New degree option expected to benefit Music Department

The low brass section practices their music for an upcoming concert. Associate Professor of Music Terrance Brown said he believes the new Bachelor of Music degree option will bring more students to the music department.

A new degree option for music majors is music to the department’s ears.

Students will be eligible to obtain a Bachelor’s of Music beginning fall 2015, instead of the current Bachelor of Arts in music performance option.

“A liberal arts degree is not exactly the right way to do it,” said Chairman of the Music Department David McCullough. “The Bachelor’s of Music degree is the norm.”

McCullough said although the program has not started yet, it is in the process of being approved.

“A music department such as ours would offer a liberal arts program as well as a professional degree program,” he said. “This brings us in line with what other accredited academic units such as ours do.”

UNA is accredited through the National Association of Schools of Music.

The addition of a Bachelor’s of Music program will provide students more tools for a future in music, McCullough said.

The program requires more music-based credit hours and an additional recital, said Associate Professor of Music Terrance Brown.

Professional degrees and practices are more demanding than a liberal arts degree, he said.

Students can choose instrumental music, piano or vocal performance for their area of study.

“Studies in musicianship and developing skills in these performance areas would account for about three-fourths of their required courses,” McCullough said. “Then, the general studies component at UNA is 41 credit hours.”

Brown said he believes the Bachelor of Music program will bring more students to the department and show the community UNA is making advances in the music area.

“It is a wonderful thing for us to have it here at the university,” he said. “We are making significant progression in this area. We’re building the program not only in terms of quantity but in quality. That’s the biggest thing.”

Vocal performance major Jessica Bailey said she hopes the addition of the program will bring other advancements to UNA’s music program.

“It gives an opportunity for high school students around here to stay local and get a Bachelor’s of Music degree without having to travel a long distance to get a professional degree,” Bailey said. “The music program is bigger now than it’s ever been since I’ve been here. I think it’ll give us an opportunity to get a new building and bring more students to UNA.”

Brown said he expects all of the vocal performance majors to switch to the Bachelor’s of Music program when the new catalog comes out.

He also said he is excited to see the benefits the program brings to the university and its students.

“I advise 95 percent of all voice performance majors, and I know after talking to all of them, they all will change to the new catalog,” Brown said. “They’re essentially doing sort of the same thing in the current Bachelor of Arts, but moving to this new catalog will be more beneficial to them.”

Some students say they will change majors next fall to receive the Bachelor’s of Music degree at graduation.

“I am going to change majors even though I am going to graduate in spring of 2016,” Bailey said. “Most of the classes that I am taking now will correspond with the Bachelor of Music degree.”

“I know other people that will graduate then and they will be switching as well just to get the Bachelor’s of Music. “It looks great on the resume to have that sort of music degree. It says, ‘this person knows what they’re doing.’”