students studying music performance often choose a specific musical genre for intensive development. Jazz performance majors will study the greats inspiring their instrument of choice, and classical performance majors will develop the deepest understandings of history’s greatest composers.

Most all performance majors must join an ensemble of some kind, or develop their own.

Music school ensembles bring students and faculty together to explore the traditions of a specific genre, historical period, or otherwise.

The music performance concentration empowers students to develop an understanding of music through their genre of choice. This enables future players and performers to further the world of music armed with practiced technique and what we’ve learned from music so far.

Fields of Performance

What kinds of music performance careers are available to prospective students? What can you do with a music performance degree?

Many players ask themselves this question loaded with anxiety. I’m happy to say the prospects are very promising.

Also, there are plenty of music performance scholarships available to prospective music students - read more here.

Musical theater is driven by its players, and the energy of the live music industry shows no signs of waning. Performance majors possess an ability to relay music experiences in real time that is valuable to many fields.

Performance majors can become studio musicians, instructors, and authors of their craft. They can teach while maintaining a rigorous gigging career, and publish writings that inspire current and future players of their instrument or genre.

Additionally, almost all faculty at the collegiate level have a career practicing their subject of instruction. A performance degree is invaluable on the path to a professorship or other educational faculty position.

How Can IMS Help?

Finding the right school for you

A student-centered approach to the music school admissions process.

Through a rigorous exploration of the student’s interests, career goals, and enrichment goals, we develop a comprehensive preparatory program of mock auditions, portfolio development, and admissions interview strategies informed by over 40 years in the business.

Consulting students on the admissions process also requires a keen understanding their motivations for pursuing music.

Students who know how to put their passion forward in music school applications will more successfully pursue those passions. Inside Music Schools is built on a deep experience of how admissions staff and faculty read into those passions when deciding who to admit.

At the end of this process, we develop a comprehensive list of schools the student should apply to based on several factors:

  • Interest - What inspires the student to play?
  • Skill Level - Our recommendations aim to be constructive environments, not ones that sets the student up to fail.
  • Career Prospects - What does the student want to do with their performance major? Some schools are better for teaching, while others are better for musical theater and jazz performance.

With our comprehensive list of schools in hand, and the guidance of consultant Steve Lipman, students have a better chance of getting into the school that’s right for them.

Where Do Music Performance Majors Attend School?

For those students who live, breathe, and sleep music the options for an enriching educational experience are numerous. Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory have produced some of the world’s most famous musical minds. Depending on the student’s desired concentration, certain music performance colleges will be better suited for their particular path.

Most colleges and universities with music programs offer a performance major. Many of these schools are perfectly suited for students who wish to enrich their lives with a deeper understanding of music.

The fact of the matter is that there is a school for every student who wishes to study music. The key to finding out where to go is getting to know the student - their inspirations and career prospects should inform where they end up.

Where have some of our students ended up?



Let’s Talk

The first step on any student’s musical journey is asking questions. After our first conversation, you’ll see the value in embarking on this often complicated process with the right guide on your side.