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Columbia College Chicago
Bachelor of Music: Contemporary, Urban & Popular Music

Bachelor of Music: Contemporary, Urban & Popular Music


Columbia College's Music Department now offers a unique and innovative performance degree in Contemporary, Urban and Popular Music (CUP). This Bachelor of Music program is designed to give you the skills and experience you need to succeed as a professional musician.  The BMUS program is dedicated to the development of high-level mastery in the creation, arranging, recording, performing and marketing of original music. CUP coursework also includes specialized courses in Music Technology, Music Business, Music History, Music Theory and Keyboard. All CUP majors perform in a variety of ensembles, with repertoire encompassing a wide range of popular music styles and genres. CUP BMUS students also form their own bands and unique projects focused on the development of original music through both collaborative and individual recording and performance projects.

Online CUP Application

The Fall 2014 CUP BMUS Application is now closed. The deadline for applications was April 1, 2014. Check back next semester for the Fall 2015 application.

If you are applying for admission to Columbia at this time, you must also visit colum.edu/admissions and apply for general admission.

Eligibility, Application and Audition

Acceptance is based on a review of a candidate’s application, academic background, faculty recommendations, and the quality of his/her audition. Applicants should have a minimum of 60 credit hours (including the currently enrolled semester), and be enrolled in their third semester or higher of Music Core coursework. 

Applications and auditions take place each spring, and qualified applicants will be contacted, given specific audition guidelines and assigned an audition time. Auditions generally consist of the applicant performing with a "house band", and presenting examples of original work where applicable. 

Transfer students are advised to simply enter the department as declared CUP BAs, and enroll in the appropriate courses and ensembles based on their placement into the Music Core course sequences. Those transfer students who feel they may be qualified to apply and audition for the BMUS upon entering the program should contact CUP Program Director Gary Yerkins at CUPBM@colum.edu to discuss your eligibility and help you get started.

BMus Music with a Concentration in Contemporary Urban and Popular Music: Degree Requirements

Study Abroad and Resident Artists

The CUP program offers unique opportunities for our students to study abroad with our overseas partner schools. Select CUP BMUS students are twice annually invited to participate with musicians from all over Europe in week-long immersion experiences at the PopAkademie Mannheim, Germany (summer) and the MuZone International Band and Business Camp (winter). CUP BMUS students are also eligible for semester-long exchanges with PopAkademie.

CUP also offers unique opportunities to workshop with visiting faculty and resident artists from Chicago, the U.S. and around the world. To see a list of current and past residents, check out CCC Music’s Guest Artists in Residence program.

CUP ensembles include:
  • Pop/Rock Ensembles: Bill Boris, Rick Rizzo, Nick Tremulis, Chris "Hambone" Cameron, Charlie Coffeen, Typhanie Monique Coller, Kimo Williams)
  • Hip-Hop Ensembles: Charlie Coffeen
  • Rock/Jazz Fusion: Bill Boris
  • R&B Ensemble: Chuck Webb, Brian Danzy
  • Pop Orchestra: Carey Deadman
  • Blues Ensembles: Fernando Jones
  • Recording and Performance Ensemble: Gary Yerkins, Chuck Webb
  • Latin Pop/Rock: Ruben Alvarez
  • Groove Bands: Frank Donaldson, Chris Forte