Since I have been studying music, it has occurred to me that current and prospective music majors may not know exactly what each of the different music degrees mean and what they require. Each degree is different, and so it is important to know what the degree or degrees you are considering would entail. This is true whether or not you end up studying music. Each type of degree requires different classes, and each major within the type of degree has certain requirements. Be sure to look at the specifics of the colleges you are considering, because not all schools are the same. Before going into the different degrees, I want to stress that, if you want to get a degree in music, focus on schools that are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). These schools have to live up to certain standards, and attending a non-accredited school could cost you admission to graduate school or a job in music.
Bachelor of Arts in Music
We have probably all heard of a Bachelor of Arts degree. It is one of the most common, and you can earn a BA in almost any subject from art to a language to music! This degree is a good choice if you want to study another field in addition to music. At least at my university, the Bachelor of Arts music majors are required to declare a second field of study-either a minor or a second major. You don’t have as many music courses, but you do get a more broad-based education, if that is what you are interested in.
Bachelor of Music in Performance
This is the degree that I am pursuing. You choose your applied voice or instrument, take lessons on that instrument, and you have more music classes than that of a BA music degree. If music is your focus, you want to go to graduate school for music, or you want experience performing on your instrument, this is a good way to go. My career goals at the moment are to be either a flute (and possibly other instruments) private teacher. I would also love to look more into music therapy.
Bachelor of Music Education
If you want to teach music in a K-12 public school, this is your best option. This degree has the most clear cut career out of all music degrees. It might also be considered the safest degree, but that really depends on the person, where you live, and what you want to do after graduation. I believe some schools have different concentrations in the field of music education. At my university, you can focus on vocal or instrumental music ed, depending on whether you are a singer or an instrumentalist. Some schools have a concentration for elementary or general music education and then another concentration in secondary, however, many schools require studying both elementary and secondary. If I had the option to study elementary or general music education without the added requirements of band and orchestra and choir methods, I would, but that is not an option. I will stick with my performance degree for now,
There are other degrees that can be found at different schools based on how focused the school is and the size of the music department. I am not going to go into those here. If you are curious, you can do a web search for different music degrees and concetrations. I have found tons of information on the Internet. If you are looking a a particular school or schools, you should take a look at what music degrees are offered there.
Thanks for reading!