Prospective Students

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Ready to Audition?

Click here to Register today for an audition to be performed before our music faculty - here is your opportunity to be considered for a music scholarship. Note: music scholarships are only available for current and prospective music majors. Alternate audition opportunities are available for non-majors wishing to participate in our music ensembles during Fall and Spring class registrations.

Consider staying involved in music as you follow another academic track!  There are many music opportunities for ALL UMD majors.


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Is a Music Major right for Me?

Love music but not sure majoring in music is the right path for you? There are other options for keeping music alive in college and beyond in addition to majoring in music.

If you’re on the fence about becoming a music major, go ahead and prepare to audition anyway. If accepted, it’s easier to start out as a music major as a freshman and change your major later on if it’s not working for you. For a music major at UMD, each semester builds on the previous one. And unless you’re keeping up with regular practicing, playing, lessons, etc., your chance of a successful audition after you’re already in college decreases.

Many students also find creative ways to combine their study of music with the myriad of opportunities to perform in our city of Duluth. For example, Christian Moreno Cova, a UMD jazz studies alumni is currently pursuing his MBA at Boston University.  The discipline and confidence he obtained while performing and taking courses to complete his Bachelor of Arts in Jazz Studies is serving him well as he performs in Boston all while taking courses for his Masters in Business Administration.  The possibilities are endless if you are willing to study hard and stay the course.

Options other than majoring in music

• Consider a double major. This is great IF you are passionate about music and another field. It’s a lot of work, so if you’re only lukewarm about another field, find other ways to take some elective classes to see what it’s really about. 

• Minor. We offer non-music majors the opportunity to take a variety of general music classes as well as music classes in specific areas such as in our jazz minor, and our general music minor.

• At UMD, regardless of major we provide opportunities to be involved in ensembles, jazz groups, marching band and pep band. 

• Sing in one of our ensembles.  Some are by audition, others are not.

• Take lessons. Ask us about recommendations of upper level students and graduate students who offer lessons if our music faculty already have full studios.

Whether you major in music or not, find ways to keep your music going. A lifelong involvement in music will provide richness and fulfillment that no amount of money can buy. 

Check out some of the music opportunities available to all UMD students regardless of major.

Double Majoring with Music

Double Majoring with Music: Questions You Need to Ask

Double majoring is becoming more and more common for college music students who want to expand their educational experience. Some are passionate about a subject area in addition to music; others are drawn to the tangible skills their double major provides; and most students want to increase their job and/or grad school options after college.

How can you prepare to do something like this? What should you know in advance?

The following is a list of questions to help you get started. You may want to bring these with you when you visit UMD or when you meet with your college counselor or college adviser.

Note that colleges, conservatories and universities all design their programs in different ways. They don’t necessarily define double majoring in the same way. Here at UMD we offer the Music Bachelor of Arts degree program that is specifically tailor made for students who wish to study another major. 

Even if you’re not 100% sure you want to major in music, go ahead and plan to audition anyway. It’s easier to add another major in another field than it is to add music later on, especially if you’re hoping to graduate in four years.

Is double majoring right for you?

Passion is the starting point for anyone considering more than one major.

Can you see yourself giving up either of your interests? If the answer is no, then clearly you need to consider pursuing both!

If you are sure about following a career in music, do you know specifically what area of music you want to work in? UMD offers a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education, giving you certification and placement assistance at the end of your college career.

The double degree can prepare you for a broad range of careers in music, performing, teaching, etc.” Our double major offers a well-rounded education that will make you a better musician and all students typically follow a five-year program plan.

But before deciding to double major, ask yourself whether it’s really important to acquire two physical pieces of paper. And if it is, are you willing to do the additional amount of work to complete the degree program within your desired collegiate timeline?

What do music majors double major in?

UMD music students may double major in any area other than another area of music. Languages, mathematics, biological sciences, physical sciences, social sciences, communication, psychology, business, technology – these are the more common double major fields in conjunction with music.

Can you graduate in four years?

A double major program may take longer than four years, depending the type of degree you choose. Get help early on to figure out how to stay on a four-year track if that’s your goal.  Our faculty and advisors are available to help answer all your questions and help you stay on track.

Ask questions up front about how long the combination of majors you’re considering usually takes.

For instance, if you choose business as your second major, will you be required to undertake an internship? Will that add extra time to the program?

What degree works best for double majoring with music?

Find out what’s possible at UMD by visiting our website often and then contacting the admissions and music office.

