What Is It?:

Music includes performance, theory and history, music education and pedagogy, and open studies. The curriculum develops undergraduate students to their fullest potential as teachers and performers. It also acquaints proficient instrumentalists with traditional literature and new compositions and arrangements written by students and faculty. The incorporation of technology such as Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) instruments and computer applications provides students with a well-rounded experience while preparing them for independent studio work, teaching, or further professional study.

Two degrees are available:

The Bachelor of Music: focus on public performance as an integral part of the training in applied music, including required student recitals. Foreign language study may be required according to the major chosen, based upon previous experience and/or the results of language placement tests.  Six majors are offered:

  • Composition–Theory: prepares students for careers in composition and teaching, as well as for graduate study in composition or music theory. This major offers comprehensive course work in music theory and composition, with specialized courses in orchestration, music formalization, experimental music, jazz arranging, electronic music, and computer music.
  • Instrumental Performance: allows students to major in piano, organ, harpsichord, violin, viola, violoncello, double bass, harp, flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon, trumpet, horn, euphonium, baritone, trombone, tuba, or percussion
  • Jazz Performance: pairs with piano, double bass, saxophone/clarinet, trumpet, trombone, percussion, or guitar as the major instrument
  • Musicology: offers students a broad cultural education, which unites academic and musical training. It provides the sound preparation required for graduate study in research and teaching of music history or ethnomusicology and offers comprehensive course work in the history of western and non-western music.
  • Open Studies: allows concentration in diverse fields such as music of other cultures, piano pedagogy, or other areas not included in the majors above. Admission is initiated by petition to a committee of three faculty members, the open studies adviser, and the associate dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts.
  • Vocal Performance: Includes both private lessons in voice and classes in vocal diction. At least eight semester hours each in the Italian, French, and German languages are required.

The Bachelor of Arts in Music: for students whose musical interests are in the broad historical, cultural, and theoretical aspects of music (rather than professional training).  It incorporates a high degree of flexibility beyond the core of required courses and can prepare the way for graduate study in music theory, composition, or the various branches of musicology. Students must choose an option, which may include studies in a particular era of music history, ethnomusicology, music theory, music composition, or other possibilities as approved by advisor.  Four options are offered:

  • Composition
  • Music Theory
  • Music Technology 
  • Musicology

All applicants for admission to the School of Music must audition successfully on their major performance instrument or in voice, and must take the Music Fundamentals Proficiency Exam.  In addition, applicants for music composition-theory must submit original scores or other pertinent writings to substantiate their ability to pursue work in these areas. Applicants in music education and composition-theory must also complete an interview with faculty in those respective areas.

For more information, please visit the School of Music

Courses That Introduce the Major:

  • MUS 101—Music Theory & Practice I
  • MUS 107—Aural Skills I
  • MUS 110—Introdution to Art Music: International Perspective
  • INFO 103/CS 103 - Introduction to Programming (for Music Technology option only)

Students should consult with an academic advisor regarding course selection prior to the advanced registration period.

Possible Career Opportunities:

  • Accompanist
  • Announcer
  • Artistic Director
  • Arts Administrator/Manager
  • Arranger
  • Attorney
  • Background Music Designer
  • Band Director
  • Booking Agent
  • Cantor
  • Communication Consultant
  • Composer
  • Concert Manager
  • Conductor
  • Copyright Expert
  • Curator
  • Disc Jockey
  • Director
  • Entertainment Manager
  • Equipment Technologist
  • Events Coordinator
  • Film/Music Editor
  • Instrument Sales
  • Lyricist
  • Music Critic
  • Music Journalist
  • Music Promotions/Distribution
  • Music Publishing
  • Music Retail
  • Music Software Programmer
  • Music Therapist
  • Narrator
  • Newspaper Critic
  • Orchestra Manager
  • Orchestra Musician
  • Performer
  • Producer
  • Program Director
  • Professor
  • Public Relations Director
  • Record Producer
  • Record Promoter
  • Recording Engineer
  • Recording Production Staff
  • Stage Manager
  • Song Writer
  • Sound Engineer/Technician
  • Web Developer

Common Career Titles Related to this Major:

(Some careers may require education beyond an undergraduate degree)

  • Architectural Acoustic Monitor
  • Artist & Repertoire (A&R)
  • Church Music Director
  • Community Development
  • Composer/Arranger
  • Conductor
  • Copyright Specialist
  • Disc Jockey
  • Engineer/Mixer
  • Instrument Service Specialist
  • Film Music Editor
  • Music Software Programmer
  • Music Store Manager
  • Music Stringer
  • Music Teacher
  • Music Therapist
  • Manufacturers Representative
  • Music Attorney
  • Music Copyist
  • Music Critic
  • Music Promoter
  • Music Reporter
  • Musician
  • Orchestra Librarian
  • Piano Tuner
  • Publicist
  • Recording Technician
  • Singer
  • Studio Musician
  • Synthesizer Specialist
  • Tour Manager
  • Voice Teacher

Enhancing Your Academic Experience:

  • Participating in undergraduate research
  • Applying for a study abroad experience
  • Utilizing resources of The Career Center
  • Joining a Registered Student Organization (RSO) related to this major, such as:
    • Illinois Student Association of Music Scholars (ISAMS): enhance the academic experience, scholarship and community of students in musicology (historical and ethnographic) and related fields of music scholarship, including music theory, music education, and composition through fostering community interaction and dialogue, providing scholarly support and critical dialogue, offering professional development and organizational support
    • Illini Student Musicals (ISM): dedicated to the performance of musical theater on campus and helping students gain gain experience in the administrative, technical, creative, and performance aspects of putting a musical together

Related Skills:

  • Ability to keep audience's interests
  • Ability to read and write music
  • Ability to use various sound equipment
  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Basic reading, writing, editing skills
  • Communication skills
  • Creativity
  • Entertaining skills
  • Good stage presence
  • Humbleness
  • Observation skills
  • Performance techniques
  • Physical stamina
  • Self-discipline
  • Singing/instrumental talents
  • Teaching abilities
  • Versatility

Further Information:

For more information on what you can do with a major in Music, visit The Career Center’s webpage: What Can I Do With This Major.

There are several professional organizations dedicated to Music.  Their websites might be able to provide a glimpse in the world of Music.  These organizations include American Federation of Musicians and The American Musical Instruments Society.

For more information on the classes needed for a degree in Music, visit Undergraduate Programs.