Master of Sacred Music

The Master of Sacred Music (MSM) degree is a two to five year post-baccalaureate degree that combines academic and musical studies. The closure of graduate programs in organ performance across America has made the MSM increasingly the de facto degree for advanced studies in church music; MSM graduates who wish to continue their studies have the option of academic (PhD or ThD) or applied (DMA) tracks. Most MSM programs are limited to choral conducting and organ performance, as these two applied fields are the primary occupations of church music directors. Piano Performance is usually taught as a subdiscipline or acquired separately. There are eight Master of Sacred Music programs in the United States. These programs are located at the Boston University School of Theology, College of Jewish Music's H.L. Miller Cantorial School, Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion's School of Sacred Music, Emory University, Luther Seminary, Southern Methodist University, the University of Notre Dame and Yale University's Institute of Sacred Music. Boston University's program is the oldest (BU is also host to the oldest higher education program in music in the United States) and Notre Dame's is the youngest (admitting its first students for Fall 2005). An MSM program at Union Theological Seminary was dissolved when UTS' Institute of Sacred Music was dissolved and moved to Yale.

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