2 male and female students playing cellos on the campus green

Music Major

Bethany’s music major includes private study, ensemble participation, music theory, music skills (sight singing, ear training), and music history.

As a music student at Bethany you will enjoy fine facilities for instruction and practice. You will also have the opportunity to join with other students who love to sing and play. Our performance groups aim for polished presentations while providing everyone with the opportunity for refreshment in both rehearsals and performances. Most importantly, Bethany’s music major is built on a strong Christian foundation and understanding of music’s spiritual purpose and strength.

Potential careers in music include: church musician; composer; conductor; music arranger, educator, librarian, or manager; performer; publisher; musical theatre performer; and sound designer.

Student Stories

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Music Faculty

These faculty members teach many of the courses that comprise the Music Major. See also the Music Department.

Music Performance Opportunities

There are numerous choral and instrumental music groups at Bethany. Academic credit is available for participation in many groups to help music students fulfill the major requirements. Private lessons are also available.

Music Facilities

Bethany has great spaces for making music! Here are a few:

Music Major Requirements

Mission Statement

The Bethany Lutheran College Music Department strives to give students the knowledge and skills they will need to be successful stewards of their craft of music, encouraging them to be competent, enthusiastic, and creative, capable of using music in a variety of ways to glorify God while enriching people’s lives in both sacred and secular settings.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Theory, composition, and music skills: Students will be able to create, manipulate and analyze musical structures typical of the major historical musical periods, utilizing the many elements of musical language such as melody, harmony, rhythm, form, timbre, and notation.
  2. Music history: Students will be able to demonstrate visual, aural, and factual knowledge about the art of music of the Western Civilization and the cultural heritage of music from around the world through competence in the use of analog as well as digital resources for research into musical history and literature.
  3. Ensemble experience: Students will be able to rehearse and perform a wide variety of music with others in ensemble situations with an understanding of how to modify individual performance skills for the good of the larger performing entity.
  4. Studio music: Students will demonstrate the technique necessary to perform representative repertoire of the major musical periods on their primary instrument.

Entry into the Major

Students should apply for admission into the degree program at the end of their third semester. Acceptance into the music degree programs requires a minimum 2.8 GPA in the music coursework of the first two years, and three semesters of ensemble and applied music.

Core Requirements

Required lower division courses:

All of:

Required upper division courses:

Five of:

Additional requirements:

  • Seven credits of applied music (private lessons)
  • Seven credits of ensemble music


Students must take one of the following:

Area of Emphasis

Students who major in music may choose an emphasis which will guide and shape their course of study: Church Music, Conducting, Music History, Performance, or Theory and Composition.

Church Music Emphasis

Students will demonstrate an appreciation of the unique musical heritage of the Lutheran Church, and development of a sense of responsibility towards the further cultivation of that heritage through ongoing study, composition and performance.

Conducting Emphasis

Students will demonstrate the ability to communicate musical direction through the gestures and manners of the accepted conducting techniques. They will also exhibit a technical grasp of the various challenges unique to choral and instrumental conducting.

Music History Emphasis

Students will demonstrate visual, aural and factual knowledge about the art music of the Western Civilization and the cultural heritage of music from around the world through identification of form, era, composer, and genre, and will be able to present written explorations of musical topics or live performances of musical creations. Students will acquire a competence in the use of analog as well as digital resources for research into musical history and literature.

Performance Emphasis

Students will demonstrate the technique necessary to perform on their primary instrument; the ability to perform a representative repertoire of the major musical periods; develop fluency in their instrument with the ability to convey appropriate nuance, dynamic range, tempi, language and stylistic conventions; attain a working knowledge of the repertoire; give a convincing performance; display ability to work in small ensembles as well as solo performing; develop the ability to study a composition according to both theoretical and historical elements for performance; structure efficient practice/rehearsal time; display skills necessary to present themselves in various performance settings.

Students will present a junior recital and a senior capstone recital.

Students will successfully complete at least 13 credits of applied music in their primary performance medium (students will register for MUSC290 Instruction II in their second semester and continue with hour-long weekly lessons for the next six semesters).

Select one primary performance medium noted below and complete the defined coursework.




Theory and Composition Emphasis

Students will be able to analyze a given piece of music from any historical period in terms of melody, harmony, rhythm, form, timbre, and notation, and explain how its characteristics are typical or atypical of the period in which it was composed. Students will be able to compose music that demonstrates their understanding of traditional approaches to music theory. Advanced student composers will also be able to use their own unique compositional style to create new, forward-looking works of art.

Music Minor

Our music program is offered as a minor for those students who do not wish to complete the full major course requirements. The minor in music requires the following courses.

Four of:

Three of:

Additional requirements:

  • Four credits of ensemble music
  • Six credits of private lessons

Next Steps

We’d love to make music with you! Schedule your personal visit today, or learn more about becoming a Bethany student.