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Online Bachelors Degree Programs in Music: Program Summaries

Research online music courses and programs. Find out what you can learn in these courses and what you'll need in order to participate in online learning to determine if it's right for you.

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Essential Information

Although courses in general music aren't typically offered online, many schools offer online bachelor's degree programs in music theory and music business. Most programs in music theory are available completely through online study, but music business programs typically have some on-campus requirements, such as internships or attending in-person lectures. In online classes, the student can view lectures and download course materials at any time, within course deadlines. Special equipment and software may be required for listening to music. Coursework may be required in music history or music business for entry.

In a music theory program, students get a look at music fundamentals such as pitch and melody. They learn about many styles of music and develop the skills to analyze music. Some programs require that the student participate in a performance group.

Music business courses give students a grasp of fundamental business practices and principles and how they relate to the music industry. Students learn about intellectual property, artist management and publicity.

Bachelor's Degree in Music Theory

Bachelor's degree programs in music theory provide advanced hearing and understanding of musical expression from cultures throughout the world. Students explore musicianship aptitudes to develop an intellectual grasp of the art of music. They are exposed to a variety of musical genres found throughout the world including classical, hip-hop, chants and healing music.

Program Information and Requirements

Some institutions require bachelor's candidates to complete prerequisite coursework in music history or related courses. Most programs are taught completely online through downloadable lectures and media files; however, some schools require students to take part in on-campus assignments. Students also may be required to perform in an individual or ensemble musical program.

In addition to a computer and Internet connection, music theory students will need high-quality speakers to listen to media files. Students typically need access to a microphone or headset to participate in real-time audio discussions.

Course Topics

Students explore the variety of musical forms that have developed throughout history, including the current era. They will research and critique musical forms that have emerged from different cultures.

Fundamentals of Music

This online course provides students with a general overview of the music language, including melody, pitch and meter. Online learners are introduced to musical theory. They develop an appreciation and understanding of music forms.

Views on Global Music

Students in this course explore music on a global scale including its relationship to religious beliefs and social identities. The major focus of this course is learning the basic concepts of melody, rhythm and timbre.

Analysis of Jazz Styles

In this online course, students examine various topics relating to jazz music, including improvisation, rhythm and composition. Distance learners explore the similarities and differences of jazz styles. They listen to recordings from noted jazz artists such as Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and John Coltrane.


Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Jazz
  • Music Composition and Theory
  • Music History and Literature
  • Music Merchandising and Management
  • Music Pedagogy
  • Music Performing
  • Musical Conducting
  • Musicology and Ethnomusicology
  • Piano and Organ
  • Stringed Instruments
  • Voice and Opera

Bachelor's Degree in Music Business

Students explore the core fundamentals of business and their application to the music industry in bachelor's degree programs in music business. They develop practical skills and theoretical knowledge in areas specific to music and business, including intellectual property, marketing and artist management. The legal and ethical business contexts are also emphasized. The program typically culminates in a senior development project.

Program Information and Requirements

Applicants are generally required to have completed prerequisite coursework in music or business related topics. Some programs are fully available online; however, the majority of them blend online classes with on-campus activities, such as guest lectures. Students may be required to complete a field experience or internship to complete the curriculum.

Music business majors should have a computer with a word processing application. Some classes will require the purchase of specialized software such as Microsoft Excel or PowerPoint.

Course Topics

The curriculum in a music business bachelor's degree program spans development, management and distribution. Online learners also receive fundamental business training in marketing and financing.

Music Publishing

In this online course, students learn the basic operations and functions of the music publishing industry. Topics of study include exploring songwriter and publisher relationships, as well as the role of music publishing in various types of media.

Marketing and Publicity

Students examine the methods used to promote entertainment products and events. They explore tactics such as packaging, retail promotion, press relations and multimedia events. Students are tasked with developing a marketing and publicity plan for a fictitious artist, which will be measured for its detail and effectiveness.

Business Ethics

This course provides an overview of the ethical and societal challenges associated with managing a business. Students examine the roles and responsibilities of managers in the entertainment industry.


Career Information

Graduates with a bachelor's degree in music theory are qualified for several positions in music and arts-related industries, such as educators, managers and publicists. In 2016, the median annual salary for a music instructor was $43,915, according to Salary.com.

Those who have completed a bachelor's degree in music business can pursue a variety of career options in the music industry, including talent scout, artist manager and concert promoter. According to PayScale, the median annual salary for a publicist was $44,910 as of 2016.

Although bachelor's degree programs in general music are not widely available, students can find music theory and music business bachelor's programs fully online. These programs may require students to join music ensembles or attend on-campus lectures occasionally.

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