All students at Berklee College of Music study a principal instrument and will ultimately select a major in their second semester. We offer 12 diverse majors; many students choose performance, the largest major at the college.
As a woodwind player majoring in performance, you will learn the skills, concepts, and methodology sufficient to demonstrate a level of proficiency on your principal instrument typical of that generally required in professional performance. You'll achieve this through private lessons, which include proficiency-based final exams, instrumental or vocal labs, and performance studies classes.
You will complete a performance portfolio, including a juried senior recital (supported by recital preparation lessons and classes) that meets current professional performance standards. Most students also engage in extracurricular and cocurricular concert performances, and each performance major participates in ensembles and public performances in the college’s recital halls and venues such as the Berklee Performance Center.
As a performance major, you'll attend recital classes and take specialized courses in ear training and harmonic applications designed to develop your improvisational skills. You'll also participate in classes given by visiting master performers. Through these activities and interactions, you will develop an aesthetic and critical understanding of the meaning of quality performance and be able to define quality—in both your work and the work of others—using technical and interpretive musical criteria. In addition to these classes and activities, you'll grow as a woodwinds player through opportunites that may include recording sessions, on- and off-campus concerts, festivals, and tours.
As a woodwinds player, you will develop a sufficient theoretical, conceptual, and philosophical background in your instrument to be able to cope with and adjust to changes in the professional music environment. You will achieve both a competency on the entire woodwind instrumental family as well as a diverse stylistic range so that you are prepared for the rigors of a performance career and are an effective performer in all musical venues.
What Will I Learn?
Upon completion of a major in performance, you will be able to:
- synthesize and integrate knowledge of posture, breathing, and instrumental technique into your daily practice routine;
- demonstrate technical proficiency on your principal instrument;
- play in a variety of contemporary and traditional styles;
- play in ensembles of varying size, instrumentation, and stylistic orientation;
- demonstrate the ability to "double" on other woodwind instruments;
- apply your knowledge of musical styles and harmonic practices in improvisation; and
- synthesize and integrate your knowledge of contemporary and historical styles into musical interpretation.
As an enrolled Berklee College of Music undergraduate student, you will be required to declare a major field of study by your third semester.
We require an entrance audition for the performance major. This audition is used primarily as an assessment and advising procedure.
Curriculum and Courses
There are 30 credits required for this major. To view the full program of study, which includes core music, liberal arts, and general electives, see sample curriculum for the bachelor's degree.
- ILWD-111: Woodwind Lab - Techniques 1
- ILWD-112: Woodwind Lab - Techniques 2
- ILWD-113: Woodwind Lab - Techniques 3
- ILWD-211: Woodwind Improvisation Lab
- ILRE-375: Recital Workshop for Performance Majors
- PIWD-311: Private Instruction Woodwind Level 5
- PIWD-312: Private Instruction Woodwind Level 6
- PIWD-411: Private Instruction Woodwind Level 7
- PIWD-412: Private Instruction Woodwind Level 8
- PSH-xxx: Health and Wellness of Musicians
- PSHR-321: Harmonic Considerations in Improvisation 1
- RPWD-211: Recital Preparation Woodwind Level 3
- RPWD-212: Recital Preparation Woodwind Level 4
- RPWD-311: Recital Preparation Woodwind Level 5
- RPWD-312: Recital Preparation Woodwind Level 6
- RPWD-411: Recital Preparation Woodwind Level 7
- RPWD-412: Recital Preparation Woodwind Level 8
- Seven credits of approved specified electives
Find Your Expression
From the orchestra to the jazz trio, Berklee's Woodwind Department provides a community that allows you to be the best woodwind player you can be. With 18 faculty working in the department, you’re going to find someone who understands your musical goals and help you develop them to their fullest expression.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Learn about financial aid, scholarships, and others ways of paying for your Berklee education.