How do I get a Bachelor of Music Degree?

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  • Written By: Jillian Peterson
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2019
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A bachelor of music degree prepares students for professional careers in performance, teaching, management and much more. To get a bachelor of music degree, one must typically complete high school or its equivalent and apply to a college or university. Many colleges offer more than one type of academic degree in music, such as a musical performance degree or a music education degree. A bachelor of music degree can be obtained from a university that has a fine arts department with classes in music theory, history, education or performance. A bachelor in fine arts degree in music can also be earned from a fine arts college or a music college. Some online colleges even offer music degrees.

To get a bachelor of music degree, most colleges require that students take classes in music theory, composition, history and performance. Specialized classes may also contribute to a music degree, such as classes in sound design or music education. Most colleges require students to complete a course of study in performance of a musical instrument or voice, and some universities may require that students join a college-sponsored band, orchestra or choir. At the end of a course of study in music, many universities require a final musical composition, music theory paper or musical performance before a bachelor of music degree can be awarded.


Many colleges split their bachelor of music degrees into two categories: performance and music education. A bachelor’s degree in music performance often prepares students for professional careers in music as singers or instrumentalists. A bachelor of music education prepares students to teach music in public and private schools as well as to direct orchestras or choirs in schools.

When searching for a college that offers a bachelor of music degree, keep in mind that different colleges have different names and abbreviations for the degree. A bachelor of music degree can be written as B.M., B.Mus., Mus.B. or Mus. Bac. Some colleges classify a music degree as a fine arts degree and may call it a bachelor's of fine arts in music, which would be abbreviated as a BFA. Usually, fine arts colleges that specialize in music will call a bachelor of music degree a bachelor of fine arts degree.

With a bachelor’s degree in music, one can perform with an orchestra or band, teach music, be a sound designer for theaters or perform many other jobs in the entertainment industry. With a college degree in music education, graduates can teach music and direct choirs or orchestras in schools. For those who wish to teach at the college level, master’s degrees in music are also available from many universities and music colleges.


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Post 1

Many colleges also require a music degree to have a second major. Often this is math, which sounds a little odd, but many musically inclined people are surprisingly good at math. Almost every college requires education students to have a double major. So if a person wants to major in music education, he or she also has to pick up an additional major.

A music degree doesn't necessarily require more credit hours than another degree, but it does involve taking many more individual classes. Instrument classes are frequently just one hour's worth of credit, rather than a full class credit of three or five hours (depending on whether the school is on the semester or quarter system).

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