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Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music

Bachelor of Arts in Music

» BA in Music

Design your own music emphasis with the BA in Music! This unique, flexible degree allows you to explore virtually any area of music, performance-oriented or not, including music history, jazz studies, music therapy, pop music, musical theatre, music psychology, world music, music tech, film music, and more!

In this program you will:

  • study chronological major style periods of Western music,
  • study historical and cultural contexts of music,
  • and refine your research and pedagogical skills in musicology, ethnomusicology, and related fields.

These skills are honed in conjunction with a strong liberal arts foundation that will allow you to flourish as a musician and a scholar.

You can also double-major in other music programs, such as Music Composition and Music Education, as well as disciplines beyond music.

By the time you graduate you'll be prepared to:

  • Demonstrate fluent musicianship skills, including:
    • an understanding of music theory
    • proficiency with aural skills and sight reading
    • proficiency as a soloist on your main instrument
    • basic piano skills
    • the ability to rehearse and perform collaboratively and contribute to an ensemble
  • Define the eras of music history and identify and distinguish the musical styles and genres associated with each.
  • Create original, insightful research into music history and analysis, resulting in an individual capstone project in the form of a research paper suitable for submission to graduate schools or publication in relevant scholarly field.

Performance Opportunities

Bachelor of Arts in Music students at Chapman University have several curricular and extra-curricular performance opportunities. These include:

Program Faculty

The BA in Music program is led by Associate Professor Dr. Jessica Sternfeld, a musicologist with additional expertise in Musical Theatre and American Popular Music. Dr. Sternfeld earned doctorate and master's degrees in musicology from Princeton University, and a BA with Honors in Music from Wesleyan University.

In addition to directing the BA in Music program, Dr. Sternfeld's scholarly work focuses on grounding musical works in context and exploring their meaning, audience, and cultural significance. Her most recent work, Words Fail: Trauma and the Musical (Oxford University Press, 2020), focuses on how trauma is portrayed in musicals, exploring the “trauma narrative” in contemporary society, as seen in film, television, and self-help materials, specifically the notion of a trauma victim who testifies and thus is healed. Her book explores how this narrative plays out on stage, with investigations of what trauma looks and sounds like, and how shows obey or thwart the current cultural expectation.

Where This Degree Will Take You

An understanding of music has helped countless people achieve a wide spectrum of careers over the centuries. Today, a Bachelor of Arts in Music degree from Chapman will prepare you for a career in:

  • Elementary music education
  • Collegiate music education
  • Musicology/Ethnomusicology
  • Music therapy
  • Music direction
  • Music libraries
  • Archives
  • Arts organizations
  • Arts journals
  • and music technology groups, to name a few.

What's more, by adding a double major or minor, students may harness their bachelor of arts degree in even more diverse careers after graduation.

You’ll also have access to free lifetime career advising from our dedicated Career Advisor for the College of Performing Arts. That means that you can get career advice and preparation from the day you begin the program to post-graduation.

Admission and Tours

Learn more about applying to the conservatory on our Music Admission page, including information about auditions and deadlines, or check out the curriculum on our catalog page.

Want to learn more about Chapman? We are always available for tours and information sessions. We’d love to meet you!

Related Programs


Bachelor of Music

Music Minor

You can explore all of Chapman’s undergraduate majors and minors with our program finder.