MFA

2-Year Program

The MFA Program in Music is designed to enable students to acquire the multiple skillsets that will empower them to stake out their own, unique, career pathways to success. The program of study is designed to be a stimulating and challenging, collaborative learning environment, in which music and sound artists can refine and perfect their already distinctive voices to reach the highest levels of professional practice, while simultaneously exploring new and inspiring, creative territories.

About the Specialization

This MFA curriculum provides a challenging forum for students to develop skills such as drumming, singing and dancing abilities in traditional music and dance from Ghana, while also learning and synthesizing the diverse skills required of a western classical musician.

Students hone their skills in extended techniques, improvisation and interpretation through a number of specialized courses aimed at developing key skills, such as observation and imitation—including the ability to learn new drum calls and to respond accurately to changes that a lead drummer may initiate—and the ability to grasp Ghanaian music theory through a repertoire of syllables, all placed within a sociocultural context.

All MFA African Music and Dance candidates are required to pass a Mid-Residence Recital and a Graduation Jury and Recital in order to obtain the degree.

Full Curriculum

Detailed curriculum and academic requirements can be found in the online course catalog.

View Curriculum Requirements


Interdisciplinary Opportunities

In addition to CalArts' rich and diverse community and naturally collaborative atmosphere, the Institute provides several programs of study that can be pursued concurrently with a student's chosen metier.

Integrated Media

The Integrated Media concentration is designed specifically for MFA students whose creative use of technology—in particular digital media—goes beyond their primary areas of study.

Integrated Media

Interschool Degree

This option is available to a small number of graduates and advanced third- and fourth-year undergraduates whose skills and artistic interests warrant pursuing a degree in more than one School.

Interschool Degree


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