Department of Music

BM in Performance

Fei Tian College’s Bachelor of Music (BM) in Performance is a rigorous program in performance skills that allows students to major in Western or Chinese musical instruments. Students develop the competence and sensitivity for performing classical music that masterfully blends east and west.

The BM program is also bilingual and bicultural. In addition to offering instruction in both Chinese and English, the program fosters cross-cultural communication and fusion between Western classical music and traditional Chinese music. Students are required to specialize in either tradition and to acquire basic competence in the other, including the playing of an instrument. This integration of the study of Chinese music into the study of Western music makes the program’s training of Western music majors unique in the United States.

Students in the BM program are required to participate in large ensembles and chamber ensembles as part of their applied music study. They will also have opportunities to play in an orchestra that combines Western and Chinese musical instruments and participate in actual performances of music and dance. Music students are generally expected to practice for a minimum of one to two hours daily.

Every student in the BM program is required to give a half-hour junior recital near the end of the junior year and a one-hour senior recital near the end of the senior year. In addition, each music major student is expected to attend a variety of concerts and recitals, including departmental/faculty recital.

Objectives of the BM in Performance

  • To offer high-quality professional training to aspiring students who seek to be performers of Western music and/or Chinese music;
  • To help students develop musical literacy pertaining to the music they perform;
  • To cultivate in students a deep understanding and appreciation of the inner meaning (shen yun or spirit) of Chinese music as well as the rich cultural heritage associated with it;
  • To nurture in students a genuine appreciation for the differences and commonalities between Western classical music and traditional Chinese music so that they can be competent facilitators in cross-cultural communication through music;
  • To enable students to achieve the language proficiency, both in Chinese and in English, needed in everyday life as well as in academic discourse about music;
  • To cultivate in students an understanding of the integral connection between artistic beauty and sound moral character; and
  • To guide and advise students in their process of developing the maturity and integrity necessary for building and sustaining lifelong interpersonal relationships.

These objectives are consistent with the College’s general objectives of preserving, developing, and promoting the classical arts. Besides training in Western classical music and traditional Chinese music, the intellectual emphasis of the program enables the graduates to be effective ambassadors of cross-cultural communication.


The BM curriculum is designed mainly for orchestral instruments. The music core is designed to provide well-rounded training in Western and Chinese music. It comprises, besides instrumental training (also referred to as applied music), music theory, music history, musicianship skills, musical repertoire, ensemble and orchestral skills, and training in public performance. Students majoring in either of the two musical traditions are required to learn an instrument of the other tradition and to develop essential knowledge about the tradition through a variety of curricular activities. Study in applied music is identified as being either major or minor. Major refers to the study of a student’s principal instrument for which the student pursues the degree in performance.

A student majoring in an instrument is entitled to one hour of free private instruction per week. At the end of each semester, the student must pass a performance examination before a jury composed of faculty members. The purpose of the jury examination is the objective evaluation of an applied music student’s ability and artistry in performance. Generally, students will not be granted advanced standing in the major instrument.

Graduation Requirements

The graduation requirement for the BM in Performance is a minimum of 137 credits with a minimum GPA of 2.5. The 137 credits include 92 credits of core courses, 8 credits of major-related electives, and 37 credits of liberal arts and sciences courses. When a student majoring in a Chinese instrument chooses the keyboard as his or her minor instrument and, thereby, has only 88 credits of core courses, he or she is required to take a total of 12 credits of electives

The instruments currently available in the program as major areas of study are listed in the table below.

Instruments Available as Major Area of Study

 Western Tradition
 Strings  Violin, Viola, Cello, Double-bass
 Woodwinds  Piccolo, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon
 Brass  French Horn, Trumpet, Trombone
 Percussion  Various


 Chinese Tradition
 Chinese Bowed Strings  Erhu, Zhonghu, Gaohu
 Chinese Plucked Strings  Pipa
 Chinese Winds  Dizi
 Percussion  Various