Master of Music in Performance Program McNally Smith College of Music

Master of Music in Performance Program McNally Smith College of Music

Saint Paul, MN
student ratio
total students
Not Reported
average amount to complete degree
fall application deadline
acceptance rate
7 Degrees Offered
degrees offered


A contemporary music college with a storied tradition

Since 1985, McNally Smith College of Music has equipped thousands of students with the tools necessary to thrive in all facets of the music industry. Located in the vibrant heart of downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota, McNally Smith is the Midwest's premier contemporary music college -- and one of the few true contemporary music colleges in the entire country.

McNally Smith continuously innovates new approaches to its curriculum, integrating them with proven traditional practices to best connect its students to a rapidly evolving world. These days, an effective music education calls for much more than simply training to become a proficient performer. McNally Smith graduates embark on lives in music having cultivated the creativity, critical thinking, tech-savvy, and entrepreneurial skills required for realizing and sustaining success in the digital age.

Master of Music in Performance

The Master of Music (MM) in Performance degree at McNally Smith emphasizes advanced music performance study through applied music lessons, ensembles, recitals, and studio performance opportunities. A core curriculum, emphasizing music theory, business, and research, serves the important role of developing an understanding of music and a life in the arts beyond the student's chosen major.

The MM in Performance program also provides students with cutting edge technology and a contemporary artistic approach to the study of music performances through students' access to McNally Smith's state-of-the-art studio complex. Graduates receiving McNally Smith College of Music's MM in Performance degree are prepared to pursue professional careers in music or possible further studies at the doctoral level.


McNally Smith is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music and licensed by the Minnesota Higher Education Services Office.

Learn from world-class faculty members and join a network of accomplished alumni

McNally Smith's students learn from the best. The school's faculty consists of world-class industry professionals including Grammy Award nominees, Broadway veterans, authors, major label rockers, Billboard chart toppers, commissioned composers, decorated producers, and industry executives who care deeply about their art and the next generation of music makers.

The school's alumni perform on stages the world over, found successful record labels, hold prominent positions at major radio stations, manage Grammy-winning talent, work at influential booking agencies, and engineer sound (live and studio) for some of the biggest names in the business.

Benefit from intimate classroom settings and access to exclusive clinics, masterclasses, workshops, internships and industry events

An 8-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio ensures that those who attend McNally Smith receive the proper attention and mentorship they deserve. In addition to quality daily interaction with top-notch music professionals, students enjoy exclusive access to a vast array of clinics, masterclasses, workshops, and performances conducted by legendary giants from all corners of the music world.

McNally Smith students take advantage of life-changing internships, not only in the Twin Cities, but in New York, Los Angeles, and Nashville as well. Students also participate in some the industry's biggest events -- like the annual South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas, where McNally Smith hosts its very own day party and showcase.

Take advantage of state-of-the-art facilities and peer collaboration

McNally Smith's campus is a music professional's playground. Students work out of the largest production facility in the entire Midwest, featuring 3 distinct live music venues, 70 rehearsal rooms, and 10 separate recording studios.

Peer collaboration is key in developing real-world experience and a quality portfolio. Master of Music in Performance students work hand-in-hand with Composition and Songwriting students in the writing of music. Music Production students shape and capture these sounds, while Music Business students push this professional-grade material out into the world.

See the world via international studies

McNally Smith has developed amazing partnerships with music schools all across the globe, including the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music in India and the Arnhem Conservatory of Music in the Netherlands. Students can embark upon semester-long exchange programs, or even take quick one- to two-week tours and seminars overseas.

Live, learn, and work in a supportive, progressive arts and music mecca

Minneapolis and Saint Paul have long been hotbeds of musical talent and innovation. Bob Dylan and Prince started their careers in the Twin Cities. Husker Du, The Replacements, and Soul Asylum -- innovative bands that set the table for the Nirvana-led alt-rock revolution -- hail from the area as well. Recently, Atmosphere and countless others have helped Minnesota's hip-hop scene emerge as one of the nation's best.

Iconic buildings like Saint Paul's Fitzgerald Theater (as seen in Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion") and Minneapolis's First Avenue (as seen in Prince's "Purple Rain") dot the cultural landscape, alongside scores of other historic music venues, art museums, and galleries. There exists a multitude of recording studios, big and small. Record stores remain in abundance. There are more theater companies in the Twin Cities per capita than any other metro area outside of New York. Local radio stations and publications are ardent supporters of homegrown music, helping to further galvanize an engaged arts community.

