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The University of Tennessee

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Music - Sacred Music Major Guide for 2008-2009

What is Music - Sacred Music

Sacred Music is music used in church for liturgies, rites, prayers, devotions, or ceremonies. Students that major in sacred music are usually interested not only in music itself, but also in the church. At UT, “church” is not limited to one denomination.
The degree in Sacred Music will emphasize music skills as well as the skills, concepts and knowledge you will need as a church musician and so includes courses in both music and religious studies. You will also be required to intern in a church situation, learning from experienced church musicians.

Career Opportunities in Music - Sacred Music

This degree provides the musical background needed by a person wanting to pursue a career as a church musician, including directors of church choirs, church organists, and Directors of Music Ministry.

Salary Trends in Music - Sacred Music

A degree in the field of sacred music may be either part-time or full-time positions, and in large or very small churches. Your duties may range from one of coordinator to accompanist to choir director. You may also be asked to prepare music for the liturgies of a school attached to the church. Due to the large range of activities and the budgets of the various churches, salaries are very hard to predict. Many churches will follow the guidelines associated with the American Guild of Organists. (See the AGO website for salary guide­lines.)

High School Preparation

To prepare for a sacred music degree, get involved in your church music program. Play organ or piano for the choir. Take part in all kinds of liturgy. Learn about many different faiths – what they believe and what their liturgies consist of.

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 - Sacred Music

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 - Sacred Music

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 sacred music major, you will also take courses in religious studies, Music in Christian Worship, Church Service Playing, piano/organ/vocal literature, and intern in a local church.  Finally, you are required to present two recitals, a 30-minute in your junior year and a 60-minute in your senior year.

Highlights of Music - Sacred Music

Most students in the School of Music find their ensemble participation to be a highlight of their undergraduate experience. 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 200 concerts each year.

Another highlight of the Sacred Music degree program is the internship in the senior year. During this internship, you will work with experienced church musicians at an area church. You will get practical experience in directing the adult, teen or children’s choirs, playing the organ and piano, and directing various instrumental groups.

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 Sacred Music (Organ-Track)
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 Ensemble 1,1
Music Performance 190 (Organ) 2,2
Foreign Language (200-level sequence) 6
Music General 200 0
Music Voice 110 or Music Performance 155 1,1
Sophomore Year Credit Hours
Music Theory 210, 220 3,3
Music Theory 230, 240 1,1
Musicology 210, 220 3,3
Music Performance 290 (Organ) 2,2
Music Ensemble 1,1
Music Performance 155 (Voice) 1,1
Music General 200 0
Quantitative Reasoning 3,3
Music Education 200 1
Junior Year Credit Hours
Social Sciences 3
Musicology 380 3
Music Theory 310 3
Musicology 480 3
Music Performance 390 (Organ) 2,2
Music Ensemble 1,1
Music General 200 0
Music General 301 0
Music Education 310, 320 3,2
Religious Studies 3
Music Keyboard 230 1
Music Keyboard 410 1
Communicating Orally 3
Senior Year Credit Hours
Music Performance 490 2,2
Music General 495 3
Music Keyboard 410 1,1
Music Keyboard 460, 470 3,3
Music Ensemble 1,1
Music General 200 0
Music General 401 0
Natural Sciences 4,3
Social Sciences 3
Electives 2
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.