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Music Schools in Tennessee with Program and Course Information

Research music programs in Tennessee, which currently has about 40 schools offering programs. Read an overview of courses, tuition info and program options for the 11 largest schools and decide which program is right for you.

Essential Information

Individuals interested in studying music in Tennessee have several school options to choose from. Programs lead to bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees; graduate certificates and the ability to minor in music are also offered by many schools. Students interested in teaching music can pursue a music education major, while those who want to become professional musicians might select a performance major. Concentrations and specializations are offered by many schools, especially for performance-based degrees.

Students in performance music majors should expect to demonstrate their abilities prior to program admission and will also perform throughout their education in recitals, concerts, or other types of exhibitions. Those pursuing degrees in order to teach may need to complete a student-teaching component.

There are about 40 schools across the state offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs in this field. Below are profiles of the 11 largest schools offering music programs in Tennessee.


Austin Peay State University

Located in Clarksville, Austin Peay State University offers music bachelor's degrees with concentrations in music education, music performance and liberal studies. Core coursework for these programs includes topics in music theory, ear training and sight reading. The university also offers a Master of Music program with two concentrations. The music education option is for currently licensed teachers as well as students looking to earn their initial teaching credentials. Additional specializations in conducting and performing are available through the music performance track, which prepares students for careers as musicians or for further education in a doctoral degree program.

  • Programs Offered: Music Minor,
    Bachelor of Arts in Music,
    Bachelor of Science in Music,
    Master of Music
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $6,648 (in-state); $20,736 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; midsize city

Belmont University

Belmont University's School of Music in Nashville is home to a wide range of undergraduate music concentrations, including those in classical and commercial music genres. The latter option allows students to further specialize in composition and arranging, performance, music technology, sound writing or music business. Concentrations are also available to students looking to focus on church music, music theory, musical theatre, piano instruction and music composition.

The Master of Music program is for students who'd like to advance their teaching or performance careers. Concentrations are available in such areas as composition, commercial music and church music. All music students at this school can take advantage of state-of-the-art studio resources, three concert halls and a nationally recognized faculty.

  • Programs Offered: Music Minor,
    Bachelor of Music,
    Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre,
    Bachelor of Arts in Music,
    Master of Music
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $26,130*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city

East Tennessee State University

Located in Johnson City, East Tennessee State University offers a bachelor's degree program in music with concentrations in music education and performance. The music education concentration prepares students for teacher certification as band, orchestra or choral directors, while the performance concentration teaches students how to become professional musicians. Both programs require several writing-intensive and oral communication courses. Music majors must also develop piano playing and sight reading proficiency and participate in ensembles or choral groups. Recitals lasting 30 minutes to an hour are also required, in addition to core music theory and history courses.

  • Programs Offered: Music Minor,
    Bachelor of Music
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $6,715 (in-state); $21,355 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; small city

Middle Tennessee State University

Students pursuing a music bachelor's degree at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro can choose from among ten concentrations, including performance concentrations in guitar, woodwinds, percussion, jazz studies and composition. Undergraduate students must pass an audition to be admitted to one of these 128-credit-hour music programs. They might also need to take music theory and aural skills placement exams.

The university's master's degree program offers eight specializations, including musicology, music education and contemporary music composition. The admissions process for graduate students varies according to students' areas of interest; they may be required to pass an audition, submit recordings of compositions or record a video that shows their ability to teach others.

  • Programs Offered: Music Minor,
    Music Industry Minor,
    Bachelor of Music,
    Master of Arts in Music
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $7,210 (in-state); $21,826 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; midsized city

Tennessee State University

Tennessee State University in Nashville is home to a music education master's degree program as well as a music bachelor's degree program with concentrations in commercial music, the liberal arts and music education. Students opting for the commercial music concentration can further specialize in business, performance or technology. Depending on their interests, students take courses in marketing, production, advertising and music theory. They also have the opportunity to participate in various ensembles or bands and take advantage of the university's theater, music halls, radio station, editing studios and rehearsal spaces.

  • Programs Offered: Music Minor,
    Bachelor of Science in Music,
    Master of Science in Music Education
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $6,426 (in-state); $18,954 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; large city

Tennessee Technological University

Located in Cookeville, Tennessee Technological University offers concentrations in music education and music performance as part of its Bachelor of Music degree program. Students in the music education track study instrumental or vocal instruction for K-12 students, while students in the music performance concentration focus on areas like composition, jazz, music business, piano or vocals. Students taking courses as part of the music business option examine topics in microeconomics, marketing and recording techniques. They also have several opportunities to perform in ensembles or the Bryan Symphony Orchestra, which serves the regional community.

  • Programs Offered: Music Minor,
    Bachelor of Music
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $6,692 (in-state); $20,852 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; remote town

University of Memphis

This Memphis university's music bachelor's degree program is designed for students interested in becoming professional musicians or preparing for graduate school. Before being admitted, prospective students must complete an interview and audition. Once accepted, they're required to participate in ensembles and attend at least 100 musical performances while enrolled in the 4-year program. Available concentrations include two options for students interested in jazz as well as performance and music education concentrations.