What will your life look like as a double major?

Many factors can affect how you’ll spend your time as a double major.

Things to think about include:

  • Scheduling of classes – Will you be able to schedule all your required classes for both majors? Or will one take priority over another?Mary Smith at Gettysburg stresses the importance of balancing both majors. She urges students to find out in advance what each major involves:<“Will schedules conflict? What about rehearsal times and lab times?”
  • Location of classes – Will all of your classes be held on the same campus?Will you have to travel from one location to another to get to all of your classes?Does the school provide a shuttle bus and if so, how frequently does it run?
  • Time management – Approximately how many classes would you be taking each semester? Students need to have excellent time management skills to do this (double majoring) successfully.

For an insider view, ask the UMD music recruitment office for help in finding a current double major to talk with, to learn more about how to handle these and other concerns.

What happens with financial aid if you don’t graduate in four years?

Find out if any scholarships or other financial aid you’re offered or have received will be extended beyond four years. Will you be able to reapply for additional aid if the package you’re offered or currently have expires after four years?

Will double majoring help after graduation?

Double degree alumni have gone on to music-related careers in the performing arts, music industry, production, and academia. They have also been successful in business and marketing,

By asking the questions listed in this article and by doing your research on UMD's websites, you can find out a lot of what you need to know about double major options, how they will affect your college experience, and how they can change your life.

Music Scholarships Available


Music Scholarships for Prospective Students

Each year, the Department of Music awards talented and deserving incoming freshmen and transfer student music scholarships.

These awards recognize incoming students who display outstanding potential for participation in the Music Department’s primary music ensembles. These scholarships are awarded in Choral, Band, Orchestra, Piano/Keyboard, Theory/Composition and Jazz. The awards range from $8,000 to $16,000 over four years ($2,000 to $4,000 per year).

We also offer a half-tuition scholarship in the amount $28,000 over four years ($7,000 per year) All of these scholarships are open to all music majors. The Music Department does award some two-year scholarships that may be renewed at the end of the sophomore year for continuation of that scholarship.

Students may audition for an increase in a scholarship amount depending on academics, musical growth and outstanding contributions to the department. All music scholarships may be combined with other academic scholarship offered by the University.


To receive a music scholarship, you must:

  • Be an incoming student who has been accepted to the University of Minnesota Duluth

  • Perform a live or virtual audition on voice or instrument and in the case of Theory/Composition submit an original composition or arrangement. 

  • Complete the music department application process.

Selection Criteria

Music Scholarships are given to incoming students who display potential for contributing to the tradition of outstanding ensembles and music making at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Scholarship Deadlines

The scholarship deadline for Fall 2024 is March 2024. If you need to request an accommodation for this deadline, please contact Dee Charles at: [email protected]

Continuation of Scholarships

All scholarships are renewable for students enrolled as full-time music majors for up to 8 semesters providing that the student is maintaining satisfactory academic progress and participating in the assigned ensembles as indicated on the scholarship contract, and taking applied music lessons in the area of the scholarship.

UMD Music Majors at a Glance

UMD Music Undergraduate Studies at a Glance

Music Education: The Bachelor of Music in Music Education is a degree program designed to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and musicianship to become a vital, contributing music educator at the elementary school level or at the junior or senior high school level in the area of band, orchestra, or choir. Building upon a core curriculum in music, this degree program also offers specialized studies in conducting, classroom methods and instrumental or choral techniques, taught by our highly skilled Music Education faculty, preparing you for a rewarding and successful career as a K-12 music educator.

Performance: The Bachelor of Music Performance degree is a professional performance preparation degree that will provide you with the training and experience you need to pursue a career in instrumental or vocal performance. Intense one-on-one instruction with our world-class instrumental and vocal faculty, large ensemble and chamber music experiences and instruction from our long list of national and international guest artists will prepare you for further study at the graduate level or for a jump immediately into a performance career in the fields of opera, orchestra or chamber music.

Jazz Studies: The Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies is a degree program designed to specifically prepare you for a career as a performer, arranger, and composer in jazz and contemporary music or for future studies at the graduate level. The Jazz Studies program not only integrates mainstream jazz students into the existing curriculum in music, but also specializes in jazz-related topics delivered by our outstanding jazz faculty. Jazz Studies students have the opportunity to work with the biggest names in jazz through our many master classes throughout their studies at UMD. The list of jazz guest artists that have visited UMD is a “who’s who” of the jazz world. The Head of the Lakes Jazz Festival, hosted by UMD, is one of the largest of its kind in the upper Midwest.

