Music Degree (B.A.), Performance - Instrumental Concentration

A Westfield State student with her violin

The Instrumental Performance concentration at Westfield State University is available to students who audition in after at least one term of study.  Designed to focus the student’s attention towards the goal of professional-level performance ability on one instrument within the Western art music tradition, there is a greater emphasis placed on studio instruction and practice akin to study at a conservatory. Mastery of fundamentals and the ability to sight read are areas of focus, while the preparation of specific music for degree recitals featuring standard repertoires is ongoing. In addition to study in the core areas music history and theory, Instrumental Performance Concentration students are expected to participate in and play a leadership role in both large and small performing ensembles.


Requirements for Music Major - 54 Credits

General Requirements - 29 Credits

Ensemble Requirements - 7 Credits

Eight semesters of participation in one of the following ensembles, as assigned by the department, to run concurrently with eight semesters of applied lessons:


All music majors must enroll in Festival Chorus for a minimum of two semesters.

Six semesters of Participation in Second Ensemble

Six semesters of participation in a second ensemble from the following list, to run concurrently with six semesters of applied lessons:


The music department also offers elective ensembles on a regular basis. These ensembles include, but are not limited to:Clarinet Ensemble, Flute Ensemble, Jazz Quartet, Low Brass Ensemble, Saxophone Quartet, Trumpet Ensemble, Woodwind Quintet, and various mixed chamber ensembles.

All instrumental must students are required to have a minimum of three chamber ensemble experiences (standard repertoire) in varied formats throughout the course of completing their program requirements (each approved by the academic advisor and the applied music instructor). Music Education students are encouraged, but not required, to participate in ensembles during the semester of their practicum. All pianists with a major emphasis in piano are required to enroll in MUSC 0240 - Chamber Ensembles, each semester they are enrolled in applied piano lessons.

Applied Music Requirements - 12 Credits

Music majors are required to complete eight semesters of applied lessons. Applied music study requires a jury examination every semester for music majors and for music minors, as well as for those students enrolled in a required secondary applied lesson. Students taking applied music must also register each semester for MUSC 0280 - Music Studio

Students who present a curricular recital are not required to present a jury during the semester of the recital. All students who wish to present a recital (degree or elective) must pass a pre-recital hearing during studio class a minimum of three weeks prior to the recital (three applied faculty members must be present at the hearing).


Music Education students are exempt from their eighth semester of applied lessons and ensemble if enrolled in MUSC 0328 - Practicum: Music K-12.

Performing Requirements - 3 Credits

All Music majors are required to complete six semesters of MUSC 0279 - Recital Attendance and Performance, (required attendance and performance at weekly studio classes and departmental recitals). Students are required to perform regularly in studio classes, and are required to perform at least once each year in a public departmental recital. Music minors may perform in a departmental recital at the discretion of the applied instructor.

Additional Requirements - 3 Credits

Instrumental Students

  • Non-ensemble Music Electives

Vocal Students

Optional Music Concentrations

Music majors may choose to declare one of the 6 concentrations. Students may not declare more than two concentrations. Note: each of the required 300-level music history seminars listed in the concentrations are in addition to the seminar required of all music majors in the General Requirements.

Performance - Instrumental - 18 Credits

Students must audition for admission into this concentration by passing a qualifying jury no later than the completion of their 4th semester of music major lesions (MUSC 0177). After successfully completion of the audition, students will enroll in 300-level Performance major lessons starting in their 5th semester. Transfer students must audition for admission into this concentration by the end of their 1st semester at Westfield.

Required Courses


Choose two of the following courses under advisement - 6 Credits

One of the following courses - 3 Credits


One of the following courses - 2 Credits

Additional Graduation Requirements

All students must meet the University Graduation Requirements and complete a common core of studies, distributed among the different academic areas as detailed in the Common Core.

Learning Outcomes

  • To provide opportunities and resources for students to develop technical and expressive musical proficiency in their primary applied performance area
  • To work with material and conceptual tools to facilitate advanced study in music
  • To demonstrate a reflexive understanding of music’s embeddedness in culture and history
  • To foster social connection through shared musical experiences
  • To develop intellectual and practical skills through in-depth study of music, including: 1. Critical, analytical, and creative thinking, 2. Written and oral communication, 3. Teamwork and problem solving
A Westfield State bass instructor with student