2022-2023 Samford University Undergraduate Catalog 
    Apr 20, 2024  
2022-2023 Samford University Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Music Division (Undergraduate)

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Cindy B. St. Clair, Interim Chair, Assistant Professor
Philip L. Copeland, Professor
Grant B. Dalton, Professor
Joel S. Davis, Professor
Brad M. Diamond, Professor
Sharon L. Lawhon, Professor
Jeffrey Z. Flaniken, Associate Professor
Kristin Kenning, Associate Professor; Director, Samford Opera
Mark A. Lackey, Associate Professor
Brian B. Viliunas, Associate Professor
Emily Snider Andrews, Assistant Professor
Michael Averett, Assistant Professor; Director, Graduate Studies
M. Elizabeth (Beth) McGinnis, Assistant Professor
Steven A. Potaczek, Assistant Professor
Jonathan P. Rodgers, Assistant Professor
Morgan C. Soja, Assistant Professor
Jason A. Terry, Assistant Professor
Ryan T. Lovell, Instructor; Director, Athletic Bands


The Division of Music is preparing musicians to enrich society through a diligent pursuit of excellence.

General Information

Music study at Samford University is essentially a threefold program, including training in basic musicianship, training in specialized professional areas, and studies in the liberal arts. The core of the program is musicianship-continuous study in music performance, including solo and ensemble experiences, along with extensive work in music theory and history. In specialized areas, such as teacher training, commercial music, composition, and music and worship, requirements include training and experiences in the special skills and knowledge appropriate to the respective degree program to equip the graduate to function effectively on the professional level. The liberal arts requirements contribute to the breadth of knowledge appropriate for the professional musician.

In addition to the academic programs, a wide variety of ensembles offer opportunities to both music and non-music majors for meaningful experiences in music making. University ensembles include A Cappella Choir, University Chorale, Samford Opera, Opera Workshop, Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Marching Band, Jazz Band, Campus Worship Team, Worship Arts Ensemble, Commercial Music Ensemble, and numerous chamber ensembles.


The Division of Music in the School of the Arts is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), and the teacher education program is accredited by the Alabama State Department of Education.

Undergraduate Programs and Requirements

Commercial Music Major (B.A.)  with a required concentration in one of the following:
          Business, Music Production, Performance, or Songwriting**
Composition Major (B.M.) 
Music Major (B.A.)   
Music Major (B.S.) 
Music Major (B.M.E.) with a required concentration in Instrumental Music  or Vocal/Choral Music 
Music and Worship Major (B.M.) 
Performance: Instrumental Music Major (B.M.) 
Performance: Organ Major (B.M.) 
Performance: Piano Major (B.M.) 
Performance: Piano Major w/Pedagogy Emphasis (B.M.) 
Performance: Voice Major (B.M.) 
Worship Leadership Major (B.A.) **

Commercial Music Minor  
Music Minor  

Interdisciplinary Minor
Worship Leadership Minor *
The Division of Music offers undergraduate programs that meet requirements for the bachelor of arts (commercial music, music, worship leadership), the bachelor of science (music), the bachelor of music (composition; music and worship; performance in instrumental music, organ, piano, piano pedagogy, voice), and the bachelor of music education (music). The music division also offers minors in commercial music, music, as well as the interdisciplinary worship leadership*.
*The worship leadership minor is offered in cooperation with the Department of Biblical and Religious Studies .
**Pending accreditation approval from the National Association of Schools of Music (N.A.S.M.).

Student Objectives

Bachelor of Arts in Commercial Music: This degree empowers students to become musicians with artistic, technological, and entrepreneurial skills to thrive in the 21st century. Students choose from one of four unique concentrations within commercial music: business, music production, performance, and songwriting. Each concentration aims to instill and foster a do-it-yourself attitude necessary for any entrepreneurial musician, while offering a unique approach to the commercial music industry.

Bachelor of Arts in Music: This degree is designed for students desiring to major in music within the framework of a liberal arts degree. The degree is intended to serve the needs of undergraduate students who are interested in a broad program of general studies and who wish also to develop their musical skills and knowledge.

Bachelor of Arts in Worship Leadership: This degree is designed for students committed to worship ministry in the church and parachurch organizations. Coursework emphasizes the practices of Christian worship and ministry. Upon graduation, students are equipped to pursue full-time worship ministry positions in church and parachurch organizations or graduate studies. 

Bachelor of Music in Composition: This degree is designed for students pursuing a career in the field of music theory and/or composition. Most students in this field continue their study with graduate-level work in the discipline.

Bachelor of Music in Music and Worship: This degree is designed for students committed to vocational music and worship ministry. The program includes coursework in music, worship, ministry, and biblical and religious studies, and a supervised experience in a congregational setting.

Bachelor of Music in Performance: These degrees (instrumental music, organ, piano, and voice) are designed for students highly motivated toward excellence in performance. The student combines studies in basic musicianship and music history with concentrated emphasis in the major performance area.

Bachelor of Music in Performance: Piano with Emphasis in Piano Pedagogy: This degree is designed for piano majors who have a strong interest in teaching as well as performance.

