Bachelor of Musical Arts

Why/how is this degree valuable in the ‘real’ world?

Combining liberal arts and music studies, the B.M.A. degree in jazz and contemporary improvisation empowers students to develop the musical fluency to become successful, versatile, innovative, and adaptable musicians and fully-engaged citizens in today’s ever-changing world.  

What would my Senior Experience project look like? 

Your Senior Experience project is your opportunity to showcase your artistic and academic knowledge and skills acquired in your studies. Students have presented recitals and lectures, coordinated off-campus concerts of their music, recorded album projects, and written research papers about music experienced while studying abroad.  

As a B.M.A. student, you have the additional potential to integrate your music and non-music abilities to create a significant project that is uniquely your own, which may turn out to be the beginning of a future career path.  Senior Experience projects look wonderful on your resume as they show that you can tackle a long-term, self-directed project and present a finished ‘product’ at the end.

Do I have to be admitted to the college in order to be admitted to the B.M.A.? 

To be accepted to the B.M.A. program, you must be admitted to the college and complete a successful B.M.A. audition. 

Basic steps to apply to the B.M.A.:

  1. Complete an application to Lawrence, using the Common App or the Lawrence App.  Be sure to check the box stating your interest in pursuing the Bachelor of Musical Arts!
  2. Submit your supplemental items for music: a music resume and a music teacher recommendation.
  3. Register for an audition: on campus, at one of our regional sites, or submit a self-recorded audition.

You will receive your admission decision after you have completed your audition.  Admission to Lawrence and the B.M.A. will depend on your demonstrated academic readiness in addition to the quality of your audition.

What are your jazz and improvisational music alumni doing now?  

Lawrence jazz and improvisational music students pursue a number of different career paths during life after Lawrence. Some have gone on to graduate school to further their jazz studies, including programs at the Eastman School of Music, University of North Texas, New York University, UW Madison, etc. 

Through a strong Lawrence alumni network, many students have established careers as freelance jazz performers and composers in cities like Minneapolis, Chicago and New York. Students have founded their own big bands and small groups, and have pursued touring and recording opportunities. 

The new B.M.A. degree enables you to acquire comprehensive skills in both music and non-music fields—giving you the maximum ability to reach your full potential in whatever career path you seek. 

What will the audition experience be like? 

Show us what you do best! Whether you have a traditional jazz or classical music background, or are interested in songwriting, composition, or popular and electronic music, we understand that in today’s world of multi-musicality, musicianship is demonstrated in many different ways.  You will meet one one-on one with our jazz faculty and present examples of your work, which could include jazz transcriptions, etudes, classical works, recordings or scores.  The audition also includes sight-reading and improvisation (free and structured) — find more specific audition requirements

I’m also interested in science/English/humanities/etc. Can I double major?  Can I get a minor in something else? 

Since the B.M.A. includes extensive study in both jazz improvisation and a specialized non-music cognate of your choice, you will not be able to pursue a double degree or an additional minor as a B.M.A. student. However, the B.M.A. is already designed to provide this kind of in-depth study in two primary fields (much like a minor), with 50% music courses and 50% non-music courses of your designation. 

With the B.M.A., you have more ability to select the specific music and non-music courses you desire than in any other program (degree or major) at Lawrence. 

Will I have opportunities to get an internship, learn about music business or arts administration?

Yes!  Many students pursue internships at many non-profit music organizations in Wisconsin and around the country.  The Center for Career, Life, and Community Engagement can help you find those opportunities and connect with alumni who are successful in those fields.   Music students have interned at places like the Merit School of Music, Lyric Opera of Chicago, the New York Jazz Academy, Carnegie Hall, and the Center for Deep Listening.

Can I study abroad?

Yes! Off-campus study is a wonderful opportunity for you to expand your artistic and academic development in a different social and cultural environment.

Be sure to talk to your advisors early on to let them know that you might be interested in studying abroad.  They, and the Off-Campus Programs staff, will help you select a program matching your musical and academic interests, as well as work with you to integrate your off-campus curriculum with your B.M.A. coursework requirements at Lawrence.

