Columbia College Chicago

Performance, Instrumental Performance, BMus

As an Instrumental Performance student, you’ll study a primary instrument, exploring a variety of styles and genres both in and out of the classroom. You’ll gain countless hours of performance experience in student ensembles. As a BMus student, you’ll also participate in advanced ensembles. You’ll learn where you fit in a diverse group of musicians, and how to communicate and collaborate on stage and in the studio.

As a BMus student, you’ll develop advanced musicianship skills, build a broad repertoire and become fluent in a range of contemporary styles. The program is flexible and stylistically diverse, responding to your unique interests and skills. We expect excellence and a rigorous practice ethic from our BMus students. We foster an environment that values personal, soulful creative work and meaningful connections between students. Over the course of your studies, you’ll build a portfolio of professional-quality recordings that will form the foundation of your performance career.

What to Expect Your First Year

You’ll begin as a BA student with core classes in music theory and will study a wide range of musical styles and genres. You’ll take technical courses and explore your new skills in an instrumental group of your choice, such as the Pop Rock Ensemble or Groove Band. You’ll play challenging music, develop your stage presence and learn how to contribute to a group of musicians. In your first or second year, depending on your proficiency, you’ll have the opportunity to audition for the BMus program.

What to Expect Your Last Year

In your last year, you’ll delve deeper into pop/jazz theory and arranging courses. You’ll also take a repertoire and traditions course in which you’ll study and perform the works of master musicians. Much of the year is dedicated to preparing for your senior recital, with a private instructor guiding you along the way. Many Instrumental Performance students present original music in their final performances.

You’ll take required one-on-one lessons with our acclaimed faculty and advanced courses in theory, history and music business. You’ll also have the opportunity to take master classes with a series of acclaimed artists in residence from a variety of disciplines. The artists also hold workshops and critiques with Instrumental Performance students and perform public concerts with our department ensembles.

The department works diligently to promote your work, inviting industry professionals to recitals and helping you book off-campus gigs. By graduation, you’ll be ready to launch a career as a working musician.

Detailed Program Information

Download a Four-Year Plan

For More Degree Requirements and Transfer Plans, Visit the Catalog

Real-world Opportunities

What experience will I get outside the classroom?

As a Music student, you’re encouraged—and expected—to perform in a variety of settings, both on campus as part of your coursework and in Chicago’s vibrant music scene. Chicago is a robust, diverse and accessible place for a working musician, even if you’re just starting your career. Our students play in dozens of ensembles, including bands, choirs and more. They also start their own bands and launch their own projects in collaboration with students from other departments on campus. Columbia’s Music Center hosts more than 200 student, faculty and artist in residence performances and workshops each year. Our department also offers exchange programs with Conservatorio Luisa d’Annunzio in Pescara, Italy, the Popakademie in Mannheim, Germany and other EU partner institutions.

What are my internship options?

You’ll have the opportunity to intern at recording studios, record labels, production companies and radio stations or as an assistant to composers, musicians or music business managers. However, your real-world training will most likely be playing at local venues, special events, campus happenings or with the artists in residence who not only teach but perform with our students. If you’re ready to play professionally, your instructors will help you find gigs.

Which minors complement this major?

This program is credit intensive. If you pursue a minor, your academic enrollment may extend beyond four academic years. However, if you have a significant number of advanced placement or transferred credits, you may be able to complete the minor in a timely fashion. Please consult with the College Advising Center before officially declaring a minor.


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