Music Industry Major

A Bachelor of Arts in Music Industry at Saint Mary’s combines the technical training of music technology and business with the advantages of the liberal arts, resulting in a perfect blend of curriculum. 

This program exposes students to a curricular structure that reflects the needs of today’s musician in an ever-changing, high-tech world. Within the major, students have the flexibility to choose either a technology or a business emphasis and the opportunity to pursue off-campus music industry internships at organizations like: Universal Music Group, Minnesota Public Radio, Warner, Elektra Asylum Records, KNXR Studies, Schmitt Music, and Wenger Music Corp.

There's no question that students reap the benefit of our strong industry connections, including a professional partnership with Sound Strations Studios in La Crosse, Wis., owned and operated by adjunct faculty and Grammy Award winner, Brett Huus.

Career Options

Students who graduate with a music industry degree are prepared for careers in the advertising, marketing, and public relations fields. Graduates are also ready for other professional positions such as arts administrators, broadcast and sound engineers, musicians and singers, and private practice lawyers, among other options.

High School Preparation

High school coursework that will support a student in his or her pursuit of a music industry degree includes experience in Accounting, Band or Orchestra, Choir, Business, Economics, Music History, and Music Theory.

Enhance Your Experience

Students who earn a degree from the music industry track oftentimes pursue a double major or minor in management, marketing, or even digital media and journalism


Degree Requirements

A. Music Core:

MU130 Music Fundamentals I (1 cr.)

This course is designed to be an introduction to music reading and understanding. The fundamentals of pitch and rhythm are covered along with ear training and score reading in this computer-assisted course.

MU131 Music Fundamentals II (1 cr.)

This is a continuation of Music Fundamentals I.

MU150 Experiencing Music (3 cr.)

This course is designed to stimulate interest in and enjoyment of music from its beginnings through medieval, renaissance, baroque, classical, romantic, and 20th century styles, including various styles of non-Western music. This course is required for music majors and minors and is also a general education aesthetics content area course open to all students with an interest in music.

MU160 Music Theory I (3 cr.)

This course is designed for students interested in increasing their knowledge of the basic elements of music. Concepts covered include: keys, scales, simple and compound rhythms, intervals, triads, 7th chords, principles of voice leading, harmonic progression, cadences, phrases and periods.

MU170 Ear Training I (2 cr.)

The objective of this course is to develop aural skills involving melody, rhythm and harmony. Concepts covered include: identification of intervals, scales, triads, sight-singing and one voice melodic and rhythmic dictations.

MU175 Ear Training II (2 cr.)

This is a continuation of Ear Training I. The objective of this course is to continue to develop aural skills involving melody, rhythm and harmony. Concepts covered include: sight-singing, advanced one voice dictation, simple two voice dictation, identification of chord structures, error detection and simple harmonic dictation.

MU230 Music Theory II (3 cr.)

This course is a continuation of Music Theory I. Concepts covered are non-chord tones, use of triad inversions, secondary functions, modulation, binary and ternary forms, mode mixture.

MU260 Music Theory III (3 cr.)

This course is a continuation of Music Theory II. Music Theory III, along with its predecessors, Music Theory I–II will enable the student to think critically about music of all periods and styles. Concepts to be covered will include: unconventional uses of augmented 6th chords, enharmonicism, altered dominants, sonata form, the breakdown of tonality, and post 20th century techniques including basic set theory, 12-tone composition and integral serialism.

MU270 Ear Training III (2 cr.)

This is a lab course and is a continuation of Ear Training II. The objective of this course is to continue to develop aural skills involving melody, rhythm and harmony. Concepts covered include: complex one voice dictation, two voice dictation, harmonic dictation and complex sight singing.

MU299 Sophomore Review (0 cr.)

A comprehensive review of transcripts, a portfolio of work, and a juried performance examination normally occurring during the second semester of the sophomore year. Required for all music majors in their fourth semester of study.

MU300 Introduction to Music Technology (2 cr.)

This lab course is intended to give students an overview of music technology by connecting today's hardware and software tools with the history of electronic music. Areas explored include Sound Synthesis, MIDI, Sequencing, Music Notation, Digital Audio Editing, and Computer Aided Music Instruction. The course is required for all music majors, but open to all students with an interest in music technology as an elective.

MU341 Music History I (3 cr.)

This course is a writing intensive study of music history covering ancient, medieval, renaissance, and baroque western art music. A basic understanding of the history of western civilization is expected.

MU342 Music History II (3 cr.)

This course is a continuation of MU341. It is a writing intensive study of music history continuing through the classical, romantic and contemporary periods.

MU382 Conducting (3 cr.)

This is an advanced course designed for students who plan to conduct instrumental and choral groups in private and public schools, churches, or communities.

MU383 Arranging (3 cr.)

This course presents a detailed study of the major instrument families and the human voice, and how to score and arrange for them.

Please Note:

MU130 Music Fundamentals I and MU131 Music Fundamentals II, or equivalent proficiency are prerequisites for MU160 Music Theory I. All students take an initial placement exam to determine theory proficiency.

