Meet Your Major:
Bachelor of Arts in Music

With practical, hands-on learning, musical performance opportunities and a close-knit visual and performing arts community, music majors will be prepared for a rewarding career within the thriving music industry or for advanced music-related study.

What You’ll Learn

Merrimack College’s bachelor of arts in music unlocks your creative potential while providing you with a comprehensive music education. The degree reflects current trends in music production and engineering and introduces you to music production software and equipment, music composition programs, music theory and history, and more.

As a music major at Merrimack, you will:

  • Analyze and interpret music from around the world in a variety of genres, styles and traditions
  • Develop your theoretical understanding of music composition
  • Create your own original compositions
  • Become proficient in musical performance in at least one vocal or instrumental area
  • Perform publicly at Merrimack, either in an ensemble or in a solo performance
  • Sharpen your critical writing skills about musical history, genres, styles and audiences

Music Major: Why Merrimack College?

Merrimack’s music major provides:

Freedom to Explore the Arts. 

The bachelor of music is part of the department of visual and performing arts. As an interdisciplinary program, you will have the freedom to explore music from multiple perspectives by combining it with another artistic discipline or another discipline you are interested in. There are no boundaries. We want students who can envision something new. 

Access to a Vibrant Visual and Performing Arts Community.

Music and The arts play a significant role on the Merrimack campus. We offer a wide array of student organizations, including music, studio art, graphic design, art history, dance, film and theater. You’ll get hands-on experience working and performing in the Rogers Center for the Arts, one of the premier visual and performing arts venues north of Boston. We offer a visual and performing arts living-learning community.

A Large Number of Performance Opportunities.

We offer concert and pep bands, concert choir, jazz ensemble, three student-run a cappella groups, marching band, liturgical music ensemble, a musical theater group and more.

Individualized Attention.

Merrimack College’s visual and performing arts department is a supportive, tight-knit community. Faculty are here to provide mentorship and networking opportunities.

Flexibility.

Our bachelors degree in music curriculum offers multiple pathways to completion. We offer the freedom to choose the order of many of your courses to best accommodate your needs. Our flexibility also means it is easier for you to declare a double major in business, science or any other department on campus.

Hands-On Learning

Internship opportunities are a central hallmark of the music major at Merrimack. You will participate in an internship in an arts or business/management field where you’ll develop your entrepreneurial thinking skills and experience the practical application of your learning. 

To set you up for success, you’ll work with the O’Brien Center for Career Development. By working one-on-one and in groups, you will create a dynamic resume and LinkedIn profile, take internship boot camps, get your professional headshot done and become more comfortable with networking.

“I know firsthand that the faculty and staff in the visual and performing arts department truly care about the success of their students. Here we say ‘Make it your Merrimack’ - I was able to do just that with the help of devoted Merrimack faculty.”

― Paige Sorensen ’19, Contract Music Major

Video: Paige Talks About Her Music Major at 2019 Commencement 

Our Approach to Reading Music

While the ability to read music will be developed in our elementary music theory class, music majors are not required to be able to read music. We recognize that there are many forms of musical expression from around the world not typically written in Western music notation. Music notation is useful but we also understand the importance of developing other areas of thoughtful analysis and learning in music.

Career Options

There are a number of music major jobs available to you upon graduation. Possible music careers may include:

  • recording engineer in sound studios or performance venues
  • artist-in-residence or performer
  • music ministry
  • sound designer
  • music composer for the film and video game industries
  • music educator
  • arts business or arts management within the music industry

You will also be well-prepared to enter a music-related graduate program at the master’s and doctoral levels to pursue music therapy, musicology, music librarianship or other programs.

What You’ll Take

The bachelor of music is open to all Merrimack students and there are no prerequisites to apply. Auditions are not required and you do not have to read music to declare the music major.

The curriculum for the bachelor of arts in music consists of 48 credits. These include 32 credits in required core classes, a 4-credit required experiential internship, a 4-credit required performance course, a 4-credit required interdisciplinary course and a 4-credit required non-classical/popular music content course.

Music Major Requirements (32 credits)

FAA 1110  Introduction to Visual and Performing Arts (4 credits)
FAA 1310*  The Nature of Music (4 credits)
*with director approval, you may replace this course with another music course or directed study.
FAA 2301  Music History I (4 credits)
FAA 2302  Music History II (4 credits)
 FAA 2360*  Elementary Music Theory (4 credits)
*with director approval, you may test out of this course through passing an in-person written competency exam and take an additional 2000-level or above course from the options below.
FAA 2380 The Architecture of Music (4 credits)
FAA 3XXX Music Production/Composition (4 credits)
FAA 4960

Senior Seminar/Capstone Thesis Project (4 credits) 


Required Experiential Internship (4 credits)

FAA 4920* Visual and Performing Arts Internship (4 credits)
*requirement may be met through another Merrimack College internship with approval by the Music Program Director.

 

Required Performance Courses (4 credits) 

Choose from the following:
  • VPA Ensembles - Pep Band, Jazz Ensemble, Concert Band, Concert Choir, Schola  (1 credit per ensemble per semester) 
  • Group Lessons (2 credits per semester) 
  • Individual Lessons (1 credit per semester) 

 

Required Interdisciplinary Course (4 credits) 

*Choose one from the following:
  • FAA 3100 Music and Spirituality 
  • FAA 3171 Music and Politics 
  • *additional interdisciplinary courses may be offered in the future which would also satisfy the interdisciplinary requirement.

 

Required Course with Non-Classical/Popular Music Content (4 credits)

*Choose one from the following:
  • FAA 1320 History of Rock and Roll 
  • FAA 1321 The History of Jazz 
  • FAA 1330 Survey of American Music  
  • FAA 1340 The Concept Album in Popular Music 
  • FAA 2550 American Musical Theatre 
  • FAA 4900* Directed Study in Music 
  • *may be substituted for a course with director approval.