Bachelor of Music Education in Music: This degree (with concentration options of instrumental music and vocal/choral music) is designed for students who wish to prepare for a career as a K-12 music educator and leads to the Alabama Class B teaching certificate. Practical experiences in teaching music are provided in the greater Birmingham area.

Bachelor of Science in Music: This degree is designed for students who would like to combine pre-medical studies with concentrated studies in music.

Admission Policies

Students desiring to major or minor in music must be admitted to the Division of Music in addition to gaining admission to the University. All prospective music majors and music minors must audition in their principal performance area(s) and take a music placement examination. If not admitted, a student may re-audition. A maximum of two (2) auditions is allowed in a single performance area. Non-keyboard majors must also complete a piano placement.

Appointments for auditions and placement examinations will be scheduled upon receipt of School of the Arts application materials, which can be obtained by contacting the Arts Recruiter. Students will be notified of the results of the auditions and will be admitted for registration as music majors only if they have acceptance notices sent by the dean of the School of the Arts and/or the chair of the Music Division.

Transfer students desiring to major in music must audition in the principal performance area(s) and take a placement examination in music theory and piano to determine both acceptance and transfer of credit. Transfer of credit for other music courses is determined by either placement examinations or review of the student’s previous work in an equivalent course.

Non-music majors desiring instruction in applied music may register for private or group instruction only with the permission of the chair.

Grade Restrictions

No grade below C- in music courses which are required for a degree with a major or a minor in music will count toward fulfillment of degree requirements. Any grade below C- in sequenced courses (such as Theory and Class Piano) requires that the class be successfully repeated in order for the student to advance to the next course in the series.

Recital Requirements

All students seeking a degree in music must present a half-hour degree recital (MUSC 4698 ). Composition and all performance majors have additional performance requirements associated with their SOA 470 (Senior Project: Music)  enrollment. Consult your advisor for details.


Students with an undergraduate major in music must register for at least one major ensemble each semester in residence. Placements will be made at the discretion of the music faculty. As a general principle, music majors will enroll in major ensembles associated with their principal applied performance area. At Samford University the following groups are defined as major ensembles: A Cappella Choir, University Chorale, Musical Theatre Ensemble, Samford Opera, Opera Workshop, Orchestra, Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, and Marching Band.

The following guidelines also apply:

  1. All keyboard principals* must fulfill two of the required major ensemble credits by taking MUSC 1740 (Accompanying)  for two semesters. Keyboard principals may fulfill two additional credits of major ensemble requirements by taking two additional credits of MUSC 1740 .

  2. All voice principals must take at least four semesters of a major choral ensemble. Voice performance majors must also take a minimum of two semesters of Samford Opera or Opera Workshop.

  3. Music and worship majors may substitute MUSC 1750 /MUSC 3750 (Worship Arts Ensemble)  or MUSC 1751 /MUSC 3751 (Campus Worship Team)  for up to four credits as a major ensemble.

  4. Music and worship major with an instrumental or keyboard performance principle must take at least two semesters of a major choral ensemble.

  5. Students pursuing the B.A. in Commercial Music may also register for Commercial Music Ensemble, Campus Worship Team, or Worship Arts Ensemble as a major ensemble for up to four credits.

  6. Students must attend 75% of published rehearsal times or they must audit the course.

*Keyboard principals include organ, piano, and piano pedagogy majors, plus music majors (B.A. or B.S.) and music and worship majors who choose a keyboard concentration. This also includes any music division major whose Principal Performance Area is piano or organ.

Piano Proficiency

In order to graduate, all non-keyboard majors must complete the piano proficiency examination, unless otherwise stated in their degree requirements. Such students must enroll for piano study each semester until the piano proficiency examination has been passed. All degree candidates must complete piano proficiency requirements before enrolling in a senior recital. Music education majors must complete all piano proficiency requirements before enrolling for student teaching.

Upper Level Status

Each music major will be evaluated for approval for upper level status at the end of two years of music study. Consult the Division of Music Manual for Undergraduate Studies for more details.


One of the most important aspects of a music major’s educational experience is the area of performance. The requirements for number of credits in performance appear in the curricular tables for the various degrees in music.

Progression Policy for Bachelor of Music Education

Once admitted into the bachelor of music education program with a major in music, a 3.00 GPA requirement must be maintained in all areas: cumulative, major courses, and education courses. These GPA requirements also pertain to graduation and certification.

General Education: University Core Curriculum and Distribution Requirements

General Education Distribution Requirements are noted in the individual degree tables. In those cases where a requirement is not specified, see General Education Overview  in the Howard College of Arts and Sciences introductory pages for a list of required and applicable courses.





      Music - Commercial MusicMusic - CompositionMusic - ConductingMusic - Music & WorshipMusic - Music EducationMusic - Music History & LiteratureMusic - Music TheoryMusic - Performance-RelatedMusic - Worship LeadershipMusic - Ensembles

      The 1000-level courses are designated for the first four successful semesters of ensemble participation.

      The 3000-level courses are designated for junior and senior music majors only.

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