Major: Music Performance

What colleges offer a Major in Music Performance?

Weekly music lessons, endless scales and arpeggios, ear training classes, nightly rehearsals, recitals for friends and family, and juries with faculty members…. If singing or playing an instrument is today a hobby, as a performance major it will be your life.

Student musicians spend more time practicing than almost any other activity. Hours of practicing will help you learn to interpret a piece of music as the composer envisioned it. You’ll also develop your own signature sound -- one that’s unique to you.

Students of music performance perfect their skills as musicians. Lessons, classes, and recitals help students develop a personal style and prepare them for performing as soloists, ensemble players, and accompanists.

“Most performance majors entering college have already been ‘performance majors’ in high school.”Jo Anne Caputo, Professor, Cleveland Institute of Music

Are You Ready To...?

  • Perform solo as part of an ensemble
  • Attend regular rehearsals for one or more performance groups
  • Develop a close, personal relationship with the teacher of your instrument
  • Listen to lots of live and recorded music
  • Spend long hours practicing

It Helps To Be...

A music lover who is self-disciplined and able to take criticism well. As a professional musician, you’ll also need to be comfortable performing in front of a crowd.

College Checklist

  • Visiting campus? Is there enough room for everyone to practice and rehearse? Are there good acoustics?
  • How many and what kinds of performance opportunities are there? If you have an interest in period music, make sure there’s a performance group that specializes in your area.
  • Are there opportunities in the region to perform off-campus?
  • What kinds of internships and summer programs are open to students? 
  • How many hours of private instruction will you receive each week?
  • Is the program accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music?
  • Is the professor who teaches your instrument a professional performer?

Did You Know?

For one group of string players at the Curtis Institute of Music, working together led to fame as the Guarneri Quartet.

Course Spotlight

As a performance major, you'll need to take constructive criticism from both your professors and fellow students. And just taking it isn’t enough -- you’ll need to learn from it so you can improve. In addition to getting feedback in private lessons, you may have to perform in juries. Juries are a sort of final exam in which you'll perform in front of your teachers for a grade.