Bachelor of Music in Performance

As a student majoring in performance, you will declare a principal instrument. Select a category to explore further:

The performance program will teach you skills, concepts, and methodology sufficient to demonstrate a level of proficiency on your principal instrument typical of that generally required in professional performance. This is achieved through private lessons, which include proficiency-based final exams, ensembles, instrumental or vocal labs, and performance studies classes.

To demonstrate mastery of these skills, you will complete a performance portfolio, including a senior recital, that typifies current professional performance standards. You will also:

  • attend recital classes and take specialized courses in ear training and harmonic applications designed to develop improvisational skills;
  • have the opportunity to attend classes given by visiting master performers;
  • develop an aesthetic and critical understanding of the meaning of quality performance;
  • learn to use technical and interpretive musical criteria and to apply them to your work and to that of others;
  • work effectively with others in situations typically found in the professional performance field;
  • participate in ensembles and public performances in the college's recital halls and at the Berklee Performance Center; and
  • explore activities available through the ensemble program such as recording sessions, concerts, festivals, and tours.

Upon completing the major, you will have developed a theoretical, conceptual, and philosophical background in the area of musical performance that will enable you to quickly adapt to changes in the professional music environment.

Entrance Requirements

See individual requirements for each instrument.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of a major in performance, you will:

  • synthesize and integrate knowledge of contemporary and traditional styles into musical interpretation;
  • synthesize and integrate knowledge of posture, breathing, and instrumental technique into your daily practice routines;
  • demonstrate technical proficiency on your principal instrument;
  • demonstrate the ability to sight read music in a variety of styles;
  • play music in a variety of contemporary and traditional styles;
  • play in ensembles of varying size, instrumentation, and stylistic orientation; and
  • apply knowledge of musical styles and harmonic practices in improvisation.
Sample Curriculum by Semester
Curriculum and Courses

Specific courses/requirements for the performance major vary by instrument. Please visit the instrumental departments for more information. 

There are 30 required credits specific to this major, in addition to the B.M. required core music courses (41 credits), liberal arts courses (39 credits), and general electives (10 credits), for a degree total of 120 credits. General requirements are as follows:

  • PIXX-311–PIXX-412 Private Instruction 5–8
  • RPXX-211–RPXX-412 Recital Preparation 3–8
  • PSHR-321 Harmonic Considerations in Improvisation 1 (Note: Drum set performance majors must take PSPC-341. Voice performance majors must take PSVC-425 or PSVC-426. Berklee Global Jazz Institute students must take PSGJ-321.)
  • ILRE-375 or ILGJ-375 Recital Workshop for Performance Majors 1 or Danilo Perez Performance Lab (for Berklee Global Jazz Institute students)
  • PSH-XXX Health and Wellness courses 
  • PFSS-XXX Styles Survey courses 
  • EN-xxx Ensemble courses (4 in total)
  • Ten credits of approved major electives and instrumental labs.

Updated for catalogue year 2022 fall