Music

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Music students have performance opportunities from the first semester onward.

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Stellar faculty includes 19 members of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Grammy winners and performing and recording artists, augmented by guests such as acclaimed DSO conductor Jaap van Zweden.

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Numerous ensembles and programs, including the Meadows Opera Theatre, provide multiple opportunities for performing on and off campus.

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Multiple degrees are offered in performance, composition, music therapy, education and more at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Class Instruction for Performance (PERB) Classes

Please note that not all courses are offered every semester. This listing is not considered authoritative. Please visit Access.SMU for authoritative course offerings including meeting times, professor, and more.

PERB 1001: Departmental Performance Class
Departmental recitals, performance classes, master classes, guest artist performances, and lectures related to performance specialization. Students enroll concurrently with studies in applied music.

PERB 1011: Sight Reading for Pianists I
A requirement for pre-music majors in Piano Performance, this course explores techniques to improve each student’s ability to read music at any level through supervised practicing and reading of various piano literature.

PERB 1012: Sight Reading for Pianists II
A requirement for pre-music majors in Piano Performance. Emphasis will be given to reading skills that are particularly useful in collaborative playing, including exposure to various types of scores and score preparation. Prerequisite: Sight Reading for Pianists I. 

PERB 1103: Modern Acoustic Guitar I
Beginning class steel-string acoustic guitar skills with emphasis on flat-picking and fingerpicking chords, strums, and additional left and right hand techniques for accompanying folk and popular songs in music therapy, music education, and recreational music settings. Fall Term.

PERB 1104: Modern Acoustic Guitar II
Intermediate class steel-string acoustic guitar skills with emphasis on enhanced flat-picking and finger-picking chords, strums, and additional left and right hand techniques for accompanying popular, jazz, blues, rock, and world music-style songs in music therapy, music education, and recreational music settings. Spring term.

PERB 1131: Class Piano
A four-term sequence required for non-keyboard music majors. Emphasis on sight reading, technique, harmonization, transposition, improvisation, and appropriate literature. Fall and spring terms. Corequisites: MUTH 1229, 1230, 2229, 2230; MUTH 1129, 1130, 2129, 2130. Not open to non-music majors. 

PERB 1132: Class Piano
A four-term sequence required for non-keyboard music majors. Emphasis on sight reading, technique, harmonization, transposition, improvisation, and appropriate literature. Fall and spring terms. Corequisites: MUTH 1229, 1230, 2229, 2230; MUTH 1129, 1130, 2129, 2130. Not open to non-music majors. 

PERB 1203: Class Guitar
Basics of reading music; technique; simple chord progressions as applied to popular music; performance of simple classic guitar pieces. 

PERB 1205: Beginning Class Piano
Designed for students with no previous piano study. Emphasis placed on the development of basic music reading and functional keyboard skills. Not open to music majors.

PERB 1206: Class Voice
A course in basic singing techniques and interpretive skills, suitable for both beginning singers and for students with singing experience but little formal training. 

PERB 1233, 1234: Advanced Class Piano
A two-term sequence (for keyboard majors or advanced non-keyboard music majors). Emphasis on sight reading, harmonization, transposition, improvisation, and technique. Fall and spring terms. Corequisites: MUTH 1129, 1229, 1130, 1230.

PERB 2017: Meadows Opera Workshop
Exploration of operatic styles,  role study, basic acting techniques and dramatic analysis. Eligibility, by audition, for the annual main stage production. Meets concurrently with Meadows Opera Ensemble. Open to all undergraduate and graduate voice majors. 

PERB 2106: Diction - Italian
Principles of pronunciation and enunciation for singing in Italian. Phonetic practice and practical application to the performance of art songs and arias Fall term.

PERB 2107: Diction - German
Principles of pronunciation and enunciation for singing in German. Phonetic practice and practical application to the performance of art songs and arias. Spring term.

PERB 2108: Diction - English
Principles of pronunciation and enunciation for singing in English. Phonetic practice and practical application to the performance of art songs and arias. Fall term. 

