University of South Florida

School of Music

USF College of The Arts

Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Applying to a Potential Degree Program

Which program do you want to pursue? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I want to supplement my other interests with music?
    • The BA would be good. The BM would not be appropriate.
  • Do I want to enjoy it as a hobby--an avocation?
    • The BA would be good. The BM would not be appropriate if you need the time to develop a career in another major.
  • Am I undecided about a major or minor?
    • Pursue the BA until you decide otherwise.
  • Is music my passion and I want to perform or compose for a career?
    • The BM is the degree for those who wish to be professionally trained.
  • Do I want to teach others in a private studio besides performing or composing?
    • The BM in Jazz Studies, Composition, or Performance is designed to prepare you in both applied and pedagogical skills. You do not need a music education degree.
  • Do I want to conduct an ensemble or teach in a studio or classroom at the college level?
    • It is not necessary to earn a BS degree in music education unless you want to teach music in K-12 schools (elementary and/or secondary). Otherwise, the BM degree would be appropriate. Most colleges and universities prefer that applicants possess the terminal degree for their concentration, such as the DMA or PhD.
  • Do I want to teach in the elementary or secondary public schools?
    • The BS in Music Education is specifically designed to equip you with the professional knowledge and skills to teach in the classroom and direct ensembles. Without such a degree, it is unlikely that you will be hired to teach music in the public schools, especially if there are other job applicants who possess a degree in music education.
  • Do I want to be a music education professor at the college level and help others learn how to teach?
    • It is recommended that you earn the bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees in Music Education and have 5 years of teaching experience in the elementary and/or secondary schools.