Music

Graduate Study in Music

Curricular Adviser: Timothy Johnson, Chair of Graduate Studies, tjohnson@ithaca.edu
Admission and Audition Adviser: Thomas Kline, Director of Music Admission, tkline@ithaca.edu


The School of Music educates prospective teachers, performers, and composers in programs designed to develop persons of professional competence.

Six graduate programs leading to the master’s degree are offered: the master of music or master of science in music education; and the master of music in performance, conducting, composition, and Suzuki pedagogy. Programs range from 30 to 36 credits of graduate study. A minimum combination of two consecutive terms of full-time study in residence is required for the master of music degrees in performance and composition. The master of science or master of music in music education degrees may be pursued on a part-time basis and is the only master's degree that is offered during the summer. The master of music degrees in conducting and Suzuki pedagogy require two years in residence.

Required Application Materials

  • Online Application -- Applicants must submit the online application, $40 application fee, and assistantship application.
  • Undergraduate Transcripts -- General admission to a degree program is granted to applicants who have a good undergraduate scholastic record (a 3.0 average on the 4.0 system is generally considered sufficient) and have an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution with at least 36 credits in music.
  • Recommendations --  Two letters of recommendation are required for all applicants, and two additional letters are required if applying for a graduate assistantship.

Admission Requirements

In addition to fulfilling the general admission requirements of the Division of Graduate and Professional Studies, applicants must complete the following music admission requirements:

  • Composition (M.M.):  Applicants must submit at least three representative original scores, and recordings if available. Scores should exhibit a variety of instrumentation and/or vocal forces.  After an initial screening, selected candidates will be invited for an interview with the composition faculty (usually scheduled on School of Music audition days).
  • Conducting (M.M.):  Applicants are required to submit an initial screening DVD of a performing group they have conducted recently, approximately 15-20 minutes in length. It is preferred that the DVD be a rehearsal and the conducting applicant be facing the cameras. The purpose of this tape is to aid in the evaluation of the candidate's conducting competency.  Finalists will be invited for an in-person special audition which will include an interview and live conducting in the major area.
  • Music Education (M.M. or M.S.):  Applicants must have completed the requirements for New York State initial or provisional certification, including successful practice teaching in music, or the equivalent requirements for another state. Generally, students entering this degree program have professional music teaching experience. All candidates must submit a 500-750 word scholarly essay on a contemporary issue in music education that demonstrates the applicant’s ability to craft the English language, using and citing scholarly sources. Applicants also must perform an audition on their major instrument or voice.
  • Performance (M.M.):  Applicants must perform an audition on their major instrument or voice.
  • Suzuki Pedagogy (M.M.):  Applicants must perform an audition on their major instrument.

For degrees that require an audition: on-campus auditions are highly recommended, however, applicants may submit a DVD with the permission of the Director of Music Admission.

Admission Deadlines

Fall Admission Deadlines

  • February 1:  Deadline for submission of pre-screening DVD for conducting applicants and scores for composition applicants.
  • March 1:  All application materials, including the audition, must be completed and submitted.
  • March 21:  Candidates will be notified of acceptance, rejection, or waiting list status.
  • Early April:  Assistantship award letters will be sent out.
  • April 15:  Candidates who wish to enter the program must accept admission and pay their deposit.

Summer Admission Deadlines (Music Education Only)

  • April 1:  All application materials, including the audition, must be completed and submitted to receive full consideration for the summer music education program, as well as for a summer assistantship.
  • April 21:  Candidates will be notified of acceptance, rejection, or waiting list status.
  • Early May:  Assistantship award letters will be sent out.
  • May 15:  Candidates who wish to enter the program must accept admission and pay their deposit. Entrance to the summer program after this date will be accepted on a space available basis until June 15. Any waiting list candidates to be offered admission will be sent decision letters, with a ten day period allowed for return of acceptance and deposit.

Comprehensive Examinations

All students must pass a final oral examination in their major field, as well as comprehensive exams in music theory, music history, and sight-singing. All written exams are given four times per year; the oral exam is taken at the end of the course of study, and the sight-singing exam is taken by arrangement. Sample exams and exam outlines are available from the graduate chair.

Tuition Expenses

Tuition for all music degrees has been set at $632 per credit for the 2009-10 academic year.