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Doctor of Musical Arts

Prepare to teach piano
at the university level.

The D.M.A. degree with Piano Performance major prepares students for professional-level piano performance and university teaching. Armed with sufficient knowledge in the literature of the instrument and the discipline of music as a whole, graduates of this program are prepared to teach both undergraduate and graduate students.


Program Application Deadline
The deadline for applications for AY 2023–24 is January 15, 2023.

To be assured full consideration, please apply by this deadline. Review individual program descriptions for details on program and admission requirements.


Obtain the piano performance skills, experience, and knowledge necessary to teach at the university level.

The D.M.A. degree with Piano Performance major prepares students for professional-level piano performance and university teaching. Required courses cover keyboard instruction and piano literature and pedagogy, as well as music theory, analysis, and history, thus preparing students for a range of teaching positions. A minimum of four semesters in residence is required. Students take a candidacy examination after two semesters in residence, and a comprehensive exam after completion of all required course work. The final requirement of the D.M.A. degree is public performance—three memorized solo recitals and two recitals of chamber music. Although no written thesis is required, students must present a lecture-recital, with a pre-approved monograph text. Admission to the D.M.A. program requires an audition and completion of a master’s degree comparable to the Master of Music in Performance (or Pedagogy and Performance) at Penn State. Applicants should have a 3.0 GPA for the most recent degree completed (in some cases students in the process of obtaining an M.M. may be admitted to the doctoral program with additional course requirements; in that case, students must have a 3.0 for their bachelor’s degree in music).

Is the D.M.A. in Piano Performance right for you?

This program is for individuals interested in continuing their studies in piano performance and music theory, history, and analysis in order to teach at the university level. Degree requirements include a comprehensive examination, three memorized solo recitals, two recitals of chamber music, and a lecture-recital. Participation in one of the school’s numerous ensembles is also required. Students have the opportunity to perform in the School of Music’s new recital hall (opened fall 2018), which is equipped with two Hamburg Steinway D grand pianos. The piano studios and large ensemble rooms have a variety of other large Steinway, Bösendorfer, and Yamaha grands. The piano laboratory is newly equipped with fully modern Yamaha Clavinovas. The piano performance faculty includes distinguished artists and pedagogues whose experiences span national and international stages and universities.

Piano instruction with faculty and student.

Considering the D.M.A. in Piano Performance? Consider this.

You’ll study with distinguished artists and pedagogues with wide-ranging performance and teaching experience.

  • You’ll get to perform in the School of Music’s beautiful new recital hall, which opened in 2018.

  • The School of Music sponsors more than 400 public events, many of them free.

  • Penn State hosts a diverse range of performances featuring artists from around the world.

  • You may enter the Penn State Philharmonic Orchestra’s annual student concerto competitions.

Alumni Spotlight

Penn State alumnus and McMaster University professor Michael Schutz.

Alumni Spotlight

Michael Schutz

Bachelor of Music 2002

Michael Schutz, who combined a B.M in Music with a B.S. in Computer Science at Penn State, now is associate professor of music cognition/percussion at McMaster University, where he conducts the percussion ensemble and teaches courses on music perception and cognition. He was named a University Scholar in recognition of his innovative work bridging music performance and music perception.

Penn State alumnus Michael Schutz playing a Glockenspiel.

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