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Endless possibilities

The School of Music offers a range of undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as myriad performance opportunities, that prepare students for careers as performers, teachers, and scholars.

Students choose from a wide range of areas of study and benefit from individualized instruction by dedicated faculty whose teaching and performance experience spans the world. Both majors and non-majors have the opportunity to participate in numerous ensembles, ranging from small chamber groups to the marching Blue Band.

The Penn State School of Music – pursue your passion, nurture your talent, and prepare to take on the world.

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Undergraduate
Degrees + Minors

School of Music recital hall center stage.

B.M. in Music

The B.M. in Music prepares students for a professional career as a performer or composer by offering specialized training designed to develop musicianship and celebrate creativity.
School of Music student teacher helping elementary students during rehearsal.

B.M.E. in Music Education

The B.M.E. in Music Education equips students with the tools to become music educators that profoundly impact the lives of elementary and secondary school children.
School of Music student playing the marimba.

B.M.A. in Musical Arts

The B.M.A. in Musical Arts explores each student’s passion for music while offering endless cross-disciplinary opportunities to create a unique degree that prepares graduates for a professional career.
School of Music Mosaic performance.

B.A. in Music

The B.A. in Music fosters musical creativity and skill while immersing students in a diverse educational experience that informs artistic growth and explores the profound importance of music.
Penn State School of Music MOSAIC vocal performance in Eisenhower Auditorium.

Music Performance Minor

A minor in Music Performance lays the foundation for you to integrate your love and knowledge of music into any career path.
School of Music vocalists performing on stage during the Mardi Gras Jazz Concert at the Recital Hall.

Music Studies Minor

Blend music theory, composition, or performance studies with your major. The Music Studies minor can refine and balance coursework and studies across varied majors.
Music students in class singing in front of microphones.

Music Technology Minor

The Music Tech minor opens the study of musical acoustics, digital audio, sound design, and audio recording. You will apply domains of knowledge from your majors to the fields of audio production and digital technology.

Graduate
Degrees

School of Music choir performance.

M.A. in Music (+IUGs)

The M.A. in Music offers three curricular tracks – Musicology, Music Theory, or Music Theory and History – as well as integrated undergrad/grad options.
School of Music orchestra performance showcasing a violinist..

M.Mus. in Music

The Master of Music program prepares students for professional careers as performers or composers, or for doctoral study. The program is both rewarding and rigorous, with internationally known faculty providing...
Graduate student conducting a performance.

M.M.E. in Music Education

The M.M.E. program is designed to provide candidates with (1) a deeper level of musical skill and understanding, (2) an increased knowledge and skill in the pedagogy of music teaching,...
School of Music piano soloist performance.

D.M.A. in Musical Arts

This program is for individuals interested in continuing their studies in piano performance and music theory, history, and analysis in order to teach at the university level. Degree requirements include...
A music education Ph.D. student teaching in front of a group of musicians with instruments.

Ph.D. in Music Education

The Music Ed Ph.D. program, which offers advanced study of teaching and learning music from a research-based perspective, is aimed at individuals careers in higher ed and music administration.
A blurred music stand occupies the foreground, in front of a large, formal student choir singing.

Enriching the experience!

Elementary School Students and Penn State School of Music students participate in the tenth anniversary Partners in Music concert.

A cellist and a pianist perform on stage in the Penn State Recital Hall as part of the 2019 Penn's Woods Music Festival.

Research

The School of Music scholarly community seeks to foster an environment of passionate curiosity informed by scholarly rigor. While our research areas are quite diverse, the primary themes tend toward musical expression and development, processes of music learning and teaching, deeper understanding of past musical practices, and global perspectives.

The Penn State School of Music has a tradition of research excellence across a wide range of disciplines including music theory, musicology, music education, composition/technology, and performance. Our faculty are highly regarded scholars and performers who share their research and creative expertise in professional journals, conferences, and performance venues throughout the world. The School of Music provides many opportunities for students to collaborate with the faculty as well as to receive guidance for independent research.

Beyond preparing students to develop and thrive as performers, teachers, and scholars, the School of Music offers more than 400 public events each year, and we also hear wonderful performances presented by the Center for the Performing Arts and the Center’s Classical Music Project. In addition, Penn State ensemble students regularly perform in the greatest concert venues on the east coast with our annual President’s Concert series. Expansive performance, research, and outreach opportunities are integral to the School of Music, and enrich the student experience.


Ensembles

School of Music ensembles, ranging from small chamber ensembles to large orchestras, bands, and choirs are open to all Penn State students, regardless of major. Participants receive one academic credit per semester. These credits fulfill General Arts credits in many colleges and majors. Graduate credit (500-level) may be granted in select ensembles at the discretion of the director/conductor.

The School of Music also includes a number of faculty ensembles that perform and record extensively, both in the United States and abroad. These ensembles are often invited to perform at professional association meetings and in educational settings.


Explore All of Our Ensembles

Engagement

The School of Music’s engagement activities include ongoing concert series presented in the community and throughout the mid-Atlantic region, annual conferences and workshops designed for music professionals, and summer experiences designed for professional musicians as well as for developing performers.

