Dual Degree: Piano + Collaborative Piano

A pianist and singer perform together.

NEC is pleased to welcome applicants for our new dual degree program for pianists—the first of its kind in the United States. This unique and individualized curriculum is designed for a select group of talented pianists who seek the opportunity to explore both solo piano and the art of collaboration in a focused program. The program, which was conceived and is led by Collaborative Piano faculty Pei-Shan Lee, has a duration of 5 years, at the end of which students earn a Bachelor of Music in Piano and a Master of Music in Collaborative Piano. 

About the Curriculum

During the first three years of the program, students fulfill the normal requirements of the Bachelor’s degree Piano curriculum. Beginning in the second year, students take classes in modern languages/liberal arts, chamber music, and as free electives as part of the BM degree, but these classes will also fulfill requirements of the Master’s in Collaborative Piano curriculum. In the third year, students receive both weekly piano lessons and bi-weekly collaborative piano lessons. This provides early collaborative instruction to prepare for students to be at the graduate level, and the experience over all four years of the Bachelor’s degree builds a deeper and well-balanced foundation in piano-instrumental and piano-vocal repertoire.

Pei-Shan Lee points toward the music for a pianist. The scroll of a cello can be seen in the foreground.

Students will perform required piano promotionals at the end of the first three years to assess their continued progress as a piano major. An additional collaborative piano promotional is required at the end of the third year, which simultaneously confirms the student’s readiness for the Master of Music in Collaborative Piano. Since the curriculum in the fifth year is focused on Collaborative Piano, students will normally present their Bachelor’s degree graduation piano recital in the first semester of the fourth year and their recital in Collaborative Piano at the end of their fifth year. Upon completion of the five years of study, students will receive both a Bachelor of Music in Piano and a Master of Music in Collaborative Piano.

How to Apply

First-year applicants should prepare the usual undergraduate audition repertoire as listed for piano majors and indicate their interest in the 5-year program on the application. A video recording stating why you are interested in the program should be included with your application. All applicants must be accepted by the Piano department first in order to be eligible to audition for this dual degree program. An audition for the Collaborative Piano faculty will then take place no later than the end of the second year.

Incoming first-year undergraduate piano majors interested in the program must consult with their academic advisor during Orientation week to carefully consider their classes in the first year. It is also possible for current first- and second-year piano major students at NEC to consider this program. These students should consult with their academic advisor early in the fall semester, and schedule an audition time with the Collaborative Piano department no later than the spring semester of the second year.

Learn More and Apply