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Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
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B.M. in Music

Develop musicianship. Celebrate creativity. It’s time to take the stage.
If you have your dreams set on a career as a music performer or composer, the Bachelor of Music is for you. You’ll benefit from studio instruction with uniquely qualified faculty members who offer the personal attention you need to hone your craft. With your talent, plus the skills and experiences you gain at Penn State, you’ll be ready to take the stage.

It’s time to take your musical talents to the next level, and we’ll help you get there.

The Bachelor of Music is your next step to a professional career as a performer or composer. Students pursuing this degree select from four options: Composition; Keyboard Instruments; Strings, Winds, Brass, and Percussion Instruments; or Voice. Our talented faculty will teach and guide you while sharing their own experiences from stages around the world. You’ll hone your skills in small studio sessions, in large and small ensembles, and in a variety of performances at venues ranging from the School of Music’s own brand-new recital hall to Carnegie Hall.

Is the B.M. in Music right for you?

The Bachelor of Music prepares our students for professional careers as performers or composers. It’s a rigorous program where undergraduates benefit from individualized attention from faculty committed to their students’ future success. Faculty share their experiences from their own world-spanning professional careers, preparing students to enter a competitive industry. An audition is required for entrance to the major.

School of Music orchestra performance.

Concentrations

Composition

Admission to the Bachelor of Music with Composition option is based on the student’s portfolio of compositions, an interview, and an audition on his or her primary instrument or voice. Students take eight courses in composition, as well as classes in musicianship, music theory and analysis, music history, conducting, orchestration, and electronic music. Applied music classes, piano proficiency, and ensemble participation are also required.

Keyboard Instruments

Entrance to the Bachelor of Music with Performance option requires a strong background of musical accomplishment and may require a separate audition after initial acceptance to the school. Students take twenty-four credits in applied lessons, as well as classes in musicianship, music theory and analysis, music history, conducting, orchestration, and pedagogy. Ensemble participation and classes in a secondary instrument are also required.

Strings/Winds/Brass/Percussion

Entrance to the Bachelor of Music with Performance option requires a strong background of musical accomplishment and may require a separate audition after initial acceptance to the school. Students take twenty-four credits in applied lessons, as well as classes in musicianship, music theory and analysis, music history, conducting, orchestration, and pedagogy. Ensemble participation and classes in a secondary instrument (typically piano, leading to piano proficiency exam) are also required.

Voice

Entrance to the Bachelor of Music with Performance option requires a strong background of musical accomplishment and may require a separate audition after initial acceptance to the school. Students take twenty-four credits in applied lessons, as well as classes in musicianship, music theory and analysis, music history, conducting, orchestration, and pedagogy. Ensemble participation and classes in a secondary instrument (typically piano, leading to piano proficiency exam) are also required.

View Voice Area Handbook

Level Up

Take advantage of these opportunities, and then take the stage.

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 Bachelor of Music? Consider this.

Most of our students find work as performers or enroll in graduate school within months of graduation.

  • This degree prepares students to pursue careers as professional performers or composers.
  • Perform in the new recital hall, with other performances across campus and the world.
  • Faculty truly committed to their students’ success.
  • 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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