Turn your passion into your profession with a music degree.

Westfield State University’s music major is designed to foster a broad-based intellectual spirit as well as a disposition toward lifelong learning. You’ll grow and develop a strong set of musical and professional skills to help you establish your career and thrive within the musical community. Customize your music degree with one of multiple concentrations designed to help you prepare for the career you have in mind.

Available concentrations:

Music Composition
Prepare for your career working as a composer. Each semester, through private applied study, you’ll engage in structured projects based on specific compositional techniques. All stylistic backgrounds are welcome; however, we focus on the production of contemporary concert music through the study of aesthetics, instrumentation and orchestration, music history, and contemporary performance practice.

Jazz Studies
Building on the general understanding of western music provided through the department’s core studies, the Jazz Studies concentration provides you an opportunity to study jazz history, theory, and improvisation in-depth through practice and performance. You’ll explore the unique world of jazz in the classroom and the Music Department’s private studio as well as in large and small jazz ensembles. The study of jazz music can provide a strong foundation in a variety of music careers, so courses in jazz studies are available to all qualified music students.

Music Education
Take a large variety of courses designed to help you teach music to K–12 students. You’ll learn how to inspire the next generation of musicians and share a love and appreciation of music.

Music History
The Music History concentration will help you understand music in its historical context and explain its inherent value within a certain culture and time. You’ll become more sensitive to the many meanings of music and learn how to interpret and perform. Music history is also a practical concentration if you are interested in pursuing a career in library science or continuing on to graduate school.

Performance – Instrumental
You may select the Instrumental Performance concentration after completing an audition for the concentration after at least one term of study. This concentration is designed to develop and hone your instrumental skills to succeed as a professional performer. This concentration emphasizes studio instruction and practice akin to study at a conservatory. You’ll master fundamentals and the ability to sight-read while you prepare for recitals. In addition to studying the core areas of music history and theory, you’ll also participate and play a leadership role in both large and small performing ensembles.

Performance – Vocal
The Vocal Performance concentration prepares you to sing with confidence and professional expertise. You must audition for admission into this concentration no later than your fourth semester of music coursework. This concentration is designed to develop and hone your vocal skills to succeed as a professional performer. You’ll have ample studio instruction and practice akin to study at a conservatory.

Music Management
The Music Management concentration is designed to provide music majors with a cohesive and comprehensive business management background that can lead to successful careers as music managers or music entrepreneurs.

Program Highlights

  • All-Steinway School of Distinction – one of only 200 globally
  • Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music
  • Opportunities to expand into other areas of concentration, such as music management and music therapy

Follow your passion for music and earn your music degree.

Gain the skills and knowledge you need to thrive in the music industry and beyond.

A rigorous music degree for aspiring professionals

  • A student in profile plays the string bass.

    Plenty of performance opportunities 

    Our music major coursework emphasizes applied skills with many performance opportunities in solo, chamber, and larger ensembles. Plus, you’ll have access to state-of-the-art Wenger SoundLok sound isolation practice suites.

  • Music class with instructor with hands raised in front of piano with a class of students.

    Small, immersive classes

    You’ll learn in small, engaging classes designed with your career goals in mind. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to collaborate with your peers as well as receive one-on-one attention from your professor. 

  • Jazz singer with microphone wearing red performing with band.

    Real-world experiences

    Find inspiration for your own craft through trips to the Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Broadway, and more.

Program Details

Program Mission

We foster the development of professional musicianship as we inspire a broad-based intellectual spirit and a disposition toward lifelong learning.

Program Vision

To create and nurture an inclusive, innovative, and supportive musical community that engages students in a collaborative, responsive, and principled manner.

Learning Outcomes
  • To provide opportunities and resources for students to develop technical and expressive musical proficiency in their primary applied performance area.
  • To work with material and conceptual tools to facilitate advanced study in music.
  • To demonstrate a reflexive understanding of music’s embeddedness in culture and history.
  • To foster social connection through shared musical experiences.
  • To develop intellectual and practical skills through in-depth study of music, including:
    • Critical, analytical, and creative thinking
    • Written and oral communication
    • Teamwork and problem solving

Alumni Outcomes:

  • To work as a music professional (music education, music therapy, performance, arts management, music school administration, audio production, composer/arranger/copyist, entrepreneur, historian, critic, military performer, church music leadership, consultant, conductor, etc.)
  • To continue studies in the pursuit of an advanced degree.
  • To utilize valuable transferable skills developed as a musician in the pursuit of a professional career in another field.

View competencies developed 

View the Performance Calendar

I wanted to pursue a career that introduced me to the world of professional vocal performance, and allowed me to explore my journey and place in the music industry.

Hannah, '24

What can you do with a music degree?

Music majors are prepared for a wide variety of careers both inside and outside of the arts:

  • Composer
  • Music teacher
  • Professional musician
  • Sound technician
  • Music director
  • Coach
  • Audio producer or editor
  • Event production
  • Music agent
  • Venue manager
  • Talent scout
Music student wearing glasses drumming at jazz brunch event.

