Bachelor of Music Degree Programs

At Eastman we foster a community of passionate and talented students who possess the self-discipline and intellectual curiosity to succeed in music.  The Bachelor of Music curriculum is a four-year* program designed to develop not only students’ performance abilities, but also their practical and academic skills.

The core curriculum of this degree centers on applied lessons, ensemble participation, music theory, music history, keyboard proficiency, and humanities. A student who chooses the BM degree program is typically preparing to become a performing musician, music educator, composer, theorist, musicologist, or a professional in another musical field.

The University of Rochester offers a Bachelor of Arts in music, which has more of a liberal arts focus, and aims to prepare students for different goals (see

Many Eastman alumni lead entrepreneurial lives, combining different aspects of music into a satisfying whole. They may play in a symphony orchestra while teaching in a college; have a studio of private students while directing a church
music program; or free-lance on a steady basis while presenting solo and chamber recitals. Eastman alumni also become lawyers, doctors, consultants, engineers, ministers and administrators. They discover that the discipline they
develop through their training at Eastman prepares them for a wide range of career options. Eastman’s Institute for Music Leadership offers students additional training in arts leadership and entrepreneurship.

*Some students may take longer, including those completing two degrees or participating in Take Five, or Kaufman Entrepreneurial programs.  See Academic Opportunities for more information about these programs.  The Forte program is a ninth semester of tuition free enrollment for selected music education majors, to be devoted exclusively to the student teaching experience.

Majors are offered in:

Advising Worksheets – Bachelor of Music Degree

Applied Music (Performance)

This performance-intensive major is designed for students who are seriously considering futures as professional performers: soloists, opera and concert vocalists, orchestral and band musicians, conductors, chamber musicians, recording artists and studio musicians, church musicians, studio teachers, and other professions in the music business.  Curriculum details are outlined in the advising worksheets (see link above).

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The composition major gives students who wish to develop craft in the manipulation of musical materials a thorough understanding of contemporary harmonic, melodic, rhythmic, contrapuntal, and timbral elements. Over four years, composition majors study with members of the composition faculty on a rotating basis. Composition majors take required lessons on an instrument or voice in faculty studios and participate in student ensembles.

Composition Department Website

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Jazz Studies & Contemporary Media (Performance Skills or Writing Skills)

This major is designed for students seeking careers in jazz performance or jazz writing and arranging. The JCM department offers a major in performance skills on the following instruments: trumpet, saxophone, trombone, piano, guitar, double bass, and drumset. Writing skills applicants must audition on and maintain proficiency on one of the above instruments. The Eastman Jazz program does not include vocal jazz.

Jazz Department Website

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Music Education

The Music Education major prepares students to become articulate leaders by developing a greater understanding of learning and teaching processes.  Students who major in music education elect general, vocal, or instrumental music emphasis. Music education majors are provided with innovative music instruction opportunities at all levels. These include hands-on, pilot, or research programs in instrumental, choral, and pre-K music education in the Rochester
City School District, performance and presentation opportunities in local schools, and nationally recognized programs offered through Eastman Community Music School. In recent years, the department has boasted a 100% placement rate of its graduates seeking employment in music. More than two-thirds of undergraduate music education majors complete a double major in Applied Music or Jazz Studies & Contemporary Media.

Music Teaching & Learning Website

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This major is intended for students who have achieved an advanced level with aural and written theory skills.  First-year admission is rare; it is more common for a student with another major, such as applied music, to add the theory major after completing the core theory curriculum at an advanced level. Music theory majors take required lessons in faculty studios and participate in student ensembles.

Music Theory Website

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Double Majors

Within the BM, students may elect to pursue more than one major. For example, a major in applied music or jazz studies may be combined with a major in music education. Students may apply to both majors as first-years or transfer students, or by petitioning to add or change a major during enrollment. Approval to add a second major for an enrolled student is given by the dean of academic affairs on the recommendation of the chairs of the major departments. It is important to note that students may take courses or secondary lessons outside of their major without being enrolled in two majors. Applicants who wish to audition in two separate applied areas will ultimately be admitted to only one performance area.  This is also true of applicants wishing to audition for both jazz and classical performance.  Jazz bass applicants have the option of pursuing a ‘hybrid’ curriculum that allows for 3 semesters of classical study and orchestra participation and 5 semesters of jazz study and jazz ensemble participation.

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