Master of Music (MMus) Degree in the field of Piano Performance
Program Learning Outcomes for the MMus Degree
Upon completing the MMus degree, students will be able to:
- Demonstrate technical and musical competence in performance, composition, or historical scholarship at a professional level.
- Develop advanced analytical skills in music theory and a deep understanding of how those skills inform music performance.
- Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the relationship between music history and music performance.
- Develop career development skills that complement their professional-level performance skills.
Requirements for the MMus Degree
The MMus degree in the field of Piano Performance is a non-thesis master's degree. For general university requirements, please see Non-Thesis Master's Degrees. For additional requirements, regulations, and procedures for all graduate programs, please see All Graduate Students. Students pursuing the MMus degree in the field of Piano Performance must complete:
- A minimum of 43-47 credit hours, depending on course selection, to satisfy degree requirements.
- A minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate-level study (graduate semester credit hours, coursework at the 500-level or above).
- A minimum of 24 graduate semester credit hours must be taken at Rice University.
- A minimum of 24 graduate semester credit hours must be taken in standard or traditional courses (with a course type of lecture, seminar, laboratory, lecture/laboratory).
- A minimum residency enrollment of one fall or spring semester of full-time graduate study at Rice University.
- A maximum of 2 courses (6 graduate semester credit hours) from transfer credit. For additional departmental guidelines regarding transfer credit, see the Policies tab.
- A minimum overall GPA of 2.67 or higher in all Rice coursework.
- A minimum program GPA of 2.67 or higher in all Rice coursework that satisfies requirements for the non-thesis master’s degree.
Students completing the MMus degree in all fields of study must participate in core music, applied music, and other required music courses as well as in chamber music and large ensembles, plus electives. They are entitled to one hour of private lessons each week of each semester they are enrolled as an MMus degree candidate; private or group lessons beyond this may result in additional fees.
The courses listed below satisfy the requirements for this degree program. In certain instances, courses not on this official list may be substituted upon approval of the program's academic advisor, or where applicable, the department or program's Director of Graduate Studies. Course substitutions must be formally applied and entered into Degree Works by the department or program's Official Certifier. Additionally, these must be approved by the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Students and their academic advisors should identify and clearly document the courses to be taken.
|Total Credit Hours Required for the MMus Degree in the field of Piano Performance||43-47|
|MUSI 681||PIANO FOR MAJORS-ADVANCED (minimum of 4 semesters)||3|
|Select 1 from the following:||2-4|
|ADVANCED ORCHESTRA (minimum of 2 semesters)|
|RICE CHORALE - ADVANCED (minimum of 2 semesters )|
|ACCOMPANYING (minimum of 2 semesters )|
|MUSI 636||ADVANCED CHAMBER MUSIC (minimum of 4 semesters)||1|
|MUSI 641||MASTER'S RECITAL I||0|
|MUSI 741||MASTER'S RECITAL II||0|
|Field of Study Specific Coursework|
|MUSI 426||PIANO LITERATURE - SURVEY||3|
|MUSI 588||PIANO PEDAGOGY||2|
|Select 2 courses from the following:||4-6|
|PIANO CHAMBER MUSIC LITERATURE|
|INTRODUCTION TO PIANO TECHNOLOGY|
|SCORE READING AND THEORY AT THE KEYBOARD|
|HISTORY OF THE 20TH CENTURY PIANISM|
|HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF PIANO TECHNIQUE|
|Select 1 course from the Approved Music Theory course offerings (see course list below)||3|
|Select 1 additional course from Music Theory or Music History course offerings (see course lists below)||3|
|Select 2 courses from the Music Career and Skills Enhancement course offerings (see course list below)||4|
|Select 6 credit hours from the Elective Requirements (see course list below) 1||6|
|Students must demonstrate the following proficiency:|
|Total Credit Hours||43-47|
Footnotes and Additional Information
No more than three (3) credit hours of MUSI 649 - Independent Study may fulfill this requirement. Remedial courses (such as MUSI 281, MUSI 432, MUSI 511, MUSI 521, or MUSI 522) and extra hours of required Performance Coursework (such as extra private instrumental or vocal study, ensembles, chamber music, vocal coaching, or repertoire classes) will not fulfill this requirement.
Deficiencies in this area will result in remedial coursework being added to a student's degree plan. MMus students in the field of Piano Performance do not have to demonstrate piano proficiency.
Academic Coursework is comprised of at least 1 course (3 credit hours) from the Approved Music Theory course offerings, 1 course (3 credit hours) from the Music Theory or Music History course offerings, 2 courses (4 credit hours) from the Music Career and Skills Enhancement course offerings, and 6 credit hours from the Elective Requirements.
