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B.A. in Music

Share your talents. Expand your interests. Make your passion for music into a career.
It’s impossible to imagine a life without music. The B.A. in Music allows you to incorporate music into your academic experience in ways that prepare you for a wide range of careers, from performance to music technology to arts management. You’ll be inspired by our award-winning faculty, who will help you develop your musicianship, gain new skills, and see music—and the world—in new ways.

Ready for the next note in your score? We’ll make sure you’re in tune with your future.

You can compose your future with a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Penn State. You’ll take a broad range of classes in the School of Music, choosing a focus in Music Technology or General Music Studies. Develop your musicianship, hone your performance skills, and learn more about how music touches every part of our lives. Small class sizes mean you get individualized attention from our award-winning faculty, whose experiences span stages across the country and the world. You’ll have an academic experience that works in harmony with your career goals or plans for graduate study.

Is the Bachelor of Arts in Music right for you?

The B.A. in Music incorporates your passion for music into a broad education that prepares you for a range of careers. It’s a more flexible degree that allows you to pursue a double major. Students choose from a General Music Studies or Music Technology option, and have extensive opportunities to develop their musicianship and hone their performance skills by working with our nationally and internationally known faculty. Students are required to pass a piano proficiency examination, enroll in a core ensemble for two semesters, and complete a senior project. Auditions are required for all majors in the School of Music.

School of Music ensemble performance.

Concentrations

Music Technology

The Music Technology option combines a core curriculum of music and technology studies with both general education and liberal arts courses. The School of Music/School of Theatre recording studio suite is a multi-use facility intended for training and audio production. The studio suite consists of four rooms: live recording, rendering with softsynths, an isolation booth, and a mixing room. The School of Music also has numerous recording studios. As with all music degrees, ensemble participation and demonstration of piano proficiency are required.

General Music Studies

The General Music Studies option is designed to help students develop basic musicianship, the ability to perform, and a set of principles that leads to a fuller intellectual grasp of the art. Students take a broad range of courses in music theory, music history, and applied music. They also take twelve credits of “advanced study” in an area of specialization, selected by the student, culminating in a senior project. The student works with faculty mentors to choose the advanced study courses. Some specialization areas may require that students take more than the minimum 120 credits to complete the B.A. degree. As with all music degrees, ensemble participation and demonstration of piano proficiency are required.

Level Up

Pursue your passion—and more.

Minors + Options

Contact your academic adviser to discuss pursuing a concurrent major.

International Programs

Music Summer and Academic Year Programs. Select from English- and German-taught course options focusing on music and European culture and society.

IES Milan

Immerse yourself in the language and culture of Italy while taking a variety of courses, including an Italian language course tailored to your level.

University of Leeds Summer Program

One of the largest universities in Great Britain and located in a city known for its rich musical tradition and thriving local music scene.

Outreach

Performances in the community and on campus; musical presentations at conferences and schools throughout the region; teaching private lessons.

Considering the B.A. in Music? Consider this.

Employers value broad knowledge in the liberal arts—and that’s what you get from this degree.

  • This degree allows you to incorporate a study of music into a broader academic experience.
  • Develop your musicianship and performance skills with faculty whose experiences span the world.
  • When you finish your degree, you’ll be prepared for a wide range of careers in music and beyond.
  • Music students enjoy and contribute to Penn State’s vibrant and diverse campus community.

Alumni Spotlight

Alex Meixner playing an accordion, posing against a blue sky background

Alumni Spotlight

Alex Meixner

M.Mus. in Music 2001

Meixner is a nationally acclaimed musician, performer, bandleader, educator, and a leading advocate of polka music. Formally trained in classical, jazz, and ethnic music, he has cross-pollinated his versatile playing styles through pop music, funk, jazz, and polka. Photos: Chris Spiegel and Michael G. Stewart.

Alex Meixner playing an accordion
Alex Meixner enthusiastically playing an accordion over his head

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