Studies & Degrees in Music Performance (Keyboard)

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Music Performance degrees are aimed at students who wish to become professional musicians. When it comes to music performance degrees in keyboard, these include piano and organ performance degree programs at various levels of study. In addition, piano is the primary instrument of a large number of students majoring in other areas of music. Students who choose such a degree should be fully aware that they are making a strong professional commitment to the art of music. Professional musicians usually spend their whole lives in constant pursuit of excellence through disciplined practice, study, and performance.

Personal Qualities

To pursue a degree in music performance, it is most likely that you are strongly drawn to music and musical instruments since an early age. Except for some inborn talent, other qualities to consider include:

  • Discipline, dedication, and self-motivation
  • Confidence and stamina to perform at peak level
  • Very good at concentrating for long periods of time
  • Perseverance
  • Good communication skills

Study Options

Study options are varied, and you can pursue music performance for keyboard at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level. Some common courses that such a program will offer are duo piano, harpsichord, fortepiano, comprehensive piano literature classes, piano technology, piano pedagogy, accompanying classes, and a complete series of organ courses from hymnology to design and maintenance.

Some important issues that you might wish to consider when choosing the right institution are the following: what is the reputation of the school – if you are looking to become a top-notch performer, the reputation of the school from which you graduate is crucial; who will be your music instructors – what are their professional backgrounds, where do they perform, and do you believe you would be learning under their instruction; what performing ensembles, groups, events, and opportunities are available for you as a student within the Music Department - usually, larger music departments and colleges/universities will offer more performing opportunities; What performing opportunities are available outside the Music Department - colleges and universities located in larger cities will typically have more outside performing venues and opportunities than those based in smaller ones. Many colleges and universities will also have ties with local performing organizations and venues. Finally, most music performance students who are serious about their career advance by gaining a master’s degree or higher.

Career Options

Performance studies can lead to employment in the professional music field as a soloist, accompanist, chamber musician, orchestral player or a studio teacher. Majors in related areas may lead to employment in the fields of music education, composition, broadcasting or research. Graduates may also be employed as arts administrators, community musicians or academics. Entry to the music industry is very competitive, for which reason students are encouraged to get as much performing experience as possible as well as building up their connections in the industry. Most students are working as performers, teachers, or in related industry positions even prior to graduation. They may work in live shows, or for recordings.