Student Experiences & Programs

Two musicians at a piano

NEC’s robust program offerings provide students with opportunities to explore beyond their fields of study and enrich their growth as musicians. 

Core Curriculums


"After being exposed to other styles of music, I have found myself becoming much more aware and attentive to things such as musical structure, phrasing, rhythm and the shapes of lines. It has also helped me to internalize the awareness of other lines and how they interact with each other when listening to pieces, as opposed to merely focusing on my own part."  - Kristy Chen '24 Violin Performance


Understanding music theory is key to being a literate musician. NEC’s Theory Reimagined elevates the traditional teachings of music reading and writing by incorporating technology, composition and a diverse repertoire.

Technology empowers students to exercise their creativity from the beginning of their studies and to practice fundamentals of music theory on their own. Advanced technology skills enable students to share their music with wider audiences and prepare them to work in the dynamic world of music today.

Students experience music theory through composition, analysis and performance. Interaction with music theory is reinforced through listening, discussion and critical thinking, and is applied in day-to-day relationships with music through creative, collaborative and individual projects.

Students expand their literacy by engaging in a diverse repertoire and developing a deep understanding of music across traditions, genres and historical periods. By studying and applying universal music-making principles, students explore jazz, Western and world music of the past and present.



Entrepreneurial Musicianship


Women seated behind a table with microphones
2021 Grow Your Art Panel Discussion

Entrepreneurial Musicianship (EM) provides students and alumni with practical information and real-world experiences to help them prepare for careers in music. The range of offerings includes individual advising, career coaching, coursework, professional experience opportunities, and funding for new and creative work.

In 2021-2022, 328 students and alumni took advantage of the programs and services offered by EM, and more than $30,000 in grant funds were awarded to NEC students and alumni.

  • Guest advisors provided coaching on topics such as  financial and tax advice, project development, and chamber music careers.
  • Funding opportunities included EM grants, Grow Your Art grants, Alumni Awards, and the Spark Award.

See more information on the Entrepreneurial Musicianship Department


Community Programs and Partners (CPP) Program


“Thank you for coming to us in person. I believe music is of the heart… and so, I have much appreciation for all of you sharing your hearts and lifting us up. Music is a universal language uniting everyone! Your contribution is most significant!”
- Resident, Chestnut Hill Benevolent Association


NEC’s Community Performances and Partnerships (CPP) Program has been recognized as a trailblazer for more than 18 years.  It is one of the nation’s premier programs for connecting conservatory students with their communities through meaningful partnerships and high-quality community engagement training.

In the 2021-2022 academic year, we saw the return of many on-site programs that temporarily stopped due to COVID. Your support empowered 165 NEC students to teach over 850 hours, lead over 550 teaching visits, give 107 performances and events, and reach an estimated 5,800 people.

NEC students who participate in the CPP Program benefit from having the opportunity to explore what it means to be a musician living in and contributing to community life, within an atmosphere of personal attention, supportive mentoring, professional development, and experiential learning.


See more information on the CPP Program