Graduate Studies in Music Performance

The Master of Music (MM)

First-year MM students typically take one or two semesters of intensive ear-training in Mus 505-506. MM students must also take one history and one theory course for the degree; beyond that, the focus of the program is on performance. Participation in the orchestra is required of all orchestral musicians.

Doctoral students must have a masters degree, either from Stony Brook or another institution. Under special circumstances, masters' students at Stony Brook may begin work on their doctoral degree before they have completed all Masters requirements.

The Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

In the first year of study, DMA students create their own curriculum by drawing up a doctoral contract with a committee consisting of their major teacher and their academic advisor. The contract lists courses to be taken, projected topics for their doctoral essays and lecture-recital, and a sketch of the contents of the first four required recitals (there is a final doctoral recital in addition to these four recitals). The D.M.A. also has a foreign language requirement, and many students study a language in their first year.

In subsequent years, students complete the requirements of their contracts. They can advance to candidacy (typically after two years in the program) after they have given 3 recitals, a lecture-recital, passed the language requirement, and made a substantial beginning on their doctoral essays. The final stage of the degree is a final doctoral recital; the students are also examined on the contents of the recital by a special committee.

Performance Opportunities at Stony Brook

Performing organizations for students in the M.M. and D.M.A. programs include Chamber Music, Camerata Singers, Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra, Contemporary Chamber Players, and the Opera Workshop.

About the Music Department at Stony Brook

Stony Brook's music programs have grown out of an unusual partnership between the academy and the conservatory. Our degree programs are designed to favor interaction among musical disciplines that have traditionally been kept separate. We believe that a sound education for any musician or musical scholar must involve three things: a solid theoretical grasp of musical structure, an understanding of the historical and cultural forces that shape music, and practical experience with music-making on a professional level. The performance programs at Stony Brook all have an academic component, and the programs in history/theory and composition are enriched by daily contact with students and faculty in the performance programs. Our graduate courses typically have a healthy mix of students from all areas: in a course in computer music you might find a clarinetist exploring computer-interactive performance working next to a musicologist using sound-processing equipment to transcribe an improvised solo.

Interdisciplinary studies are central to the educational philosophy of the department. A number of courses are team-taught by two or more faculty members, examining topics from several disciplinary viewpoints. Many courses examine music in a broader social context. The music of the 20th (and 21st!) century is a particular emphasis of both our performance and academic programs, but other musical eras and traditions are also amply represented. Students can choose seminars from a broad spectrum of topics, ranging from medieval music theory to popular music. We frequently offer courses or productions in collaboration with the departments of Philosophy, Comparative Studies, Theater Arts, and Art, the programs in Cultural Studies and Womens' Studies, or the Stony Brook Humanities Institute. The department encourages the development of professional competence in more than one area of musical study. Opportunity for advanced work in more than one area is innate to the design of the programs at the doctoral level. For students at that level who propose to do serious work both in performance and in some other area, the decision to pursue either the D.M.A. or the Ph.D. degree will depend upon the balance of emphases in the intended program of study.


All Inquiries about Graduate Studies in the Music Department at Stony Brook University should be sent to:
music_gradadmissions@stonybrook.edu