As a professional music major, you’ll create your own major to achieve your musical goals. Over eight semesters, you’ll combine coursework from the college’s various majors, while completing the college’s core music curriculum. Come work with a diverse community of musicians, faculty, and industry professionals on the college’s Boston campus, and gain the specific skills you need for a career in music, all while earning a bachelor's degree.
Berklee's professional music major provides students with the opportunity to blaze their own path and synthesize a variety of skills ranging from performing and songwriting to production and business. Focusing on the entrepreneurial aspects of a professional music career, students work to achieve individual goals through intensive curricular planning. Through their coursework, the student will learn the skills, concepts, and methodologies necessary to develop proficiency in the designated area/s of concentration (i.e. tracks) found in the professional music industry. The student will complete a major final project relating to their track/s whose content and/or enactment is equal in quality and extent to the demands of the current professional music environment.
Through interaction with instructors, the student will develop an aesthetic and critical vision of quality work in the designated area of concentration, will be able to define quality using both general and musical criteria, and will be able to apply those criteria to their own work and to that of others. By working with teachers and other students on various projects, the student will learn to work effectively with others in groupings typically found in the context of the designated area of concentration within the professional music industry.
The student will develop sufficient background and depth in their chosen area(s) of study to enable them to cope with and adjust to changes in the professional music environment.
What Will I Learn?
Upon completion of a major in professional music, students will:
- synthesize and integrate knowledge in chosen area/s of concentration (i.e. tracks); e.g. songwriting, music production, music business;
- apply entrepreneurial skills to individualized area/s of study and projected music career;
- lead a creative project from conception to execution;
- be able to integrate their principal instrument and/or special musical expertise in a range of contexts;
- communicate effectively in business and performance environments;
- combine multiple areas of interest and expertise into a customized creative career plan; and
- develop an awareness of community engagement across student’s area/s of study.
As an enrolled Berklee College of Music undergraduate student, you will be required to declare a major field of study by your third semester.
To declare this major, you must have a grade point average (GPA) of 2.7 from your first two semesters of study.
Curriculum and Courses
There are 30 required credits (14 core and 16 track-specific) for this major in addition to the B.M. required core music courses (41 credits), liberal arts courses (40 credits), and general electives (9 credits) for a degree total of 120 credits. See the sample curriculum here.
Designated Professional Music Track Courses
- 16 credits of designated track courses (to be determined by the student in conjunction with and by approval of the department chair). Ensembles, liberal arts courses, and repeated labs are not allowed.
Professional Music Core (14 credits required)
Select courses from each of the following areas:
- Music Production (2 credits; choose one of the following):
- MP-113 Accelerated Pro Tools
- MTEC-230 Electronic Music on the iPad
- MTEC-213 Producing Music with Ableton Live
- MTEC-214 Producing Music with Logic Pro X
- MTEC-230 Electronic Music on Mobile Devices
- SW-161 DAW for Songwriters: Pro Tools
- SW-181 DAW for Songwriters: Ableton Live
- SW-191 DAW for Songwriters: Logic Pro X
- Music Business (2 credits; choose one of the following):
- Professional Music Courses (4 credits; choose two of the following):
- PM-111 Foundations for the Independent Musician
- PM-205 Special Topics in Professional Music
- PM-230 Computer Literacy for the Professional Musician
- PM-241 Label Management: Berklee Revelation Records
- PMH-250 Movement for Musicians
- PM-300 The General Business Gig: Artistry and Business Development
- PM-310 Financial Management for Musicians
- PM-320 Investment Principles for the Professional Musician
- PM-330 The Private Studio Teacher
- PM-350 Music Marketing for the DIY Musician
- IN-495 Major Internship in Arts and Entertainment
Three-Semester Sequence (6 credits; all three courses required)
- PM-340 The Artist Entrepreneur
- PM-425 The Business of Professional Music
- PM-475 Professional Music Capstone Project* or PM-476 Professional Music Capstone Project—Online*
*Requires completion of a significant culminating project, per student, based on the designated tracks; project content and/or enactment must match the quality and scale of the demands of the current industry environment.
Updated for catalogue year 2023, fall
For Those "Interested in Learning Everything"
Professional music majors have the freedom to customize their studies. For Belgian-born harpist Pia Salvia B.M. '17, that involved studying jazz and Latin music and performing Chinese pop music at Boston's Symphony Hall. Watch Salvia perform her tune "Moody" and see why Professor Felice Pomeranz described her as "interested in learning everything.”
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Learn about financial aid, scholarships, and others ways of paying for your Berklee education.