Music - MM

Caine College of the Arts

About This Degree

Master of Music students have the opportunity to acquire comprehensive knowledge in their emphasis through research and both classroom and individualized instruction, to develop and practice professional skills and to gain leadership experience.

The Master of Music degree has four specializations: Piano Performance and Pedagogy, Guitar Performance, Voice Performance, and Choral Conducting.

The Piano Performance and Pedagogy specialization is to integrate instruction in piano pedagogy with high-level piano performance, making it a unique degree, as many MM programs in piano require students to specialize in either pedagogy or performance. The program is designed to fill an increasing demand for piano instructors who not only perform at a high level, but who also hold advanced credentials in teaching. Piano Performance and Pedagogy candidates also receive experiential training through the USU Youth Conservatory, a pre-college piano program providing instruction to students ages 4 through 18.

The Guitar Performance specialization offers students the opportunity to study with faculty at an advanced level who have established notable careers in a variety of performance styles. The guitar program was recently honored by Jazz Guitar Online as one of the Top 25 Programs in the U.S. for jazz guitar studies. Performance candidates are required to present two, 2-credit recitals in partial fulfillment of this degree.

The Choral Conducting specialization focuses on ensemble performance, advanced conducting and rehearsal techniques, repertory and literature, and advisor-approved independent study which focuses on the student's career and educational objectives. Individual recital(s) and/or Research and Presentation project(s) are required of Conducting emphasis candidates.

The Voice Performance specialization offers students the opportunity to study at an advanced level with nationally known faculty. The MM - Voice Performance degree prepares sudents for careers in performance and pedagogy, and offers exceptional opportunities to perform in USU Opera and Utah Festival Opera. MM students will have the opportunity to work with internationally recognized artists and teachers. Past visiting artists include Kelli O'Hara, Dr. Scott McCoy, and Libby Larsen.View additional information about voice at USU by visiting the pages for Voice Performance and Choral Education.

Specific questions about each specialization and course of study should be directed to the graduate faculty in the preferred emphasis.


Piano Performance and Pedagogy:

The program is designed to fill an increasing demand for piano instructors who not only perform at a high level, but who also hold advanced credentials in teaching.

Guitar Performance:

The Guitar Performance specialization focuses on individual instruction, ensemble performance and advisor-approved independent study which focuses on the student’s career and educational objectives.

Choral Conducting:

Choral conducting focuses on ensemble performance, advanced conducting and rehearsal techniques, repertory and literature, and independent study based on student’s career and educational objectives.

Voice Performance:

The Voice Performance specialization focuses on individual applied instruction, in-depth repertoire study through one-on-one coaching, advanced vocal pedagogy, and performance in solo recitals and staged dramatic works through USU Opera Theatre and through partnership with Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre. Graduates of this program will be equipped for a career in performance, high-quality studio teaching, or further graduate study in an Artist Diploma or Doctoral program.


At a Glance

College: Caine College of the Arts

Department: Music Department

USU Locations:

  • Logan campus

Program Requirements

Career And Outcomes

Career Opportunities

Graduates with the MM typically pursue careers as piano teachers and performers. They are also prepared to pursue doctoral degrees; either the doctor of musical arts (DMA), which is focused on performance, or the doctor of philosophy (PhD), which focuses more on academia.

Job Outlook



Cary Youmans

Office: FAC 127F
Phone: (435) 797-8096

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Admission Requirements

Application Requirements:

All applications are submitted online through Applicants to the Master of Music degree must complete the following:

  • Official College Transcripts - To qualify for admission to the MM program, applicants must have a bachelor's degree in any field of study, with a GPA of at least 3.0. Official transcripts must be sent directly from previous institutions to USU.
  • (NOT REQUIRED) GRE or MAT Scores - The GRE or MAT is optional for applicants to the Master of Music degree programs. However, applicants should be advised that the GRE/MAT is a requirement for some tuition waivers and scholarships available through the School of Graduate Studies. For information about these awards, and whether or not applicants may qualify, please visit
  • Letters of Recommendation - Three satisfactory letters of recommendation must be sent directly by the recommenders through the application server. Applicants are highly encouraged to seek a recommendation from a primary applied teacher and one academic music faculty (theory, history, etc.). 
  • Writing Sample - Applicants must upload a 500-1000 word (1-2 pages, single-spaced) personal statement on one of the following topics:
    • Topic 1: Describe a moment or experience in your musical education that convinced you to pursue higher education in music.
    • Topic 2: How do you hope your music career will make an impact on today's musical culture?
    • Topic 3: Why does/should music matter to individuals or society today?

      An academic research paper on a musical subject may also be accepted at the discretion of the Graduate Music Committee. The writing sample will be evaluated by the Music Department Graduate Committee and all full-time faculty in the applicant's primary area of emphasis. Applicant essays will be evaluated in part on the quality of writing, including organization, concision, and clarity.
  • International Student Requirements - In addition to the General Admissions Requirements, International students must meet the language, degree, and funding requirements of the USU School of Graduate Studies, available at
  • Audition/Interview - Applicants must complete a successful live or recorded entrance audition/interview. To schedule an audition, submit an "Online Graduate Audition Application" at If travel distance or schedule conflicts prevent applicants from auditioning live, they may submit a video recording of their audition through the recorded audition form:


Students are accepted throughout the year; however, it is recommended that students seeking financial assistance apply before March 1.

Plan Options

Students can receive the MM by pursuing the following option:

  • The Plan C option does not involve a thesis or a defense meeting and is comprised of coursework only, including a terminal recital.

Financial Aid

Select students will be offered department-funded graduate assistantship positions. After completing departmental requirements, these students will be eligible to teach courses in the undergraduate curriculum for music majors and minors, including music theory, aural skills, and keyboard harmony. All graduate students, including those who do not receive an assistantship position, have the opportunity to provide private piano instruction to nonmajors, for which they will receive compensation.

A variety of funding opportunities are available on the graduate school website.

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