Enjoy a high quality of life and ample opportunity at an affordable cost

From fine dining to food trucks, Minneapolis and Saint Paul are also home to one of the best up-and-coming foodie scenes in the country. Sports fans enjoy year-round action with Vikings football, Twins baseball, Wild hockey and Timberwolves and Lynx basketball, while outdoors-types revel in activities spanning 4 distinct seasons while exploring an abundance of urban parks loaded with trails, rivers, lakes, and waterfalls.

No car? No problem. There's nary a more bicycle-friendly urban center in the United States, and McNally Smith even has its very own Nice Ride bike rental station on campus. Mass transit reaches out to all corners of the metro area, and by 2014 the ever-growing Twin Cities light rail will conveniently stop right at McNally Smith's doorstep.

The Twin Cities boasts one of the best employment rates in the nation, thanks to a balance of fortune 500 companies and a strong network of small businesses. Minneapolis and Saint Paul are also home to thriving advertising and marketing industries that rely heavily on creative talent.

In short, the Twin Cities is a fantastic place for savvy, creative-minded people to establish and further their careers. The best part? All these benefits come at a fraction of the cost of living on one of the coasts, and without any of the pretense.

Location & Contact

Master of Music in Performance Program

McNally Smith College of Music

19 Exchange Street East
Saint Paul, MN 55101
United States

Mr. Terence Burns

Graduate Studies Coordinator

Phone: 651-361-3580
Fax: 651-291-0366

Matt Edlund

Director of Admissions

Phone: 651-361-3456
Fax: 651-291-0366

Request More Info

Degrees & Award

  • Degrees Offered
    • Major Degree Levels Offered
    • Guitar Performance Master of Music (MM)
    • Vocal Performance Master of Music (MM)
    • Bass Performance Master of Music (MM)
    • Brass And Woodwind Performance Master of Music (MM)
    • Keyboard Performance Master of Music (MM)
    • String Performance Master of Music (MM)
    • Percussion Performance Master of Music (MM)
  • Degrees Awarded
    • Master's Degrees 2
    • Doctoral Degrees Not reported
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported
    • * Shows the number of degrees awarded for the last academic year that data was reported.
  • Earning Your Degree
    • Part-time study available? Yes
    • Evening/weekend programs available? Yes
    • Distance learning programs available? No
    • Terminal master's degree available? No
  • Degree Requirements
    • Master's Degrees
    • Doctoral Degrees Not reported
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported


80% of applicants are admitted.
  • Acceptance Rate
    • Applied 10
    • Accepted 8
    • Acceptance Rate 80
    • Enrolled 7
  • Applying
    • Application Fee - Domestic $75
    • Application Fee - International $75
    • Electronic applications accepted? Yes
    • Applications processed on a rolling basis? Yes
  • Application Deadlines
    • Type Domestic International Priority Date
    • Fall deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
    • Winter deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
    • Spring deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
  • Entrance Requirements
    • Master's Degreesaudition, performance sample (2 recordings), artist statement, resume/curriculum vitae, and 3 reference letters/letters of recommendation, undergraduate transcripts
    • Doctoral's DegreesNot Reported
    • First-Professional's DegreesNot Reported
    • Other Advanced DegreesNot Reported
    • International DegreesTOEFL required, TOEFL iBT, IELTS required, IELTS paper based

Tuition & Fees

  • Tuition & Fees *
    • Tuition & FeesNot Reported
    • *Average dollar amount (tuition & fees) required to complete the degree
  • Financial Support
    • Financial award applicants must submitFAFSA
    • Application deadlines for financial awardsAugust 1
    • Types of financial support availableTuition Waivers, Federal Work-Study, Scholarship and/or loans, Graduate Assistantships

Student Body

  • Gender
    • Total Graduate Students20
    • Female Percentage25%
    • Male Percentage75%
  • Participation
    • Total Graduate Students20
    • Part-time Percentage40%
    • Full-time Percentage60%
  • Ethnicity
    • Hispanic / Latino0%
    • Black / African American0%
    • White / Caucasian94%
    • American Indian / Alaskan Native0%
    • Asian0%
    • Native Hawaiian / Other Pacific Islander0%
    • Two or more races6%
    • Unknown0%


  • Faculty Breakout
    • Total Faculty10
    • Full-time Percentage60%
    • Part-time Percentage40%
    • Female Percentage30%
    • Male Percentage70%