Music Major, B.A.
Want the best of both worlds? Intense music training and a strong liberal arts education?
MSU Denver’s Bachelor of Arts degree in Music offers vigorous study of music and a broad education in science, social science, the arts and humanities to give you skills for music- and non-music-related careers.
The B.A. in Music allows room in your course schedule to double major, pursue study-abroad or take more electives in specified areas of music. Plus, you are required to earn a minor in a secondary area of interest in order to graduate, which diversifies your degree even further.
Our Music faculty comprises regionally and nationally known performers and educators, and our curriculum is infused with musical diversity. From Women’s Choir and Sound Painting to Symphony Orchestra and Mariachi Ensemble, you have ample opportunity to practice your art in any of MSU Denver’s more than 20 performing groups (some require an audition).
Bachelor of Arts in Music
The Department of Music also offers:
Benefits of Earning Your Degree at MSU Denver
Each year brings the Visiting Artist Series with world-renowned classical, jazz and world music artists to perform and hold special classes open to all students on campus; music celebrations for winds, piano, jazz and more; and other events, including artists-in-residence performances and choir festivals. Our vibrant musical theatre program with MSU Denver’s award-winning Department of Theatre annually produces musicals such as “The Wizard of Oz” and “Guys and Dolls.”
Career Opportunities for Our Graduates
The Bureau of Labor Statistics 2016 Occupational Outlook Handbook lists $25.14 as the median hourly wage for performance musicians. But as a B.A. Music graduate, you’ll have myriad opportunities for other music-related jobs, depending on your minor field of study. Here are just a few examples:
- Choral director
- Film scoring
- Media development
- Music for game development
- Vocal coach
- Talent representation
- Sound mastering
- Radio programmer
Here are examples of median annual salaries for music-related positions from the BLS 2016 Occupational Handbook:
- Lyricist: $61,240
- Broadcast and sound engineering technicians: $42,550
- Museum music curator: $47,230
- Music director: $50,110
Hear from our students:
“Earning my BA in music has helped with my career as a musician by giving me the knowledge to play almost any instrument I pick up and read music at a very high level. It really set me up to be a responsible professional in my field. I believe that the most unique and beneficial part of earning my degree at MSU Denver is the faculty. Every single member of the Music faculty has helped me in one way or another. The best part about all of it was that they truly cared about my education and went above and beyond to facilitate my learning. I feel it truly helped me mature and develop as a musician. I have recommended MSU Denver to others to get their degree because not only does it have the best Music faculty I have ever seen, but it is the only university that I know of that really aims at preparing their students for the future after college.”
Cory Golon (MSU Denver '15)
Director of Bands and Professor David Kish conducts the Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band and is the founding director of the MSU Denver Wind Band Celebration. He was recently appointed conductor and musical director of the Colorado Wind Ensemble, a highly acclaimed, semi-professional wind ensemble based in Denver. He was conductor-in-residence at Capital Normal University in Beijing, China and maintains an active schedule as guest conductor, clinician and lecturer throughout the United States.
Director of Piano Studies and Assistant Professor Jooeun Pak has appeared in major concert venues as a soloist and chamber musician in major cities in the U.S., Korea, Italy, Jordan and Germany. Upon winning the Grand Prize in the Latin American Music Competition, Pak released a CD featuring compositions by Latin American contemporary composers including Gabriela Lena Frank and Miguel del Aguila, with violinist Colin Sorgi.
Director of Composition and Associate Professor Fred Hess has been a member of drummer Ginger Baker's Denver Jazz Quintet and ensembles led by trumpeter and MSU Denver musician-in-residence Ron Miles. He has won numerous awards, including two Colorado Council on the Arts Composition Fellowships, first place in the inaugural Hennessey Jazz Search in Denver and the 2000 Julius Hemphill Award for Jazz Composition. Hess’s current performing groups are the Fred Hess Quartet and the Fred Hess/Marc Sabatella Duo.
“I found my experience at Metro State to be fantastic! Their approach provides students with the academic training and experience that will enable them to pursue an array of opportunities for music careers in today's ever-changing arts landscape. It is a nontraditional model that promotes diversity of thought and adapts the curriculum to the expressed needs and concerns of their students.”
Heath Ellis (MSU Denver ’11) is the volunteer coordinator and university liaison at El Sistema Colorado, a nonprofit that provides free music programs for children. He holds a master of arts degree from the University of Colorado Denver.
Alumni at Work
Graduates of MSU Denver’s Bachelor of Arts in Music degree program are employed at many levels in the music industry, from serving as church music and choir directors and operating their own private-instruction businesses to managing small recording studios and teaching in schools and universities.
B.A. Music alumni have been accepted for post-graduate study at the University of Colorado Denver, Regis University and other institutions.
As an MSU Denver Music major, you’ll receive private instruction, hold recitals, participate in ensembles and take courses such as:
MSU Denver is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Music.