Department of Music

Student Handbook

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Degrees And Musician Profiles

Bachelor of Arts in Music

National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) Basic Competencies for a Bachelor of Arts in Music

A Bachelor of Arts degree is one that allows a person to concentrate in more than one field of study.  A person chooses a major field of study but has a number of elective requirements that allow study in other disciplines on campus.  The general education core requirements are the same for all degrees except substitutions that are allowed from special degree requirements (philosophy as a social science in the B.A., for example).

The B.A. in Music allows a person to study music theory, music history, and individual performance, to play in ensembles and offers them the study in other academic areas. There are fewer fixed music requirements than the other music degrees, but more elective upper division music credits instead. Study in at least one other academic area is required. There are specified minors with planned courses of study (see the undergraduate bulletin for listing of choices), but students may also choose a variety of electives in other areas, including from the Entertainment Industry studies in the DMI, rather than one minor area.  There is a foreign language and a Senior Capstone Experience requirement (see Appendix for guidelines).  Performance benchmarks are more closely matched to the goals of the student. Upper division applied study is NOT required to graduate unless a recital will serve as the senior capstone presentation.

Possible outcomes of graduating with a B.A. in music would be music journalism (critique or editing), music library work, church music, day school worker, arts administration (orchestra manager, ticket sales, concert associations), music industry (business, publishing, recording, etc.), professional schools (law, seminary), or graduate study in  the liberal arts (M.A.).  The B.A. is widely recognized as a course of study for those persons wishing to acquire knowledge on a broader base.

Personal Characteristics of a BA major:

  • Variety of interests
  • Interest in reading and writing
  • Secondary interests in teaching or performing
  • General background in music
  • Open to a range of career possibilities.

Bachelor of Music Education

National Association of Schools of Music Basic Competencies for a Bachelor of Music Education

The Bachelor of Music Education degree (B.M.E.) is designed to train and educate students to become music teachers.  Completing all requirements qualifies a candidate to apply for a license to teach in Mississippi. In addition to general education courses, music theory, music history, and performance, the curriculum includes courses that expose teacher candidates to human behavior, basic principles of learning, methods of instruction, as well as providing a chance to observe teachers in the field and gain experience teaching students.  A candidate must be approved to enter the Teacher Education Program by successfully completing lower level courses in music, having a 2.75-3.00 overall DSU grade point average on general education courses, passing MUS 305, by reaching upper level performance standards, and by exhibiting personal qualities, called “Dispositions,” that are deemed necessary for success as a teacher.  Admission to the music education degree program is initially based on an audition and music literacy exam.  Candidates are expected to have had prior musical experiences.

Two additional requirements are a senior recital and a full semester as a music teacher intern at an approved school in Mississippi.  Passing scores on standardized examinations called CASE, Praxis II, and PLT exams are also necessary to complete this degree and for licensure. Teacher interns are evaluated by state standards called the Teacher Intern Assessment Instruments, or TIAI, accompanied by a Teacher Work Sample (TWS) document, and by standards and competencies established by the Council on the Accreditation of Education Programs (CAEP), the National Association of Schools Music (NASM), and the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC).  Candidates must meet all graduation requirements, have passing scores on standardized teacher exams, and be approved by the music faculty to be able to enter the internship.

Three areas of concentration are possible by majoring in music education:  vocal/general at the elementary level, vocal/general at the secondary level, and instrumental at the secondary level.  Students in the vocal/general concentration receive focused study in voice or piano and learn to direct choirs and to teach elementary general music.  Instrumental majors receive focused study on a band instrument or piano. They learn to direct bands and teach instrumental performance at the junior and senior high levels.  State licensure in music requires training at all levels as all Mississippi music teacher licenses cover grades K – 12.  It is a mark of a true music educator to be trained to teach music at all levels. All DSU music education majors are trained to teach at the elementary school level, as it is sometimes also a part of a secondary position, or may be the only job available.    .

Students who complete the B.M.E. degree generally apply for a teaching license and teach music at public, private, or church schools.  Some continue their study at the graduate level by pursuing a Master of Music Education degree, or another type of graduate music degree. Some choose to teach several years before entering graduate school.  A professional music educator who desires to teach at the university level will likely need to earn a doctoral degree in music education, conducting, or a closely-related field.

The Bachelor of Music Education degree may also prepare a music major to be a church musician who rehearses and conduct choirs and small instrumental ensembles, may play a keyboard instrument, and facilitates and teaches children and adults involved in the church’s music program develop their musicianship skills.  The B.M.E often requires more than eight semesters to complete all requirements, depending on electives, number of ensembles, and other personal factors. However, a candidate can complete the requirements of the degree program as listed in four years if the curriculum is followed as suggested and requirements are met without repetition.

