Our students are engaged in a wide range of academic pursuits that include degree programs in 160 undergraduate and graduate fields delivered by 6 different colleges.
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Areas of Study
In the Department of Music at A-State, there is an area of study for everyone across a broad selection of musical interests. Large concert ensembles such as Choir, Band, Jazz, Opera, and Orchestra are open to all students on campus, regardless of major, along with the Athletic Bands which include The Sound of the Natural State and Howlers Basketball and Volleyball Bands. More specialized areas of study are also available in Music Education, Composition, Keyboard, and individualized study on each instrument. At A-State, students are able to explore any combination of these areas of study and receive instruction from our friendly and professional faculty who specialize in each area.
The Arkansas State University Band Program has something for every person’s musical ability and for every musical taste. The Concert Ensembles, Jazz Ensembles, and Athletic Bands at Arkansas State offer more than an opportunity for musical excellence - they also provide an instant feeling of belonging, a chance to participate in some of the university's most popular classes and the opportunity to form life-long friendships. As a member of the Arkansas State University Band Program, you will become part of an over 90-year tradition of musical excellence. Membership in any of the performing groups is open to students from across campus, regardless of major. More Information >>
Brass & Percussion
As a brass player or percussionist at A-State, you can enjoy a lot of opportunities for involvement with others on your instrument in homogenous ensembles such as Tuba/Euphonium Choir, Trombone Choir, Horn Choir, Trumpet Ensemble, and Small and Large Percussion Ensembles. These groups are open to all A-State students regardless of major as well as other mixed chamber ensembles such as brass quintets. Music majors may perform in studio recitals, enroll in weekly studio classes, play in masterclasses from renowned guest artists, and attend regional workshops all for their individual instrument. Brass students also have the opportunity to collaborate with the A-State Faculty Brass Quintet and work closely with our renowned brass and percussion faculty members.
The A-State Choirs welcome all students and community singers to join an ensemble because we believe in the power of life-long music making. We are committed to an inclusive environment and performing a wide range of repertoire with musical excellence. A-State has a long and distinguished history of preparing great choral directors and singers for careers in music. More Information >>
The Composition area at A-State is for students who wish to develop their love of music through creation of original works. While there is still an emphasis on performing and developing musical understanding through independent study of the student’s individual instrument, the composition studios hone their unique craft in private and group lessons to create their own original music. Electronic and acoustic music is emphasized but above all performance of these original works is encouraged. Music by A-State composition students have the opportunity to have their music performed by fellow music students, faculty, and even large ensembles such as the A-State Orchestra.
A-State Jazz Studies is an exciting and energetic program that includes two jazz big bands, a variable number of jazz combos, and courses in jazz history, jazz theory, and improvisation. A-State Jazz ensembles have traveled across the country to events such as the 2019 Greeley Jazz Festival in Greeley, Colorado, however residents of Jonesboro have ample opportunity to hear the members of the A-State Jazz program as it is widely visible throughout the community. The A-State Jazz Ensembles perform several concerts a semester while members of the A-State Jazz program frequently perform in small combos throughout the Jonesboro community. High School students may enjoy participating in the annual Delta Jazz Workshop each summer. For students interested in pursuing Jazz further, A-State offers a minor in Jazz Studies. More Information >>
Piano students at Arkansas State enjoy many opportunities to perform and gain practical experience, so they can become well-rounded musicians and teachers. There are weekly Studio Classes, master classes with renowned guest artists, chamber music, jazz, and organ. We have piano pedagogy classes and lectures, an MTNA Collegiate Chapter, and opportunities to attend local, state, regional, national, and international conferences and festivals. Students collaborate with vocalists. instrumentalists, and choirs. Collaborative performances are treated the same as solo performances, with piano faculty and other non-piano faculty members offering insights and suggestions. There are excellent performance instruments in both the Recital Hall and Riceland Hall, the latter of which has two Steinway D Pianos. Students also have the opportunity to collaborate with esteemed piano faculty members. More Information >>
A-State offers both a Bachelor of Music Education-Instrumental and a Bachelor of Music Education-Vocal degree. Students that successfully complete all undergraduate degree requirements, and pass their Praxis Music Content Knowledge Test, will be eligible for their Arkansas Music K-12 Teaching License. Graduates of the A-State Music Education program leave their degree podium-ready with the knowledge and skills to thrive as a teacher in an elementary and secondary school setting.
A-State also offers a Master of Music Education degree. Graduates will earn a degree that provides them a foundation in music education research, as well as offers supplemental practioner information that will build on the skills and knowledge they have acquired in their undergraduate degrees. Graduates of the A-State MME will be ready for their next professional step, whether that be entering or returning to the elementary/secondary school classroom or going on in higher education to earn a doctoral degree.
Strings & Orchestra
The Arkansas State University String Area is committed to promoting the excellence of performance in music across Arkansas and includes study in violin, viola, cello, bass, and guitar. All active string players across the university and surrounding community are welcome to participate in the various performance offerings which include orchestra, youth orchestra, chamber music, and private lessons and independent study. Outside of these performance opportunities, A-State also regularly hosts inspiring performances by world-renowned string ensembles such as the Juilliard String Quartet and 6-Wire Trio.
Our professional string faculty at A-State are active as performing members of regional orchestras, chamber musicians, and soloists with a passion for teaching and local outreach. As the only String Project site recognized by the National String Project Consortium in the state of Arkansas, A-State string students receive valuable teaching experience providing lessons to local K-12 students at minimal cost. More Information >>
Voice & Opera
Faculty and students of the Voice Area regularly perform in opera, concert, and recital both on and off campus. Students perform weekly in for the Music Department and as part of their applied studio, and also in solo and studio recitals once or twice per year. Our students have won and placed in state and regional in NATS competitions each of the last several years. The Voice Area has four faculty members and serves over 70 students pursuing degrees in Music Education, Music Performance, Music Composition, Musical Theatre, a Minor in Music, or taking voice electively. Recent alumni of the B.M. Voice Performance degree have been accepted and continued in graduate study at national first tier programs.
A-State voice faculty have expertise in lyric diction, vocal and performing health, solo literature, performance practice, and opera studies, and are frequent recitalists on campus, regionally, and internationally. Their research has been recognized by professional conferences and publications such as the Music by Women Festival, Performing Arts Medical Association Conference, and The Voice Foundation. Our faculty collaborate together in monthly Pack Studio masterclass and performance settings to offer the best experience or our students. More Information >>
Woodwinds at A-State perform regularly in mixed and homogenous chamber ensembles such as woodwind quintets, Clarinet Choir, Double Reed Choir, and saxophone quartets. These groups are open to all A-State students regardless of major. Music majors may perform in studio recitals, enroll in weekly studio and reed-making classes, play in masterclasses from renowned guest artists, and attend regional workshops all for their individual instrument. Woodwind students also have the opportunity to collaborate with the esteemed faculty members of the A-State Faculty Woodwind Quintet.