Music Performance, Bachelor of Music

School of Music

College of Arts and Letters

This degree provides interactive performance training in either voice or instrument. These emphases are backed by a rich variety of coursework in theory, ear training, music history, and musical genres. The emphasis in Voice requires a demonstration of proficiency in French, German, or Italian.

This program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).

  • Available Emphasis Areas:
  • Instrumental - Emphasis
  • Vocal - Emphasis

  • To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.

    • All of Northern Arizona University's diversity, liberal studies, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
    • At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
    • At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
    • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.

    The full policy can be viewed here.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • At least 88 units of major requirements including 42 units of core requirements and 46 to 55 units of emphasis requirements depending on your choice of emphasis

  • Up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements.

  • For this major the liberal studies prefixes are MUS and MUP
  • Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 - 129 units

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 120 - 129
Highest Mathematics Required MAT 114
Additional Admission Requirements Required
University Honors Program Optional
AZ Transfer Students complete AGEC-A Recommended
Progression Plan Link View Progression Plan

Purpose Statement

The purpose of the Bachelor of Music Performance degree program is to prepare students as performers in a variety of settings, along with developing skills as teaching artists and musician-entrepreneurs.  Students are also prepared for further study at the graduate and/or professional level.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students receiving an undergraduate degree in music will demonstrate:                                                                                                                                                       

  1. Continuing Musical Growth and Independence in the following ways:
  • Applying performance skills on his/her principal instrument or voice
  • Demonstrate technical aptitude on his/her principal instrument or voice
  • Perform individually and in ensembles of different types
  • Investigating specific repertoire
  • Exercise and defend aesthetic judgment by recognizing and interpreting appropriate literature.                                                                       
  1. Application of Musicianship Skills in performance, teaching and/or critical analysis of music including:
  • Aural Perception
  • Sight-singing
  • Dictation
  • Keyboard Competency appropriate to the students’ degree program and satisfactory progress in Music Theory
  • Composition or Improvisation.
  1. Analysis of and the ability to apply understanding to enhance students’ performance, teaching, and/or critical analysis of Tonal and Post-Tonal Musical Works and Topics through discussion of the following elements of music:
  • Melody
  • Harmony
  • Counterpoint
  • Rhythm and Meter
  • Form
  • Timbre
  1. Knowledge of the Historical and Cultural Contexts of Western and non-Western Music including:
  • Characteristics of musical styles,
  • Compositional techniques
  • Performance practices
  • Societal and cultural influences on the creation, performance, and dissemination of music.
  1. Knowledge and Application of Research Materials, Critical Thinking Skills, and Writing Skills
  • Basic knowledge and appropriate application of primary and secondary research materials pertaining to music,
  • Effectively communicate in writing on topics in the field of music through the purposeful use of evidence, insightful reasoning (critical thinking), and supporting details.
  1. Synthesis of Learning Experiences
  • Synthesize understanding of musical forms, processes, and structures in compositional, performance, analytical, scholarly and pedagogical applications appropriate to the degree program.
  • Employ multiple areas of learning within music and, ideally, disciplines outside music through a capstone project or culminating experience.
  • Students develop a background in music and musicianship that prepares them for a wide range of further educational and vocational activities that include music as a component.
  • Students develop skills that prepare them for careers in musical performance and private teaching of performance, and advanced study and independent practice. Students are prepared for further study at the graduate and/or professional level.
  1. Advanced performing ability on the principal instrument or voice and the ability to prepare performances independently.
  • Acquire technical skills requisite for artistic self-expression on the principal instrument or voice.
  • Sight read at a skill level appropriate to professional standards.
  • For voice majors, the ability to comprehend and pronounce languages at a professional level and fundamental movement and acting techniques.
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of the repertory in the major performance area and the ability to perform from a cross section of that repertory through a successful capstone experience. (a senior solo recital or senior recital of original composition?8. Ability to apply performance skills in a variety of solo and ensemble settings.
  1. Ability to apply performance skills in a variety of solo and ensemble settings.
  • Perform from a cross section of the repertory of the major performance area.
    appropriate to the degree program.
  • Achieve growth in artistry, technical skill, collaborative competence and knowledge of repertory through regular solo and ensemble experiences.
  • Work collaboratively within ensembles to develop and perform collective musical interpretations.
  1. Knowledge of solo, chamber, and large-ensemble literature.
  • Learn the characteristics of different musical instruments and their use in compositions and arrangements.
  • Learn ensemble techniques and representative repertory in large and small ensembles appropriate to the discipline.
  1. Executable knowledge of the fundamentals of pedagogy for the principal instrument or voice.
  • Understand and apply a variety of instructional strategies to engage learners in a deep understanding of musicianship.
  • Use instructional strategies to build learners’ technical skills on the instrument or voice.


Additional Admission Requirements
  • Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

    • In order to declare a Music Major, you must apply to and be accepted to the Kitt School of Music. Please visit the Kitt School of Music website.
Major Requirements
  • This major requires 88 to 97 units distributed as follows:

    • Core Requirements: 42 units
    • Select one Emphasis: 46 to 55 units 
      • Instrumental Emphasis: 46 units
      • Vocal Emphasis: 55 units

    Take at least the following 88 units. Courses with a prefix of MUS or MUP must be completed with a Grade of "C" or better.

    Core Requirements (42 units)

    Emphasis Requirements (Select One):


    • Instrumental Emphasis (46 units)
        • Instrumental ensembles: students enroll in large conducted ensembles for a total of 8 terms. (8 units) To satisfy this requirement, choose from Symphony Orchestra, Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band and Marching Band. Guitar majors take Guitar Ensemble and Piano majors take Piano Ensemble. 
        • Chamber Music: students enroll for a total of 4 terms (4 units)
      • MUS 422, MUS 423 (2 units)
      • Additional non-duplicating MUS or MUP elective courses with the consent of your advisor. Note that you may count up to 3 units of MUP ensemble credit toward this requirement. (11 units)

    • Vocal Emphasis (55 units)
      • MUP 111, MUP 211, MUP 311, MUP 411 (3 units each) Private lessons: students enroll in private lesson instruction for a minimum of 7 semesters, 2 terms each of 111, 211, 311 and 1 term of 411. (21 units)
      • MUP 160, MUP 260, MUP 360, MUP 460 (1 unit each) Choral/Vocal Ensembles: students enroll in large conducted ensembles for a total of 10 terms. To satisfy this requirement, complete 2 terms of Opera Theatre, and choose the remaining 8 terms from Shrine of the Ages Choir, Men's Chorale, and Women's Chorale. (10 units)
      • MUP 384 (1 unit)
      • MUS 161, MUS 162, MUS 421, MUS 420 (7 units)
      • Foreign Language (16 units): You must demonstrate a two-term proficiency in one of the following languages: French, German, or Italian. In addition, you must take one term of each of the remaining two languages to meet the 16-unit requirements. (Up to 9 units of language may be used to meet liberal studies requirements.) This is different from the University’s foreign language requirement in that a 200 level proficiency in the same language is not required.
General Electives
  • Additional coursework is required if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit.

    You may take these remaining courses from any of the academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. You may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.

    We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you.

Additional Information
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.