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If you would like more information about the Undergraduate Music Program, then download the JMU School of Music Undergraduate Studies Handbook. It requires Adobe Reader.

Undergraduate Degree Programs


The music performance program offers a broad course of study tailored to meet the needs of the individual musician and prepare the student for further pursuit in the many areas of the music profession. Music performance graduates complete their studies with necessary creative-thinking skills that will allow them to adapt in the changing world of music performance.

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Music Education

The music education program consists of both instrumental and vocal concentrations. Students who choose a vocal concentration participate in applied study in either voice or keyboard and focus on the pedagogical aspects of teaching general and/or vocal music. Those who choose an instrumental concentration participate in applied study on their individual instrument and focus on the pedagogical aspects of teaching instrumental music. Both concentrations provide certification to teach kindergarten through 12th-grade music upon completion of the degree program.

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Music Industry

Please take note that all music majors must audition on a major instrument or voice part. This includes music industry.  Please refer to the audition requirements for your instrument or voice, which can be found here.  Those who would still like to study music industry, but are not able to audition should consider the music industry minor. Information can be found on page 45 of the SOM Undergraduate Handbook.

The music industry program offers a broad course of study suiting the needs of a diverse profession. Music industry graduates are creative managers and/or entrepreneurs whose most striking asset is versatility. Students must take a core of music industry, business and music courses. These courses will serve as a foundation for career growth and management. Program graduates may expect to enter a job market that requires flexibility to think beyond the limitations of narrow vocational study. Career opportunities are varied and may include:

  • Advertising agencies
  • Artist management
  • Booking agencies
  • Concert production and promotion
  • Film scoring
  • Independent record labels
  • Major music journals and magazines
  • Major recording labels
  • Music publishing
  • Song Writing/Arranging
  • Public and commercial radio stations
  • Recording studios
  • Sound technician
  • Audio Post Production
  • Television stations
  • Theater management

Students in the music industry program have access to a digital recording studio, MIDI laboratory and a music library/listening/computer lab that houses MIDI workstations. Four rehearsal halls in the Music Building are connected to the control room of the main recording studio to facilitate satellite recording of large ensembles.

Studios are equipped with a variety of synthesizers, sound-processing equipment, computers and software to accommodate analog and digital recording needs. Students studying and researching the legal aspects of the music industry also have access to the Rockingham County Law Library housed in the Massanutten Regional Library.

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Jazz Studies

JMU offers both an undergraduate Concentration in Jazz Studies (a "jazz studies major") and a Minor in Jazz Studies. Performing groups include two large jazz ensembles and multiple jazz chamber ensembles. The JMU Jazz Ensemble has a long tradition of excellence and has performed at the Montreux, North Sea, and East Coast Jazz Festivals, VMEA convention, and at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater. The small groups, coordinated by Chuck Dotas, are student organized (coached weekly by a faculty member) and participate in a regular gig at The Artful Dodger Restaurant. JMU offers both an undergraduate Jazz Studies Major and a Minor in Jazz Studies. Course offerings include private Applied Jazz Study, four levels of Jazz Improvisation, Jazz Theory and Ear Training, Jazz Keyboard Skills, Arranging for Small Jazz Ensemble, Big Band Arranging, Jazz Composition, Advanced Topics Jazz Seminars, Jazz History, and Jazz Pedagogy.  JMU also offers an intensive summer jazz study abroad session in Montreal, Quebec for four weeks each summer.

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Click here for information about majoring in Composition at JMU.The composition program stresses the technical aspects of form, harmony, counterpoint and orchestration, but also puts strong emphasis on the development of personal creative style. Students study individually with composition faculty members and are also given the opportunity to work in the MIDI laboratory. This facility includes current MIDI equipment and computer applications.

Importance is placed on hearing and performing compositions. Student compositions are performed throughout the year in recitals, and each spring a concert is held featuring the most outstanding works of each student. Each year, the university hosts a Contemporary Music Festival, which brings recognized composers and performers to our campus. Recent guests include:

  • Roger Reynolds (2015)
  • JACK Quartet (2015)
  • American Modern Ensemble (2013)
  • Sir Peter Maxwell Davies (2013)
  • Alarm Will Sound (2010)
  • Samuel Adler
  • George Crumb
  • Donald Erb
  • Adolphus Hailstork
  • John Harbison
  • Karel Husa
  • Philip Kennecott
  • Libby Larson
  • David Maslanka
  • Thea Musgrave
  • The New Music Consort
  • Joseph Schwantner
  • Joan Tower
  • George Tsontakis
  • Chinary Ung
  • Chen Yi

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Music Theater

The music theater program is designed to prepare the vocal music student to be competitive in the field of popular Broadway musical theater performance. Courses build on the standard music core classes with selected performance-related classes from both the School of Music and the School of Theatre and Dance. This highly selective program is focused on the creation of skilled artists with strengths in the three demand areas of singing/musicianship, acting for the stage and movement/dance. Upon graduation, students are prepared to audition for entry-level positions in the musical theater and entertainment industry.

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Music Minor

The School of Music offers minors in music, jazz studies and music industry. An audition is not necessary. Please check for information in the School of Music Undergraduate Handbook.