A course of study in historical performance requires students to not only study and perfect their chosen instrument, but also understand the cultural and musical history behind the pieces they perform. The program offers intense study of period instruments and a range of opportunities to perform on them.
Our faculty is comprised of outstanding teacher-performers who are devoted primarily to undergraduate education. These highly skilled musicians maintain rigorous performance schedules yet provide individual instruction and spend generous amounts of time with their students via lessons, coaching, mentoring, and more.
Historical Performance is a way of looking at music, one in which the performer takes on some of the responsibilities of a scholar. Our aim is to provide students with the tools needed to make historically informed decisions about the pieces they perform. This requires an understanding of the music’s cultural context, familiarity with the practical aspects of historical instruments and performing conventions, and an appreciation of how performance styles and traditions have changed over time.
Oberlin offers degree programs leading to the BM, MM, or Artist Diploma in performance on historical instruments. Master’s students may elect to pursue a program combining the study of multiple historical keyboards. The program also offers a minor, as well as a five-year program combining the BM in a traditional conservatory major with an MM in Historical Performance.