What’s the best thing about this new degree program?

The B.M.A. degree offers the best of both worlds! 

In the music coursework (50% of the degree), you will learn critical core musicianship skills like music theory, ear training, sight reading, improvisation, and composition right at your instrument (or voice) in small group classes.  You’ll then immediately apply and internalize these skills together -- incorporating multiple musical genres --providing you the maximum amount of relevant musical knowledge and experience for you to develop your potential as a flexible, adaptable 21st century musician.  

In the non-music coursework (50% of the degree), the required cognate (15% of your non-music classes and similar to a minor) allows for you to do in-depth exploration in an area of your designation, under the guidance of your non-music advisor. This specialized field could enhance and expand your musical career development (e.g., a cognate including Entrepreneurial courses or psychology/ biology classes for music therapy), or be a separate field of study (e.g., math, computer science, biology) that allows you to gain expertise to potentially pursue an additional career other than music.

Bachelor of Music

Why/how is this degree valuable in the ‘real’ world?

The Bachelor of Music is a pre-professional degree program, allowing you to focus primarily on music.  This degree will prepare you well for your next step after Lawrence, especially if you’d like to pursue a career in music performance, music education, or composition.  At Lawrence, students pursuing the B.Mus. will take 2/3 of their total courses in music, and 1/3 of their total courses in non-music classes.  Every musician will take advantage of the liberal arts atmosphere, honing their critical thinking, writing, reading, and collaboration skills, all necessary for the ‘real’ world, whether that be in a professional music setting or in another career path.

Can I study abroad?

Yes! Many musicians take advantage of the rich opportunities to study outside of the United States. There are a few programs focused on music, and many more programs to choose from, including at our London Centre. Musicians can benefit from studying in a new environment, with new teachers, and with a new point of view. Find more information about studying abroad as a music major.

Be sure to talk to your studio teacher and advisor early on to let them know that you’re interested in studying abroad. They, and the Off-Campus Programs staff, will help you pick the right program and help plan your academic courses in preparation for your time abroad.

What would my Senior Experience project look like? 

Performance majors will give a one-hour long recital during their senior year.  The music performed can be chosen from a variety of different repertoires, focused on a particular theme or genre, or in collaboration with other music students (chamber music or new compositions).  Performance majors will work closely with their studio teachers to design and present a final senior recital.

Music Education majors will use their time student teaching as their Senior Experience project.  With guidance from the education department, music education students will collect videos, lesson plans, evaluations, etc. to create a portfolio for teacher certification.

Composition majors will present a recital of their works in collaboration with other music students and performers.  You will show variety in musical style, compositional technique, and artistic conception.  This also gives composition majors the opportunity to direct their peers during rehearsals and performances.

Music Theory majors may write a substantial original (and publishable) essay, a critical exegesis of a monograph, present a lecture-recital, or create a software application for music theory pedagogy or analysis (these are just a few examples).  Your topic will develop from your encounters in upper-level music theory courses.

Do I have to be admitted to the college in order to be admitted to the Bachelor of Music? 
Yes.  To be accepted to the Bachelor of Music degree program, you must be academically admissible to the college and complete a successful audition. 

Basic steps to apply to the Bachelor of Music:

  1. Complete an application to Lawrence, using the Common App or the Lawrence App.  Be sure to check the box that says you’re interested in pursuing the Bachelor of Music!
  2. Submit your supplemental items for music: a music resume and a music teacher recommendation.
  3. Register for an audition: on campus, at one of our regional sites, or submit a self-recorded audition.

You will receive your admission decision after you have completed your audition.  Admission to Lawrence and the Bachelor of Music will depend on your demonstrated academic readiness in addition to the quality of your audition.

What will the audition experience be like? 

