God has woven the beautiful gift of music into the fabric of humanity—it’s part of being made in His image. For Christians, music takes on even more importance since it is one of the ways we communicate the beauty of God’s majesty and holiness as we worship Him and exhort one another.
At BJU you will go beyond an excellent education in the musical arts. You’ll grow in your knowledge of the God Who made you—the One Who created music for His glory. And more than that, you’ll deepen your relationship with Him and learn to imitate the God Who rejoices over His people with singing.
All students studying in the Division of Graduate Studies in the School of Fine Arts and Communication are required to audition. This audition is used to evaluate your background and determine your potential as a graduate student.
All graduate students in the Division of Music must take the music theory placement test to determine if you’ll need to register for a music theory review course (graduate credit not available for this course).
BJU’s graduate church music program offers you the flexibility to choose the emphasis you want: piano, organ, voice, orchestral instrument, composition or conducting. You’ll fine-tune your technical skills as you learn under personalized instruction and take electives in your principal. In addition, you’ll become more proficient at research and analysis in music and understand music theory at a deeper level.
The program gives you an in-depth look at the heritage of church music both in this country and in the larger Protestant context. As you understand more fully the historical context of church music, you’ll learn critical thinking skills and view church music more holistically. Each course equips you to excel in your capstone recital and beyond that, your career.
Even more, you’ll learn the importance of letting God’s Word inform your perspective and practices. You’ll better understand the importance of humility and learn how to interact with God’s people in Christ-like love and grace.
Your faculty have earned degrees from a variety of top universities, and many have won dozens of awards and honors for composition, performance and conducting. They will equip you with the expertise needed to excel in your career, and more importantly, they’ll challenge you to make biblically based decisions and to be grace-filled in all you do.
Annual Fall Church Music Seminar
Each fall you’ll attend this two-day annual seminar, where special speakers will bring you relevant topics about the church music field. In the past, speakers have highlighted subjects such as church history, hymnody and the biblical basis of music.
There are more than 20 groups you can get involved in, ranging from a number of larger choirs to smaller instrumental ensembles. These groups will give you experience as one part of a whole, so you’ll be better prepared to lead others in similar situations.
Practice studios, each equipped with an upright piano or a grand piano, are available for your use across campus (including in a few residence halls). These studios are in addition to faculty members’ studios, which come equipped with grand pianos. If you’re focusing on organ performance, you can practice and perform on a number of fine instruments that are scattered across campus.
Gustafson Fine Arts Center Music Library
Available for your use are more than:
- 15,000 bound scores
- 5,500 chamber and choral music pieces
- 7,200 biographies and books on music
- 7,100 LP recordings
- 8,220 musical CDs
- 850 musical DVDs
In addition, you have online music resources such as Music Index Online, IPA Source, and JSTOR Music Collection.
An important part of the church music program is the recitals. During your final year of studies, you’ll present your capstone 50-minute recital. You’ll learn how to choose pieces, put together a program, and coordinate with others as you get ready for the recital. If you’re in the composition or conducting principals, you’ll have slightly different guidelines than the other principles (for example, original pieces and working with a group of performers). In addition, the recital provides an excellent motivation to sharpen your technical skills and gives you practice performing for an audience.
The American Hymnody Collection
This historic collection traces the development of hymnody in America from colonial days to the present. The collection consists of hymnals used in the United States, some of which were published in other countries and brought by immigrants to be used in congregational singing.
Started in 1995, the collection preserves an important part of the history of Christianity and serves as a valuable resource for university students and faculty. The collection contains nearly a thousand volumes that originate from as early as 1739. Many of the volumes come from the 19th century, and the collection includes hymnals up through the 21st century.
The piano lab contains several Yamaha Clavinovas that give you additional tonal flexibilities. Each Clavinova comes equipped with MIDI ports so you can easily compose, record and share files with the help of computer software.
BJU offers students a variety of ways to network with employers and organizations. A multitude of job opportunities are posted each year on Career Central, our online job board. In addition, more than 60 businesses and 150 Christian schools/mission boards/Christian organizations come on campus to recruit students through on-campus interviews and job/ministry fairs.
Career Services also helps students by holding seminars on resume preparation and interview techniques.
The following courses are required:
- Research & Writing in Music
- Advanced Choral Conducting
- Church Music Composition
- Church Music: The Protestant Tradition
- American Hymnody
- Graded Choirs
- Group Vocal Techniques
- Music Electives (4 credits)
- Voice Instruction (4 credits)
2 hours of coursework must be selected from the following:
Each student will:
- Perform a recital at an advanced level reflecting a synthesis of music history, literature, theory and applied technique (voice, instrument, conducting or composition).
- Research and critique various historical applications of theological concepts in gathered Christian worship.
- Apply a wide range of vocal pedagogy and conducting techniques appropriate for use in children's and adult choirs in the context of gathered Christian worship.