Orchestra students on stage with their instruments

Music (B.A.)

This program gives students the opportunity to explore a variety of fields while still receiving a first-rate musical education. This personalized approach prepares students for a career in music or in an area that combines multiple areas of study.

Degrees & Offerings
  • B.A.
Location
  • Bloomsburg
  • Mansfield
Department
College
Program Contact
Chair of the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance / Assistant Professor
Co-Assistant Chair / Professor
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The Bachelor of Arts in Music program provides a broad education in music, rather than a heavy concentration on any single area. Students enrolled in this program develop musicianship and performance abilities, as well as an intellectual understanding of the arts within the framework of a liberal arts degree. The program is appropriate for undergraduates who wish to major in music, irrespective of specific career aspirations. It serves individuals who seek a broad program in general education rather than intense specialization at the undergraduate level. 

Students at Commonwealth University study with distinguished faculty who are eager to help you achieve your performance and educational goals. The department features numerous large and small performing ensembles, including orchestra, bands, choirs, and chamber ensembles. Our graduates are regularly accepted into the finest graduate programs in music, are active as performers throughout the United States, and include some of the finest music educators in the northeast. The Commonwealth University Music Department offers everything an aspiring musician needs to succeed.

Course Delivery Format

  Bloomsburg

  Face-to-Face
  Online
  Hybrid

  Lock Haven

  Face-to-Face
  Online
  Hybrid

  Mansfield

  Face-to-Face
  Online
  Hybrid

  Clearfield

  Face-to-Face
  Online
  Hybrid

Courses and Curriculum

The Commonwealth University of PA (CU) Department of Music, Theatre & Dance provides an environment that promotes academic, artistic, and personal growth as well as intellectual, professional, ethical, and aesthetic values across campuses in Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield. The department serves the regional, national, and international communities by developing human and material resources. The department is committed to stimulating a continuous pursuit of knowledge, understanding, and skills by students and faculty. All music majors complete coursework in music theory and aural skills, music history (including the study of music from a variety of cultures), class piano, music ensembles, and applied study on primary and secondary instruments, including voice. Bachelor of Arts in Music students also complete the full 45-credit general education curriculum. As well, B.A. in Music students are afforded 33 credits of “free electives” where they can choose to take a wide variety of elective courses, or add minors (18 credits) or concentrations in music- or non-music-related disciplines.

Degree Requirements Degree Works

Note: Degree requirements effective for enrolled students beginning Fall 2023. All enrolled students, including matriculating students prior to Fall 2023, can review their degree program requirements and track progress to degree completion with our degree audit and advisement tool, Degree Works.

  • Primary Instrument/Voice: Students will perform effectively and musically in their primary performance area. This will include proficiency in skills requisite for artistic self-expression, an overview understanding of the relevant repertoire, and demonstrated ability to perform from a cross-section of that repertory.
  • Reading: Students will be fluent in reading music notation, not only as pertains to their primary performance area, but also from full scores, the clefs and transpositions those scores utilize, and contemporary notational techniques.
  • Harmonic Analysis: Students will utilize analytic techniques to effectively describe the large and small-scale structures of music in such a way as to reveal relevant and important information about the score.
  • History: Students will demonstrate an understanding of the development of western music and listen critically to a varied repertoire of music, effectively describing the use of musical elements and expressive devices using advanced technical vocabulary. These descriptions will include identification of historical periods, genres, and interdisciplinary connections within a historical context.  
  • Ensembles: Students will perform in ensembles and be effective, musical and constructive members of musical groups. Successful participation in musical ensembles includes leading small and large groups and working with others to create musically coherent performances.
  • Composition (Years 1 & 2): Students will compose effective musical works that demonstrate an understanding of basic musical elements, including notation, form, and harmonic coherence.  
  • Sight-Reading & Dictation (Years 1 & 2): Students will accurately sight-sing and take aural dictation. Students will improvise on instruments and voice melodies, variations, and accompaniments.
  • Writing: Students will communicate effectively in written form.
  • Piano: Students will demonstrate their proficiency on the piano/keyboard. This includes the ability to prepare works, sight-read, and improvise harmonizations at the keyboard. 
Commonwealth University

Music

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Auditions

Passionate and talented musicians are invited to audition for a place in our esteemed music programs.

We are excited to hear from talented musicians like you! Auditions are a vital part of our application process for incoming music students. A successful audition showcases your musical skills and helps us determine your fit within our vibrant music community.

Learn more about Music Program Auditions

Spend-A-Day

Any high school junior and senior who wishes to be a music major, music minor, or just wants to continue to be involved in music during college, Spend-A-Day is a great way to imagine your future at CU-Mansfield!

Spend-A-Day gives you a first-hand experience of the exciting world of music at CU-Mansfield. You'll meet current students and faculty, attend classes and rehearsals, and get a feel for what CU-Mansfield Music has to offer.

Learn more about Spend-A-Day at CU-Mansfield

Scholarships

We understand the importance of financial aid in pursuing your passion for music and are proud to offer a variety of scholarships to talented and dedicated music students.

We encourage you to visit our scholarship webpage for detailed information on available scholarships and eligibility requirements.

Learn more about Music Scholarships

Facilities

Music facilities at Commonwealth University - Bloomsburg and Mansfield provide the perfect space to practice, collaborate, and perform, empowering you to reach your full musical potential.

Explore our music facilities and resources available to support your academic and musical success.

Learn more about Music, Theatre and Dance Facilities

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Music at Commonwealth University

High Impact Experiences

B.A. in Music students find ample opportunities to apply developing music skills and knowledge in applied lessons, music ensembles, extracurricular activities and organizations, and optional effort, such as performing solo recitals.  Music students are often found performing in local and regional community music opportunities and summer music festival venues. 

The Music Difference

Accreditation
Music programs at Commonwealth University are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music.
Discover the transformative power of music this summer with Commonwealth University's immersive academic camps!

Music Performances

Louis Setzer smiling at the camera.

Commonwealth University gave me the chance to pursue my dream. In high school, music was more of a hobby than a career path. I'd never had as much as a trombone lesson until my first week at CU-Mansfield, and I certainly didn't realize how competitive the process was to become a music education major. There were definitely some growing pains adjusting to the demands of my new musical pursuit. But I was invested in my musical pursuit, and CU-Mansfield, I learned, was invested in me. As an education major, I learned the value of hard work, which has helped me succeed in both the classroom and the practice room. As I matured both musically and as a young adult, I grew from the incredible faculty that constantly guided me down the right path.

Louis Setzer '11
Music Education
Louis Setzer smiling at the camera.

Program Contacts

Nathan Rinnert

Nathan Rinnert

  • Music Education Coordinator - Mansfield, Professor
  • Mansfield
CommonwealthU University Employee

Amelia Garbisch

  • Music Education Coordinator - Bloomsburg, Assistant Professor
  • Bloomsburg
David Tedford

David Tedford

  • Chair of the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance / Assistant Professor
  • Bloomsburg
CommonwealthU University Employee

David Curtin

  • Professor of Visual & Performing Arts
  • Lock Haven

Applying to This Program

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  • Application Process

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    As the largest comprehensive university in north central and northeastern Pennsylvania, CommonwealthU works hard to provide a world-class education that consistently rates among the best values in the nation.

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