Music Performance | University of Northwestern, St. Paul
UNW Covid-19 Information
Department of Music & Theatre

Music Performance

Student playing violin
Department of Music & Theatre

Music Performance

  • Bachelor of Music
  • Undergraduate

131 - 138 credits

required for program

131 - 138 credits

131 - 138 credits

required for program

Prepare for a career as a professional musician, to pursue graduate studies in vocal, piano, or instrumental music performance, to teach private music lessons, or pursue other related careers.


Entrance auditions are required for this major. Auditions are held during the spring semester. You must be admitted to both Northwestern and the Department of Music & Theatre in order to major in music. Please refer to the Music Admissions & Scholarships for audition requirements and dates.

Why study music performance at Northwestern?

Learn from highly credentialed music faculty, seasoned performers, noted educators, sought-after conductors, and acclaimed composers who are dedicated to your musical excellence.

You can participate in competitions and perform on regional, national, and international tours while building your education on Northwestern’s 115+ year history as a Christ-centered institution of higher learning. Christian faculty will help you to grow in your faith and your music.

All Northwestern music degrees hold accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Music, the principal U.S. accreditor for higher education in music.

With campus so close to downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul, students can take advantage of opportunities in Minnesota’s thriving music communities.

If you are disciplined, have a passion for performing, and are interested in a career in music, this might be the right degree for you.

What degree specializations are offered in Music Performance?

Careers in music performance

There are a variety of career and academic pathways that begin with a degree in music performance.

What types of work are related to this degree?

  • Freelance or contracted performer
  • Private instructor
  • Church worship leader
  • Audio technician
  • Concert promotion
  • Concert hall management or administration
  • Music program coordination
  • Artist representation
  • Arts administration or management
  • Promotion/media relations
  • Collaborative pianist
  • Orchestral musician
  • Music librarian

Who employs people with this degree?

  • Music industry
  • Private and community music centers (teaching)
  • Churches, orchestras, choral groups
  • Opera and theatre companies
  • Military ensembles
  • Recording studios
  • Dance companies and teaching studios
  • Colleges and universities (requires graduate degree)
  • Parks and recreation programs
  • Nursing homes and hospitals
  • Concert venues and performance halls
  • Music-related publishers
  • Entertainment law firms and businesses
  • Music shops
  • Theme parks and cruise ships
View Career Guide

of Northwestern music performance graduates felt professionally prepared by their education


often combine multiple income streams to experience fulfilling careers

3 tracks

in this degree: vocal, piano, instrumental

Preparing for a Career

College graduation rates continue to increase each year making competition for jobs even greater. Set yourself apart from the crowd with the following strategies for getting started, networking, and gaining experience.

Strategies for success:

  • As an undergraduate, gain as much experience as possible, paid or unpaid, through college and local organizations. Seek internships or volunteer positions with relevant organizations.
  • Confidence, personality, a positive attitude, and a love of music are important to success in many areas of music. Learn basic tools of self-promotion.
  • Some jobs may require you to join unions or guilds. Research the industry to learn which ones are appropriate.
  • Performers often travel frequently and must be flexible regarding their work schedules.
  • Majoring in music provides students with a sense of aesthetics and an understanding of human expression valuable to many employers.
  • Develop competencies in business management, computers, marketing, or other areas to broaden range of employment possibilities.
  • Recognize that few musicians make a living solely through music.

You might also be interested in:

You might also be interested in

Become a Student


Visit Campus


Contact Us