You love music and think you might like to perform, conduct, teach, compose, or become a music therapist. Your idea of doing something fun and creative is to join a performing group—choral or instrumental, jazz, popular, classical, or marching band. You’ll find plenty of opportunities to do all of that and more as a music major at Iowa.
For example, recent Iowa graduates with a degree in music have found careers as music therapists, music educators, and professional performers.
Why Study at Iowa?
The University of Iowa School of Music has long been recognized as one of the best university-based music schools in the United States. It also has a stellar reputation in the international fine arts community.
With an enrollment of about 470 music majors, the school is large enough to have strong programs in all areas of specialization but small enough to give you the individual attention that will help your talent grow.
The school gives all qualified students—music majors and nonmajors alike—the opportunity to study music. In addition to its comprehensive course offerings for majors, it provides a generous selection of courses for nonmajors as well as opportunities to participate in performing groups.
The School of Music also collaborates with the Tippie College of Business to provide instruction for a Certificate in Performing Arts Entrepreneurship for students interested in starting a performing arts business or using entrepreneurial skills to promote their work as an artist.
Students majoring in music may earn a Bachelor of Music (BM) or a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. The BM program is for students who plan on careers as musicians, music educators, or music therapists. The BA program is designed for students who have strong abilities and interest in music but are not planning on careers as musicians or who want to combine the music major with a second major in another discipline.
Professional certification in music education and music therapy are available only through the BM program.
See Music in the UI General Catalog to learn more about the degree programs and graduating with honors.
Bachelor of Music (BM) Program
If you're a BM student, especially in music education or music therapy, common course requirements include music fundamentals, theory, and history; group piano; recital attendance; and conducting. Four years of applied music and ensemble participation are required, as well as a variety of elective courses. You'll also present a senior recital.
Four concentrations are available for BM students:
- The Performance Concentration offers programs in brass, keyboard, percussion, strings, voice, and woodwinds. A second emphasis in jazz studies may be added to this concentration.
- The Composition Concentration requires additional course work in composition and music theory; composition students also must pass an audition in a performance area.
- The Music Education Concentration requires enrollment in an instrumental or vocal performance program and completion of the College of Education’s Teacher Education Program.
- The Music Therapy Concentration includes a comprehensive education in music, with a variety of performance opportunities, and provides students with access to facilities at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
Bachelor of Arts (BA) Program
If you're a BA student, you'll complete many of the same requirements as Bachelor of Music students do, but you'll be more limited in the amount of music credit you may count toward graduation.
See Music in the UI General Catalog to learn more about the BM and BA degree programs and graduating with honors.
Minor in Music
Admission to the music major is selective. As an entering first-year student, you'll declare a music interest as your major for advising assignments and course selection. You should audition for admission to the major during your senior year of high school—before the end of February if you want to be considered for scholarships. If you're applying to the music composition program, you'll need to submit examples of your creative and/or written work. Visit the School of Music website for more details.
Admission Requirements Tabs
First-year students in music may be interested in living in the Arts Living-Learning Community, the Just About Music (JAM) Living-Learning Community or the Standing Ovation Living-Learning Community in the residence halls.
From new music to jazz to symphonic classics and opera, the University of Iowa has nearly two dozen Performing Groups for music students. Among them are the University Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Band, Hawkeye Marching Band, Percussion Ensemble, Center for New Music ensembles, Johnson County Landmark jazz band, and University Choir.
Faculty, Facilities, and Resources
The music faculty consists of highly trained artist-teachers in each area of specialization and scholars of international distinction. Faculty members give lessons in all band and orchestral instruments, voice, piano, and organ. Faculty ensembles in residence include the Iowa Brass Quintet, the Iowa Woodwind Quintet, and Cerberus. Learn more by visiting Faculty Profiles on the School of Music website.
Most of the University of Iowa arts campus was damaged or destroyed by Iowa River flooding in 2008. While planning and construction of new facilities are under way, the School of Music is conducting business as usual in several facilities located near the center of campus. These temporary homes for the school have been fitted specifically to accommodate music classes, instrumental and vocal practice, rehearsals, and performances. They also provide facilities for recording and acoustical manipulation.
The Rita Benton Music Library has been conveniently relocated to the university’s Main Library. The music library holds more than 70,000 music scores; 50,000 books; 3,500 microforms; and 28,000 media items in all formats (e.g., CDs, DVDs, LPs, VHS tapes). The library subscribes to about 300 journals and offers full-text online access.
Students also have access to electronic audio reserves for class listening assignments and to commercially available streamed audio products, such as Classical Music Library, Naxos Jazz, and Naxos Music Library. The large reference collection is supplemented by several online resources.
Iowa graduates have job placement rates ranging from 86-100 percent, depending on their area of study, and our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.
Prospective undergraduate music majors are considered for scholarships when they audition for admission. The School of Music offers numerous competitive scholarships to students who demonstrate exceptional talent in their chosen areas. Awards are determined by audition and are renewable for four years if students meet specific academic and performance criteria. See the School of Music website for more details.
Apply to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.