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Music at EMU

EMU interdisciplinary music and biology student Charise Garber
“The interdisciplinary major is flexible and allowed me to tailor my studies to fit my two passions: music and biology. I explored the intricate way that the mind is influenced by music. This may lead me to a future in music therapy, neuroscience research, or simply medicine as a physician who understands the importance of musical education.”

-Charise Garber, class of 2012. Above Charise is pictured in the promotional poster for her senior capstone “Music and the Brain: an interdisciplinary exploration of the way music influences our daily lives.”


Interdisciplinary Studies Concentration

At EMU, there are many opportunities to study music and combine it with another discipline. Students from other disciplines often enroll in music program courses. Some choose music:

  • as a minor
  • to fulfill their liberal arts major requirements
  • just because they love music
  • to participate in ensembles and/or private studies
  • because they are combining music studies with other courses, like in ministry in order to lead worship services, or adding a focus on theater and performance.

The interdisciplinary studies concentration offers many options for the integration of serious music study with other areas of emphasis, serving students who have both talent and interest in music study, and want to integrate their music with another career path.

Jump to info on career possibilities or the concentration’s curriculum.

Real-world learning

Interdisciplinary music major Andrew Claasen composed, performed and recorded an original song as part of his senior practicum.

“I really learned to appreciate all that goes in to making one professional song,” he says, “let alone an entire album. I learned to listen with purpose, noting how specific tones and instruments meshed and combined.”

“Lay Your Burdens Down.” Vocals, Andrew Claasen and Lauren Gibson. Drums, Landon Heavener. Bass, Robby Meadows.

Andrew graduated in 2012 and began a service term with the the MCC service program SALT in August 2012, spending a year in Costa Rica working with adults with developmental disabilities.

How does it work?


“I always had a strong interest to study music, but was never quite sure which concentration I fit in to. The interdisciplinary concentration allowed me to combine music and businessthrough classes and internships and create a plan of study that would be the most useful to me after college.”
- Jeremy Snyder, class of 2010


EMU interdisciplinary music students lead worshipIn addition to a core set of music classes, each student in the interdisciplinary studies concentration takes courses in a discipline outside of music that interests them. The flexibility of the concentration allows students, with close personal guidance from advisers, to choose courses, internships and independent studies targeted to his or her specific interests.

Both a music faculty member and a faculty member from this other discipline advise the student and help him or her shape the program.

The student presents a senior project that combines music with this other area of interest. Examples of possible collaborative pairs are music and missions, music and psychology, music and business. The possibilities are many, and provide the student with diverse options.

There is no audition required for admission into the interdisciplinary studies concentration.

Careers and life after graduationUpon graduation each interdisciplinary studies student is prepared for an entrance level opportunity for graduate study and for entering a music-related career. While the traditional EMU music major offers studies in performance and music education, the interdisciplinary studies concentration offers additional in-the-field learning opportunities like instruction of piano pedagogy, vocal pedagogy, or Suzuki violin pedagogy. Additional performing options include conducting, composition, and jazz. And other practical opportunities include music management and music industry.

More theoretical areas of interest, such as ethnomusicology, music history or music theory, are also options for study and work in music and related fields.

Here are some career possibilities:

Musical field Related interdisciplinary coursework
Music PR and management Business Administration or Communication
Music ministry/worship leader Congregational and Youth Ministries
World music/ethnomusicology Culture, Religion, and Mission
Audio production, sound design, movie scoring Digital Media
Writing about music English or Journalism
Music history History and Social Science
Music as an international language of connection Peacebuilding and Development
Music theory and aesthetics Philosophy Math or Physics
Music therapy Nursing or Psychology
Music Theater Theater

If you choose to formally participate in the interdisciplinary studies concentration in music include the core courses listed below plus the following required courses. All must be passed with a grade of C or better.

Core music courses:

  • CMUS 120 Fundamentals of Music
  • CMUS 180 The History and Techniques of Music I
  • CMUS 280 The History and Techniques of Music II
  • CMUS 411 Conducting I – 4 SH
  • MUPS Private studies – 7 SH (required each semester of enrollment on EMU campus)
  • MUES Ensembles – 7 SH (required each semester of enrollment on EMU campus)

Interdisciplinary studies concentration required courses:

  • CMUS 201 Topics: World Music – 3 SH
  • Music elective courses – 9 SH
  • Upper level courses from another university department, chosen in consultation with advisor – 9 SH
  • MUPS 491 Senior Project – 3 SH

Review the music program catalog (PDF).