Music

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Articles on Music:
   Major in Music
   A future in Music
   Music Major...A Closer Look
   Explore a Career in Music

Major in Music

Article by Rachelle Wiggins

“God has made us with such a desire to strive for excellence in our work so that, in doing this, we should imitate his excellence more fully.” ~Wayne Gruden

Those with a passion for music know it’s deeply inspiring affect and have a strong desire to share this with others—whether through teaching, writing or performing music, or through an alternative creative outlet. Music majors focus on the academic study and appreciation of music and the performing arts. Those who choose this major are often those who have spent extensive time in their high school music program and who have goals of honing their God-given musical abilities for the purpose of someday using these skills in a professional role. Music degree graduates can be found working in schools, symphonies, broadcasting companies, opera houses, theaters, record label companies, art agencies and recording studios just to name a few.

But the road to success is never paved with ease, and the discipline and hard work required to get there should not be undertaken without serious consideration. A music major is not a degree for slackers! In fact, it is one of the more challenging majors simply because of the amount of out-of-class time needed to practice your chosen instrument, if excellence is to be obtained. Therefore, time-management, personal drive and self-disciple are critical. Some of the other traits and qualities needed for a music major include:

  • Ability to work independently as well as in collaborative settings
  • Strong dexterity, memory, listening and concentration 
  • Ability to perform under pressure (needed often for auditions, exams and all sorts of required performances)
  • Ability to evaluate yourself honestly (in order to learn from mistakes and improve future performances)

Requirements for a music major will look similar to other majors when it comes to general education expectations. But along with your core classes, you will take courses on music theory, music history and also a (class)piano class to develop basic skills on the keyboard (more needed by some music majors than others). It is generally expected that you will take private music lessons for the instrument of your choice; sometimes it is required that you learn a second instrument. You will likely choose an area of specialization such as composition, vocal or instrumental performance. Participation in some sort of ensemble (whether vocal, orchestral, jazz, etc.)  is standard as are occasionally scheduled performances or “juries.”  It is common for music majors to give a longer junior or senior recital. Here is a sampling of some electives you may take:

  • Choral Conducting
  • Voice Diction for Singers
  • Music Technology
  • Intro to World Music
  • History of Jazz

An interesting study shows that 50% of music majors end up in a career either teaching or performing music (as many as 30% of those remaining work in some sort of art, design or media more loosely related to music), but in other majors, only 25% of students actually end up in a career related to their major! So generally speaking, music majors really do go on to enjoy music in a professional setting. Check out some other music-related careers:

  • Broadcast engineer or assistant
  • Music therapist
  • Recording engineer (film, broadcasting, etc.)
  • Road manager/booking agent
  • Songwriter/music producer
  • Video game score composer
  • Theater stage manager

If you come alive to music and thrive best when you are passing on that gift to others in some capacity, then maybe God is directing your next steps toward a major in music.