Male and female student playing bongos during a concert
Home Academics Schools Department of Music Music Major

Music Major

Focus on performance or music education

In the department of music at Bridgewater College, you will be quickly immersed into a supportive musical environment that will help you hone your skills to reach your career goals. Through ensembles, applied lessons, and other academic music courses, you will explore many facets in the field of music.

Student playing saxophone

What to Expect

  • To be immersed in the world of music — vocal, instrumental, education, history and theory.
  • 42-48 credit hour major including courses in music theory, aural skills, music history, performance studies, and a senior recital among others.
  • A department with spacious facilities for rehearsal and practice and is well-equipped with practice rooms, pianos, organs, and percussion instruments.


Music majors complete 35 credits of core courses that includes keyboard skills, music theory and history, basic conducting, music arranging and others. Student also complete 7-13 credits from one of the two tracks: music performance or music Education (leading to licensure to teach vocal and/or instrumental music in the schools).

Music ensemble performing

Music Performance

Immerse yourself into a musical environment designed to enhance your musical talents. Dive into various aspects of the music field through participating in ensembles, taking applied lessons and engaging in other academic courses.

Students study music while sitting on the floor

Music Education

Take courses that are specifically designed to help you reach your career goal of becoming a certified music teacher. Some courses are solely focused on music while others are part of the teacher education program.

Required Courses Meet the Faculty

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Making music for video games 

Digital media arts major and music minor Sarah Henneberger ’24 is having a blast composing music for video games.


Our alumni have landed in places such as Mary Baldwin University, Bach to Rock Music School, Jefferson Choral Society, various public and private school systems, U.S. Army and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) International Band. Their career paths include:

  • Music Director
  • Composer
  • Performer
  • Professor
  • Music Teacher (K-12)
  • Conductor
  • Organist
  • Percussion Instructor
  • Music Therapist
  • Sound Engineer

Chart your path

Learn more about the options for employment and advancement in music education careers from the National Association for Music Educators.

As a music major on the music education track, Caroline completed course work for her education certification for PreK-12, as well as an equine studies minor. Caroline took advantage of unique opportunities such as attending Virginia music education conferences through NAfME; taking a school trip to England, Belgium and France and student teaching for three weeks at an international school in the Bahamas. She is now an elementary music teacher in Rockingham County. She believes her education at BC taught her leadership skills and allowed her to develop her own personal teaching philosophy. “I think the most meaningful relationships I developed were with other people who were not music majors, but still valued music enough in their lives to be a part of the band and choir. Having those different perspectives and backgrounds in one place really helped me expand my worldview and make great friendships,” said Caplen.

Tim Stuart graduated with a Virginia teaching licensure in PreK-12 Instrumental and Choral Music Education. At Bridgewater College he was involved in several bands, the Music Educators National Conference (MENC) and the Virginia Music Educators Association (VMEA). After graduation, Stuart auditioned for and won a spot in the U.S. Army Band. Since then, he has worked as a saxophonist, pianist and percussionist for several US Military musical ensembles. He is now stationed in Belgium as the pianist and Director of Marketing for the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) International Band, the official musical representative of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). “Whether it’s teaching soldiers to improvise, arranging and composing music for an international music festival, or performing for world leaders on the international stage, the environment which BC fostered allowed me to explore, make mistakes, and learn with honest critical feedback to quickly develop as both a person and professional,” said Stuart.

At BC, Alan Shull was involved in Concert Band, Jazz Band, Oratorio Choir, and Concert Choir. Shull went on to earn his master’s from Shenandoah University in Education Administration and Supervision. He worked for a year as the Director of Band and Choir at Warren County Junior High School, and then went on to work at Fort Defiance High School, where he has been ever since. He spent over 27 years as the Director of Bands, over 12 years as the Assistant Principal, and currently serves as the principal of the school. “Bridgewater gave me the opportunity to grow and to reach beyond my comfort zone, to try the new and unfamiliar while providing the support system I needed to fall and get back up. It allowed me to build a network of friends and colleagues that have woven in and out my life in ways that continue to provide that support and that launching pad,” said Shull.

Music student playing the saxophone during a performance

What else can you do with your music degree?

Like many BC graduates, you might enter graduate schools to further your music education in a variety music disciplines like choral conducting, voice, music education and more.

  • East Carolina University (Voice and Composition)
  • University of Florida (Musicology)
  • James Madison University (Piano, Music Education)
  • University of Maryland (Choral Conducting)
  • University of Mississippi (Choral Conducting)
  • University of North Carolina (Choral Conducting)
  • Shenandoah University (Composition, Church Music, Organ)
  • Virginia Tech (Music Education)
  • Westminster Choir College (Voice)

Questions? Contact Us!

Dr. Christine E. Carrillo, Department Chair

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Consider advancing your education, double majoring or focusing on a certain area of study.