Approved Music Theory Courses
|MUSI 512||ANALYTICAL SYSTEMS||3|
|MUSI 513||MODAL COUNTERPOINT||3|
|MUSI 516||ADVANCED ORCHESTRATION||3|
|MUSI 517||EARLY MODERN MASTERS||3|
|MUSI 613||TONAL COUNTERPOINT||3|
|MUSI 614||SPECIAL TOPICS IN MUSIC THEORY AND MUSIC THEORY COMPOSITION||3|
|MUSI 615||MUSIC OF RAVEL: MUSIC THEORY AND COMPOSTION||3|
|MUSI 617||MUSIC SINCE 1950||3|
|MUSI 723||AESTHETICS OF MUSIC||3|
Additional Music Theory Courses
|MUSI 315||MULTI-MEDIA COMPOSITION||3|
|MUSI 378 / ASIA 378||CLASSICAL, CONTEMPORARY, AND CROSS-CULTURAL ASIAN MUSIC||3|
|MUSI 403||BASIC ELECTRONIC MUSIC||3|
|MUSI 404||ELECTRONIC MUSIC COMPOSITION||3|
|MUSI 405||MUSIC BUSINESS AND LAW||3|
|MUSI 417||MUSIC FOR MEDIA||3|
|MUSI 514||SCORE READING AND THEORY AT THE KEYBOARD||3|
|MUSI 605||ADVANCED ELECTRONIC AND COMPUTER MUSIC SYSTEMS||3|
|MUSI 606||ADVANCED COMPUTER SOUND SYNTHESIS||3|
|MUSI 611||CLASSROOM PEDAGOGY||3|
|MUSI 711||ANALYTICAL APPROACHES||3|
|MUSI 712||SEMINAR IN ADVANCED ANALYSIS||3|
|MUSI 713||SPECIAL TOPICS IN ADVANCED ANALYSIS||3|
Music History Courses
|MUSI 523||BIBLIOGRAPHY AND RESEARCH METHODS||3|
|MUSI 524||AMERICAN MUSIC||3|
|MUSI 525||PERFORMANCE PRACTICES SEMINAR||3|
|MUSI 527||TOPICS IN EARLY MUSIC||3|
|MUSI 528||TOPICS IN THE 17TH AND 18TH CENTURIES||3|
|MUSI 529||TOPICS IN 19TH AND 20TH CENTURIES||3|
|MUSI 530||MUSIC, MAGIC, AND SCIENCE IN THE MODERN WORLD||3|
|MUSI 534||PROGRAM MUSIC IN THE 19TH CENTURY||3|
|MUSI 537||SATIE, COCTEAU, & LES SIX: PARIS IN THE 1920s AND BEYOND||3|
|MUSI 543||MUSIC AND MODERNISM IN FRANCE||3|
|MUSI 551||MUSIC OF RICHARD STRAUSS||3|
|MUSI 621||SELECTED STUDIES IN MUSIC HISTORY||3|
|MUSI 623||J.S. BACH: CAREER, WORKS, AND CRITICAL RECEPTION||3|
|MUSI 624||SEMINAR ON A SELECTED COMPOSER||3|
|MUSI 625||MOZART OPERAS||3|
|MUSI 626||THE CLASSICAL STYLE||3|
|MUSI 627||ROMANTIC SONGS AND PIANO PIECES||3|
|MUSI 716||MUSIC OF THE MIDDLE AGES||3|
|MUSI 717||RENAISSANCE MUSIC||3|
|MUSI 721||MUSIC OF SCHOENBERG||3|
|MUSI 722||MUSIC OF STRAVINSKY||3|
Music Career and Skills Enhancement Courses
|LPCR 200||ADVANCED MENTAL TRAINING||2|
|MGMT 621||THE NEW ENTERPRISE||3|
|MGMT 625||DESIGN THINKING||1.5|
|MGMT 629||BUSINESS PLAN DEVELOPMENT||1.5|
|MGMT 676||SOCIAL ENTERPRISE||1.5|
|MUSI 413||INTRODUCTION TO DALCROZE EURHYTHMICS||2|
|MUSI 500||IMAGINATION AND COMMUNICATION: DEVELOPING MUSICAL SKILLS THROUGH THEATRICAL TECHNIQUES||2|
|MUSI 501||ENHANCED PERFORMANCE: WRITING, SPEAKING, PLAYING||2|
|MUSI 502||CONDUCTING: AN OVERVIEW OF PRACTICAL SKILLS||2|
|MUSI 503||MUSIC AND PERFORMANCE: THE MIND/BODY CONNECTION||2|
|MUSI 507||TECHNOLOGY FOR MUSICIANS||2|
|MUSI 508||FUNDAMENTALS OF PRIVATE TEACHING||2|
|MUSI 509||THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE FOR MUSICIANS||2|
|MUSI 510||PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR MUSICIANS||2|
|MUSI 515||MUSIC ENTREPRENEURSHIP||2|
|MUSI 518||THE ART AND BUSINESS OF STUDIO TEACHING||2|
|MUSI 519||THEMATIC PROGRAMMING: THE ART OF THE RECITAL||2|
|MUSI 532||THE FELDENKRAIS METHOD AND THE MUSICIAN'S BODY||2|
|MUSI 538||THE ART OF PERFORMANCE: PRESENCE ON STAGE||2|
|MUSI 540||APPLIED JAZZ IMPROVISATION: DEVELOPING SOLO IMPROVISATIONAL SKILLS IN THE JAZZ IDIOM||2|
|Select 6 credit hours from the following: 1||6|
Any course at the 300-level or above
Any language course at the 100-level or above
Any additional Music Theory, Music History, or Music Career and Skills Enhancement course
|RICE JAZZ ENSEMBLE|
|APPLIED STUDIES IN JAZZ|
|PRACTICUM IN CONTEMPORARY MUSIC|
|GRADUATE INDEPENDENT STUDY|
Footnotes and Additional Information
No more than three (3) credit hours of MUSI 649 Independent Study may fulfill this requirement. Remedial courses (such as MUSI 281, MUSI 432, MUSI 511, MUSI 521, or MUSI 522) and extra hours of required Performance Coursework (such as extra private instrumental or vocal study, ensembles, chamber music, vocal coaching, or repertoire classes) will not fulfill this requirement.
