What is a church music degree?

“Music praises God. Music is well or better able to praise him than the building of the church in all its decoration; it is the church’s greatest ornament.” – Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)

You draw inspiration from the church and want to be part of what creates a resplendent atmosphere for worship – liturgy, readings, prayer, sacraments, and sermons, but most of all, sacred music. A church music degree is a course of study that prepares students for careers as church musicians.

Why study church music at Furman?

Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music since 1938, the Furman University Department of Music is recognized as one of the highest-rated and most comprehensive among national liberal arts and sciences colleges, offering degree programs for passionate performers, composers, theorists and music educators. We attract ambitious musicians from across the globe – those who desire to major in music as well as those who wish to major in another discipline while continuing their music.

Imparting a conservatory-quality education, Furman’s music program and those who lead it are committed to equipping you with the tools you need to succeed in the professional world. You’ll sharpen your analytical, listening, creative, improvisation, communication, problem-solving, team-building, time management, interpretation and other skills, boosting competencies that are readily transferable no matter the career path you take.

In Furman’s intentionally small studios, faculty are free to mentor, help you advance, assist you in exploring the right repertoire, and are integral to your overall growth as a musician. Plan a visit to Furman’s beautiful campus or start your application today. Learn more about the audition process.

How will you learn?

Furman’s Bachelor of Music in church music begins with a foundation comprising a series of courses aimed at developing your overall musicianship and your understanding of the nuances of music and beauty that define the parlance of music. Basic musicianship, including written, aural and keyboard components, launches the course sequence in your freshman year. It is part of a series taken by all music majors.

Develop your technique through weekly, one-on-one lessons with master teachers and acclaimed performing artists. Learn a new instrument (or two). Get to know the members of your new Furman music family, who you’ll study with over the next four years.

And because we are an exclusively undergraduate program, you are front and center, and need not compete with master’s and doctoral candidates. It bears repeating – Furman is well positioned to expose undergraduate musicians to multiple performances and individualized instruction which prepare you for a life of consequence in the arts world.

Featured church music courses

  • 100%
    Music majors who participate in any engaged learning experience, from recitals to large ensembles, to study away, internships and research
  • 53%
    Music majors who complete at least one internship
  • 28%
    Music students who double major

What our students say

“The Furman music department allows students to explore music in so many ways with the help of wonderful faculty members. They are an incredibly knowledgeable and talented group of musicians, and I have had the pleasure of working with many of them in my time at Furman.”
– Emma Mehigan ’22, B.M., church music, and B.M., music theory

Our faculty

Mark Britt

Professor of Music, Low Brass

Omar Carmenates

Professor of Music, Percussion

Benjamin Dobbs

Assistant Professor of Music Theory

Anastasia Christofakis

Assistant Professor of Music, Clarinet

Anna Joiner

Visiting Associate Professor Music - Viola, Chamber Music, and String Education

Grant Knox

Associate Professor of Voice; Director of Sarah Reese Lyric Theatre

Matt Olson

Professor of Saxophone and Director of Jazz Studies

Derek Parsons

Professor of Piano; Director, Furman Summer Keyboard Institute

Sue Samuels

Director of Bands, Music Education Coordinator

Charles Tompkins

Professor of Music, Organ and Music Theory; University Organist
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Church Music Major F.A.Q.