Theory/Composition: The Bachelor of Music in Theory/Composition is a degree program designed to prepare students for an active career as a composer and music theorist. You will be engaged in courses taught by our outstanding composition faculty, which are designed to emphasize a deep exploration of techniques that will help develop your individual creativity in the area of music composition and theory. Unique to our program is the annual New Music Festival that features national and international guest performers who perform student compositions in a recital setting.

Music B.A.: The Bachelor of Arts in Music at UMD is a degree program specifically designed to allow those who have passion and talent in many fields of study to continue to pursue a career that involves music for their future. The B.A. in Music requires students to choose a second major, or a minor, in a field outside of music. You will take courses and lessons, participate in ensembles and perform a short recital as a music major at UMD with a schedule that allows for courses in your second field of study. This degree offers career options in music to include arts administration, private studio teaching, or studio musicianship.

Your Child Wants to Major in Music?

Your Child Wants to Major in Music: What Do You Say?

"For many parents, myself included, it’s one thing to hear your middle-school-aged child say he or she wants to major in music in college — and a whole different ballgame when they talk about it as a junior or senior in high school."

by Barbra Weidlein

Why are so many of us concerned when “music” pops out of their mouths as opposed to “business” or “engineering” or “medicine”?

We all want to raise kids who grow up to be self-sufficient. So it’s only natural for us to be concerned about the choices and decisions they make that will or won’t lead them in that direction. We’ve been barraged with media reports of computer-generated music replacing studio musicians, of internet sharing replacing paying for recorded music, of K-12 budget cuts reducing and sometimes eliminating music education and teacher positions, and of symphonies downsizing their performance seasons and even filing for Chapter 11.

What, then, can we do to lessen our anxiety and shift into a support mode when our kids know that majoring in music is what they want to do and what they are meant to do?

For starters, know that an undergraduate education in music trains students in skills that will apply to most other fields of study. Students who spend four years as a music major and then decide not to pursue a career in music will have gained skills that will transfer to  pretty much anything else they decide to do.

Next, be aware that even in the first two years in college, today’s music majors will need to seize and run with any opportunities that will put them closer to their career goals. Internships, volunteer work, community outreach, and off-campus performance experiences will all be important for gaining a realistic sense of what it is like to work in a music field while there’s still time to get input and support and correction from faculty.

Music business, technology, recording, and engineering as well as all performance (including classical), music education, and music therapy majors need to learn how to think outside the box; network with fellow students, faculty and professionals in a variety of music fields; and learn the marketing and business skills that will help them promote themselves and their work.

If you are concerned about how your son or daughter will be able to cope with the kinds of demands and expectations facing music majors as described above, encourage them to talk with their music teachers, as well as with some current music majors and faculty at a local college, conservatory, or music school. Let them hear from musicians outside the family to gain perspective. Also, explore with your child the career development services offered by each of the schools they are thinking about applying to, because no two schools offer the same opportunities. And, finally, remember what it was like to feel passionate about something when you were their age, so that you can replace some of your worry with the sense of enthusiasm and excitement your child has as he or she embarks on this amazing journey.

Transferable Music Skills

Transferable Music Skills — You Can Take Them with You!

Even if you end up deciding not to pursue a career in music, the transferable music skills you’ll gain as a music major will provide you with the background necessary to enter many other fields as well as graduate programs:

1.  Ability to be creative and think outside the box

Think: improvising; composing innovative music; dealing with myriad challenges that crop up before or during performances.

2.  Ability to plan ahead

Think: learning the music in advance of performances; juggling your schedule; knowing what it takes to look your best at concerts.

3. Ability to take responsibility

Think: scheduling and getting to lessons and rehearsals; learning your part for a group performance; leading a section of the orchestra or a band.

4. Ability to collaborate and work effectively with others to meet goals

Think: being part of an ensemble, orchestra or chorus.

5. Ability to think and understand in patterns

Think: learning and performing music.

6. Ability to manage time well and handle several projects at once

Think: juggling school with performing, practicing and the rest of your life to succeed at majoring in music.


Pursuing a Music Performance Degree

Are you thinking about pursuing a music performance degree in college? 

 UMD is among the number of schools in the U.S. and abroad offering established, innovative college-level programs. And more universities are adding songwriting classes and other training to their curricula every year.

