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Music (B.A.) Major Guide for 2015-2016

What is Music (B.A.)?

Music can be defined as an aural art. When most people think about musicians, they think about people that make music. Musicians, however, work not only as performers, but also as administrators in the arts, as therapists, and as teachers. You should consider majoring in music if you love music and want to convey this love of music to others.

The Bachelor of Arts in music is designed for those students who have a strong interest in music, and desire a comprehensive liberal studies program. The primary goals are the development of basic musicianship, the ability to perform literature well, and an introduction to a set of principles and terms that lead to a fuller intellectual grasp of the art.  This major is especially ideal for students wishing to major in another area as well as music (double major).

Career Opportunities in Music (B.A.)

This degree is an appropriate background for students who wish to pursue careers in:

  • Musicology/ Music History
  • Music Libraries
  • Arts Administration
  • Music Therapy

Some students will also go on to pursue graduate studies in areas such as law, political science, history, or anthropology.

Salary Trends in Music (B.A.)

A Bachelor of Arts degree prepares students for many types of careers so it is difficult to predict salary ranges.  As a group, graduates in Bachelor of Arts programs average an annual starting salary of $45,000.  As with any degree, pre­-professional experience (for example, volunteering, work experience, and internships) increases your chances of obtaining the job and salary you want and affects your potential salary.

High School Preparation

To prepare for a degree in music:

  • Perform as much as possible.
  • Perform in the chorus, the band, and the orchestra in your high school.
  • Take private music lessons to help prepare you for the audition.
  • Take any music theory, ear training, music history, or appreciation courses offered by your school.
  • Listen to as much music and as many varied types of music as you can.
  • Attend concerts in your area.
  • Read about music history and history in general.

How to Major in Music (B.A.)

All new music students in the Bachelor of Arts – Applied Music concentration (freshmen and transfer) must perform an audition on their major instrument.  Students interested in the B.A. – Music & Culture concentration must interview with a member of the musicology faculty.  The audition and interview (if needed) can be completed on the day of your audition.  No student progresses to a major in music until the audition and interview have been successfully completed.

Applicants are strongly urged to register for an audition as early as possible.  Information on the audition process can be found on the School of Music web site (

Requirements for Music (B.A.)

There are two tracks in the BA program in music: The BA in Applied Music and the BA in Music and Culture.

The BA in Applied Music concentration is designed for students with an interest in performing music, but with other interests as well.  This degree includes core music classes:

  • Music theory and ear training
  • Form and Analysis
  • Music history
  • Applied music
  • Recital attendance, as part of Solo Class
  • Ensembles

In your junior year, you are required to either perform a recital, write a research paper on some aspect of music theory and history, or take a course in the aesthetics of music.

The remainder of your courses (120 hours) are structured the same as for any BA program in the College of Arts and Sciences.  You can take courses that interest you and are applicable to your future career.

The BA in Music and Culture concentration offers students the opportunity to study music history with an emphasis on historical and ethnographic approaches. This interdisciplinary degree aims to highlight music as a culturally expressive form. Courses in this degree include:

  • Music history
  • Music theory and ear training
  • Jazz theory
  • Applied music and solo class
  • Performance experience
  • Ensemble
  • Interdisciplinary courses in anthropology, medieval studies, or other areas

The remainder of your courses (120 hours) are structured the same as for any BA program in the College of Arts and Sciences. You can take courses that interest you and are applicable to your future careers.

Highlights of Music (B.A.)

Most students in the School of Music find their ensemble participation to be one of the highlights of their coursework. You can participate in many different ensembles including Symphony Orchestra, Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, Men’s and Women’s Chorale, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic and Concert Band, The Pride of the Southland Marching Band, Big Band Jazz Ensemble, and various small jazz ensembles. The School of Music presents over 160 concerts each year.

Ready for the World logoReady for the World

The School of Music faculty members encourage their majors to acquire a wide range of experiences.  If students can afford and have an interest in studying abroad, the faculty will work with them to make this opportunity as easy as possible.  Learn more about UT’s Ready for the World initiative to help students gain international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, offers study abroad programs in Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, South America, and North America. Program lengths vary from mini-term trips to the entire academic year, and students may choose to fulfill general education requirements, study a foreign language, or take courses within their majors. In addition, UTK offers students opportunities for international internships.

Students are highly encouraged to begin planning early in their academic career and to consult with an academic advisor about the best time to study abroad as well as what courses to take abroad. For more information about program options, the application process, and how to finance study abroad, please visit the Programs Abroad Office website.

Academic Plan and Milestones

Following an academic plan will help students stay on track to graduate in four years. For first-time, first-year, full-time, degree-seeking students, UT has implemented Universal Tracking (uTrack), an academic monitoring system designed to help students stay on track for timely graduation. In order to remain on track, students must complete the minimum requirements for each tracking semester, known as milestones. Milestones may include successful completion of specified courses and/or attainment of a minimum GPA.

To see a sample academic plan and milestones for this major, please visit the undergraduate catalog for the BA: Applied Music concentration and the BA – Music and Culture concentration.

For More Information

See the School of Music Areas of Study web site:
Or contact the School of Music:
Undergraduate Admissions
School of Music

Haslam Music Center
1741 Volunteer Blvd.
Knoxville, TN 37996-2600
(865) 974-3241


The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT Undergraduate catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.

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