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New Bachelor of Music degree to launch in fall 2020

August 12, 2020

University of North Georgia (UNG) students pursuing music degrees will have the option for a more intense program of study starting in fall 2020. The University System of Georgia (USG) has approved a Bachelor of Music degree at UNG.

"The Bachelor of Music is considered more of a professional degree in the music industry," said Dr. Benjamin Schoening, department head and associate professor of music at UNG.

Beforehand, students pursuing music degrees could earn a Bachelor of Arts in music or a Bachelor of Science in music education with a choral concentration or an instrumental concentration. That means students spend about 60 percent of their class time in liberal arts course and the remaining 40 percent in music. The new degree will allow for a more intensive study in music.

"Students gain the ability to take more music classes as part of the degree instead of taking them as electives," said Dr. Adam Frey, associate professor of music and a major proponent of upgrading the BA to a Bachelor of Music.

It also explores new topics such as music entrepreneurship, digital audio production and design, film and video game music, and marching band techniques.

The Bachelor of Music will center on three areas of study: musical performance, music education and musical arts. Music education will maintain its focus on choral concentration and instrumental concentration. Musical performance will have three concentrations in instrumental, piano and vocal performance and feature more in-depth courses. For example, students will receive training in literature and pedagogy.

A unique feature in the musical arts concentration is it will target students with a wide-ranging focus in music including music business, technology, musicology, recording and production.

"It's a degree that can be tailored to areas in music that are outside of the performance and education realm," Schoening said. "While it is similar to a Bachelor of Arts., it has a 50/50 split between music and liberal arts allowing for more focus. UNG will be the only institution in Georgia with the musical arts concentration."

The impetus for the new degree stemmed from a survey of music students in spring 2018 as well as input from regional stakeholders.

"The feedback we got from the region is they wanted students to have that specific professional degree," Schoening said. "And the students in the music program wanted us to provide that, too."

UNG submitted the proposal in fall 2018, and it underwent the review process. The USG Board of Regents officially approved the new degree in December 2019.

"Now, UNG can tout that we offer a professional music degree," Schoening said. "And the professional degree allows us to offer our students more tools to prepare them for a career in the field."

The new degree will help recruit more top-tier high school musicians to UNG, too and Frey believes underclassmen will also switch to the new program.

"Music requires so much extensive training," Frey said. "The more specialized you can be, the better. And this degree allows UNG to offer that to its students."

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