Additionally, the university's music school offers master's and doctoral degrees with specializations in areas including music education, performance, composition, conducting and musicology. There's also an artist diploma program that allows violinists and vocalists to pursue post-graduate study while performing with the city's opera or symphony.

  • Programs Offered: Music Minor,
    Bachelor of Music,
    Master of Music,
    Doctor of Musical Arts,
    Doctor of Philosophy,
    Artist Diploma in Music
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $7,904 (in-state); $22,616 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; large city

University of Tennessee

Located in Knoxville, the University of Tennessee's School of Music offers several degree programs for students interested in a music major. Its Bachelor of Music program prepares students to work as professional musicians and includes concentrations in piano, theory and composition, music education and sacred music. Students who want to prepare for careers in such fields as musicology, education, composition or art therapy can pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Music with concentrations in applied music or music and culture. Graduate students can opt for a music master's degree program with various concentrations or an artist certificate program catering to advanced string performers and keyboardists. There's also a music theory certificate program for aspiring high school teachers who're also earning a Master of Music.

  • Programs Offered: Music Minor,
    Bachelor of Music,
    Bachelor of Arts in Music,
    Master of Music,
    Graduate Artist Certificate,
    Graduate Certificate in Music Theory Pedagogy
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $9,092 (in-state); $27,582 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; midsize city

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Located in Chattanooga, this University of Tennessee campus offers a bachelor's degree program in music with specializations in instrumental performance, theory and composition, vocal performance, instrumental music education and vocal musical education. There's also a Bachelor of Arts in Music program for students who'd like to complete two-thirds of their coursework in an area other than music. Undergraduate students pursuing one of these degrees can participate in extracurricular activities ranging from marching bands and trumpet ensembles to opera theater and jazz bands. The school also has a Master of Music program with a performance specialization for professional musicians. There's also a music education option that prepares graduates to pursue doctoral degrees or advance their teaching careers.

  • Programs Offered: Music Minor,
    Bachelor of Music,
    Bachelor of Arts in Music,
    Master of Music
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $7,212 (in-state); $21,558 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; midsize city

University of Tennessee at Martin

The Martin campus of the University of Tennessee has a Department of Music that is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. Its Bachelor of Music program is available with options in performance or music education. Students in the performance option can further specialize in band/instrumental performance, piano, voice, piano pedagogy or band/instrumental pedagogy. Music education students can choose from K-12 instrument or K-12 vocal tracks. The school also offers a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a music minor.

  • Programs Offered: Music Minor,
    Bachelor of Music,
    Bachelor of Arts in Music
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $7,049 (in-state); $20,205 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; remote town

Vanderbilt University

This Nashville university's music bachelor's degree program features a performance concentration designed to help students develop the skills needed to become accomplished musicians. There's also a musical arts concentration geared towards students who want to study performance in addition to music history, literature and theory. Additionally, the composition and theory concentration allows students to receive instruction from visiting composers and introduces them to musicology.

The university also offers a combined 5-year Bachelor of Music/Master of Education program that prepares students for teacher licensing in instrumental or vocal music. The curriculum includes topics in music performance and literature in addition to educational psychology and the liberal arts. Field experiences and two student teaching assignments must be completed in the final year of study.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Music,
    Bachelor of Music/Master of Education
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $42,118*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting Music Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-13)
Austin Peay State University 4-year, public; midsize city Music Minor,
Bachelor of Arts in Music,
Bachelor of Science in Music
Master of Music
$6,648 (in-state); $20,736 (out-of-state)*
Belmont University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Music Minor,
Bachelor of Music,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre,
Bachelor of Arts in Music,
Master of Music
$26,130*
East Tennessee State University 4-year, public; small city Music Minor,
Bachelor of Music
$6,715 (in-state); $21,355 (out-of-state)*
Middle Tennessee State University 4-year, public; midsized city Music Minor,
Music Industry Minor,
Bachelor of Music,
Master of Arts in Music
$7,210 (in-state); $21,826 (out-of-state)*
Tennessee State University 4-year, public; large city Music Minor,
Bachelor of Science in Music,
Master of Science in Music Education
$6,426 (in-state); $18,954 (out-of-state)*
Tennessee Technological University 4-year, public; remote town Music Minor,
Bachelor of Music
$6,692 (in-state); $20,852 (out-of-state)*
University of Memphis 4-year, public; large city Music Minor,
Bachelor of Music,
Master of Music,
Doctor of Musical Arts,
Doctor of Philosophy,
Artist Diploma in Music
$7,904 (in-state); $22,616 (out-of-state)*
University of Tennessee 4-year, public; midsize city Music Minor,
Bachelor of Music,
Bachelor of Arts in Music,
Master of Music,
Graduate Artist Certificate,
Graduate Certificate in Music Theory Pedagogy
$9,092 (in-state); $27,582 (out-of-state)*
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga 4-year, public; midsize city Music Minor,
Bachelor of Music,
Bachelor of Arts in Music,
Master of Music
$7,212 (in-state); $21,558 (out-of-state)*
University of Tennessee at Martin 4-year, public; remote town Music Minor,
Bachelor of Music,
Bachelor of Arts in Music
$7,049 (in-state); $20,205 (out-of-state)*
Vanderbilt University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Bachelor of Music,
Bachelor of Music/Master of Education
$42,118*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

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