to dma or not to dma? (#2)

Source: PHD Comics

To DMA or not to DMA? In response to my own uncertainties about the future after I finish up my master’s, I wanted to start a series where I ask my older, wiser, cooler friends about their experiences with and opinions on the DMA. And then publish these responses in hopes that they will help others asking the same question. To read the first installment, click here!

This time around, my sweet friend Grace Huang volunteered her thoughts! Having finished her other degrees in Taiwan before coming to the USA for a DMA (which is now close to the point of completion), she offers a uniquely helpful perspective for international students.

Grace Huang, piano, fifth-year doctoral candidate:

What do you like about being in a DMA program? 
“As an international student, it is appreciated to have more opportunities to work with wonderful musicians from the US and all over the world.”

What don’t you like about being in a DMA program?
“I hope there are more classes related to piano I can choose.”

Would you recommend a gap year between the master’s degree and DMA?
“I did not have a gap year back then. However, I wish I have done it to see if I am really interested in doing a DMA program.

What advice would you give to someone considering a DMA?
“You don’t need a DMA to be a great piano teacher. However, it is somehow motivated to keep you pursue a highest level in the piano performance field.Do you feel that people who only want to teach piano don’t need to invest the time and money that a DMA requires? “In my opinion, yes, it is a waste of time and money to do a DMA to only be a piano teacher. Honestly, I did not know how to teach the beginners until recently. There are many wonderful books you can find and study on your own to become a good piano teacher.”


Not only is Grace a talented solo pianist, but she is a super sweet person, a hardworking teacher, and an accompanist extraodinaire who seems to wear concert black just as often as she wears street clothes. Thanks so much, Grace!

What are your thoughts on the DMA? Are there any other questions you would like to see answered as the series continues?

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