Ready to learn more?

Course Requirements

Requirements for Music Major - 54 Credits

General Requirements - 29 Credits

Ensemble Requirements - 7 Credits

Eight semesters of participation in one of the following ensembles, as assigned by the department, to run concurrently with eight semesters of applied lessons:


All music majors must enroll in Festival Chorus for a minimum of two semesters.

Six semesters of Participation in Second Ensemble

Six semesters of participation in a second ensemble from the following list, to run concurrently with six semesters of applied lessons:


The music department also offers elective ensembles on a regular basis. These ensembles include, but are not limited to:Clarinet Ensemble, Flute Ensemble, Jazz Quartet, Low Brass Ensemble, Saxophone Quartet, Trumpet Ensemble, Woodwind Quintet, and various mixed chamber ensembles.

All instrumental must students are required to have a minimum of three chamber ensemble experiences (standard repertoire) in varied formats throughout the course of completing their program requirements (each approved by the academic advisor and the applied music instructor). Music Education students are encouraged, but not required, to participate in ensembles during the semester of their practicum. All pianists with a major emphasis in piano are required to enroll in MUSC 0240 - Chamber Ensembles, each semester they are enrolled in applied piano lessons.

Applied Music Requirements - 12 Credits

Music majors are required to complete eight semesters of applied lessons. Applied music study requires a jury examination every semester for music majors and for music minors, as well as for those students enrolled in a required secondary applied lesson. Students taking applied music must also register each semester for MUSC 0280 - Music Studio

Students who present a curricular recital are not required to present a jury during the semester of the recital. All students who wish to present a recital (degree or elective) must pass a pre-recital hearing during studio class a minimum of three weeks prior to the recital (three applied faculty members must be present at the hearing).


Music Education students are exempt from their eighth semester of applied lessons and ensemble if enrolled in MUSC 0328 - Practicum: Music K-12.

Performing Requirements - 3 Credits

All Music majors are required to complete six semesters of MUSC 0279 - Recital Attendance and Performance, (required attendance and performance at weekly studio classes and departmental recitals). Students are required to perform regularly in studio classes, and are required to perform at least once each year in a public departmental recital. Music minors may perform in a departmental recital at the discretion of the applied instructor.

Additional Requirements - 3 Credits

Instrumental Students

  • Non-ensemble Music Electives

Vocal Students

Optional Music Concentrations

Music majors may choose to declare one of the 6 concentrations. Students may not declare more than two concentrations. Note: each of the required 300-level music history seminars listed in the concentrations are in addition to the seminar required of all music majors in the General Requirements.

Additional Graduation Requirements

All students must meet the University Graduation Requirements and complete a common core of studies, distributed among the different academic areas as detailed in the Common Core.

Get big school features with small school advantages.  

We offer high-quality academics, unique learning opportunities, and a gorgeous campus—and we have small classes, accessible faculty, and one-on-one support. 

You'll join fellow motivated students ready to make the most of the college experience through active participation. Become part of a caring and committed community that understands and embraces the bridge between academic study and civic responsibility.

  • Living Learning Community

    live with other art, music and theatre students in a designated area of University Hall

  • A thriving

    regional arts scene

  • Comprehensive

    faculty comprised of 35 artist-teachers

Expert faculty and individualized attention

Westfield State University’s music program is comprised of 35 artist-teachers providing comprehensive expertise in the music industry. All music faculty are active members of the music community and industry, both nationally and globally, and many perform throughout the world. Small class sizes provide individualized opportunities and a close relationship with your professors and mentors.

Music faculty member Mary Brown Bonacci wearing pink shirt smiling at students.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is an audition required?

In addition to submitting a completed application for admission to Westfield State University, all prospective music majors and minors must audition to be considered for admission to the music program. Learn more here.

Do I have to submit SAT/ACT scores or an essay when I apply?

Westfield State University does not require an application essay, SAT and/or ACT scores, or letters of recommendation (except for special program admissions).     

All first-year applicants are reviewed for admission based on their high school record. First-year applicants must meet the minimum eligibility requirements established by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) in order to qualify for admission to a state university.   

Learn more about the application process and admissions here.

How much does Westfield State University cost?

Westfield State University offers a comprehensive university experience at an affordable cost—with many options for financial aid. Visit our Cost and Aid page to learn more. 

Will I receive academic support?

We’re invested in your success. Whether you need a little help adjusting to college, study strategies, tutoring, or disability services, the team at the Academic Achievement Department is ready to help. Our mission is to provide you with the tools to explore academic opportunities as well as to plot strategies for continued growth. 

Learn more about our student support services here.

Request Information

We’re here to answer your questions and deliver the support you need along your academic journey. Please provide your contact information and area of interest, and we’ll be in touch shortly.


Music, B.A.