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Music Major

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Why Study Music?

Studying music teaches discipline, develops analytical and creative habits of the mind, and leads to understanding the performing arts’ place in culture—both past and present. Being a music major requires energy, determination, and a willingness to think creatively and critically. Studying music also cultivates confidence, tenacity, collaborative skills, and an ability to grow through criticism. Music career paths range from performance to management, teaching, and publishing.

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Why Study Music at Eastern?

Housed in the state-of-the-art Fine Arts Instructional Center, Eastern’s Music program provides theoretical and hands-on opportunities that emphasize the history, theory, performance, and criticism of music and musicians from Western and non-Western traditions. Three concentrations are available — Performance; Musicology: History, Composition and Criticism; and Music Industry and Leadership. Students benefit from many ensembles, personal instruction on a variety of instruments and voice types, and a variety of facilities: a 400-seat concert hall, a proscenium theater, a studio theater, two performance labs, a piano lab, and several graphic design classrooms. A Music minor is also available.

Students playing piano
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  • The Music Performance concentration in the Music major teaches students to reach the highest level of their potential through participation in private lessons, large and small ensembles, valuable performance experiences, and related coursework in conducting, literature and chamber music.

    View Music Performance Details

  • Music majors with a concentration in Musicology: History, Composition and Criticism will have the ability to investigate music in a critical way; grow as thinkers, creators and researchers through interactions with repertoires not included in the music major core; and analyze the style and structure of past and present music.

    View Musicology Details

  • Students taking the concentration in Music Industry and Leadership within the Music major will be able to:

    • Articulate the paths available to students with a background in the music industry
    • Demonstrate proficiency in the technology essential for music industry careers
    • Exhibit the entrepreneurial skills necessary for 21st-century musicians
    • Demonstrate strong written and oral communication skills
    • Display effective leadership skills
    • Develop workplace skills through internships with on- and off-campus arts organizations

    View Music Industry and Leadership Details

Salary Potential


Median salary, Music Directors/Composers


Salary range

* U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Hands-on Learning

Student receiving private voice lessons

Private Lessons

Music students receive advanced training from faculty in many different areas, including voice, piano, guitar, strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion.

Students playing instruments in ensemble

Performance Ensembles

Music students take advantage of opportunities to perform on and off campus. On-campus concerts take place in the new Fine Arts Concert Hall, while off-campus performances have included two concerts with renowned vocalist Josh Groban.

Students singing on stage


Performance destinations have included tours to Boston; Washington, DC; Carnegie Hall in New York City; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and the Bösendorfer Music Festival in Vienna, Austria.

Career Options

Students who pursue undergraduate degrees in Music can have rewarding and successful careers in a variety of professional fields, including:

  • Arts Administration
  • Composition/Songwriting
  • Conducting
  • Musicology/Ethnomusicology
  • Instrumental Performance and Pedagogy
  • Music Education
  • Music Production
  • Music Therapy
  • Performer (Voice and Instrumental)
  • Enthomusicology

Successful Alumni

Recent graduates from Eastern’s Music program perform with internationally acclaimed ensembles; have become music teachers and private instructors; are pursuing graduate study in music and other performance disciplines; and are successful composers and arrangers.

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For more information
(860) 465-0384

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In the News

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Students experience music history in Vienna

June 10, 2024

Students from the Department of Music at Eastern Connecticut State University explored the history of classical music in Vienna, Austria, this May. The 10-day trip was conducted by music Professor Emily Riggs and Lecturer David Ballena as a part of Riggs’ “City of Song” global field course.


Eastern faculty win BOR teaching and research awards

June 03, 2024

Three Eastern faculty members were recognized at the conclusion of the 2023-24 academic year as part of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) annual Board of Regents Faculty Awards. Assistant Professor of Education Kwangwon Lee won the statewide faculty research award; David Ballena, lecturer in the Music Department, was honored with the statewide teaching award for adjunct faculty; and Manuel Otero, assistant professor of English, received the Eastern campus-based teaching award.

Josh Thomas

Music lecturer's ‘world premieres’ reflect service to saxophone education

April 09, 2024

Josh Thomas, lecturer of music at Eastern Connecticut State University, recently performed a recital of world premieres for each voice of the saxophone. Alongside University Accompanist David Ballena, Thomas performed these solos March 2 in the Fine Arts Instructional Center Concert Hall.

Alumni Testimonials

Melinda DeDominicis ’15

Melinda DeDominicis ’15

Melinda DeDominicis received her Masters in Arts Administration from FSU and is now campaign manager for Cygnet Theatre. “I credit my success in the field of arts administration to the well-rounded and individualized education I received at Eastern. As a graduate student, I’m often reminded of the expansive skillset I have to offer as both a musician and an academic.”

Alexis Kurtz ’16

Alexis Kurtz ’16

Alexis combined her acting and directing concentration with an interest in musical theatre and opera. “I had the privilege to take private voice lessons with Dr. Riggs for all four years at Eastern. She respects my love of musical theatre, so in addition to the classical foundation required for private voice study at the University, she constantly provided me with opportunities to put my character work to use.”

Alex Smith ’12
Business Development

Alex Smith ’12

Music major Alex Smith works for Parlor Coffee. She is also a drummer who has played with orchestras in New York City, performed at major productions such as South by Southwest, and toured the United States with different rock bands. “As a music student at Eastern, I learned how to appreciate music, how to compose music and how to listen to music.”

Matthew Nemeth ’13
Business Advisor

Matthew Nemeth ’13

Music major Matthew Nemeth is a professional saxophone player as well as a business advisor with the Connecticut Small Business Development Center. “The music department at Eastern teaches much more than how to play and compose music. As part of the wind and jazz ensembles, one of my biggest takeaways was how to be a leader. These experiences gave me the tools to succeed as a business advisor.”

Kelsey Fuller ’15
Ph.D. Student

Kelsey Fuller ’15

Music major Kelsey Fuller has a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of Colorado and is access services supervisor at Fairfield University. She also has written a book on Norse mythology. “At Eastern I explored my interests in various styles of music performance, composition and research, especially within the field of ethnomusicology."

Jesse Steinmetz ’19
Music Major

Jesse Steinmetz ’19

Jesse Steinmetz is the producer for Under the Radar at GBH, the NPR affiliate in Boston. He got his start at Eastern’s student-operated radio station. “Having the opportunity to get hands-on experience in a professional studio was exactly what I needed to launch my career.” After graduating, Jesse interned at WNPR in Hartford before working for three years at WFAE in Charlotte, NC.