Characteristics of Effective Music Teachers

  • acceptable writing and communication skills
  • ability to motivate others
  • ability to organize, describe, and demonstrate music concepts and skills
  • genuine interest in young people
  • competent musical performing skill
  • excellent aural skills
  • solid understanding of music fundamentals and history
  • patience and flexibility
  • engaging personality
  • organizational and management skills
  • patience and mature judgment
  • respect for others and authority
  • ability to draw conclusions and solve problems
  • sensitivity to diversity among students
  • confidence and assertiveness
  • punctuality
  • dependability
  • responsibility for actions
  • ability to plan and assess instruction and learning
  • desire to continually learn about music and teaching

Bachelor of Music

National Association of Schools of Music Basic Competencies for a Bachelor of Music in Performance

The Bachelor of Music degree at DSU is designed for people who wish to concentrate their study in performance.  The degree requires a bulk of studies in the various music courses as well as a significant amount of time in individual performance.  Entrance performance levels are the highest for this degree.  Admission to this degree must be approved by a faculty jury which includes a performance audition and a music literacy examination.  Coursework prepares students to go on to graduate work, usually in performance, but also conducting, musicology, music theory, or other applied music areas.  A junior and a senior recital are required to graduate.

Persons completing the B.M. degree often perform with ensembles or performing companies, teach privately, compose music, or go on to graduate school.  A Master of Music degree requires further study in music literature and applied music, as well as additional recitals and/or creative/scholarly activity.  A Doctor of Musical Arts degree is a logical continuation of this degree for those wishing to be a professor at the collegiate level. The D.M.A. degree often requires several recitals, a written document, pedagogy courses, as well as additional studies in music literature and theory.  Conducting is another focal area for graduate applied music study.  Both the M.M. and the D.M.A. could qualify a person to teach applied music at a university, perform as a recitalist, and/or engage in creative activity or scholarly research.  Competition is very high in all areas of applied music.  The B.M. is considered a professional degree in music.

Personal Characteristics of a Professional Musician

  • excellent musical performance abilities
  • solid background in music fundamentals
  • ability to concentrate under pressure
  • strong sense of self and assertiveness
  • personal discipline of time and practice
  • superior scholarship
  • ability to analyze and memorize
  • long-range career goals
  • love of music and performing

Academic Minor in Music (22 Hours)

  • MUS 105 Music Literature: 3 hours
  • MUS 107, 108 Group Piano: 2 hours
  • General Education Course: 3 hours

MUS 114 Music in American Culture, OR

MUS 116 History of Rock and Roll, OR

MUS 117 History of Jazz

  • MUS 150, 151 Music Theory: 6 hours
  • MUS 152, 153 Musicianship: 2 hours
  • AMU Individual Performance (Voice or Single Instrument): 4 hrs
  • Large ensemble (in area of individual performance): 2 hrs. (2 semesters)

A Music Minor must meet minimum standards for Performance as described in Performance section of course descriptions which includes an audition with applied faculty in the area of performance.  Permission to take performance must be secured from the Chair of the Department of Music.

Students working toward the Minor in Music must earn a minimum grade of C for graduation and for prerequisites to music courses.

DSU Music Courses

Credit Hour production is set according to guidelines from The 2015-2016 NASM Handbook (page 74)

Lecture classes – 1 credit hour = minimum of 1 hour in class; 2 hours outside of class

1 credit hour = 1.25 hour class; 2 hours outside of class

  • Music Education
  • Conducting

2 credit hours

  • Conducting – 3 hours of class; 4 hours outside of class

3 credits – 3 hour class meetings; 6 hours outside of class

  • Music Theory
  • Music Education Methods
  • Music History/Music Literature
  • Orchestration
  • Form and Analysis
  • Vocal Pedagogy

Lab classes – 1 credit hour = 2-3 hour (50 minute) class meetings per week

  • Instrument methods – 3 hours
  • Diction – fall 1.5 hours; spring 2.5 hours
  • Musicianship – 3 hours
  • Group Piano – 3 hours
  • Sophomore Aural theory – 2 hours

Ensembles – 1 credit hour = a minimum of 3 hours of rehearsal and individual practice weekly

AMU Individual Performance (minimum)

  • 1 credit hour – A 30 min. lesson weekly plus a minimum of 3 hours of practice
  • 2 credit hours – A 60 min. lesson weekly plus a minimum of 6 hours of practice