For those auditioning on campus, your audition will be much more like a lesson.  You will have the chance to work with your potential future studio teacher, ask questions, and get to know each other.  Throughout the day, other informational presentations, performances, and brunch will be offered so you have the chance to meet other Lawrentians and experience campus in person.  (This is the best experience for students and highly recommended!)

For those auditioning at one of our regional sites, a conservatory admissions counselor will be recording you and will send your video back to our faculty for review.  Conservatory faculty members do not attend regional auditions.  However, if you have questions or would like to talk through your application, the conservatory counselor will be there in person to chat!

I’m also interested in science/English/humanities/etc. Can I double major?  Can I get a minor in something else?

If you are only pursuing the Bachelor of Music degree, you are welcome to double major in any of the other majors offered in the Bachelor of Music (performance, music education, composition, theory).  Double majoring within one degree program is quite common at Lawrence!  Students are also welcome to minor in another subject in the Bachelor of Music or Bachelor of Arts degree.

If you’d like to pursue a second major in the sciences or humanities, the Double Degree program will be the best fit for you.  Please check out the Double Degree website for more information.

What have Bachelor of Music graduates gone on to do after Lawrence?

B.Mus. students have gone on to do a variety of things after they graduate from Lawrence!  Many pursue graduate studies, earning Masters and Doctorates in music performance, composition, and education.  They also are performing in professional bands and orchestras (Chicago Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, United States Army Band, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, etc.) opera programs (Chicago Lyric Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, etc.) and jazz ensembles (Glen Miller Orchestra, New York Jazz Academy), just to name a few. 

Our music education major boasts a 100% placement rate into the job market after graduation!  Those who become teachers often work in public or private school systems for a few years before pursuing a higher degree in education.

Some students take different career paths in medical fields, law, financial advising, arts administration, data analysis, etc.  Having experience in music helped these alumni develop the skills needed to be successful in variety of different fields: the ability to communicate clearly, write effectively, think creatively about a problem or project, have the self-discipline to master their field, and collaborate with colleagues on a regular basis.  Success comes in many different forms—we can’t wait to see what you do with your music degree!

What’s the difference between the B.M.A. and the B.Mus. with a jazz emphasis?

For students pursuing the Bachelor of Music degree, they may add a jazz emphasis to their major.  The main differences between the jazz emphasis in the B.Mus. and the new Bachelor of Musical Arts degree is that the jazz emphasis will also require a classical audition, and will go through the traditional music theory course sequence.  This option is great for students who would like to continue their classical studies alongside jazz studies.

The Bachelor of Musical Arts is primarily focused on Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation and will not require a classical music audition.  It also has its own music theory track (Applied Musicianship) which will incorporate jazz, pop, world music, and other genres of music to teach music theory.

Bachelor of Arts, with a major in Music

How is this degree different from the B.Mus.?

This degree and major option is a more general music major, with 1/3 of total coursework in music and 2/3 of total coursework in non-music subjects.  (The Bachelor of Music has the opposite course distribution.) B.A. in music students will have half-hour private lessons each week and will have fewer requirements in music history and theory.  This frees up time for students to explore other academic interests, double major, or focus on different genres of music outside of the classical realm.

What kinds of performance opportunities will I have?

The same opportunities as a Bachelor of Music student!  Ensemble participation is required for the major in addition to private lessons and a recital. B.A. in music students may also perform in chamber ensembles, choirs, opera productions, and other collaborations.

What will my Senior Experience look like?

Your Senior Experience project is your opportunity to showcase your artistic and academic knowledge and skills acquired in your studies. Students have presented recitals and lectures, coordinated off-campus concerts of their music, recorded album projects, and written research papers about music experienced while studying abroad.  

Can I double major?

Yes!  Students are more than welcome to complete more than one major under the Bachelor of Arts degree program. 

Is an audition required?  What will the audition experience be like?

Yes, an audition is required.  The audition experience will be very similar to a student pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree.  For those auditioning on campus, your audition will be much more like a lesson.  You will have the chance to work with your potential future studio teacher, ask questions, and get to know each other.  Throughout the day, other informational presentations, performances, and brunch will be offered so you have the chance to meet other Lawrentians and experience campus in person.  (This is the best experience for students and highly recommended!)

