The Bachelor of Arts in Music degree is designed to provide candidates with broad musical knowledge and skills in a liberal arts context, offering opportunities to integrate music into a career, and, in some cases, perform as a vocalist or instrumentalist. All Music Department faculty participate in the varied instructional aspects of the BA degree, teaching courses in music theory, history, literature, and aural perception, leading instrumental and vocal ensembles, and offering applied studio instruction.
B.A. students are required to complete at least four semesters of one-on-one vocal or instrumental study, supplemented by six semesters of participation in a major performance ensemble. Students interested in performance have the option of pursuing further applied study and ensemble participation. A culminating Capstone project requires all B.A. candidates to design their own individualized study or performance, in conjunction with a faculty mentor, which may comprise a recital, internship, senior thesis, or special project.
All B.A. degree candidates are required to take an introductory course in Music Studies and Careers, and may select electives within the department and throughout the College in Music Business, Arts Leadership, and Business Entrepreneurship. Students also have the opportunity to combine the B.A. music major with a range of academic minors that offer opportunities for interdisciplinary education and preparation for specific career goals: African and African American Studies, Creative Studies, Dance, History, Leadership, Museum Studies, Writing, and many others.
The School of Arts and Humanities offers a supplemental certificate program for creative artists in Entrepreneurship in the Arts at the Burchfield Penney Art Center on campus, and the BSC Small Business Development Center sponsors seminars throughout the academic year devoted to the development of independent business enterprise in the region.
The Buffalo State Career Development Center provides comprehensive information on job, internship,and graduate school opportunities (both in the Western New York region and nationally), and counseling on all aspects of the application process (including resume preparation, mock interviews, and GRE/GMAT/LSAT testing). CDC also sponsors an annual Graduate School Fair in the fall and a Jobs Fair in the spring to further assist students in gaining networking opportunities.
As part of the SUNY Applied Learning framework, an extensive Music Department internship program places B.A. students at a wide variety of sites in the vibrant Western New York arts community, encompassing arts administration, publicity and marketing, instrumental technology and repair, digital music production and audio recording, educational outreach, arts therapy, and social services. Music majors may also intern at multiple sites in order to sample diverse aspects of the arts industry.
As part of its career preparation activities, the Music Department sponsors a Music Forum lecture-workshop series to explore arts careers topics of interest to music majors. Past guests have included department alumni enrolled in graduate programs nationally, as well as prominent area music professionals such as Dr. Cynthia Burnett from the BSC International Center for Studies in Creativity, music career consultant Angela Myles Beeching (author of Beyond Talent), saxophonist Ray Ricker of the Institute for Music Leadership at the Eastman School of Music, and Buffalo Philharmonic Music Director JoAnn Falletta.
B.A. students may elect to participate in numerous supplementary performance opportunities, including competing for solo opportunities with the Buffalo State Philharmonia or travel grants offered by the Office of Undergraduate Research and the Music Department to participate in music festivals and other events. Vocalists may pursue musical theater training by electing either a Minor or Double Major in Music-Theater. All students are eligible to audition for participation in Theater Department productions (which are open to the public), including an annual musical theater offering.
All B.A degree candidates are required to participate in six semesters of primary music ensemble. The Music Department encourages both majors and non-majors to expand their musical experiences with the wide variety of performance ensembles available in the department (for which auditions are held each year), such as Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Philharmonia, chamber music, accompanying (for pianists), African drumming, "Elmwood Swing," and others.
Music students may combine the B.A. in Music major with a Minor in Digital Music Production, which offers hands-on skills development in 21st-century music technology, electronic composition, recording arts, audio production, and sound design for a range of media applications.
Music Department alumni have been accepted to graduate programs nationally in a variety of arts-related fields: Performance (Eastman School of Music, CalArts-Los Angeles, USC-Thornton School of Music, University at Buffalo); Musical Theater (New York University); and Arts Administration/Non-Profit Management (Brandeis University, SUNY Cortland). B.A. Music graduates are currently pursuing careers in performance, archival conservation, arts administration, events management, sacred music liturgy, and artistic outreach-social services, among others.
Buffalo State’s Office of Undergraduate Research and International Education Office promote numerous opportunities for academic and personal enrichment through research project funding grants and the Study Abroad and National Student Exchange programs, for which academic credit may be applied towards the B.A. degree.
Music majors have pursued study programs in Ireland and the UK, Italy, Spain, and Africa. Funded research topics have included global music traditions, Broadway musical theater history, and applications of music therapy to individuals with disabilities. All Buffalo State students have the opportunity to apply to present their original research at the SUNY Undergraduate Research Conference [SURC], held each spring at a different campus in the SUNY system.