The JMU School of Music provides the highest level of musical training in a comprehensive program that prepares students to be thoughtful and productive citizens. Learn more about our degree programs below.

Interested in scholarships?

The School of Music offers a limited number of scholarships, grants and subsidies.

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Undergraduate Majors and Minors

Performance

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.

More about our performance concentrations:

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

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.

Please take note that all music majors must audition on a major instrument or voice part. This includes music industry.

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Jazz Studies

Jazz Studies major Neal Perrine performs on the upright bassJMU 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 also offers an intensive summer jazz study abroad session in Montreal, Quebec for four weeks each summer.

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Composition

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.

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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.

Graduate Degree Programs - Master's

Master of Music (M.M.)

JMU graduate candidate Joel Collier tutors a music student

The School of Music offers a Master of Music degree program that provides students with the necessary opportunities to achieve the highest degree of musical development and professional training. 

Students graduating from the M.M. program (with concentrations in Composition, Conducting, Music Education, and Performance) will be able to:

Composition:

  1. formulate a personal creative style of composition.
  2. demonstrate the fundamental concepts of form, harmony, counterpoint and orchestration.
  3. differentiate and apply the techniques and aesthetics of musical creation.
  4. apply the core principles of effective research as scholars and composers.

Conducting:

  1. demonstrate application of physical conducting skills and rehearsal techniques through the performance of advanced repertoire in the student’s area of specialization.
  2. formulate advanced insights into the artistic and formal structure of music through score study in the student’s area of specialization.
  3. describe the musical and formal elements of the major literature in the student’s area of specialization (vocal/choral or instrumental).
  4. apply the core principles of effective research as scholars and conductors.

Music Education:

  1. communicate effectively both verbally and in writing.
  2. articulate, critique, and synthesize the foundations and principles of music education.
  3. demonstrate advanced methodologies in the student's area of specialization.
  4. apply the core principles of effective research as scholars and practitioners.

Music Performance:

  1. demonstrate application of musical and technical mastery in the student’s area of specialization (instrumental or voice).
  2. identify and describe the standard solo, chamber, and ensemble repertoire in the student’s area of specialization.
  3. apply the core principles of effective research as scholars and performers.”
Graduate Degree Programs - Doctoral

Doctor of Music (M.M.)

Brass professor Chris Carillo instructs a doctoral student

The Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) degree program is the most advanced course of study offered in the School of Music at James Madison University. The program has been designed to make graduates more marketable in higher education by emphasizing pedagogy and literature along with advanced performance or conducting skills.

Students graduating from the D.M.A. program (with Concentrations in Performance, Pedagogy and Literature or Conducting, Pedagogy and Literature) will be able to:

Performance, Pedagogy and Literature:

  1. demonstrate application of musical and technical mastery through the performance of advanced repertoire in the student’s area of specialization (instrumental or voice).
  2. create and deliver effective pedagogical instruction.
  3. analyze the standard solo, chamber and ensemble repertoire in the student’s area of specialization (instrumental or voice).
  4. communicate effectively about music through a) writing and b) speaking.

Conducting, Pedagogy and Literature:

  1. demonstrate application of musical and physical conducting skills through the performance of advanced repertoire in the student’s area of specialization (instrumental or vocal).

  2. demonstrate effective rehearsal techniques through the preparation of representative repertoire in the student’s area of specialization (instrumental or vocal).
  3. create and deliver effective pedagogical instruction.
  4. formulate advanced insights into the artistic and formal structure of music through score study in the student’s area of specialization.
  5. communicate effectively about music through a) writing and b) speaking.

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