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The University of Tennessee

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Music Performance Major Guide for 2008-2009

What is Music Performance

The Bachelor of Music degree is the undergraduate professional degree in music. Its primary emphasis is on the development of the skills, concepts, and sensitivity essential to the professional life of a musician. As a performer, the professional musician must function as a practitioner who exhibits not only technical competence, but also a broad knowledge of music, literature, musical style, and an insight into the role of music in the life of humankind.

Career Opportunities in Music Performance

This degree provides the musical background needed by a person wanting to pursue a career performing music. Graduates with a B.M. in performance continue their studies in graduate school, teach privately or in colleges, or pursue performing opportunities with symphony orchestras, bands, or opera companies.

Salary Trends in Music Performance

A Music Performance degree can propel students into limitless directions. As a group, performing musicians earn about $35,000 with a B.M. degree.  As with any degree, pre-professional experiences (volunteerism, work experience, internships, etc.) enhance the chances of obtaining desired employment and affecting the projected salary.

High School Preparation

To prepare for a degree in music, perform as much as possible. Take part in the chorus, the bands, and the orchestra in high school. Take private music lessons to help prepare for the audition. Take any music theory, ear training, music history, or appreciation courses offered by your school. Listen to as much music and as many varied types of music as you can. Attend concerts. Take piano lessons. And, above all, practice!

How to Major in Music Performance

All new music students (freshmen and transfer) must perform an audition on their major instrument and take a music theory examination. The audition and theory exam should be completed on the audition day. Applicants are urged to schedule an audition as early as possible through the School of Music Website.  No student officially progresses to a Major in Music until the audition and entrance examination have been successfully completed.

Requirements for Music Performance

You should begin your courses in music as soon as you become a music major. As a music major, you will take courses in the music core curriculum, including music theory and ear training, form and analysis, music history, world music, piano, applied music, and solo class. You are required to be in an ensemble each semester.
As a music performance major, you will also take courses in conducting, pedagogy and literature, and other courses specific to your instrument (e.g., vocalists take diction). Performance majors are also required to present two recitals, a 30-minute in the junior year and a 60-minute recital in the senior year.

Highlights of Music Performance

Most students in the School of Music find their ensemble participation to be a highlight of their coursework. You can participate in many different ensembles including Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music Ensembles, Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, Men’s and Women’s Chorale, Opera Theatre, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic and Concert Band, The Pride of the Southland Marching Band, the Big Band Jazz Ensemble and various small jazz ensembles. The School of Music presents over 160 concerts each year.

Ready for the World logoReady for the World

"Ready for the World” is part of a long-range plan to transform the UTK campus into a culture of diversity that best prepares students for working and competing in the 21st century.  Thus students are encouraged to actively participate in the diverse cultural programs offered on campus.  Some of these events include the guest lecture series, cultural nights at the International House, and international film screenings.  Visit the Center for International Education website ( or the Ready for the World website ( for more information on upcoming cultural programs and activities. 
Students are also encouraged to develop a global perspective within their academic program through study abroad.  Visit the Programs Abroad Office website ( for information on study abroad opportunities.

Learn more about UT's Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today's world.

Sample Curriculum

Sample Curriculum Bachelor of Music Degree, concentration in Woodwind, Brass or Percussion Instruments
Freshman Year Credit Hours
English 101, 102 3,3
Music Theory 110, 120 3,3
Music Theory 130, 140 1,1
Musicology 110 3
Music Performance (100 level) 3,3
Music Ensemble 1,1
Music Keyboard 110,120 1,1
Cultures and Civilization 6
Music General 200 0
Sophomore Year Credit Hours
Music Theory 210, 220 3,3
Music Theory 230, 240 1,1
Musicology 210, 220 3,3
Music Performance (200 level) 3,3
Music Ensemble 1,1
Music Keyboard 210, 220 1,1
Social Sciences 6
Music General 200 0
Junior Year Credit Hours
Music Theory 310 3
Music Theory 320 2
Music Performance (300 level) 3,3
Music Ensemble 1,1
Musicology 380 3
Music Instrumental 310, 320 or 330 3
Music General 200 0
Music General 301  0
Electives 3
Natural Sciences 4,3
Senior Year Credit Hours
Music Education 310 3
Music Electives 4
Music Performance (400 level) 3,3
Music Ensemble 1,1
Music General 200 0
Music General 401 0
Quantitative Reasoning 6
Communicating Orally 3
Electives 4
GRAND TOTAL (minimum) 120

For More Information

Associate Director for Undergraduate Studies
School of Music
1741 Volunteer Blvd.
211 Music Bldg Knoxville, TN 37996-2600



The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.