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Degree Overview: Bachelor of Musical Arts (B.M.A.) Degree Program

Majors Overview April 15, 2015

Get information about Bachelor of Musical Arts (B.M.A.) degree programs and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Bachelor of Musical Arts (B.M.A.) Degree Programs

The focus of a Bachelor of Musical Arts (B.M.A.) degree program usually places equal emphasis on music and liberal arts studies. Students may choose a music major with a minor in a liberal art or double major aimed at preparing for greater proficiency for specific careers, including music therapy, wherein students require more than just music education.

In a few schools, music studies are combined with music specializations, such as performance, composition, or pedagogy, instead of with liberal arts. Students whose preference is for exclusive concentration on music may choose to earn a Bachelor of Music (B.M.), while general studies rather than a B.M.A. would be the primary focus of coursework for a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) music program.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma. However, music major applicants to most schools are expected to be adept at playing at least one musical instrument fluently, reading music, and understanding basic music theory apart from having basic piano playing skills. The program may also include a formal audition.


Since liberal arts courses such as psychology, theater, literature, history, art, and business form about 50% of the curriculum in the Bachelor of Musical Arts (B.M.A.) program, a specific second major or minor program is recommended by some schools.

Private music lessons are mandatory every semester in all programs along with giving a senior recital and participating in ensembles such as orchestras, bands, or choirs. There may be other typical music course requirments such as:

•Music technology
•Music literature
•Music history
•Music composition
•Music theory
•Music scoring and arranging

Career Choices

Armed with a B.M.A. degree, these professionals may seek careers such as:

•Music therapist
•Performer (individually or part of a group)
•Teacher (studio or private school)
•Music reporter or librarian

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, job growth rate of five percent have been predicted for musicians and singers (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, these professionals brought in an average hourly wage of $23.50 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Musicians in any music-related career such as music therapy that seek certification or licensure would need continuing education not only to gain such licensure or certification, but also to maintain it. Those involved in some careers in music, such as music performance, may benefit from continued practice that would serve as continuing education, although regular or intermittent music lessons in their specialty is usually the norm with such professionals.

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