Each program of study provides a balanced education in music in addition to a liberal arts core. This affords the professional student the opportunity to develop high-level musicianship, artistic sensibilities, and a strong commitment to the art, and will instill a lifelong desire to participate creatively as an artist and as an audience member in musical pursuits in an ever-evolving musical culture.
For students dedicated to developing performance skills at the highest level, Blair offers the bachelor of music degree in:
This degree program focuses heavily on individual performance instruction in the classical tradition. Through solo recitals, master class participation, and performance in chamber music and larger ensembles, students gain practical experience and earn academic credit.
The program also emphasizes knowledge of music theory, musicianship and historical inquiry to help performers become well-rounded musicians. A school-sponsored referral service provides opportunities for student soloists and ensembles to gain performing experience for pay in Nashville.
The composition major emphasizes creation and analysis of music in an ever-evolving culture, encouraging students to develop a deep knowledge of self while fostering a greater understanding of the musical world around them. Students focus on repertoire and craft, primarily in (but not limited to) the art music field, and may then employ those skills and techniques to explore other areas of interest, such as film scoring, jazz composition, musical theater composition, electroacoustic music, computer composition, and experimental music of various kinds.
The Composition Department's Composer-in-Residence Program provides students with multiple opportunities to engage with prominent living composers each year. Composition majors also have at least three performance opportunities each year on the student-governed "Living Sounds" concert series.
The integrated studies major attracts students who are strong performers and composers, but are also interested in other facets of music. Students in this major declare a primary performance area or composition, and in addition to these primary area requirements, they must choose a concentration in another musical area. Some examples of music concentrations are: composition, musicology, ethnomusicology, pedagogy, music theory, jazz, multiple winds, collaborative arts, or an individually designed area. This program provides a solid foundation in the study of music and liberal arts, as well as the opportunity to develop and refine a second discipline in music.
Bachelor of Musical Arts
The bachelor of musical arts degree gives excellent performers and composers the flexibility to combine in-depth music study with a second focus in another field. The degree, which is available in any orchestral instrument, piano, saxophone, euphonium, voice and composition, includes a broad foundation in the art of music, in addition to a self-designed area of interdisciplinary studies or a specific field outside of music (for example: pre-med, music and the mind, art history, computer science, etc.) This major is ideal for a student who has a strong interest in two fields and/or combining two areas of study into an individually-designed interdisciplinary area. Students interested in musical arts apply with the same materials and standards as performance applicants.
Five-Year Bachelor of Music/Master of Education
This program combines Blair's strengths with those of the Peabody College of Education and Human Development. Based on the integrated studies major, the program provides for teacher licensure in instrumental or vocal/general music. Students who meet all requirements will earn the B.Mus. degree in four years and the M.Ed. from Peabody College in an additional calendar year, June through May. Application to Peabody College for the M.Ed. program is made during the student's senior year at Blair.
The curriculum includes a strong emphasis on music performance; a solid foundation in music literature, theory and the liberal arts; undergraduate and graduate courses in psychology and education and three practica. Student teaching includes at least fifteen weeks of teaching in field placements. Students also gain experience in the pre-college ensembles at Blair.
3+2 Bachelor of Musical Arts/MBA Blair-to-Owen Program
The five-year joint program between the Blair School of Music and the Owen Graduate School of Management allows a small cohort of particularly motivated musical arts degree students to overlap their undergraduate coursework with work toward the MBA, facilitating the earning of both the undergraduate and graduate degrees in five years (ten semesters). By combining three and one-half years in Vanderbilt's Blair School of Music with one and one-half years of study in the Owen School, students may obtain both the B.Mus.Arts degree and the MBA in five years. The baccalaureate from the Blair School is awarded at the end of the fourth year, and the MBA is awarded from the Owen School after the fifth year.
Students must apply to the Owen School for admission to the five-year program during their junior year. Acceptance into the five-year program is extremely competitive and requires advanced standing earned in undergraduate courses. Lacking full-time work experience, students must enhance their portfolios with outstanding academic performance and show a strong commitment to rigorous business education. Students who want to combine business coursework with their professional music degree program may also be interested in Vanderbilt's undergraduate business minor, or a number of other business-type programs offered at Vanderbilt.
Liberal Arts Core
The liberal arts core affords music students the opportunity to develop a broad-based understanding of intellectual endeavors and methods in a variety of disciplines, to explore the interconnectedness of music, arts and other humanistic pursuits, and to articulate their thinking in clear and effective language.
Blair majors have the flexibility to complete a second major or minor in another undergraduate school at Vanderbilt (and this is a requirement for Bachelor of Musical Arts students.) All Vanderbilt students with two majors receive only one degree; for Blair students this is the Bachelor of Music degree or a Bachelor of Musical Arts degree. Because this is not a dual-degree program, it is completed in four years. Please note that computer science and engineering science are the only second majors available to Blair students in the School of Engineering. Most students who wish to study engineering and music choose to enroll in the School of Engineering as their home school and in Blair as a second major or minor. For complete information on second majors and the pre-med track, please consult the Undergraduate Catalog and the Blair Student Handbook.
Blair majors may also choose a concentration in collaborative arts, composition, jazz, musicology/ethnomusicology, pedagogy, theory, or a minor instrument.
Opportunities for Music Minors, Second Majors, and Non-Music Majors
Blair offers all Vanderbilt students opportunities to make music a part of their lives and academic focus. The school offers private instruction for credit in any instrument or voice, as well as for group instruction in piano, voice, percussion and fiddle. Courses designed for music majors are open to all students with sufficient background and expertise, and a number of classes, including musicology/ethnomusicology, theory, arts entrepreneurship, and music business, are designed especially for non-majors.
All Vanderbilt undergraduate students may audition for membership in Blair's performing groups, including the Vanderbilt Orchestra, Vanderbilt Wind Ensemble, Vanderbilt Symphonic Choir, Vanderbilt Chorale, Blair Big Band and Vanderbilt Opera Theatre. Students in Vanderbilt's other undergraduate colleges may also audition for a minor in music, music history, music composition, or music performance— or a second major in music. Those intending to complete a second major or minor in music do not need to audition during the admissions process, but instead, are expected to enroll in a semester of private lessons in voice, piano, or an orchestral instrument at the Blair School before auditioning for the program. Auditions for a minor or second major in Blair may take place at the end of the first fall semester as an undergraduate, if recommended by a private instructor. See more details.