Music (Popular Music), BA

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Are you interested in a career in the modern music industry? This flexible bachelor's degree program allows you to choose your pathways of study and includes four semesters of applied study, with internships and a capstone project.

The popular music concentration within the BA program in music at Arizona State University welcomes and accommodates 21st century musicians interested in popular music, music industry studies and entrepreneurship. This includes but is not limited to singers and songwriters, laptop performers, producers, composers, instrumentalists, vocalists and musicians whose practices and playing styles are representative of varied popular music idioms.

Students in this concentration develop general musicianship and are invited to specialize in areas of study which include songwriting, production, composition, performance, engineering, sound design, events, music business, education and advocacy work. Students participate in individual applied study in chosen specializations, as well as a variety of group performances and production opportunities. All students gain a working knowledge of the music industry and music business, and the entrepreneurial skills necessary to gain meaningful employment upon graduation.

Internships courses provide opportunities for students to apply their learning in a real-life context and begin building relationships. A capstone senior year allows students to work more intimately with faculty on perfecting their craft as well as prepare for the shift from ASU to the industry.

Students attend classes at both the Downtown Phoenix and Tempe campuses.

At A Glance

Music (Popular Music), BA

Required Courses

A major map outlines a major's critical requirements, courses, and optimal course sequence and aids students in remaining on track to graduation.

While circumstances vary between students and their paths towards graduation (utilizing placement testing to fulfill required math or foreign language courses, fulfilling multiple General Studies requirements with one course, etc.), completing the courses listed in a major map fulfills all of the requirements for graduation.

Application requirements

Application procedures + requirements

Application deadlines
Spring 2022: October 15, 2021
Fall 2022: January 5, 2022

All students are required to meet general university admission requirements:

Affording college

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Financial Aid
ASU has many financial aid options. Almost everyone, regardless of income, can qualify for some form of financial aid. In fact, more than 70 percent of all ASU students receive some form of financial assistance every year.

Admission requirements

Audition Process for admittance to BA in Music (Popular Music) concentration:

Artist Statement:
All auditioning students must submit an artist statement explaining both their current work and vision of their future work in popular music. A minimum of 250 words is required.

Live auditions or recorded auditions are required for admission to the BA program in popular music and for placement in MUP 111 Studio Instruction in popular music. A live audition consists of a 15-minute performance or presentation consisting of three to five selections of live or digital music performance. The selections may be original works or selections from popular music repertoire. The audition also includes scales, improvisation and aural skills. Students may also provide a recorded sample of their creative popular music work if they so choose.

For students seeking to pursue popular music performance, a live or recorded performance video is required for at least part of the audition. For other disciplines in which a video is not possible (studio recording, music creation and composition), students are required to submit a digital audio sound recording of three to five selections.

The audition also includes a live or remote interview. A live audition is preferred. Applicants who are unable to visit the campus for a live audition may upload a recorded audition to the School of Music, Dance and Theatre application. These students will be contacted by faculty to arrange a remote interview.

Students interested in pursuing classical music lessons are required to follow the classical repertoire audition requirements for MUP 111 Studio Instruction in addition to auditioning for MUP 111 Studio Instruction in popular music.

Career outlook

The Bachelor of Arts in music with a concentration in popular music prepares students for potential careers in the popular music industry that involve creativity and creating new work, being a flexible musician, collaborating with others in the community and having knowledge of music business and music marketing. Possible jobs include:

  • concert management and promotion
  • entrepreneurship
  • music marketing
  • music performance in the popular music sector
  • music publishing
  • nonprofit arts related work
  • teaching a private studio
  • work in music related fields

Example careers

Students who complete this degree program may be prepared for the following careers. Advanced degrees or certifications may be required for academic or clinical positions. Career examples include but are not limited to:

Career*growth*median salary
Art, Drama, and Music Teachers, Postsecondary 5.6%$69,690
Talent Directors 10%$76,400
Music Directors and Composers1.7%$52,250
Musicians, Instrumental0.9%*
Musicians and Singers0.9%*
Sound Engineering Technicians 6%$53,520
Agents and Business Managers of Artists, Performers, and Athletes 11.8%$75,420

* Data obtained from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) under sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA).

  • Bright Outlook
  • Green Occupation

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