What is a music performance degree?

If you are looking into university music programs, you’ve likely had your sights set on music for a good many years. Music is who you are – it’s part of your identity. A degree in music performance 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 Manuscript

Why study music performance 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 institutions, 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.

Our music performance program is designed for talented musicians who want to earn a degree that readies them for the music profession, whether go they on to graduate school or enter the field directly after undergraduate studies. Nearly 70% of our performance graduates pursue advanced degrees, and about 20% go into the field post-graduation.

Our music performance tracks are geared for vocal, piano, organ, strings, wind or percussion emphasis. You’ll find many of our alumni in faculty positions at the finest universities in the country. Others go on to careers with prestigious opera houses and companies, symphonies and other ensembles.

Imparting a conservatory-quality education, Furman’s music program and those who lead it are committed to helping you develop the skills you need to succeed in the professional world. You’ll sharpen your analytical, listening, creative, improvisation, communication, problem-solving, time management, interpretation and other skills, boosting competencies that are readily transferable no matter the 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 or start your application today. 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, and participate in one of our many ensembles.

Recitals, concerts, master classes, camps and conferences – with over 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 to thrive in the arts world.

Music performance 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. Applied lessons in:

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  • 100%
    Music majors who participate in any engaged learning experience, from recitals to large ensembles, to study away, internships and research
  • 68%
    Music performance graduates who pursue graduate school
  • 48%
    Music performance majors who study away
What our students say
“The music department quickly became my home for creative growth and inspiration at Furman. There is a rich wealth of musical knowledge within the department, with professors encouraging musical growth in all capacities. The department has been the place where I’ve found not only musical inspiration but also my own identity as a musician.”
– Lauren Clifford ’22, B.M., music theory, and B.M., piano performance

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 Britt

Professor of Low Brass

Omar Carmenates

Professor of Music, Percussion

Anastasia Christofakis

Assistant Professor of Music, Clarinet

Anna Joiner

Visiting Associate Professor of Music, Viola

Grant Knox

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

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 Performance Major F.A.Q.
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