Music has ties to every human endeavor and contributes to our daily well-being throughout our lives. It marks the special events and adds a special dimension to the quality of our lives that cannot be obtained from any other source.

The trained musician can distinguish the pitch, duration, intensity, tone, and color of sound. Music professionals understand the structure of music, as it is found throughout the world and have a perspective on its many centuries of development. Recognizing that today's musicians must be equipped with an understanding of a full range of diverse styles, an innovative, comprehensive musicianship program is now incorporated into the curriculum of all music majors at San Diego State University. The music program has received national attention and is regarded as being a strong program that teaches every student to function as a conductor, a performer, a coach, an editor or an arranger. The music program includes hands-on experience in five other world music cultures and provides students with training to sight-read, sight-sing, improvise, compose music, and use computer technology.

Program Overview

The music curricula are designed to fulfill the needs of all students with an interest in music. Comprehensive musicianship, the history of music, private studio instruction, composition (both traditional and electro-acoustic), piano, and ensemble performance are required. Other program features include vocal and instrumental literature, vocal and keyboard pedagogy, class voice, fundamentals of all the instruments, conducting, teaching techniques, and world music.

The Bachelor of Music program is for those students who have professional ambitions in music or seek a foundation for graduate study leading to teaching in a college or university setting.

For students who are interested in preparing for a career as a music specialist in elementary or high schools, the School offers a Bachelor of Music in music education which prepares them for the required state credential. Students are strongly encouraged to include a second major or a minor in this program.

The Bachelor of Arts in music is a liberal arts degree. The course work has less emphasis on the rigorous demands of performance and enables students to obtain a broad understanding of music. Students are strongly encouraged to include a second major or a minor in this program.

Special Features

  • Student organizations such as Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (professional), Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma (band service), Sigma Alpha Iota and the Music Educators National Conference student chapter (music education professional) are open to music majors.
  • Facilities - The 78,000 square-foot music building, completed in 1970, includes a 300-seat recital hall, rehearsal rooms for instrumental and choral organizations, an electronic music studio, 24-station multi-media computer lab, three computer/internet-connected class piano labs, a listening library of over 14,000 titles available for faculty/student study, 54 individual practice rooms, approximately 160 pianos and 800 other musical instruments.
  • All music students have access to the Multi-media Interactive Fine Arts Technology laboratory, linked to students and faculty in art, dance, drama, film and music.
  • Students may participate in numerous performance opportunities. There is a wide variety of instrumental ensembles from which to choose: a symphony orchestra; six bands; jazz ensembles, percussion ensembles, piano ensembles, woodwind, and brass chamber music ensembles; guitar ensemble; new music ensemble and world music ensembles.
  • There are also opportunities to participate in vocal ensembles such as the Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, and Opera Theatre.
  • Undergraduate and graduate scholarship awards are available to qualified new students determined by auditions each year. The amounts of the scholarships vary from half to full tuition in addition to awards. Applications may be downloaded from The School of Music and Dance Web site.

Career Opportunities

The need for trained musicians is more easily understood when we consider the many avenues of activities open to them. For a list of possible career opportunities, visit the Careers Services Web site.

One hundred percent of our graduates with a Bachelor of Music in music education and the single subject teaching credential are placed in teaching positions within one year of graduation.

General Catalog

You can view more complete information regarding the Music program in the General Catalog. All students are responsible for reading and knowing the information pertinent to their areas of study available in the General Catalog. It contains requirements for all academic majors, course descriptions, policies, and regulations governing progress at the university. Catalogs are distributed at all New Student Orientation programs. To order a General Catalog, call (619) 594-7535.