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Should I major in music?

In high school, you might consider yourself a music student if you perform in an ensemble. While being a music major at the college level includes ensembles, it also includes private lesssons every semester, a full-range of music history, theory and ear-training, pedagogy, and a range of other classes based on your career goals and primary performance area. Basically, when you graduate with a music degree, you are eligible to pursue entry into the music workforce and must be ready for life as a professional musician.

By studying music at APSU, you will be exposed to classical training—a fact that is not always obvious to incoming students.

Being classically trained means that over the course of your degree program, you will become well versed in the art of music, and your skills and knowledge can be used in many different ways after graduation. Whether you choose a career in music or not, your training will allow you to participate fluently in your chosen music career path.

Not to be too blunt, but the only way to answer that question is to try. If you think you want to major in music education, find ways to be involved as a teacher while you are still in high school. Lead sectionals, pursue leadership positions in your school ensembles, volunteer for a local church or community youth facility, ask your high school ensemble directors if you might help with the middle school groups near you.

If you think you want to major in performance, get involved in private lessons in your local school. Take as many auditions as you can. Learn to perform in a variety of styles and get in front of people.

In short, whatever your music career goals, find ways to get involved while you still have time to change your mind if you discover that what you think you want to do is not really what you want, or is not where you are best gifted.

First, contact your high school music teacher to get involved in private lessons. Also, get enrolled in music theory and ear training classes at your school or a local community college. If these are not available, ask your high school ensemble director for help. Learn some basic piano skills - piano is the primary instrument for music students so, regardless of your primary performance area, you will need at least some basic piano skill.

There are many reasons, including:

  • Personal attention from faculty who are fully devoted to your success.

  • State-of-the-art facilities, including a critically acclaimed recital hall.

  • Faculty mentors who are also gifted performers/scholars who are highly-respected in their disciplines. These professors are available many hours of the day to offer guidance beyond regular class times and (one-on-one) lessons. 

  • Celebrated and award-winning ensembles that tour and record on a regular basis.

  • Reasonable tuition/room and board costs, as well as generous performance scholarships.

  • Exciting and world-class programming, visiting performers and scholars. In addition, our Acuff Chair of Excellence Residencies allow for time for meaningful student interactions with outstanding visiting artists and teachers. This is all made possible with funding provided by our incredible (and unique) Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts.

  • A “family” atmosphere. Our fraternities, our music education (NAfME) student chapter, and ensembles (large and small) help younger students feel like they belong to a caring community.  New students soon feel comfortable in this environment which then allows them make the most of their musical and educational experience.

After graduation, our majors are able to apply for any job (music or otherwise) requiring a bachelor's degree. They are also qualified to apply for entrance into a master's program in music performance or in another field.

Musicians tend to be creative thinkers and good project managers (and time managers). Music majors are typically leaders with an ability to work well with others to achieve group goals, and they are disciplined and dedicated workers. This means that they are valuable assets for many companies and institutions.

Therefore, those who graduate with a music degree have many options. Some go on to teach music in private studios or in public/private schools. Some choose to use the bachelor’s degree to go into the music business, studio recording, or arts management.  Finally, some go on to non-music careers like medicine, law, or business. The fact is that a college can lead to many different career paths.

APSU is proud to offer one of the most engaging and involved music education programs you will find. To learn more, visit our Music Education homepage.

Contact information for the applied (studio) faculty in your major performing area can be found here. Our faculty are very generous with their time and are always interested in helping students find the path that is right for them. To be connected directly with a faculty member in your area, fill out our information request form here.

Yes. There are scholarships for entering students that can range from $250 to $3000 or more (per year), depending on the student’s musical ability and the department's needs. For more information on how to audition for a scholarship, see the undergraduate admissions and scholarships page.