For those auditioning at one of our regional sites, a conservatory admissions counselor will be recording you and will send your video back to our faculty for review.  Conservatory faculty members do not attend regional auditions.  However, if you have questions or would like to talk through your application, the conservatory counselor will be there in person to chat!

Can I study abroad?

Yes! Many musicians take advantage of the rich opportunities to study outside of the United States.  There are a few programs focused on music, and many more programs to choose from, including at our London Centre.  Musicians can benefit from studying in a new environment, with new teachers, and with a new point of view. Find more information about studying abroad as a music major.

Be sure to talk to your studio teacher and advisor early on to let them know that you’re interested in studying abroad.  They, and the Off-Campus Programs staff, will help you pick the right program and help plan your academic courses in preparation for your time abroad.

Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Arts (Five-year double degree)

Why is this degree valuable in the ‘real’ world?

First, you are getting TWO degrees, both quite valuable!  It’s an innovative course of study that allows you to immerse yourself in music and at least one other field of study at a very high level.  The combinations are endless: trumpet performance and biochemistry, music education and Spanish, composition and anthropology – the list is as diverse as the passions of our students. 

We believe that to realize your full musical potential, you also need to realize your full intellectual potential.  The intense study of music deepens and expands your academic pursuits, just as the rigorous study of an academic discipline deepens and expands your musicianship.  With two degrees, you’ll be ready to take on any career path with your musical, creative, and collaborative skills in addition to your expertise in your academic field.

What will my Senior Experience look like?

Since you’re getting two degrees, you will have two Senior Experience projects.  For music, you would likely give a recital.  For your academic field, your project will be up to you.  Many students choose to combine their Senior Experience projects and create a unique product that showcases how both areas of study intersect.  Your advisors and faculty will guide you in coming up with a project that fits your passions.

Can I really complete two degrees in five years?

Absolutely! The double degree program is one of Lawrence’s flagship programs and is uniquely streamlined so that you can complete both degrees in five years.  You will also have two faculty advisors – one from the college of liberal arts and sciences, and one from the conservatory – so you’ll have plenty of support to make your journey as smooth as possible.  Not only will your advisors help you succeed, but also every professor at Lawrence, whether in the conservatory or college, also fully supports the double degree program. 

The program is certainly challenging and rigorous.  About one-half of your total courses will be in music, and the other half in courses pertaining to your other academic field.  You’ll have like-minded classmates pursuing the double degree with you – about half of the incoming conservatory class each year is pursuing the double degree.  It’s not a theoretical possibility to complete the program—it’s something that happens here on a daily basis, and very much encouraged!

What will the audition experience be like? 

For those auditioning on campus, your audition will be much more like a lesson.  You will have the chance to work with your potential future studio teacher, ask questions, and get to know each other.  Throughout the day, other informational presentations, performances, and brunch are offered so you have the chance to meet other Lawrentians and experience campus in person.  (This is the best experience for students and highly recommended!)

For those auditioning at one of our regional sites, a conservatory admissions counselor will be recording you and will send your video back to our faculty for review.  Conservatory faculty members do not attend regional auditions.  However, if you have questions or would like to talk through your application, the conservatory counselor will be there in person to chat!

Can I study abroad?

Yes! Many musicians and double degree students take advantage of the rich opportunities to study outside of the United States.  There are a few programs focused on music, and many more programs to choose from, including at our London Centre.  Musicians can benefit from studying in a new environment, with new teachers, and with a new point of view.  Find more information about studying abroad as a music major.  Your study abroad experience can also be focused on your other academic field.  You can gain valuable research experience, language immersion, and cultural exchanges in another country.

Be sure to talk to your advisors early on to let them know that you’re interested in studying abroad.  They, and the Off-Campus Programs staff, will help you pick the right program and help plan your academic courses in preparation for your time abroad.