PERB 2109: Diction - French
Principles of pronunciation and enunciation for singing in French. Phonetic practice and practical application to the performance of art songs and arias. Spring term. 

PERB 2113: Hand Drumming and Ethnic Percussion I
Development of fundamental hand drumming and other percussion skills through listening, analysis and performance of African, Latin American, and Asian rhythms.

PERB 2114: Hand Drumming and Ethnic Percussion II
Further development of hand drumming and other percussion skills through listening, analysis and performance of non-Western rhythms. Spring term. Prerequisite: PERB 2113 or consent of instructor.

PERB 2115: Elementary Keyboard Improvisation
An introductory keyboard course in the fundamentals of improvisation for the novice pianist. This course will expand the student’s knowledge of basic music theory, employing it in a wide variety of styles. Open to music and non-music majors.  Prerequisite: Late beginner or intermediate piano skills including a basic knowledge of scales. Instructor consent required.

PERB 2117: Meadows Opera Workshop
Exploration of operatic styles,  role study, basic acting techniques and dramatic analysis. Eligibility, by audition, for the annual main stage production. Meets concurrently with Meadows Opera Ensemble. Open to all undergraduate and graduate voice majors.

PERB 2131, 2132: Class Piano
A four-term sequence required for non-keyboard music majors. Emphasis on sight reading, technique, harmonization, transposition, improvisation, and appropriate literature. Fall and spring terms. Corequisites: MUTH 1229, 1230, 2229, 2230; MUTH 1129, 1130, 2129, 2130. Not open to non-music majors. 

PERB 2203: Class Guitar
Continued development of technical skills and performance repertoire. Prerequisite: PERB 1203 or equivalent proficiencies.

PERB 2205: Class Piano
Continued development of fundamental keyboard skills. Emphasis on sight reading, harmonization, transposition, improvisation, technique, and repertoire study. Prerequisite: PERB 1205 or equivalent, audition for placement required. Not open to music majors.

PERB 2206: Class Voice
A course in singing techniques and interpretive skills, suitable for students with some singing experience but little formal training. Prerequisite: PERB 1206. 

PERB 2313: Hand Drumming and Ethnic Percussion
On location in Bali, students will learn styles of drumming and percussion music from traditional cultures of Asia, particularly Indonesia, India, and the Middle East, using authentic percussion instruments from each region. Instructors will include SMU faculty together with native master musicians of Sunda, Sumatra, and Bali. The intensive three-week program will culminate with a final concert for an invited audience for the local village and other guests, combining the instruments of Indonesia, India, and the Middle East in a cross-cultural performance.  Upon  return  to  SMU,  there  will  be  a  performance  of  music  learned  in  Bali  by  the workshop participants. Instruments made in Bali by Balinese craftsmen will be provided by the Toca Drum Company. Summer Term. 

PERB 3205: Intermediate Class Piano
An intermediate level keyboard course for  non-music majors. Continued development of individual repertoire study in a variety of musical styles, with supporting work in sight reading, harmonization, pop chord symbols, technique and improvisation. Prerequisite: PERB 2205 or equivalent, audition for placement required. Not open to music majors. 

PERB 5006: Singers' Diction Review
A review course required of all students not passing an entrance assessment for proficiency in the pronunciation of Italian, French, and German. 

PERB 5011, 5111: Directed Studies in Music Performance
Enrollment for directed studies or approved internships in performance or pedagogy.

PERB 5022: Music Theater Acting and Performance
Fundamentals of acting in musical theatre: script analysis, blocking, character development, and scene study. Includes introduction to musical theatre movement and audition techniques. Students will culminate this course with a series of performed musical scenes. Prerequisite: By audition. 

PERB 5107: Keyboard Skills for Choral Conductors I
Keyboard competencies for choral conductors including basic technical patterns, harmonization, and relevant score reading. Review course for the MSM and MM Choral Conducting keyboard proficiency requirement.

PERB 5108: Keyboard Skills for Choral Conductors II
Advanced keyboard competencies for choral conductors including basic technical patterns, harmonization, and relevant  score reading. Review course for the MSM and MM Choral Conducting keyboard proficiency requirement. 

