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So What’s Your Major?

I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music. ~Albert Einstein

I recently received an e-mail from Aisha, a student who plays violin and was interested in knowing what a Music Studies Degree entails. The University of Texas at Austin is home to an exceptional School of Music, as well as many gifted faculty and students. I am currently pursuing a Music Studies Degree and received a Certificate of Performance in Violin last year. Other undergraduate degree opportunities in the School of Music include performance, literature and theory. If you are thinking about a music degree check out the School of Music website:

Music Studies (Education)

The Music Studies Degree is a pre-professional academic program leading to teaching certification of all levels. It is applicable to students wishing to proceed to a masters degree in music education, performance, therapy, management, or conducting.

Courses I have taken have ranged from 20th century music theory to oceanography. As an education degree, students are also required to take courses geared towards learning how to teach children with disabilities and childrens literature.

Not only must we be prepared to teach, we are required to take string, brass, wind and percussion fundamental courses and private lessons. I have taken lessons and classes on bass, cello, flute, French horn, trumpet and trombone, and am currently learning clarinet and percussion. This is where I take a moment to bless my awesome French horn teacher, Will, for listening to me week after week produce very interesting sounds.

Music Makes you Hungry... and Symmetrical!
Music Makes you Hungry… and Symmetrical!

We are also required to perform in a large ensemble, take private lessons, pass juries (performance tests for faculty), give recitals, take theory up until 20th century analysis, three years of music history, ear training, two years of piano, two semesters of conducting and have this completed before our last semester of school which is devoted entirely to student teaching. All of this does not include classes such as government, history, intro to art and theater, electives, psychology courses, etc..

This degree is considered a five year program, but myself and a few of my crazy, awesome, ambitious friends (Natalie and Lauren) decided to do it in four. What does this mean? I have completed 128 hours and am currently taking 20 this semester. I also have to continually remind myself to eat, sleep and be merry.

Its a lot of work. For instance, Symphony Orchestra meets for six hours a week, not including performances, but counts only for one hour of credit. Besides taking these courses, many require outside field experiences and we all continue to practice our instruments many hours a day.

I am not telling you all of this to get pity, (although it is eagerly welcomed) but to say that obtaining a music studies degree from UT REALLY means something (just like all the other degrees here) and is extremely rewarding. The faculty is incredible and dedicated to making students acquire fundamental teaching principles and provide a solid music education.

I am so privileged to have the professors and resources that are offered here at UT. Our faculty comprises world renown artists such as violinist Brian Lewis, cellist Bion Tsang, violist Roger Myers, percussionist Thomas Burritt, saxophonist Harvey Pittel, oboist Rebecca Henderson, the Miro Quartet, and SO many more. Professors in the education department such as Dr. Robert Duke and Dr. Judith Jellison regularly lecture across the country and contribute to research journals.

If you are thinking about any kind of music degree, know that this is an extraordinary school that will give you opportunities to grow and be inspired on a daily basis.

Please see my other blog Got Music? if you are interested in performing music at UT as a non-music major.

SIDE NOTE: I would like to invite everyone to go see UTs very own comedy improv troupe GIGGLEPANTS! They are an amazing group of students and they will be performing against RICE University this Friday at 7pm in Calhoun 100.

Renees Music Pick of the Day: Make Our Garden Grow from Candide by Bernstein!

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October 11, 2007 | | Comments are closed for this post
photo of Renee