The Bachelor of Arts in Music degree is designed to provided candidates with broad musical knowledge and applied experiences in a liberal arts context, offering opportunities to integrate music into a variety of disciplines. Choose from concentrations in Music (General Studies) or Performance. All Music Department faculty participate in 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.

Degree Overview

Academic Road Map (PDF)

Capstone Project

Choose From Two Concentrations

The bachelor of arts (B.A.) in music program provides experiences across the liberal arts with a focus on music. Real-world internship opportunities, guest lecturers and performers, access to cutting-edge technology, and an outstanding and dedicated faculty provide majors with opportunities to develop strong musicianship skills and broad music knowledge.

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.

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.

This concentration provides differentiated curricula for students wishing to pursue a more performance-focused program and prepares students for applied graduate study or careers in music performance.

Students enrolled in the performance concentration take lessons for all 8 semesters of study, participate in additional primary and chamber ensemble opportunities, and are required to perform both a junior (half) and senior (full) recital

Music majors may apply for the performance concentration when they have enrolled in MUS 273: Applied Music.

How to Apply

Successful applicants will be contacted to arrange an audition and interview with members of the Music Department faculty.

Admission to the Music Education major is based on the outcome of the audition and interview.

Freshmen or transfer students who have a successful audition, but do not pass the interview, will be offered admission to the Bachelor of Arts in Music degree.


All prospective music B.A. students must audition for admission to the Music Department. Prospective students are afforded two opportunities to audition for admission, a third audition is not permitted. Admission to the B.A. in music is based on the outcome of the audition and interview.

Students who have taken a leave of absence exceeding one academic year will be required to audition and interview for readmission to the Music Department.

Learn About Auditions


Consistent with the mission, goals, and objectives of the Buffalo State Music Department, the music faculty expects all B.A. in Music degree candidates to demonstrate the following competencies:

BA.1. General Education

BA.1.1. The ability to think, speak, and write clearly and effectively, and to communicate with precision, cogency, and rhetorical force.

BA.1.2. An informed acquaintance with the mathematical and experimental methods of the physical and biological sciences; with the main forms of analysis and the historical and quantitative techniques needed for investigating the workings and developments of modern society.

BA.1.3. An ability to address culture and history from a variety of perspectives.

BA.1.4. Understanding of, and experience in thinking about, moral and ethical problems.

BA.1.5. The ability to respect, understand, and evaluate work in a variety of disciplines.

BA.1.6. The capacity to explain and defend one’s views effectively and rationally.

BA.1.7. Understanding of and experience in one or more art forms other than music.

BA.2. Musicianship

BA.2.1. The ability to hear, identify, and work conceptually with the elements of music -- rhythm, melody, harmony, structure, timbre, texture, and so forth.

BA.2.2. An understanding of and the ability to read and realize musical notation.

BA.2.3. An understanding of compositional processes, aesthetic properties of style, and the ways these shape and are shaped by artistic and cultural forces.

BA.2.4. An acquaintance with a wide selection of musical literature, the principal eras, genres, and cultural sources.

BA.2.5. The ability to develop and defend musical judgments.

BA.3. Performance and Music Electives

BA.3.1. Ability in performing areas at levels consistent with the goals and objectives of the specific liberal arts degree option being followed.

BA.3.2. Understanding of procedures for realizing a variety of musical styles.

BA.3.3. Knowledge and/or skills in one or more areas of music beyond basic musicianship appropriate to the individual's needs and interests, and consistent with the purposes of the specific liberal arts degree option being followed.

BA.3.4. The ability to read at sight with fluency demonstrating both general musicianship and, in the major performance area, a level of skill relevant to professional standards appropriate for the particular music concentration.

BA.4. Composition and Improvisation

BA.4.1. Students must acquire a rudimentary capacity to create derivative or original music both extemporaneously and in written form.

Additionally, B.A. in Music students are evaluated and assessed utilizing 11 different key competency assessments as follows:

  1. Applied Music Juries
  2. Music Theory Assessment
  3. Aural Perception Assessment
  4. General Education Courses/Electives
  5. Music History Assessment
  6. Composition, Improvisation, and Arranging (CIA) Assessment
  7. Capstone Project Assessment
  8. Introduction to Music Studies and Careers Assessment
  9. Professional Disposition Reports
  10. Small/Large Ensemble Participation
  11. Concert Attendance

View the Competency Map for the B.A. in Music degree. 

This map shows the relationship between the competencies expected for the degree and the 11 assessments listed above. Furthermore, the map shows in which courses the competency is addressed and assessed.