Music Schools in Atlanta with Degree Program Summaries

Feb 13, 2019

Atlanta Schools that Offer Music Programs

Students who wish to pursue a music degree in the Atlanta metropolitan area have a few options, three of which are detailed in the paragraphs below. School information and statistics can be found in the table, along with a list of seven other schools in the Atlanta area that offer relevant programs.

  • Georgia State University, located a half a mile from downtown Atlanta, offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in a variety of musical areas.
  • Located six miles from the downtown, nearby Emory University offers a bachelor's degree in music.
  • Kennesaw State University, located almost 25 miles from the downtown, is Georgia's third-largest university. Through its Department of Music, students can earn bachelor's degrees in music and music education.

Comparison of Schools

Prospective undergraduate music students can use the table to below to find information about admissions, cost of attendance and financial aid, among other key figures. Graduate students may also be interested in the enrollment figures, which vary widely from school to school.

Georgia State University Emory University Kennesaw State University
School Type 4-year; public 4-year; private not-for-profit 4-year; public
Total Enrollment (2017) 32,816* 14,263* 35,846*
Campus Setting Large city Large suburb Large suburb
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $9,112 in-state; $23,971 out-of-state* $49,392* $6,347 in-state; $17,329 out-of-state*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017) 94%* 58%* 91%*
Acceptance Rate (Fall 2017) 70%* 22%* 61%*
Retention Rate for Full-Time Students (2016-2017) 83%* 93%* 78%*
Undergraduate Graduation Rate within 6 Years (2011) 53%* 91%* 42%*

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics, College Navigator.

Georgia State University

Founded in 1913, Georgia State University (GSU) is located in downtown Atlanta and offers a number of undergraduate and graduate degrees in music. With 70 teachers, the School of Music serves around 450 students, about 360 of whom are undergraduates.

Bachelor of Music (BMus)

To enroll in the BMus program, students must have previous performance experience and the ability to read music; an audition is also required. All students take a core music curriculum, which includes participation in ensembles, four semesters of applied lessons and coursework in music theory, aural skills, world music and music history.

Undergraduate music teachers can also choose from among five concentrations. The performance concentration requires additional classes in piano, conducting and improvisation. Music education prepares students for K-12 music teacher certification in Georgia.

Composition students learn to write music, with their work performed by other music GSU students. In the jazz concentration, participants study both classical jazz and performance using the instrument of their choice. Finally, the music technology concentration prepares students for careers in the music industry, with artistic and technical training in areas like audio engineering.

Bachelor of Science (BS) in Music Management

The BS in Music Management offered by GSU is a targeted program that prepares students for a career managing non-profit and commercial music organizations. Students must meet performance ensemble requirements and take core music classes in aural skills, performance, music theory, music history and world music. They also take classes related to business and the music industry, such as management, entertainment law and artist representation. Before graduating, students intern with a music organization.

Master of Music (MM)

The Master of Music program at GSU offers students ten concentrations to choose from, including jazz; conducting for choral, orchestra or wind band; music composition; teaching and several performance options, such as voice and keyboard. To apply, prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree in music or a related field. Other requirements vary depending on the chosen concentration; most require a live audition or demo tape. Applicants to the music education program must be certified teachers with classroom experience.

All concentrations provide advanced training for students who want to further their professional careers or prepare for doctoral studies. For example, those focusing on conducting develop leadership skills for church and community settings. Piano pedagogy students learn how to teach piano in both studio and classroom, exploring verbal and musical communication techniques, performance and expansion of piano repertoire.

Voice students are trained for recitals, oratorios and opera, as well as for teaching advanced musicians. Those studying jazz focus on improvisation and jazz history, and learn to organize and manage jazz performance groups for high school and college. Students have access to extensive resources, including two professional performance venues, a recording studio and a media center.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Music Education

Offered jointly through GSU's College of Education and School of Music, the PhD program is designed to help experienced teachers hone their research skills and knowledge of education theory. Application requirements include a personal statement and a teaching video, and students must commit one year to full-time classes. They focus on a music-related cognate of their choice, in addition to coursework that covers music education and research methods. A dissertation is required. Graduates are qualified to design and maintain curricula, teach in higher education and work at education organizations.

Emory University

With more than 60 faculty members, the Department of Music at Emory University offers undergraduate liberal arts degrees.

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Music

Students seeking a BA in Music from Emory University may choose to emphasize performance, research or composition; a double major is also an option. Required courses explore music performance, history, theory and analysis, literature and culture. Composition students take additional coursework in composition and electronic music, while music researchers delve into history and culture. Students in performance must audition in their primary instrument to enter the program, and enroll in private lessons and music ensembles every semester. Music students may perform a final recital.

Kennesaw State University

Located northwest of Atlanta, Kennesaw State University was founded in 1963. The School of Music, which is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music, houses the university's music programs.

Bachelor of Arts in Music

The BA in Music has concentrations in music theory, composition, musicology and ethnomusicology. All participants take private lessons, participate in ensembles and study core music courses in music theory, history, form and analysis, aural skills and piano. Music theory also explores instrumentation, arranging and counterpoint, while composition students receive instruction in music writing, instrumentation and literature. For ethnomusicology and musicology, there is coursework on music history, American music, theory and composition. All students must take a foreign language outside the School of Music.

Bachelor of Music

All students seeking a BMus must audition to enroll in the program. Areas of emphasis are performance and music education. Performance students may concentrate in voice, piano, instrumental or jazz, with core topics in music theory, aural skills, repertoire and history. Attendance at music performances and participation in ensembles and private lessons are also required. Students in the voice concentration must learn Italian, as well as German or French.

The program in music education prepares students for P-12 certification in Georgia. It functions as a double major in music and education, with an emphasis on general, choral, band or orchestra music, as well as on the student's instrument of choice. Program participants must study advanced music instruction, conducting and repertoire, as well as take education courses in teaching and learning, education methods, curriculums and assessment. There is also a full-time student teaching requirement.

Other School Options

More music programs can be found within the city of Atlanta. Students can earn a BA or MA in Music from Georgia Christian University. Undergraduate music degrees are granted by Point University, Clark Atlanta College, Morehouse College and Spelman College. In the greater Atlanta area, other schools that offer music degrees include Reinhardt University and University of West Georgia.

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