USC Thornton announces five new master’s degree programs

The USC Thornton School of Music is unveiling five new master’s degree programs in contemporary teaching practice, music industry, community music, arts leadership and screen scoring.

The degrees are a response to seismic changes in the music industry and in the music teaching and learning climate.

“We are trying to innovate our way ahead of the changes,” said Robert Cutietta, dean of USC Thornton. “Master’s degrees traditionally expand what you learn as an undergraduate. These five programs are designed to teach students new skills and to take their passions for a wide variety of music and turn them into new ways to imagine a contemporary music career.”

The programs vary in length from one to two years, and some are low-residency, allowing students to keep existing jobs while they pursue coursework. Contemporary teaching practice and music industry will begin classes in May; the community music, screen scoring and arts leadership programs will begin in fall 2018.

Three of the degrees — in community music, contemporary teaching practice and screen scoring — are designed for students who hold undergraduate degrees in music performance or composition and want to expand their musical toolkit. The master’s degree in arts leadership accepts students with a bachelor’s degree (not necessarily in an arts-related field), but expects students to have three to five years as a working artist. Music industry will accept students without a previous music degree, but with a professional interest in music supervision, live concert promotion, music entrepreneurship or the recording industry.

All five new degrees are the products of faculty committees taking serious looks at skills needed by musicians in business, education and community engagement.

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Cutietta has emerged as one of the nation’s leading voices for reimaging music education. In addition to challenging his own faculty to create degrees that reflect current…

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