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

Through the MFA curriculum, students develop strong technical skills in playing several different gamelan instruments, all of which combine to create multi-layered and elaborate music. This includes instruments that play melody, regulate time, underline musical structure, and elaborate melodies and vocal components.

In addition to graduate major lessons, non-major lessons, and classes in music theories and systems, the curriculum focuses on courses in Balinese gamelan (orchestra), Javanese gamelan, gadon (small orchestra), gender wayang (metallophone quartet), male and female dance and, periodically, classes in kecak (monkey chant) and gong suling (flute ensemble).

Students study, practice and perform in many contexts—in ensembles such as Balinese and Javanese Gamelan, Gender Wayang, Kecak, and more—as well as engage with theoretical course offerings, dance classes, and private and small group lessons. The course of study trains students to exhibit the strong listening, observation and imitation skills necessary to learn such music; and thusly, the ability to convey such oral teaching traditions and methods to others as well.

Candidates for the MFA degree must demonstrate their performing skills in recitals and, if relevant to the specific nature of a student's work, complete a supplemental thesis.

Full Curriculum

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.

Center for Integrated Media

The Center for 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.

Center for Integrated Media

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