Have you even thought about what it takes to obtain a PhD in any type of musical performance? As a musician you know that talent can come naturally. Those with musical talent seem to be born with it. Musical skill is something that artists can perfect though. Studying music professionally can be a very rewarding experience and can boost your career immensely for both musical performers as well as educators.


The Highest Level of Musical Study

 For studying music professionally in the States, there are two main options for the top degrees. The Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) are the two terminal degrees in music education. Some schools will offer both programs, and there are some similarities and similar requirements for both.


The Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

This degree can be completed in three to five years. It allows gifted music students to get ready for promising careers in music while studying the subtleties of music theory and history. DMA students will train with artists, complete research projects and perform at major recitals during the program. A requirement at some schools is to learn a foreign language. There are several specializations for this degree, including musical performance, composition or conducting music.


A PhD in Music

A PhD program in music will focus more on academic research rather than musical performance. This degree option can take between four to six years to complete. Specializations include musicology, music theory or music history. There is a specific requirement  in terms of coursework and qualifying exams for this type of program. Also, students must write and defend a thesis on an individual research topic. This type of program will also require students to learn at least one foreign language. Making the choice between the two types of top music degrees will depend on how you envision your musical career to unfold.


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