Performance Track

Performance Track, 42 credits, Music BA Curriculum

 This track is intended for students who want to explore and improve their skills as performers in a wide range of genres. It provides a solid background in skills-based musicianship, music theory, history, and the study of other traditions, which are part of the fabric of current music-making in the 21st century. This curriculum also provides a concentration on traditional applied study of an instrument and valuable experiences in concert settings with master teachers and coaches. Students interested in pursuing this track should contact Prof. Roger Zahab.

Prospective students applying for the Music Major - Performance track must successfully audition before they declare the performance track. 

Continuing students begin each semester with a “check-in” audition (consisting of about 10 minutes of performance). Each performance track student will devise a personally relevant selection of music in consultation with their primary instrument instructor to perform for a panel composed of adjunct and undergraduate-centered faculty during the first week of classes each semester. The main purpose of this start of term benchmark is to support students in being conscious of a long-term trajectory that ties together all their work toward the degree. The performance gives faculty an early opportunity to assess how the student’s skills have developed over the break, encourage them with praise for performances well-done, and offer helpful strategies for improving skill. 

Students already in the Performance Track will not be expected to audition for the track. All students currently in the Performance Track will be expected to participate in the evaluative check-in auditions, an informal version of which is already in place.  

Of the Nine (9) Performance Course Credits required for the Performance Track, four (4) credits must be for Studio/Applied Lessons on a principal instrument. 

If the student plans to perform a recital for their senior capstone project, applied lessons in that instrument must be taken during their final 2 semesters at Pitt. 

More than one performance credit may be taken in a semester to fulfill Performance Track requirements. 

End of term juried performances:

Each term is completed by successfully passing a performance jury of 20 -30 minutes of music. There are no limits on style, genre, or level of difficulty of the music.   

Prerequisite Course (must be completed prior to declaring the Music Major):

MUSIC 0100 – Fundamentals of Western Music – 3 credits

  • Students must earn a letter grade of B- or better in this course in order to declare a Music Major or Minor
  • Students may elect to take the Fundamentals Exemption Exam in lieu of enrolling in MUSIC 0100. A passing grade of 85% is required in order for the exemption exam to meet this requirement. Students may only take the Fundamentals Exemption Test one (1) time in a single sitting. The test must be completed within 60 minutes after clicking the test link.
  • Placement Exam Study Topics -notes in treble and bass clefs, major and minor key signatures, intervals, triads and their inversions, seventh chords and their inversions, major and minor scales, time signatures and rhythm, Roman numerals

Download the Course Requirement Checklist

Core Courses [21 credits]

    credits   course number & name

3        MUSIC 0222:           Music History 1 

3        MUSIC 0411:           Theory 1

1        MUSIC 0412:           Musicianship 1

1        MUSIC 0416:           Musicianship 2

3        MUSIC 1310:           Introduction to Global & Popular Music

3        MUSIC 0711:           History of Jazz    -OR-

          MUSIC 1326:           Afro-American Music in the US

1        MUSIC ____:           Performance course (1 per semester)

1        MUSIC ____:           Performance course (1 per semester)

1        MUSIC ____:           Performance course (1 per semester)

NB: Performance courses are either private lessons or ensembles.

Must include at least one world music ensemble, to be selected from the following:

MUSIC 0615: Carpathian / MUSIC 0660: African Drumming / MUSIC 0690 Gamelan

3        MUSIC 1904:           Senior Seminar

NB: All Core and Required Courses must be completed prior to registering for

MUSIC 1904: Senior Seminar. MUSIC 1903: Senior Project may be taken concurrently.

1        MUSIC 1903:           Senior Project

See this document detailing Senior Capstone Project parameters.

Required Courses [21 credits]

   credits    course number & name

3        MUSIC 0224:           Music History 2

3        MUSIC 0415:           Theory 2

3        MUSIC 0417:           Theory 3

3        MUSIC 0419:           Theory 4

One composition course to be selected from the following (3 total credits):

3        MUSIC 1421/1422:  Composition 1/2

3        MUSIC 1431:           Instrumentation & Orchestration

3        MUSIC 1441:           Electronic & Computer Music 1

3        MUSIC 1442:           Electronic & Computer Music 2

Six additional Performance courses:

1        MUSIC ____:           Performance course (1 per semester)

1        MUSIC ____:           Performance course (1 per semester)

1        MUSIC ____:           Performance course (1 per semester)

1        MUSIC ____:           Performance course (1 per semester)

1        MUSIC ____:           Performance course (1 per semester)

1        MUSIC ____:           Performance course (1 per semester)

You can view complete descriptions for Department of Music courses by visiting