Doctor of Musical Arts in Collaborative Piano

Department of Piano

Designed for students seeking the highest degree in the field, the DMA is a rigorous three-year course of study culminating in five recitals in lieu of a dissertation.

Program Requirements


The doctoral degree is awarded on the basis of demonstrated competence, not on a specified number of credit hours. Completion of the program normally requires six terms of full-time study beyond the master’s degree. Students are expected to attain candidacy effective at the beginning of the sixth term.

  • Music Performance 891: Directed Performance (2-6 hrs), Chamber Music and Accompanying, elected each term in residence as a pre-candidate
  • Music Performance 882: Contemporary Directions Ensemble (2 hrs) or Opera 555: Repertory and Production (2 hrs)
  • Music Performance 781: Seminar in Performance Problems (2-4 hrs), elected each term in residence as a pre-candidate
  • Music Performance 995: Dissertation/Candidate (8 hrs), elected each term in residence as a candidate, or at least one term
Musicology & Music Theory
  • Musicology 503: Bibliography of Music (3 hrs), elected in the first term of enrollment as a precandidate
  • A minimum of fifteen hours of graduate work in music theory and musicology, or at least five courses totaling a minimum of twelve hours.
  • At least one of the musicology courses must be at the 600-level.
  • At least one term of Piano Literature 587: Techniques of Vocal Coaching (3 hrs)
  • Voice Literature 592: Interpretation of Songs (3 hrs); Piano Literature 588: Chamber Music Literature (3 hrs.); and an additional term of one of these courses

Residency Requirement

At least one academic year of full-time residence is required.

Repertoire Requirements for Pre-candidates

The repertoire requirements are flexible and are designed to reflect the student’s aptitudes and interests. The student is expected to include works requiring diverse numbers of performers. No more than 80 percent of the repertoire may be in either vocal or instrumental music.

Vocal Repertoire
  • Twenty song cycles, in at least three languages
  • Twelve songs each in Italian, Spanish, and Russian
  • Thirty arias in at least three languages from the standard operatic repertoire
  • Three complete operas in the original language, including not more than one in English
  • Approximately ten per cent of the output of the major song composers in German, French, and English
Instrumental Repertoire
  • Eight works with keyboard accompaniment from the Baroque period, including at least two by J. S. Bach
  • Ten chamber works from the Classical period, including at least two by Beethoven
  • Fifteen chamber works from the Romantic period, including at least two by Brahms
  • Eight chamber works from the twentieth century
  • Twenty-five shorter pieces of an accompanimental nature (by Sarasate, Kreisler, et al.), embracing at least three periods
  • Twenty concerti from the standard string and wind repertoires

Requirements for Candidacy

Foreign Language
  • Pre-candidates must demonstrate pronunciation proficiency in French, German, Italian, English, Spanish, and Latin.
  • They must demonstrate knowledge of the International Phonetic Alphabet.
  • They must demonstrate translation competence (with reference materials) in French, German, Italian, and English. Testing will be done within the Piano Department.

Every doctoral student in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance must satisfy the pedagogy requirement during the first two terms of enrollment. A list of courses that satisfy this requirement may be found in the Handbook for Rackham Students in Music, Dance, or Theatre.

Preliminary Examinations
  • Music History General Preliminary Examination (or the coursework alternative)
  • Music Theory General Preliminary Examination
  • Performance Preliminary Examination in the field of specialization
  • Comprehensive Oral Preliminary Examination

The preliminary examinations required for admission to candidacy are taken after the student has satisfied the language, residence, and pedagogy requirements; has completed most of the course work; and is prepared to concentrate his or her efforts on the dissertation recitals.

At least two courses in musicology, including MHM 503, must be completed prior to taking the preliminary examination in that field, and at least two courses in music theory must be completed prior to taking the preliminary examination in theory.

During the examination in performance the applicant must satisfy a jury that he or she has achieved the requisite musical competence to undertake the preparation of the public programs to be presented in lieu of a written dissertation. Both the performance and comprehensive oral preliminary examinations are administered by a committee from the Piano Department.

The performance examination will comprise a sixty-minute presentation, including at least fifteen minutes of chamber music and accompaniments for voice and piano and at least fifteen minutes of chamber music and accompaniments for instruments and piano. At least three contrasting styles of music must be included. The vocal repertoire portion must include works in at least two languages and one work not originally for piano. All coaching of the singers must be done by the student.

Candidacy will be conferred upon completion of these requirements and examinations. A dissertation committee must have been appointed by the time candidacy is achieved.

Dissertation Requirements


Five recitals in lieu of a written dissertation are required. This will consist of two pre-candidate recitals, followed by one recital for piano with instrument(s), one for piano with voice(s), and one lecture-recital must be presented as a candidate. If the lecture-recital is with voice, it is to be coached by the candidate. One dissertation recital may be presented prior to candidacy.


An abstract listing the music performed and, if space permits, providing program notes and commentary is required.

Final Oral Examination

A final oral examination concerned primarily with the field of specialization will be conducted by the dissertation committee after all of the other requirements have been completed.

For requirement details, please see the Degree Requirements and Term-by-Term Layout for Current Students.


Nearly all DMA students receive full-tuition fellowships. Most also receive health benefits and a stipend attached to a Graduate Student Assistantship, which can vary in proportion to the appointment fraction and the duties associated with it. In addition to the funding packages offered by the SMTD, Rackham students are also eligible to apply for a wide range of fellowships to fund research, travel, and performance.

Audition & Interview Dates

How To Apply

Academic Eligibility

Applicants to the Doctor of Musical Arts in Collaborative Piano must have completed a master’s of music degree or equivalent to be eligible for admission. They should be able to demonstrate the ability pronounce and an elementary ability to translate into English two languages selected from French, German, and Italian; possess a repertoire including approximately one-third of the repertoire required for the degree; and possess sufficient experience as a performer to suggest that he or she will be able to fulfill the degree requirements.

Applicants must:

  • Apply to U-M via the Rackham Graduate School Application by December 1
  • Submit an SMTD Artistic Profile by December 1
  • Send official transcripts from all previous schools to the Rackham Graduate School

Click the button below to read more detailed information about the application requirements and procedures.

Apply Now

Please send inquiries regarding the SMTD application process to To learn more about SMTD, sign up for an Information Session.


Christopher Harding Chair, performance
Matthew Bengtson piano literature, fortepiano
Amy I. Cheng chamber music
Katherine Collier performance, collaborative piano
John Ellis pedagogy and performance
Arthur Greene performance
Robert Grijalva piano technology
Aya Higuchi Hagelthorn piano pedagogy
Martin Katz collaborative piano, voice literature
Lydia Qiu coordinator of accompanying
Logan Skelton performance


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