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Belmont University | Belief in Something Greater

Music Theory

sheetmusic and trombone picMore than 15 full and part-time instructors teach in the area of music theory at Belmont. Courses are offered in a variety of areas from the basic theory and aural skills courses taken by all music majors to courses in counterpoint and advanced analysis. For those interested in composition and arranging, the school provides study in those areas as well. Learning in all areas is supported by well-equipped technology labs directed by Mr. Keith Mason.

To request an application or receive information about School of Music admissions, visit  Admission/Audition

Keyboards for Music Theory Majors

Music students are strongly encouraged to own a portable electronic keyboard for personal use and study.  Students will benefit in many classes from having access to a keyboard.  Theory classes often have keyboard assignments, and teachers expect that students will have access to a keyboard for doing homework and reinforcing class activities.  Portable keyboards are available for less than $150 at music stores and other retailers.  We recommend a keyboard with full-size keys and a 5 octave range (approximately 61 keys).  Many students may already own larger, more elaborate keyboards, which will work as well.

For more information on music theory at Belmont, contact Richard Hoffman

Music Theory FAQs

1. Why would I want to major in music theory?

A major in theory may be a good choice for a number of reasons. Individuals who have already decided they want to pursue a career in college teaching in either music theory or musicology should consider a major in theory.
A major in music theory might also be a good choice for students interested in attending professional schools after college. Music Theory can provide an excellent background for law school, medical school, dental school, or almost any graduate or professional study without a specific undergraduate major requirement. The study of music theory hones reading and writing skills, and helps students develop critical thinking and reasoning skills.

2. What courses would I take?

Most of the courses in the music theory major are the same as those taken by all music majors. Music Theory majors take additional courses in a variety of areas including composition, orchestration, the psychology of music, and music technology. In MUT 449, Senior Theory Project, theory majors have an opportunity to conduct independent research in an area of interest.  See the listing on the Major in Music Theory in the Undergraduate Bulletin for more information.

3. Can I still take lessons in my major instrument?

Yes! All music theory majors must take 8 semesters of applied study, just like other music majors. Becoming a good music theorist and becoming a good musician go hand in hand.

4. Can I double major?

Yes. Many music theory majors pursue a double major in areas such as composition or music performance. It is also possible to take additional advanced courses in disciplines that complement the major without declaring a second major or minor. Some students might take additional courses in music history or music technology, for example.

5. What can I do with the degree after I finish?

Most music theory majors will go to graduate school to study music theory, music history, conducting, or others fields. There are many professions that require a bachelor's degree but look for applicants from a variety of disciplines. Many people working in the areas of computer and information technology, for example, have degrees in the humanities and the arts. Many career options are available to the well qualified music theory major.

6. Can I change majors after I begin?

Yes. Most music majors take similar core courses during the first two years. The courses distinctive to the major usually don't begin until the 4th or 5th semester.