Applied Ethnomusicology Certificate: Program Overview

Ethnomusicology certificate program students conduct analyses of diverse cultural musical styles and traditions and develop musicianship through music theory and music history coursework.

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Essential Information

Applied ethnomusicology, often just called ethnomusicology, is offered through 1- or 2-year certificate programs at a few U.S. schools. Students explore how music can be used to form a holistic view of different cultures and eras. In addition, students perform indigenous music on ethnic instruments and learn to appreciate how the instruments fit together to form an ensemble. Combined with a degree in music or anthropology, an undergraduate or graduate certificate in applied ethnomusicology can qualify graduates for work in areas like journalism, performance, teaching, or museum curatorship.

Undergraduate certification programs require enrollment in a 4-year undergraduate program, while 2-year graduate certification requires completion of a bachelor's and may also require enrollment in a related master's program.


Ethnomusicology Undergraduate Certificate Program

Students enrolled in ethnomusicology undergraduate certificate programs study musical traditions in the Eastern and Western hemispheres by learning to play traditional instruments and perform in culturally diverse music ensembles. Departments other than music, such as the anthropology department, may offer certificate programs in this field. The common duration of the program is one to two years. Enrollment in an undergraduate program, requiring a high school diploma or GED, is usually necessary for acceptance into a certificate program. Students can select electives to specialize in related areas such as cultural studies and anthropology or focus on a specific geographical region. Students who are enrolled in this program may study:

  • World music
  • Field methods in ethnomusicology
  • Music and cultural rights
  • Cantometrics
  • Performance and ethnography

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  • Music Performing
  • Musical Conducting
  • Musicology and Ethnomusicology
  • Piano and Organ
  • Stringed Instruments
  • Voice and Opera

Graduate Certificate Program

Students enrolled in an ethnomusicology certificate program at the graduate level typically study ethnographic concepts and practices, ethnic music, performance, and the use of music in worship. Certificates in this area may be offered in conjunction with master's or doctoral degree programs in music. In this case, prospective students are required to have earned a bachelor's degree and to show competency and experience in music and performance for acceptance into the program. Typical coursework covers training in and analysis of traditional and ethnic music in relation to its cultural relevance. Classes offered in this program may include:

  • Cultural music performance ensemble
  • Music history
  • Cross-cultural studies
  • Anthropology of music
  • Music transcription and analysis
  • Music in worship and culture

Popular Career Options

On its own, a certificate in ethnomusicology is not very useful for employment, so most students combine it with a degree in music performance, anthropology, or related fields. Employment opportunities vary by specialization, but some professional options include:

  • Music journalists
  • Music performers
  • K-12 music educators

Graduates of master's programs with certification in ethnomusicology may find employment in academic institutions as well as public and private cultural or arts-related organizations. Some job titles for ethnomusicology graduate degree-holders include:

  • Museum and oral history collection curators
  • University professors
  • Sound archivists

Salary Information and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the employment of postsecondary teachers, including those who teach music, is expected to increase by 13% between 2014 and 2024. Music directors, composers, singers, and musicians could see job opportunities grow by 3% during the same decade, per the BLS. The BLS additionally reported the median annual salary earned by art, drama, and music teachers at the postsecondary level as $65,340 in May 2015. The same year, music directors and composers were reported to have earned a median of $49,820 a year, while singers and musicians earned a median hourly wage of $24.20.

A certificate in ethnomusicology can be combined with an undergraduate or graduate degree to teach students about the musical traditions of a variety of cultures and prepare them for teaching, music, or anthropology careers.

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