Program Overview

Bachelor of Arts
Department Chair Name
Randall Umstead
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.

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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.

Featured music courses

Central to the curriculum across all music majors are weekly one-on-one applied lessons and participation in a major ensemble.

  • 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

“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

Mark Britt

Professor of Music, Low Brass

Omar Carmenates

Professor of Music, Percussion

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
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Music Major F.A.Q.