Policies for the MMus Degree
Shepherd School of Music Graduate Program Handbook
The General Announcements (GA) is the official Rice curriculum. As an additional resource for students, the Shepherd School of Music publishes a graduate program handbook, which can be found here: https://gradhandbooks.rice.edu/2021_22/Shepherd_School_of_Music_Graduate_Handbook.pdf
For Instrumental Performance, Vocal Performance, and Orchestral Conducting applicants, an audition is required. Composition applicants must submit portfolios, and Musicology applicants must provide samples of their written work. Musicology applicants must also complete advanced music tests as well as the Graduate Record Examination for admission consideration.
Curriculum and Degree Requirements
Further information on curricular requirements for all majors and degree programs is available from the Shepherd School of Music.
A minimum grade of B- (2.67 grade points) per course is expected of all music students in their major applied area. A grade of C+ (2.33 grade points) or lower in a course in the student's major applied area is considered unsatisfactory and will be evaluated in the following manner:
- A music major who receives a grade of C+ (2.33 grade points) or lower in a course in their major applied area will be placed on music probation. Music probation signifies that the student’s work has been sufficiently unsatisfactory to preclude graduation unless marked improvement is achieved promptly. A student on music probation may be absent from class only for extraordinary reasons and may not represent the school in any public function not directly a part of a degree program.
- If a student receives a second semester of C+ (2.33 grade points) or lower in a course in their major applied area, whether for consecutive semesters or not, the student will be discontinued as a music performance major and merit scholarship from the Shepherd School will be discontinued.
Note: For music history and musicology majors a grade of C+ (2.33 grade points) or lower in any music history course is considered unsatisfactory and will be evaluated as above.
Graduate degree requirement: a minimum overall grade point average of 2.67 is necessary for graduation.
Leaves of Absence and Voluntary Withdrawal
Music majors must obtain permission in writing from the dean of the Shepherd School before requesting a leave of absence from the university. Requests must be in the dean’s office before the first day of classes in the semester for which leave is requested.
Music majors taking voluntary withdrawal from the university are not guaranteed readmission into the Shepherd School and may be asked to reapply/reaudition. Students should explain the reasons for their withdrawal to the dean before leaving campus.
Students are expected to perform frequently during their residency at Rice. MMus students in any of the performance fields of study must present at least two full recitals. Composition and Conducting students should present recitals as specified by their degree programs. Students are expected to attend both faculty and student recitals. In addition, all MMus students must participate in the school’s conducted ensembles as assigned.
A thesis is required for MMus students in the field of Musicology. In lieu of a thesis, MMus students in the field of Composition must produce an original work of extended scope. Both thesis and original work must be publicly defended.
For Rice University’s policy regarding transfer credit, see Transfer Credit. Some departments and programs have additional restrictions on transfer credit. Students are encouraged to meet with their academic program’s advisor when considering transfer credit possibilities.
Program Transfer Credit Guidelines
Students pursuing the MMus degree should be aware of the following program-specific transfer credit guidelines:
- No more than 2 courses (6 credit hours) of transfer credit from U.S. or international universities of similar standing as Rice may apply towards the degree.
- Requests for transfer credit will be considered by the program director on an individual case-by-case basis.
For additional information, please see the Shepherd School of Music website: https://music.rice.edu
Opportunities for the MMus Degree
Other Musical Opportunities
Lectures and Performances
A visiting lecturer series, a professional concert series, and numerous distinguished visiting musicians contribute to the Shepherd School environment. The Houston Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Chorus, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Ballet, Houston Masterworks Chorus, Da Camera, Context, and Chamber Music Houston, as well as the activities of other institutions of higher learning in the area, also provide exceptional opportunities for students to enjoy a wide spectrum of music.
For additional information, please see the Shepherd School of Music website: https://music.rice.edu