Program in Music Performance



  • Michael J. Pratt

Associate Director

  • Gabriel Crouch
  • Rudresh K. Mahanthappa
  • Jeffrey O. Snyder

Executive Committee

  • Jane F. Cox, Lewis Center for the Arts
  • Simon A. Morrison, Music
  • Michael J. Pratt, Music
  • Juri Seo, Music
For a full list of faculty members and fellows please visit the department or program website.

Program Information

The Program in Music Performance provides an opportunity for students to study the performance of vocal or instrumental music (both jazz and classical), electronic music, and music composition in the context of a liberal arts education. It provides extensive opportunities for students to hone their skills through participation in department ensembles, recitals, studio instruction, and performance classes, and also provides a solid foundation in music history, theory, and composition. The program provides a solid foundation for students who may wish to pursue professional music training at the graduate level. 

Admission to the Program

The two-year program is open to rising juniors who can demonstrate in an audition a high level of proficiency in a performance medium such as an orchestral instrument, piano, electronic media, voice (either solo or consort singing), and jazz (voice or instrument), or conducting; students may also be accepted into the program in music composition or electronic music by submitting a satisfactory portfolio or its equivalent. 

As noted below, MUS 105 is required for the certificate, and students are urged to fulfill this requirement as early as possible in their enrollment, preferably during the first year or sophomore year. If a student places out of MUS 105, then it is to be replaced with another course under the Materials and Making (M&M) list of courses. Any student who wishes to postpone MUS 105 until their senior year must obtain special permission from one of the directors.  

Program of Study

All students in the Music Performance Program complete MUS 105 along with five additional courses. The Certificate in Music Performance also requires departmental ensemble participation, which includes being a part of either the Princeton University Orchestra, Glee Club, Chamber Choir, Jazz Ensembles, or Princeton Laptop Orchestra (PLOrk). Other faculty-led ensembles may qualify for this requirement, with the permission of the relevant performance program director. For further information about these groups, please click here (link is external). Pianists who are not a part of these groups should pursue chamber music and accompaniment projects, and will be required to account for their participation in these projects at the end of each semester. 

Students focus their work in the program in one of the following tracks of study, and must fulfill the following requirements:

Certificate in Performance in voice, vocal consort singing, orchestral instruments, piano conducting, or jazz instruments or voice.

  1. Two performance courses (for instance, MPP 213, 214, 216, 219, 251, 252)
  2. One year of studio instruction (enrolling in MPP 298-299 for one course credit. Please note that MPP 298-299 must be taken consecutively.)
  3. Two additional courses in Materials and Making
  4. A major performance project given in the senior year (usually a recital)

Composition-focused Certificate in Performance

  1. MUS 106
  2. Two additional courses from the Materials and Making category (see a partial list of M&M courses) (link is external)
  3. Two 300-level courses in Composition (for a complete list of currently offered courses, please click here (link is external)
  4. A composition developed as a major performance project under the supervision of a faculty adviser. Students also have access to private composition lessons with Princeton University graduate students.

Electronic Music-focused Certificate in Performance

  1. One Materials and Making Course
  2. Two 200-level (or higher) Music Courses
  3. Two 300-level Electronic Music Courses. These include MUS/COS 314, MUS 316, and MUS315.
  4. A senior project in the form of software/hardware development, instrument design, or electronic music composition. Students also have access to private composition lessons with Princeton University graduate students. Students are also expected to participate in the Princeton Laptop Orchestra (PLOrk).

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who fulfill the program requirements receive a certificate upon graduation.


MPP 213 Projects in Instrumental Performance Fall/Spring LA

Instrumental chamber music class of the standard repertory of the 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Preparation for performance of ensembles. Each ensemble's repertoire will be determined in consultation with the instructors during the first week of classes. Instructed by: Staff

MPP 214 Projects in Vocal Performance (also
MTD 214
) LA

Guides students in extended projects in performance. Prerequisite: instructor's permission. Instructed by: Staff

MPP 215 Projects in Jazz Performance Not offered this year LA

A performance course that focuses on the development of style, concept, and repertoire in the jazz idiom. Students are coached by faculty in extended projects in performance. Instructed by: Staff

MPP 216 Techniques of Conducting Spring LA

The course will focus on building a structure of physical technique that will communicate good rhythm, musical shaping and character, and also verbal and non-verbal communication. Proper rehearsal strategies will be addressed in the later weeks of the course, and the final exam will be a public performance of a short work with full orchestra. Instructed by: M. Pratt

MPP 219 Opera Performance LA

Vocal and instrumental students will rehearse and perform complete opera(s) or evenings of select opera scenes with full orchestra. Instructed by: G. Crouch, M. DeChiazza

MPP 231 Princeton University Steel Band Fall/Spring LA

The PU Steel Band course will focus on the history and performance practice surrounding the steel drum band and its traditional musics from Trinidad and Tobago. The repertoire will be chosen from traditional music from the Caribbean (Calypso and Soca) as well as other contemporary works from the United States. Instructed by: J. Quillen

MPP 251 Jazz Fundamentals LA

This 12-week performance course is designed to give you the musical tools you will need to build a foundation in jazz improvisation. You will gain an understanding of jazz harmony, jazz scales and modes, blues forms, deep listening/ear training, sight reading, memorize jazz repertoire, identify common jazz forms, identify important jazz artists, and build practice strategies. Instructed by: Staff

MPP 252 Jazz Fundamentals II Fall LA

This 12-week performance course builds on MPP 251 to work toward fluency in the language of jazz and the navigation of standard song forms through the study of classic improvisations. The course will focus on developing listening acuity, vocabulary, memory, analysis, and historical grasp of the music's evolution in the mid 20th century. By the end of the course, students should be able to improvise through a variety of forms with technical competence and confidence in their ability to produce melodies spontaneously. Instructed by: M. Okazaki