Higher Studies in music

Calarts School of Music

The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts offers rigorous training in an unrivaled variety of musical styles and cultures.  The vibrant mix of offerings allows students to acquire the musical fluency to work across conventional boundaries, expand their artistic and cultural horizons, and develop a global creative vision. Qualitatively different from conventional music conservatories, technical excellence is only one part of the story, as The Herb Alpert School of Music seeks to empower students as complete makers of music.
The School stands above the field in several ways, including world-class musical innovators on faculty; a stylistically open approach to musical creativity; the ability for students to work with mentors from all areas of the School to construct individualized courses of study; ample opportunities for collaboration within CalArts’ multidisciplinary arts environment; flexibility for students to organize ensembles, often with faculty participation; and performances that are centered on original music and spontaneous creation alongside extant musical literature and inte
BFA
4 Years
The BFA program of study is uniquely designed to promote the evolution of “Music Artists” who seek to be distinctive and expressive makers of original work, as well as masters of appropriate existing musical forms from around the globe. The program seeks to enable students to develop powerful, effective and singular, musical voices. The program assists students in gaining the tools, technical skills, and creative ideas they need to contextualize and refine their work on the highest levels of artistic realization. Unlike many traditional conservatory approaches, this is done in an atmosphere of curriculum flexibility and adaptation, to help nurture emerging artists to become powerfully distinctive professionals.
MFA
2-Year Program
The MFA Program in Music is designed to enable students to acquire the multiple skillsets that will empower them to stake out their own, unique, career pathways to success. The program of study is designed to be a stimulating and challenging, collaborative learning environment, in which music and sound artists can refine and perfect their already distinctive voices to reach the highest levels of professional practice, while simultaneously exploring new and inspiring, creative territories.
DMA
3-Year Program
This challenging Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) program is not a double major, but instead seeks to foster musical artists who holistically combine innovative performance practices with new compositional models. In this process, students who are already accomplished composers and skilled executants thoroughly integrate these practices in their original work.The ethos is exploratory and experimental through and through. Students arrive from diverse stylistic origins, but all are driven by artistic visions that can be realized only by a meaningful expansion of the language of music beyond its current boundaries.
DMA performer-composers work closely with their faculty mentors to develop an individualized course of study, which is built around composition and/or performance lessons, doctoral seminars, topic-driven research and explorations, performance projects and a series of electives. Since DMA students also teach in The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts, they are required to continue developing their pedagogical skills through teaching practicums.
Students are required to carry out a Doctoral Project to obtain the DMA degree. Proposals for the Doctoral Project must outline a program of scholarly and creative research that supports a practice of original composition combined with its realization. DMA candidates must pass a First-Year Review, a Qualifying Examination and a Final Review to successfully complete the Program.