The School of Music offers the following major and minor programs. Follow the links to view information about admission and course requirements in the UA undergraduate catalog.
- Music Performance Major (BM)
- Music Composition (BM)
- Music Theory Major (BM)
- Music Therapy Major (BM)
- Music Major (BA)
- Music Major With Arts Administration Concentration (BA)
- Music Education section (for B.S. degree)
Bachelor of music (BM) in performance
The School of Music offers the bachelor of music degree in performance. This degree is designed for students planning careers in performance or private teaching. Students choose a major instrument from the following:
Students are required to participate extensively in large and small ensembles and to present solo recitals in their junior and senior years. Undergraduate performance majors must also appear on student convocations presented weekly in the Concert Hall.
Performance majors must enroll in pedagogy and literature classes appropriate to their area of specialization, and undergraduate majors typically study a secondary instrument, usually piano, as well.
Students enrolled in other degree programs in the School of Music may also enroll for private performance study with the faculty.
Bachelor of music (BM) in composition and theory
The School of Music offers the bachelor of music degree in composition and in theory. This degree is designed for those considering careers as professional composers, theorists, or jazz arrangers/performers. Instruction is offered in theory, counterpoint, arranging, composition, and electronic music. See the Composition and Theory website for more information.
Bachelor of music (BM) in performance with emphasis in jazz studies
The School of Music offers the bachelor of music in performance degree with an emphasis in jazz studies and music media. See the Jazz Studies website for complete information.
Bachelor of music (BM) in music therapy
The bachelor of music in music therapy degree is the only music therapy program in the state of Alabama. Graduates are eligible to take the board certification examination given by the Certification Board for Music Therapists.
Music therapists work in a broad range of health-related settings. The design of our music therapy program is to prepare students to work with many different populations and to become proficient and versatile musicians. After courses have been finished, a music therapy major completes a six-month, full-time clinical internship. The Capstone Association for Music Therapy is a student organization for service projects and fellowship.
Prospective music therapy majors audition for the School of Music and for scholarships in the same way as all other music majors. See the Music Therapy website for more information.
Bachelor of science (BS) in music education
The undergraduate program in music education at The University of Alabama offers degree programs in instrumental and vocal/choral music. Both of these programs lead to the bachelor of science degree in education, and the student who completes either of these programs can qualify to receive the Class B Professional Certificate for teachers with certification extending from kindergarten through high school (K-12).
The School of Music also offers the Master of Arts degree in music education, the Education Specialist degree, and the Doctor of Education in music education degree.
Bachelor of arts (BA) in music administration
The School of Music offers the bachelor arts degree in music administration. Music majors can choose to combine their interest in music with an understanding of the business of arts management. In addition to music courses, students take courses in accounting, economics, sales, mass communication, and administration. Students also gain practical experience working in a box office, promoting events, and managing concert halls. See the Music Administration site for more information.
Bachelor of arts (BA) in music
The School of Music offers the bachelor of arts degree in music. The degree is designed for students who intend to pursue advanced degrees in musicology, music librarianship, or music theory and those for whom a general liberal arts curriculum is more appealing than the highly specific curriculum of the BM or BS degree.
Preparing for Courses in Music Theory
All freshman music majors are required to enroll for MUS 115: Theory I in their first semester. The theory faculty recommend that students acquire at least the basic musical skills listed below before entering MUS 115.
- Using treble and bass clefs, be able to read and write notes on the staff.
- Be able to quickly identify and write signatures for all major and minor keys. Know the relative and parallel minor of each major key; know the relative and parallel major of each minor key.
- Be able to quickly identify and write all major and minor (natural, harmonic and melodic) scales.
- Be able to write and identify major, minor, perfect, augmented, and diminished intervals. Know the inversion of any interval.
- Be able to write, clap, and count simple rhythm patterns.
- Be able to sing major scales using letter names or scale-degree numbers.
- For students who have experience in sight singing and ear training, practice singing and dictating simple diatonic melodies. Practice singing major and minor scales in all keys.
Note: Information about note reading, key signatures, scales, and intervals can be found in most theory texts. If you plan to study a theory text to acquire skills beyond those listed above, we recommend Harmony and Voice Leading, 2d ed. (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. 1978) by Edward Aldwell and Carl Schachter.
Undergraduate Transfer Examination in Music Theory
All transfer students who wish to receive credit for music theory courses taken at other institutions are required to take a placement examination. The examination, which is given one or two days before the beginning of each term, includes but is not limited to the following.
- Melody harmonization in chorale style
- Diatonic and chromatic harmony and part-writing
- Roman numeral/figured bass analysis
- Figured bass realization
- Analysis of form
Special emphasis is placed on the music of the common-practice era.
Students take one of two examinations, depending upon the number of course hours they wish to transfer. One test draws upon materials covered in the first two semesters of the core music theory sequence at the University of Alabama and consists of portions of the final examinations from those semesters; the other draws upon materials covered in the third and fourth semesters of that sequence and consists of portions of the final examinations from those semesters.
Preparing for the Exam
In preparation for the examination, students may wish to review one or more standard undergraduate textbooks. We recommend the following:
- Harmony and Voice-Leading, Edward Aldwell & Carl Schachter. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1989: This is the textbook used in the first four semesters of the core music theory sequence at the University of Alabama, and is the one we most strongly recommend. The table below lists the chapters covered in each semester of that sequence.
- Semester 1 (MUS115): chapters 1-10; 20, 21
- Semester 2 (MUS117): chapters 11-19; 23, 25, 26
- Semester 3 (MUS215): chapters 22, 24, 27, 28, 29
- Semester 4 (MUS217): chapters 30-32
- Other texts that cover essentially the same material include Allen Forte’s Tonal Harmony in Theory and Practice and Robert Gauldin’s Harmonic Practice in Tonal Music.
- Scales, Intervals, Keys, Triads, Rhythm and Meter, a programmed text by John Clough, Joyce Conley, and Claire Boge, published by Norton
- Form in Tonal Music by Douglas Green
- Form in Music by Wallace Berry
Piano Proficiency Exam
All music majors* must successfully pass MUA 124 (Class Piano IV) or MUA 299 (Piano Proficiency Exam) prior to graduation. Should a student wish to be exempt from any part of the Class Piano sequence, the student may register for and take the Piano Proficiency Exam. The exam takes place on the last day of classes each semester. The exam may be administered at the beginning of a semester with the permission of the class piano instructor.
It is recommended that the MUA 299 Piano Proficiency Exam be taken at least four semesters prior to a student’s anticipated graduation.
The requirements for the Piano Proficiency Exam (MUA 299) can be found here: Piano Proficiency Exam
*Piano and organ majors are required to complete a separate technique proficiency exam as part of their sophomore qualifying exam. Non-keyboard majors pursuing the Bachelor of Arts in Music degree are not required to complete the piano proficiency exam.