B. Performance Studies:

(11–14 credits)

Applied Lessons: minimum of seven semesters of private lessons taken for credit on a major instrument or voice.

Ensembles: minimum of seven semesters of participation in one or more vocal or instrumental ensembles.

C. One of the following depending on instrument/voice:

MU125 Keyboard Musicianship I (2 cr.)

This course is an introduction to the keyboard for music majors with limited keyboard background. Emphasis is on functional skills such as reading, transposing, harmonizing, improvising, and playing by ear; along with keyboard theory, technique, and repertoire. A grade of "C" or higher in both the final exam and course are required to fulfill the piano proficiency requirement.

MU181 Voice Class (2 cr.)

An introduction to vocal production, breathing, tone development, diction, vocal improvisation and appropriate repertoire for the voice. This class is designed for both music majors (who are not singers) and non-majors.

D. Music Industry Courses

(30 credits)

Note: Students take either MG219 Principles of Management or MK217 Principles of Marketing and either MG315 Entrepreneurship or BU312 Business Law I

AC222 Accounting Concepts (3 cr.)

This course provides an introduction to accounting with an emphasis on the interpretation and use of accounting information for effective business decision-making. The course employs an "information user/managerial approach" rather than an "information preparer approach." Students are introduced to the accounting system, financial statement analysis, and quantitative managerial accounting techniques.

BU312 Business Law I (3 cr.)

This survey course is designed to introduce students to the study of law through a review of its historical origins, the various sources of the law and the practical context in which laws are applied. Particular attention is given to areas of law which are relevant to today's business environment; for example, torts, contracts, agency and sales.

MG219 Principles of Management (3 cr.)

This first course in management stresses an understanding of the management functions as an integral part of the business organization. Attention is given to planning, leading, organizing, controlling and other aspects of the managerial process.

MG315 Entrepreneurship (3 cr.)

This course provides a first look and overview of modern entrepreneurship.  Course work includes: 1) developing ideas for new business ventures 2) proof of concept exercises 3) understanding various industry climates 4) being able to conduct marketing research and 5) developing a marketing plan.  The importance of entrepreneurship to modern market economies is discussed throughout.  Students will complete a detailed feasibility study and will learn how to compile the marketing section of the business plan for an original idea of their choosing.  

MK217 Principles of Marketing (3 cr.)

This beginning course in marketing develops an understanding of the marketing function and its central importance to the business organization. Attention is paid to a variety of marketing topics including products, channels and distribution, pricing, promotion, buyer behavior, and ethical issues in marketing.

MT302 Digital Music Technology and Lab (3 cr.)

This combined lecture/lab course expands on concepts explored in MU300. Advanced concepts of digital audio editing, recording, sampling, sequencing techniques, beats-style music creation, and interactive (web based) media creation and distribution are studied. The course is a combination of lecture demonstrations and creative assignments completed by the students. Students use lab time for guided assistance in completing assignments and projects pertaining to the class. Presentations by industry professionals are a part of the course when relevant.

MT310 Introduction to Sound Recording and Lab (3 cr.)

This course is a basic introduction to various analog and digital recording techniques. It includes an overview of microphone selection and placement, multi-track recording, basic mixing, signal processing and basic acoustics.

MU392 Music Business (3 cr.)

A series of guest presenters representing diverse fields within the music business offers insight as to their work in the music industry. This course provides an overview of some basic aspects of the music business including: copyright and publishing, music merchandising, some aspects of licensing, career management and promotion, networking and influences of technology.

MU455 Arts and Cultural Management (3 cr.)

This course is designed to introduce students to the field of arts administration as it applies to the performing arts, visual arts, and arts services organizations. Arts explored include management models, marketing, development, finances and facilities management and planning. Students apply knowledge in these areas to an arts organization which they create in class. The course culminates with the students presenting their projects in executive session.

MU496/497 Music Internship (1–6 cr.)

The music internship is designed for Music Industry majors. Music Industry majors complete six internship credits at a wide range of off-campus professional venue sites. Music industry internships are generally done in the senior year or summer prior to senior year. They provide students with experience and valuable networking contacts in the professional world of music. Students should meet with Career Services and the Internships Office in their junior year.

P113 Physics of Sound and Music (3 cr.)

This course is an exploration of the fundamental physical concepts relating to sound (vibrations and waves, overtones, Fourier synthesis and analysis) and its perception (physiology, physics, and psychophysics of hearing) and measurement (transducers and the decibel scale); sound recording and reproduction (analog and digital); musical acoustics (temperament and pitch; families of musical instruments; speech and the human vocal tract); and the acoustics of enclosures.

E. BU or MT courses

BU or MT courses according to student interest and career goals.

Please Note:

There is a $700 fee for each MT lab course per semester in addition to tuition costs. These fees help purchase equipment and cover the costs of visiting professionals. Music and academic scholarships are available. Please contact the office of admissions for information about these scholarships.