Musical Arts, B.M.A.

Program Code: MUBMA_BMA

Program Description

The Bachelor of Musical Arts degree is a multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary program that is intended to prepare students for careers in performance, while developing a secondary area of emphasis outside of music, as determined for each student on the basis of an advising process. Completion of this program requires that the student achieve a high level of competence in order to begin professional work or pursue further studies at the graduate level.

What is Music?

Italian composer Ferruccio Busoni said “music is sonorous air.” A more scientific definition might be “sounds organized in time.” With a history that likely pre-dates language, music is an integral part of all societies for expression, communication, and the fostering of community. In the words of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, “without music, life would be a mistake.”

You Might Like This Program If...

  • You have achieved a high level of musical accomplishment from years of study, practice, and ensemble participation.
  • Music is a driving force in your life but you also want to pursue a minor or a second degree outside of music.  

Entrance to Major

Entrance into this program will be determined by departmental evaluation. All students are required to pass a piano proficiency examination.

Entrance Procedures

Incoming First Year Students

Incoming first year students must apply to Penn State. Decision is based on both an academic review and a successful audition. Detailed information on audition requirements and scheduling can be found at: https://music.psu.edu/audition-req/ugrad. Auditions can be scheduled through the online scheduling form beginning October 1st – February 1st. Students will enter the AAMUS pre-major upon successful application for admission and audition.

Change of Major/Change of Campus Students

Change of Major/Change of Campus students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or above and successful audition. Detailed information on audition requirements and scheduling can be found at: https://music.psu.edu/audition-req/ugrad. Auditions to enter AAMUS pre-major can be scheduled through the online scheduling form beginning October 1st – February 1st.

Transfer Students

Transfer students must apply to Penn State. Decision is based on both an academic review and successful audition. Detailed information on audition requirements and scheduling can be found at: https://music.psu.edu/audition-req/ugrad. Auditions to enter AAMUS pre-major can be scheduled through the online scheduling form beginning October 1st – February 1st.

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Musical Arts, a minimum of 120 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Requirements for the Major 88-90

1-15 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes: 1-3 credits of GA; 0-12 credits in the area of Supporting Courses and Related Areas.

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Knowledge Domains

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits

Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)

  • Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement    

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

Requirements for the Major

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the major. To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn at least a C grade in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

 
Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
MUSIC 101Music Common Hour1
MUSIC 121Basic Musicianship I1
MUSIC 122Basic Musicianship II1
MUSIC 129SFirst-Year Performance Seminar3
MUSIC 131Music Theory I2
MUSIC 132Music Theory II2
MUSIC 162Introduction to Music History2
MUSIC 221Basic Musicianship III1
MUSIC 222Basic Musicianship IV1
MUSIC 231Music Theory III2
MUSIC 261Survey of Music History I Keystone/General Education Course3
MUSIC 262Survey of Music History II Keystone/General Education Course3
MUSIC 266Basic Conducting1
MUSIC 331Tonal Analysis2
MUSIC 332Analysis of Twentieth Century Music2
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
INART 258AFundamentals of Digital Audio Keystone/General Education Course1-3
or INART 258B Fundamentals of Digital Audio Keystone/General Education Course
Select 3 credits of the following:3
Studies in Music History: Antiquity to 1600
Studies in Music History: 1550-1750
Studies in Music History: 1700-1900
Studies in Music History: 1850-Present
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select 21 credits in applied music through Level VIII of performance21
Select 8 credits of approved ensembles (see School of Music Handbook for list of ensembles)8
Select 4 credits in music in consultation with an adviser4
Select 24 credits (at least 12 at the 400 level) in consultation with adviser in an area of study other than music 124

Learning Outcomes

  • Comprehensive capabilities in the major performing medium including the ability to work independently to prepare performances at the highest possible level; knowledge of applicable solo and ensemble literature; and orientation to and experience with the fundamentals of pedagogy. For majors in Early Music, Historical Performance, or the equivalent, the ability to apply aural, improvisational, and language skills, knowledge of styles and performance practices, and general historical and cultural knowledge as required by the focus of the major is essential.
  • An overview understanding of the repertory in their major performance area and the ability to perform from a cross-section of that repertory.
  •  The ability to read at sight with fluency, demonstrating both general musicianship and, in the major performance area, a level of skill relevant to professional standards appropriate for the particular music concentration.
  •  Knowledge and skills sufficient to work as a leader and in collaboration on matters of musical interpretation. Rehearsal and conducting skills are required as appropriate to the particular music concentration.
  • Keyboard competency.
  • Growth in artistry, technical skills, collaborative competence, and knowledge of repertory through regular ensemble experiences. Ensembles should be varied both in size and nature.