PERB 5118: Introduction to the Harpsichord
Presents a variety of topics related to the harpsichord and its music. The goal of the course is to provide keyboard musicians, especially pianists, with knowledge and practical experience at the harpsichord to enable them to face future contacts with the instrument in a more informed, confident, and artistic manner. Spring term of even-numbered years. 

PERB 5122: Music Theatre Acting and Performance
Fundamentals of acting in musical theatre: script analysis, blocking, character development, and scene study. Includes introduction to musical theatre movement and audition techniques. Students will culminate this course with a series of performed musical scenes. Prerequisite: By audition.

PERB 5208: Advanced Acting for Voice Majors
Scene study, character development, preparing and researching repertoire, sets, props, and costumes. Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in VOIC, two semester Opera Theatre Workshop completed, and consent of applied teacher.

PERB 5213: Studies in Continuo Playing
Designed for the harpsichord major, to fill the need for a well-developed skill in playing Baroque through bass accompaniments from an unrealized figured bass and/or from an unfigured bass with style performance suitable to the period. Fall term of even-numbered years.

PERB 5310: Music Theater Workshop
Preparation and performance of musical theatre as an American art form. Prerequisite: By Audition. 

PERB 6001: Departmental Performance Class
Departmental recitals, performance classes, master classes, guest artist performances and lectures related to performance specialization. Students enroll concurrently with studies in applied music.

PERB 6016, PERB 6116: Contemporary Music Workshop
Exploration of contemporary music techniques including improvisation for instrumentalists and vocalists in a workshop setting. Coursework includes master classes on contemporary performance techniques and performance of contemporary chamber works at chamber music recitals and general recitals and in workshop presentations.

PERB 6101: Directed Studies in Voice
Reserved for selected graduate and vocal Artist Certificate students. Course content to be determined through consultation with adviser and applied music teacher. Possible areas of study could include opera history, oratorio performance, song literature, and chamber and contemporary music.

PERB 6111: Introduction to the Organ
A practical initiation to the organ: its design, sound, liturgical functions and musical capabilities. A hands-on introduction to organ playing technique, easy literature and simple hymn playing. Primarily for students in the choral/vocal track of the M.S.M. program with others admitted by permission of the instructor. Fall term of odd-numbered years.

PERB 6112: Piano Improvisation
Designed to provide the graduate level student with a pedagogical and musical approach to a fascinating skill. Through class participation and group interaction, students develop their creative capabilities. In addition to developing skill at improvising, students sharpen their skill at harmonizing, transposing, sight reading and playing by ear. Spring term of even-numbered years.

PERB 6113: Advanced Piano Improvisation
Refinement and further development of improvisation skills. Offered irregularly.

PERB 6212: Improvisation and Service Playing
Practical skills for the church organist; hymn-playing, transposition and anthem accompaniment; hymn-based improvisations in the small forms. Fall term of even-numbered years.

PERB 6213: Advanced Organ Improvisation
Development of keyboard and musical skills for hymn-based and free improvisation in various forms.

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Music

Welcome to the Division of Music

About the Division of Music

Undergraduate Studies

Graduate Studies

Departments

Ensembles

Classes

Music Pedagogy (MPED) Classes

Music Psychology (MPSY) Classes

Music Repertoire (MREP) Classes

Accompanying (MUAC) Classes

Music Arts and Skills (MUAS) Classes

Conducting (MUCO) Classes

Music Education (MUED) Classes

Music History (MUHI) Classes

Piano Pedagogy (MUPD) Classes

Private Studies (MUPR)

Recital (MURE) Classes

Composition and Theory (MUTH) Classes

Music Therapy (MUTY) Classes

Class Instruction for Performance (PERB) Classes

Large Ensembles (PERE)

Chamber Ensembles (PERE)

Facilities

Faculty and Staff

Dallas Resources

Student Resources

SMU Meadows Licensed Music Rights

Workshops and Special Programs

Theatre