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Master of Music Programs

Young Artist concert performerThe Masters of Music degree may be taken in performance, music education, composition, or music theory. Performance majors may specialize in piano, piano pedagogy, collaborative piano, voice, percussion, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, violin, viola, cello, double bass, guitar, jazz pedagogy, or conducting.

Requirements for all M.M. Options

Master’s degree students must establish an overall grade-point average of 3.0. A representative public recital is required of candidates majoring in performance. Composition majors must submit as a thesis a composition in a large form. All candidates for the master of music degree are required to participate for credit for two semesters (or summer sessions) in a performing group which meets at least two clock hours per week and which is selected with the advisor’s approval. A general comprehensive oral examination must be passed by all candidates for the master of music degree. Unsuccessful candidates may repeat this examination after a three-month period. The results of the second oral examination will normally be considered final. The examining committee will decide immediately after an unsuccessful second attempt whether a petition for a third attempt will be granted. Students must complete all requirements following admission to a degree program in eight calendar years. Failure to do so will result in the loss of credit for courses taken at the outset of the program.

Master of Music in Performance

Audition repertoire for the M.M. in Music Performance should be chosen that allows candidates to demonstrate their current level of achievement. Early in the application process potential students should contact the major teacher in their area and discuss audition repertoire possibilities.

Young Artist concert pianist Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy

WVU offers a Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy. This program offers a variety of courses and comprehensive experience in individual and group piano instruction.

This Master of Music degree is designed to provide advanced training to help prepare students to teach piano successfully in an independent studio, community music program or college. Topics covered may include:

  • Teaching students of all ages
  • Teaching students at beginning, intermediate and advanced levels
  • Teaching in private- and group-lesson formats
  • Evaluating recommended music, methods and materials
  • Using technology to enhance music teaching
  • Developing well-rounded curriculum for pre-college students
  • Teaching students how to help their pupils develop a healthy and efficient technique as well as musical and stylistic playing
  • Reviewing research on learning theory, memorization and other topics of importance to piano teachers
  • Operating the independent studio as a successful business
  • Special topics related to teaching college group instruction and private students
  • Special topics related to teaching pre-college and advanced students

WVU offers a variety of piano pedagogy courses. The Piano Class Methods and Materials course focuses on teaching collegiate piano classes for non-keyboard music majors. Students gain valuable experience observing and teaching under supervision in collegiate piano classes.

Other courses include the History of Keyboard Pedagogy and Technique and Keyboard Performance and Pedagogy Modules, 5-week seminar classes for graduate students taught by all members of the WVU Keyboard Faculty and devoted to a variety of topics including career development, teaching traditional and contemporary piano literature, developing accompanying skills, keyboard harmony and more.

In addition, pedagogy students at WVU may also have the opportunity to complete a Teaching Internship with a local independent piano teacher.

Audition Requirements for M.M. in Piano Pedagogy

1. A minimum of 45 minutes of solo piano music representing at least three contrasting works and styles.

2. The audition may be submitted as a DVD, video links, or CD of performances within the past year. Video links through YouTube or other file-sharing site are recommended.

3. To apply, students must complete 2 applications: one for the University and one for the School of Music.

Master of Music in Conducting

Teaching/Conducting Experience: It is strongly recommended that those desiring admission to this degree have a minimum of 2 years successful teaching/conducting experience beyond their undergraduate conducting courses.

Instrumental Emphasis 
• Prepare and conduct a 15-30 minute audition with the Symphony Orchestra or Wind Symphony. The applicant will conduct and rehearse the ensemble on designated repertoire and will be evaluated by appropriate conducting faculty. 
• The applicant’s knowledge of the historical development of instrumental music and knowledge and experience with instrumental literature will be assessed by appropriate faculty.

Choral Emphasis
• The applicant will prepare and present a 20-minute rehearsal audition with a designated choral ensemble before the conducting faculty.
• The applicant will demonstrate piano ability by playing selected segments from designated choral scores. This portion of the audition is designed merely to determine if the candidate can utilize the piano in some way as a study and teaching tool. Elements of this portion of the audition will include simple open-score part reading, transposition of melodic lines and simple accompaniments.
• An overview of the applicant’s knowledge and experience with choral literature will be assessed by appropriate faculty.
• The applicant will demonstrate a basic knowledge of singer’s diction in English, Latin, Italian, and German by reciting and singing brief prepared excerpts drawn from standard choral repertoire.

Master of Music in Composition 

Applicants for entrance to the MM in Composition should send a portfolio of compositions that include a major work (a work of at least a ten-minute duration and/or a work for large ensemble with or w/o voice) and two or three other works in various genres. Scores may be submitted as Finale or Sibelius files or as pdf’s. Recordings and/or MIDI realizations of application compositions are strongly encouraged but not mandatory. Electronic submission of both score and audio files is highly recommended. Files may be sent as attachments to an e-mail to, or via a file sharing service such as dropbox or Google drive, etc.


NOTE: Graduate instruction in composition is generally in contemporary art music styles but also includes work in various electronic mediums (fixed playback pieces, instrument(s) and electronics, interactive electronics, etc.) with studies available in jazz, world music, and other vernacular musical styles. At least one submitted work must be in the style of art (concert) music for traditional acoustic instruments.


Questions about the application process should be addressed the Director of Graduate Studies. Questions about the portfolio of compositions may be directed to Matthew Heap.

Master of Music in Music Education

The M.M. music education degree is designed to cultivate continued development of professional competence beyond the baccalaureate degree. High levels of musicianship and pedagogical expertise are integrated into a comprehensive program of study. Unique to the degree in music education are four degree options that enable students to pursue individual interests and talents. At the core of each of the 30-hour degree option is coursework that immerses students in the foundations and research of music education, performance studies, music history, and music theory. To complete the degree, students can select from the following four options of coursework and culminating projects:

  • Field Study Option: This degree option emphasizes teaching and includes opportunities to integrate performance studies and research, with a school-based field study that demonstrates application of knowledge and skills from graduate study as a culminating project.
  • Recital Option: This degree option emphasizes performance studies and includes opportunities to integrate research and teaching with a representative public recital that demonstrates advanced performance competence as a culminating project.
  • Thesis Option: This degree option emphasizes research and includes opportunities to integrate performance and teaching with an original thesis that demonstrates advanced research and writing competence as a culminating project.
  • Certification Option: This degree option is designed for persons who obtained an undergraduate degree in music other than music education. Coursework (including student teaching) leads to a professional certificate (K-12 music, West Virginia) and is combined with a Master’s degree in music education, with the generation of a professional portfolio as a culminating project. Students begin the program with a series of undergraduate courses that are necessary for certification.