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.

READ SENATE POLICY 32-00: ADVISING POLICY

University Park

Margaret Higgins
Academic Adviser
104 Borland Building
University Park, PA 16802
814-865-9523
mah68@psu.edu

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2021-22 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

Musical Arts, B.M.A. at University Park Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
MUSIC 121*1ENGL 15, 15A, or 30H3
MUSIC 129S*3MUSIC 122*1
MUSIC 131*2MUSIC 132*2
General Education Course3MUSIC 162 (IL)*2
General Education Course3General Education Course3
Supporting Course for Major (see note)*31Supporting Course for Major, Applied Music (see note)*23
Supporting Course for Major, Ensemble (see note)*21Supporting Course for Major, Ensemble (see note)*21
 14 15
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
INART 258B or 258A*11-3MUSIC 222*1
MUSIC 221*1MUSIC 261 (GA)*3
MUSIC 231*2MUSIC 331*2
MUSIC 262*3General Education Course3
General Education Course (GHW)1.5Supporting Course for Major (see note)*31
Supporting Course for Major (see note)*31Supporting Course for Major, Applied Music (see note)*23
Supporting Course for Major, Applied Music (see note)*23Supporting Course for Major, Ensemble (see note)*21
Supporting Course for Major, Ensemble (see note)*21Supporting Course for Major, Secondary & General Education (see note)*†23
Supporting Course for Major, Secondary & General Education (see note)*†23 
 16.5-18.5 17
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CAS 100A, 100B, or 100C3ENGL 202A, 202B, 202C, or 202D3
MUSIC 332*2MUSIC 2661
Supporting Course for Major, Applied Music (see note)*23Supporting Course for Major, Applied Music (see note)*23
Supporting Course for Major, Ensemble (see note)*21Supporting Course for Major, Ensemble (see note)*21
Supporting Course for Major, Secondary & General Education (see note)*†23Supporting Course for Major, 400-level (see note)*23
Supporting Course for Major, Secondary & General Education (see note)*†23Supporting Course for Major, 400-level (see note)*23
 15 14
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Additional Course for Major (see list)13MUSIC 101*1
General Education Course3General Education Course3
Supporting Course for Major, Applied Music (see note)*23General Education Course3
Supporting Course for Major, Ensemble (see note)*21General Education Course (GHW)1.5
Supporting Course for Major, 400-level (see note)*23Supporting Course for Major, Applied Music (see note)*23
 Supporting Course for Major, Ensemble (see note)*21
 Supporting Course for Major, 400-level (see note)*23
 13 15.5
Total Credits 120-122

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Program Notes:

Entrance into this program will be determined by departmental evaluation. All students are required to pass a piano proficiency examination.

Career Paths

B.M.A. graduates are prepared to embark on careers in performance or to pursue graduate studies in music. If a degree outside of music was also earned, graduate study or a career in the non-music area is also possible

Careers

Graduates of the B.M.A. in music program enter the workforce with a unique skill set that reflects their accomplishment as a performer as well as knowledge in another field. Graduates may pursue careers that pair their musical knowledge with a secondary area. The possibilities are as extensive as the graduate's imagination. 

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

The B.M.A. in music degree provides a comprehensive education in performance. Graduates are well prepared to pursue advanced or terminal degrees in many areas of music. Performance, conducting, theory, musicology, and composition are some of the areas where graduates can excel if they pursue graduate studies.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT OPPORTUNITIES FOR GRADUATE STUDIES

Accreditation

The Penn State School of Music is accredited through the National Association of Schools of Music. NASM is an organization of schools, conservatories, colleges, and universities with approximately 650 accredited institutional members. It establishes national standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees and other credentials for music and music-related disciplines, and provides assistance to institutions and individuals engaged in artistic, scholarly, educational, and other music-related endeavors.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOLS OF MUSIC

Contact

University Park

SCHOOL OF MUSIC
233 Music Building I
University Park, PA 16802
814-865-0431
music-ug-adm@psu.edu

http://music.psu.edu