Columbia College Chicago

Music

The Music Department offers two undergraduate degrees: the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Music. The BA is a liberal arts degree that focuses on music in the context of a broad, interdisciplinary program of collegewide studies, allowing for more elective credits than the BMus, which is a professional degree with intensive focus on music, supported by general studies. A live audition is a great opportunity to meet and perform for your Music program faculty, to learn about performance-level placement, and to be considered for an additional scholarship award.

Majors & Programs

For requirements and more information about these programs, visit the catalog.


Music, BA

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As a Music student, you’ll engage with a well-rounded, interdisciplinary curriculum that provides foundational training in theory, contexts and contemporary applications. We’re unique: We don’t require an audition for admittance to the college. If you don't have formal training, we’ll help you develop the skills you need to succeed as a musician. You’ll choose one of five concentrations: Composition; Instrumental Performance; Vocal Performance; Jazz Studies; or Contemporary, Urban, and Popular Music.

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Concentrations:
Music, Contemporary, Urban, and Popular Music, BA
Music, Composition, BA

As a Composition student, you’ll become proficient in writing, arranging and recording music while gaining a comprehensive understanding of music as a whole. You’ll develop your unique creative voice as a composer for film, video games and the concert stage. You’ll study music theory and history, delving into its grammar and mechanics. Our emphasis is on modern and contemporary compositional techniques, with a special focus on methods used by composers since 1970.

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Music, Instrumental Performance, BA

As an Instrumental Performance student, you’ll concentrate your studies on a primary instrument and acquire technical skills to improvise, compose and arrange in a variety of styles. You’ll learn the art of collaboration by performing in ensembles with Music students in the other concentrations, including Contemporary, Urban, and Popular Music; Jazz Studies; Composition; and Vocal Performance.

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Music, Jazz Studies, BA

Learn the language and history of jazz through performance, composition, arranging and improvisation as a student in Columbia’s nationally acclaimed Jazz Studies program. The program is grounded in repertoire and tradition but offers you the freedom to experiment and pursue your own voice. While mastering your primary instrument, you’ll grow as a musician and creative thinker.

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Music, Vocal Performance, BA

Your voice is your instrument. Take your natural talent to the next level by cultivating your skills as a performer, collaborator and communicator. Along with specialized courses at every level of your development, you’ll take private lessons in a range of styles and perform in choruses and other ensembles. Our Vocal Performance program has a distinctive focus on contemporary genres like jazz, blues, gospel, pop and rock and also supports students who are interested in classical and musical theatre styles.

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Composition, BMus

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As a Composition student pursuing a BMus degree, you’ll be part of a selective, rigorous program. You will push your craft to a competitive professional level through advanced coursework and one-on-one study with working professionals. You’ll develop your unique creative voice as a composer and sharpen your ability to compose for media and the concert stage. Our emphasis is on modern and contemporary compositional techniques with a special focus on methods used by composers since 1970.

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Performance, BMus

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The Performance program is an intensive, professionally-oriented degree designed to prepare students for professional careers in music, as well as further graduate education. The degree provides professional training in the broad range of skills required of modern-day professional musicians within the context of traditional and contemporary practices. Students may choose from three different concentrations: Vocal Performance, Instrumental Performance and Jazz Studies.

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Concentrations:
Performance, Instrumental Performance, BMus

In our Instrumental Performance program, you’ll concentrate your studies on a primary instrument while gaining technical skills to compose and arrange in a variety of styles. You’ll gain experience with many genres, learning to adjust and adapt as a musician in a range of performance settings. You’ll learn the art of collaboration by performing in ensembles with Music students in the other concentrations, including Contemporary, Urban, and Popular Music; Jazz Studies; and Vocal Performance.

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Performance, Jazz Studies, BMus

Learn the language and history of jazz through performance, composition, arranging and improvisation as a student in Columbia’s nationally acclaimed Jazz Studies program. While mastering your primary instrument, you’ll earn a professional degree designed to prepare you for a career in music. The program is grounded in repertoire and tradition but offers you the freedom to experiment and pursue your own voice.

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Performance, Vocal Performance, BMus

Your voice is your instrument. Take your natural talent to the next level by cultivating your skills as a performer, collaborator and communicator. Along with specialized courses at every level of your development, you’ll perform in ensembles and take private lessons in a variety of styles. Our BMus program is a professional degree with a distinctive focus on contemporary styles like jazz, blues, gospel, pop and rock. It also supports students who are interested in classical and musical theatre styles.

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Music Technology, BS

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The Bachelor of Science in Music Technology connects course work in music, audio arts, and information technology to educate artists and designers in the interdisciplinary foundations of modern musical practice. This curriculum focuses on the impact of technology on music’s creation, presentation, representation, and distribution since the beginning of the 20th century while preparing our students for professional musical life in the 21st century.

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Hip-Hop Studies Minor

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In this minor, you’ll interact with the vibrant hip-hop communities at Columbia and throughout Chicago. The minor unites many disciplines through a hip-hop lens, including music, dance, art, creative writing, and entrepreneurship. You can take classes in topics like hip-hop music creation, breaking and other street dance techniques, DJing, and record label management. You’ll also participate in events, jams, and performances, pairing this hands-on experience with conversations about the history and ethics of hip-hop, including issues related to race, gender, class, and social justice.

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Ready to Apply?

We’re happy you’re thinking of joining our creative community. We work hard to make our application process as simple and fast as possible, but should you run into any concerns, we're here to help at any time.

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If you can’t make it to campus, don’t worry! We have a full schedule of events all across the U.S. and around the world.

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