DMA in Keyboard Performance and Pedagogy

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If you are an accomplished pianist with curiosity and open mind to delve into the study of piano pedagogy to further performance and teaching aspirations, then this is the place for you. In addition to majoring in Keyboard Performance and Pedagogy at the DMA level, there is an option for DMA non-pedagogy students to choose a 12-credit Cognate in Keyboard Performance and Pedagogy.

DMA in Keyboard Performance and Pedagogy consists of 60 credit hours of graduate study beyond the Master of Music in piano-related degrees such as solo performance, pedagogy, or collaborative piano. It is designed to prepare students for varied professional settings such as performance, research, or college teaching.

Consistent with our school-wide belief in the value of “experiential” learning, our graduate curriculum in Keyboard Performance and Pedagogy (KPED) is uniquely designed to integrate theoretical studies with performance to the maximum extent possible. All KPED students will have the opportunity to request for performance study with any one of our piano faculty members, and our flexible curriculum affords customized program of pedagogical study based on background and interest of each student. Students are strongly encouraged to select a 12-credit Cognate area of study (such as Music Theory, Musicology, or Music Education), which would further enhance credentials for the current competitive job market.

In addition to traditional pedagogy offerings—covering topics such as historical and modern private teaching methodologies, didactic repertoire and sequencing, diagnostics, group piano teaching, injury prevention, and peak performance strategies—our curriculum strives to reflect the most current needs as well as resources gleaned from the job market and related disciplines. For example: students may learn about pianist-specific professional preparations including effective use of technology and higher-education teaching, or learn from the rapidly growing field of cognitive neuroscience as it relates to practicing, performing, and teaching.

A wide variety of options exist for hands-on teaching and learning, and our Preparatory Division provides the platform for those interested in a teaching internship for young students. Research ability is deemed an essential skill for graduate-level study. Students have the opportunity to hone their skills in critical thinking and independent research both through various courses in addition to the culminating DMA project.

The competitive reality of the market for performers and teachers has never been more demanding. We are proud that many of piano students (both KPED and MKP) have gone on to win awards at piano competitions, have been invited to publish in recognized periodicals or present at conferences, and are currently in teaching positions both in the U.S. and abroad.

For more information, please contact:

Naoko Takao, DMA
Program Director, Keyboard Performance and Pedagogy
n.takao@miami.edu

 

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For more information regarding curriculum, please visit the Academic Bulletin.

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DMA in Keyboard Performance and Pedagogy

A DMA in Keyboard Performance and Pedagogy is for the serious music student who wants to pursue an advanced degree in a keyboard-related field. DMA students are typically interested in working as teachers in private studios, performing professionally, or teaching at the university level. These students also plan to perform professionally throughout their lives. Combining performance with pedagogy helps you become a well-rounded and comprehensively-trained musician and educator, premiere traits in today’s competitive job market.

What is a DMA in Keyboard Performance and Pedagogy?

A DMA is the terminal degree for musicians and represents the highest degree-bearing level of formal education a keyboardist can achieve. Achieving a DMA means that a student has reached an advanced level of performing, understands deeply what it takes to educate piano students of all levels, has attained high-level research skills, and knows how to use field-specific technology. By the time a student has completed a DMA, they are a competitive candidate for college-level teaching positions.

Why Pair Performance and Pedagogy?

Music remains a field of apprenticeship. Most musicians end up, in one way or another, teaching other people how to play music. This is truly one of the joys of the profession. The greatest performers in the world are typically asked to conduct master classes and other teaching opportunities. If you’re a good musician, people will want to learn from you. That being said, not all musicians happen to be good teachers. Teaching is a skills-based endeavor that requires time and energy to cultivate. Teachers learn best practices from other teachers and through trial and error in the classroom. Becoming an excellent music teacher does not only ensure better job security, but it opens other doors as well. Superb music teachers find all of their skills in high-demand.

What Can I Learn About Teaching?

You will learn how to teach different kinds of students. Teaching a five year old how to approach the keyboard for the first time is, of course, much different than teaching a 50-year old adult who knows how to play guitar, but wants to add another instrument to her repertoire. Teaching a group of students is much different than working in private lessons with an individual. Working with someone through years of weekly lessons is much different than teaching during a 2-day intensive session. The best teachers learn through being exposed to diverse teaching experiences. They also rely on research about pedagogy and teaching to support their techniques with evidence of real learning. These are just a few of the reasons why an increasing number of high-level musicians attain DMAs.

What Can I Do with a Doctor in Musical Arts Degree in Keyboard Performance and Pedagogy?

The typical DMA student is gearing up for a career in academia. If you love the promise and excitement of long-term existence in an academic environment, a DMA is the way to get there. Some DMA alumni do take the traditional route of working academic teaching jobs, but that isn’t the only career option for DMA students. Alumni work in diverse musical fields including professional performance, composition and production, and nonprofit management.

What Kinds of Classes Will I Take During a Doctor in Musical Arts Degree in Keyboard Performance and Pedagogy?

DMA students focus primarily in classes in pedagogy and performance. They typically take weekly private lessons with faculty members, who get to know them as individual performers. Faculty tailor their approach to the individual student. The DMA degree is definitely not a one-size-fits-all program. DMA students may also take classes in keyboard literature, music bibliography, the psychology of music, music learning and curriculum, music research methods, music assessment, and analytical techniques. Some students also choose to take electives. All students are required to complete a research-based doctoral essay and a doctoral recital.

Will I Have the Opportunity to Perform a Final Recital?

The DMA in Keyboard Performance and Pedagogy culminates in a final doctoral recital. If you have already completed a bachelor’s in music or a music-related master’s degree, you likely know what such a recital will entail. The formal performance of several polished pieces of high-level keyboard music means that you have achieved what it takes to work at a high level in a keyboarding field.

I Have a Master’s Degree: Do I Need a Doctorate?

You are not required to have a doctorate in-hand for many music-related teaching jobs, especially at the primary and secondary levels. However, if you want to teach college students, it’s advised that you pursue a doctorate. More students are pursuing advanced degrees in music than ever before, which means that the field is broadening, but also that there is an increased level of competition for top-tier teaching jobs. Receiving a doctorate not only gives you a terminal credential, but also improves your performance skills and enriches your teaching CV. Schools are looking for the whole package, so the more experience you have, the better.

A DMA also gives you access to technology at the school—technology you may not have access to as an independent performer or teacher. Your familiarity with using these technologies can also give you an edge in the job market.


Are Assistantships, Grants, and Other Funding Opportunities Available?

Assistantships, grants, and funding opportunities are available to DMA students. Your school will be interested in investing in you as a scholar and pianist, and they know that money is part of the equation. Assistantships typically entail teaching a class or holding a research position in exchange for a tuition waiver and stipend. Grants work more like scholarships and are usually available from the school, a professional association, or the federal government. Depending on the school and your unique situation, other funding options may be available as well. Contacting the admissions office and your individual program is the best way to learn about all of the funding options available to you.

How Do I Find the DMA in Keyboard Performance and Pedagogy Degree that is Right for Me?

Taking on the a PhD program is a serious undertaking. The multi-year degree entails serious study and will require significant time in the studio and the classroom. The Frost School at the University of Miami offers a well-established DMA in Keyboard Performance and Pedagogy featuring esteemed faculty and a world-class facility. Students emerge from this DMA program ready to teach piano students of all levels. Most importantly, these students have invested significant time into their own musical practice.