Hands playing piano

Major in Music

Program Overview

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts

Department Name

Music

Department Chair Name

Randall Umstead

Department Assistant Name

Melissa Browning

What is a music degree?

If you are looking into university music programs, you’ve likely been devoted to the study of music for a good many years. Music is who you are. It’s part of your identity. A degree in music is the study of an art form that transcends words on a page, numbers in an equation, a reaction between reagents in a chemistry lab. For many, the study of music is not just something you want to do – it’s something you must do.

Sheet music

Why study music at Furman?

Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music since 1938, Furman’s 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 wish to major in music as well as those who choose 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 helping you develop the skills 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 what career path you may 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, start your application or learn more about the audition process.

How will you learn?

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.

Recitals, concerts, master classes, camps and conferences – with more than 260 events typically offered year-round, Furman is a vibrant part of both the Furman and Greenville music scene. Abundant on-stage opportunities for displaying your talent await at Furman. 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.

All students participate in a least one ensemble each semester during their Furman career. You’ll have the option to showcase your work in recitals and in Furman Engaged, a daylong celebration in which students come together each year to share their research, internships, study away, performances, visual art and more. Underscoring the close-knit relationships that emerge among professors and students, one of our jazz students has recently recorded an album with a faculty member, and has learned firsthand what it takes to perform on, co-produce and bring a project to market.

Careers for music majors

As a music major, you’ll be primed for the workforce with finely tuned analytical, listening, creative, improvisation, communication, problem-solving, team-building, time management, interpretation and other skills, which set you up for virtually limitless career options.

Many of our graduates seek advanced degrees, while others have landed positions such as:

  • Musician
  • Singer
  • Postsecondary teacher, instructor or tutor
  • Historian
  • Social and human services specialist
  • Clergy member
  • Sales manager
  • Business development specialist
  • Producer or director
  • Public relations and fundraising manager
  • General and operations manager
  • Chief executive
  • Computer support specialist
  • Human resources specialist
  • Marketing manager
  • Network and computer systems manager
  • Research assistant
  • Financial manager
  • Entertainment and recreation manager

Music courses: What will you study?

Central to the curriculum across all music majors are weekly one-on-one applied lessons and participation in a major ensemble. Depending on your area of expertise or instrument, some sample courses you might take are listed below.

Opera Performance Studies

Loading...

Vocal Performance Topics

Loading...

String Performance Topics

Loading...

100%
Music majors who participate in any engaged learning experience, from recitals to large ensembles, to study away, internships and research
59%
Music B.A. graduates who also complete a second major
53%
Music majors who participate in an internship

What our students say

Furman chapel during sunrise, from the trees

“The music program at Furman has provided me with incredible support and unmatched opportunities. As a music major on the pre-med track, I have been able to fully pursue my musical passions while accomplishing all my goals within the sciences.” – Scott Johnson ’23, B.M., vocal performance, and B.A., religion

Our faculty

Your academic advisor will help you explore your passions, define your interests and achieve your goals. You’ll tap into a widespread network of community and alumni mentors to help you on your individual educational path – and to the opportunities at the end of it. Furman’s music faculty represent decades of study and real-world expertise. Take your first steps by contacting admissions or reading more about how to apply.

  • Mark E. Britt
    Title:

    Professor of Low Brass

    Mark Britt

    Mark E. Britt
    Title:

    Professor of Low Brass

    Phone Number: 8642942116

    View Profile

  • Omar Carmenates
    Title:

    Professor of Music, Percussion

    Omar Carmenates

    Omar Carmenates
    Title:

    Professor of Music, Percussion

    Phone Number: 8642942406

    View Profile

  • Anastasia Christofakis
    Title:

    Assistant Professor of Music, Clarinet

    Antastasia Christofakis

    Anastasia Christofakis
    Title:

    Assistant Professor of Music, Clarinet

    Phone Number: 8642942117

    View Profile

  • Anna Barbrey Joiner
    Title:

    Visiting Associate Professor of Music, Viola

    Anna Joiner

    Anna Barbrey Joiner
    Title:

    Visiting Associate Professor of Music, Viola

    Phone Number: 8642943199

    View Profile

  • Grant Knox
    Title:

    Associate Professor of Voice; Director of Lyric Opera; Coordinator of Voice

    Grant Knox

    Grant Knox
    Title:

    Associate Professor of Voice; Director of Lyric Opera; Coordinator of Voice

    Phone Number: 8642943034

    View Profile

  • Matt Olson
    Title:

    Professor of Saxophone and Director of Jazz Studies

    Matt Olson

    Matt Olson
    Title:

    Professor of Saxophone and Director of Jazz Studies

    Phone Number: 8642943284

    View Profile

  • Derek Parsons
    Title:

    Professor of Piano; Director, Furman Summer Keyboard Institute

    Derek Parsons

    Derek Parsons
    Title:

    Professor of Piano; Director, Furman Summer Keyboard Institute

    Phone Number: 8642942099

    View Profile

  • Sue Samuels
    Title:

    Director of Bands, Music Education Coordinator

    Sue Samuels

    Sue Samuels
    Title:

    Director of Bands, Music Education Coordinator

    Phone Number: 8642943193
    Email:

    View Profile

  • FAQ

    What can you do with a music degree?

    An array of skills such as analytical, listening, creative, improvisation, communication, problem-solving, team-building, time management, interpretation and other skills position you for a diverse career options.

    Many of our graduates seek advanced degrees. However, others have pursued a career as a musician, singer, postsecondary teacher, instructor or tutor, historian, social and human services specialist, clergy member, sales manager, business development specialist or producer. Graduates have also worked as a public relations and fundraising manager, general and operations manager, chief executive, computer support specialist, human resources specialist, marketing manager, network and computer systems manager, and entertainment and recreation manager.

    Are there opportunities for study away as a music major?

    Train a global lens on your passion for music through “Music in Italy.” The semester-long, conservatory-style program began in 2006 with a partnership with the Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo. Each fall, 10 to 14 students study Italian and music history amid the Tuscan landscape.

    On top of the Italian language component offered at the Accademia, you’ll study applied music (voice, instrumental or keyboard) in individual weekly lessons and coaching sessions with Italian music teachers. Furman faculty teach a music history course and an interdisciplinary, experiential course, “Italian Art and Culture,” featuring a series of excursions and lectures revealing the richness of Tuscany’s stunning visual art and architecture.

    You’ll collaborate in several “Movement for Musicians” sessions taught by Accademia dell’Arte faculty, which allow you to spend class time together with the Accademia’s theatre students. You’ll take part in performances of chamber music and solo recitals both at the Accademia and in local venues. Regular concert attendance in Florence, overnight excursions, along with independent travel opportunities during a week-long fall break give you ample opportunity to experience the cultural life of Western Europe.

    If a shorter study away is more your style, sign up for courses such as May Experience (MayX) “Opera Overload.” Students split time between Greenville, South Carolina, and New York City, and explore opera, its history in the United States (with a focus on the Metropolitan Opera as an institution), and various topics related to opera, such as elitism, racism and issues of power and sexuality.

    What is the average salary for music majors?

    The average base salary for a B.A. in music is $64,000 per year, according to payscale.com.

    What ensembles are available?

    A large percentage of the Furman student body participates in music. Unique for a school of 2,600 undergraduates, we seat a full all-undergrad symphony orchestra, chamber strings, a jazz ensemble and multiple jazz combos, three choirs, a symphonic concert band, a marching band, a paid pep band, fully staged lyric theater with pit orchestra, and multiple pipe organs.

    Furman offers a multitude of chamber music ensembles, state-of-the-art video streaming and interactive virtual classrooms.

    How long does it take to earn a music degree?

    The music B.A. at Furman is a four-year program.

    Request Information

    Loading…