Christian Music Colleges

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Major in Music at Christian Colleges

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)

Christian Music Colleges 

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 at Christian colleges.


A future in Music

By Jennifer Bailey

Did you know that in ancient Greece and Rome, music was believed to be a force that could persuade people to do good? Is this your belief today?

The study of music is quite varied. Music majors study everything from producing current music albums to classical performances that are staged as if they were in Mozart’s era.

There is a big difference between singing or playing an instrument in high school or even being told that you are good enough to make All-State Choir or Band and officially declaring yourself a music major.

Do you want to major in music because it’s your calling, because you are so passionate about music that you are willing to take on all it requires to make it the focus of your life after high school? You will want to be sure that you have a real passion as that is what it will take in order to excel in this major.

Serious reflection may be in order before diving into this degree track. Be sure to take time to clarify your reasons for pursuing a music major.

Be sure to keep a portfolio of your progress throughout your studies. Theory tests that you received high marks on, programs of ensemble work and student recitals, of course, notes from classes and other professionally related experiences will demonstrate your determination to succeed. Be sure to manage your time carefully. You must allow time for core courses, music major courses, a lot of studio practice time, ensemble rehearsal and ensemble performance dates. From an organizational standpoint, this is often the true test of whether you can "make it." Prepare for your proficiency tests with great care. Juries and recitals with your major instrument are the cornerstone for your musicianship. Work closely and diligently with your teacher. Plan appropriately for secondary instrumental requirements. If you need remedial work, it is best to discover this early on. Success in school and, particularly in this major, depends on punctuality, reliability, preparedness, industriousness and effort.

If music is your calling, it’s achievable and enjoyable. Bottom line, you need to be a person who is extremely self-disciplined and able to take criticism very well. As with any major, time management and the ability to organize will pay off.

It’s also essential to be thinking toward the future and what you might do with your degree. Many schools offer classes and even entire tracks that teach the business skills that most music majors will need at some point in their careers in order to be successful. If you think you want to teach, learn about those requirements, as even subbing for a music teacher may require you to have some music education classes under your belt. In the end, if you get a music degree and decide not to pursue a career in music, you haven’t wasted your time. The skills gained as a music major will provide you with the background necessary to enter many other fields as well as graduate programs. “Many employers outside of the field of music value the rigor and breadth of training that musicians receive.” Judy Lochhead, Professor and Chair, Department of Music, SUNY Stony Brook. No matter what, the skills learned, the detailed organization, effort and determination will serve you well in whatever long term career path you find yourself on.