Our concert series include the President’s Concert, an annual event showcasing our best performers in the mid-Atlantic region’s most esteemed concert halls. Beginning in 2007 with a concert hosted by the the University president at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh, Penn State students have performed at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, the Strathmore Centre in Bethesda, MD, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, and at Carnegie Hall in New York. Closer to home, student performers are welcomed at the monthly “First Thursdays at the Village” series and also perform on weekly “Bach’s Lunch” concerts held each Thursday in Eisenhower Chapel on campus.

Coordinated by the music education faculty, the biannual Thompson Symposium provides a forum for masters-level music education students to share their completed and in-progress research with graduate students, faculty, and the general public. Musical Theatre voice faculty members Mary Saunders-Barton, Beverly Patton, Raymond Sage and voice faculty member Norman Spivey present their hugely popular workshop “Bel Canto/Can Belto” each August, and our keyboard faculty coordinate the annual Marian Garcia Piano Teacher’s Workshop and Competition.

Convening each July, the Penn State Honors Music Institute is a one-week immersion in the art of music designed for highly qualified high school musicians. For professional musicians, the Penn’s Woods Music Festival is a two-week resident orchestra and chamber music festival that presents numerous concerts each June. In addition, School of Music students and faculty regularly perform and present their scholarly work throughout the country and the world.

Alumni Spotlight

Penn State School of Music alumna Annie Burridge

Alumni Spotlight

Annie Burridge

B.M. in Music 2000

As general director and CEO of Austin Opera, Annie has led the development of a new strategic plan and launched an artistic initiative – Opera ATX – which brings groundbreaking artists to unexpected and unique venues throughout Austin. Before switching her focus to administration, Annie performed with numerous opera companies and orchestras, and was a young artist with Des Moines Metro Opera. In addition to her performance successes, Annie has received many leadership accolades.

Opera venue with grand piano on stage.
Two operatic performers dancing on a darkened, red-cast stage.

Venues and Studios

Performance and studio spaces large and small
See All Venues and Studios
Grand piano on Esber Recital Hall stage, seen from the stage wings.
Grand piano on Esber Recital Hall stage, seen from the stage wings.

Recital Hall

Located on the first floor of the Music Building, this 400-seat auditorium is the primary performance space for the School of Music’s solo and


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Grand piano on Esber Recital Hall stage, seen from the stage wings.

Recording Studios

The Recording Studios at Penn State were created for the teaching and research needs of faculty, staff, and students of the School of Music


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Grand piano on Esber Recital Hall stage, seen from the stage wings.

Schwab Auditorium

Schwab Auditorium was the first Penn State building financed by a private gift. Bethlehem Steel Corporation founder Charles M. Schwab, a University trustee for


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Grand piano on Esber Recital Hall stage, seen from the stage wings.

Eisenhower Auditorium

Eisenhower Auditorium, with a seating capacity of 2,500, is Penn State’s primary theatrical performance space. Opened in 1974 and later named for former University


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Faculty Spotlight

Naomi Seidman, with flute, and three members of a quintet.
Naomi Seidman, with flute, and three members of a quintet.

Naomi Seidman

Assistant Professor of Music

Assistant Professor Naomi Seidman joined the School of Music faculty in 2012. An accomplished solo performer, she has won the Mid-South Flute Competition and the Frank Bowen Young Artist Competition, and was first runner-up in the Myrna Brown Young Artist Competition. She was also a semi-finalist in the Beijing Nicolet International Flute Competition. She has performed as a soloist with the Pennsylvania Centre Orchestra, Santa Fe Symphony, Kingsville Symphony, and Ballet Austin. She has also been an invited performer, judge, and presenter at National Flute Association (NFA) conventions and is a member of the NFA Cultural Outreach Committee.

Close-up portrait of Naomi Seidman with flute against red background.
Place holder image for Events
Oct 22

Bach's Lunch: Acting for Singers

CSED All Faith Chapel
Acting for Singers Students from the Acting for Singers class present a showcase of their work. "Bach's Lunch" is a weekly Thursday afternoon concert series

Events

Go. Explore.

"Front Row: National"

Virtual event
Four musicians are seated on a stage while they play their instruments.
Oct 22

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’sFront Row: NationalSummer Evenings III Watch the event beginning at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 22. It will be available for streaming


"Front Row: National"

Virtual event
Four musicians are seated on a stage while they play their instruments.
Oct 23 - 26

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’sFront Row: NationalSummer Evenings III Watch the event beginning at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 22. It will be available for streaming


Stuckeman Lecture Series: Mark Jarzombek

Zoom
Black and white headshot of Mark Jarzombek with an example of 1990s architecture at right.
Oct 28

Mark Jarzombek is a professor of the history and theory of architecture at MIT. He works on a wide range of topics, both historical and


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News from A&A

Nichols' article addresses equity in music education during pandemic

Bryan E. Nichols' article, "Equity in Music Education: Access to Learning During the Pandemic and Beyond," has been published in Music Educators Journal.

Bryan E. Nichols, assistant professor of music education, recently had an article, "Equity in Music Education: Access to Learning During the Pandemic and Beyond," published in Music Educators Journal. A former


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School of Music leans on science to find harmony during pandemic

Faced with unique, unprecedented challenges the School of Music takes a science-based approach to pedagogy during a pandemic.
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Students launch radio show to safely share new music during pandemic

Members of Living Music, a student-run organization focused on promoting new music, have not let the COVID-19 pandemic squash their plans to launch a radio show on WKPS 90.7.
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