Music Curriculum

Our faculty are committed to mentoring you through the many opportunities of the Program, the campus, and the city. Take advantage of all the Music Program and this deep University has to offer: compete for research grants, travel internationally with our ensembles, or intern with partners like the Washington National Opera. We pride ourselves on giving you world-class professional opportunities and contacts while you explore the depths of studying Music in American University's liberal arts tradition. Features of our program include

  • a National Association of School of Music (NASM) accredited program with traditional core courses in ear-training, theory, history, private lessons, and ensembles
  • experience in multiple genres and a community invested in your success
  • classes small enough for personal attention, and big enough for a robust exchange of ideas
  • the ability to develop to your highest potential at the pace you need
  • specialized upper-level courses chosen in consultation with your dedicated faculty mentor
  • flexible requirements beyond the important degree core allowing you to combine your love of music with any other degree programs across the campus

Play Out Your Degree


A Sample 4-Year Plan for the BA in Music

  • Semester 1

    Lessons
    Ensembles
    Introductory Colloquium
    Theory I
    Musicianship I

    Semester 2

    Lessons
    Ensembles
    Theory II
    Musicianship II

  • Semester 3

    Lessons
    Ensembles
    Theory III
    Music History II

  • Semester 4

  • Lessons
    Ensembles
    Music History I
    Pick your specialty area
  • Semester 5

    Lessons
    Ensembles
    Advanced Concentration Elective*

    Semester 6

    Study Abroad
    Music elective?
    Music elective?

Determining Your Specialty Area

By the end of sophomore year, music majors will have a clear idea of how they want to focus the balance of their undergraduate work in Music. Based on this decision, they will work with a faculty mentor from the Music Program to realize their goals. For example, students with aspirations in the performance area would develop and present their work in concerts. Students interested in an area of academic music would likely prepare an extensive paper in their research area. For some, it may involve a combination of what students are doing as double majors. In every case, these projects are intended to satisfy and enhance the artistic, academic and future goals of the student by following an existing structure that is individually customized for each student. Specialties include, but are not limited to: performance, composition, ethnomusicology, music history, arts management, theory, music journalism, business and entertainment and music, audio tech and music etc.

*Advanced Concentration Electives are courses that specialize in upper level music areas. They are divided into Advanced Concentration in Music Analysis and Performance and Advanced Concentration in Music History and Ethnomusicology

  • Semester 7

    Lessons
    Ensembles
    Senior Colloquium
    Advanced Concentration Elective*

    Semester 8

    Capstone project (recital, research paper, or other special project in student's specialty area)
    Advanced Concentration Elective*