If you’re interested in pursuing a music performance degree, consider UMD as we plan to help you:

• Advance your skill set;

• Support you as you pursue your creative passions; 

• Help you build a network of peers and professionals that will support you beyond your time in school. 

With the college admission process beginning earlier than ever, you’re wise to begin your search as soon you’ve decided to focus on a musical path. 

What can you do while still in high school to make your application and audition stand out? Honing your chops is a given. But there are other ways to better yourself as a musician and popular music program applicant.

Preparing to apply means more than just practicing.

Besides developing an efficient practice regimen, take a music theory class while still in high school. If your high school doesn’t offer one, find one online. If you hate music theory, you probably won’t enjoy pursuing a music degree. In addition, if reading standard notation is a weakness, you’ll need to remedy this as the ability to read and write music in standard notation continues to be a foundational element of a college music education.

Summer music camps & programs are vital!

Attending our North Shore Summer Music Experience music-focused summer camp is a great way to further your abilities and learn more about pursuing popular music in college. You gain the opportunity to collaborate with peers and get to work with faculty who teach at the colleges where you may apply. 

UMD provides various music honor festivals for instrumentalists and vocalists. 

To view the various musical opportunities for junior high and high school students, check out our news and events page and click on the specific event you are interested in on the side bar.  

Besides performance skills.

At UMD Music, we'll look for evidence that you’re learning how to:

1. Take the initiative

Before applying to college as a music major, it will serve you well to:

• Participate in after-school music programs.

• Take ongoing music lessons to better your skills.

• Write, perform and record even when those opportunities are not provided by your school.

2. Build a broad skill set

Try different music ensembles if they're offered at your high school.

3. Learn to handle disappointments

If you had a failed audition for an advanced band in high school, how did you handle the situation? Did you buckle down, practice harder, and recommit, or did you give up? 

Some of our best students were those who faced disappointments when they first auditioned, but then used that experience to propel themselves to a successful audition the following year. 

What kind of program will fit you best?

UMD offers faculty performers, peers, location and opportunities beyond the classroom that will nurture you as a musician and as an individual. 

The top-ranked school might not be the best fit for you for a variety of reasons. Understanding that, going into the college search process is essential. Visit us at UMD and find out if our music programs, faculty and location are the best fit for you.  Register for a visit and complimentary lesson Here.

Know that there is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ music program. They are all a little different and that’s great, because it means you can choose the program and school that is right for you.

Consider the setting you want to be in during your college experience. Do you want to be in or near a city? Do want to be part of a small campus or large campus? UMD is large enough to give you the "city" feel with its many musical opportunities in the community all while having the student-teacher ratio small enough for personal enrichment.

After narrowing down your college choices,” we recommend connecting with some of the teachers at the schools you’re considering. These people are going to be your musical and personal mentors for at least 4 years and it’s important that (the school) is a good fit. When possible, also connect with some current students or observe an ensemble rehearsal. Doing these things will tell you a lot about the ‘vibe’ at the school.”  Register HERE for a visit Today


Music Program Learning Outcomes

Music Program Learning Outcomes

Music Programs Core:
1. Express musical ideas at the advanced level appropriate to the degree program.
2. Apply knowledge of music historical and cultural styles from early practice to the present.
3. Critically analyze and evaluate musical patterns, processes and outcomes.
4. Appropriately express culturally diverse music in ways representative of local, national, and/or global communities in ensemble settings.

Music BA:
1. Demonstrate professional skills appropriate to leadership, collaboration, and problem solving.
2. Present effective, advanced-level written communication.

Jazz Studies:
1. Demonstrate improvisation skills in jazz styles on an instrument as a soloist with technical
proficiency (e.g., tone production, intonation, articulation, technical facility, rhythmic conception).
2. Compose and arrange music for small and large jazz ensembles with appropriate use of jazz styles.
3. Demonstrate professional skills through leadership, collaboration, and problem solving.
4. Present effective, advanced-level written communication.

Music Education:
1. Demonstrate ethical behaviors through leadership, collaboration, and problem solving.
2a. Present effective written communication.
2b. Present effective verbal and interactive communication of lesson objectives, strategies, and assessment practices in the context of laboratory teaching (practice) lessons.

Music Theory & Composition:
1. Demonstrate ethical behaviors through leadership, collaboration, and problem solving.
2. Present effective written communication of musical judgments, criticisms, and preferences.

Music Vocal Performance:
1. Demonstrate professional skills appropriate to leadership, collaboration, and problem solving.
2. Present effective, advanced-level written communication.