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.
In BJU’s church music program you’ll take core courses from theory to conducting to music technology to many others. You’ll study the biblical basis for music and the theological implications of music in worship. And you’ll learn how believers through the ages have worked through the same concerns.
You’ll grow through practical opportunities such as involvement in the music program of your church. Additionally, you’ll gain experience leading people in worship through choral and congregational singing, and learn how to serve others through music, both inside and outside of a church setting.
You’ll also benefit from private instruction from godly faculty who will help you further develop your skills with the principal instrument of your choice. Enhancing your own musical gifts will give you many opportunities to minister and witness for Jesus Christ.
- Double bass
At BJU you’ll learn more than how to be a skillful musician. Liberal arts courses such as speech and English will equip you to communicate effectively with others in your workplace, your community and your family. You’ll also learn how to connect with a variety of people through history and psychology, and these courses will help you see big-picture truths through a biblical worldview.
Even more importantly, Bible courses will give you a solid foundation in the truth of God’s Word so you’ll know what you believe about Him and why you believe. You’ll grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus as you learn to apply what you know of God to your worship.
Church music is an involved program, and much of your course schedule is already predetermined. Within the program you’ll choose an instrument concentration and have several options in ministry courses. If you wish to take additional Bible or liberal arts courses, be sure to explore the option of online courses via BJUOnline.
Greg Habegger, ’95
As a church music major at BJU, I received the best of both worlds. I obtained the musical training required to hone my skills, but my teachers taught me about the various ministry aspects necessary to serve the Lord as a pastor in my local church.
The privilege of impacting people’s walk with God through music was repeatedly modeled to me by the faculty. I remember my years at BJU with fondness and am thankful for how my teachers equipped me to serve the Lord.
Brad Wiggs, ’10
One of the most helpful experiences I took from the church music program was the senior internship. I completed my internship in a local church in the Greenville area during my senior year.
In the internship, I received numerous opportunities to use the skills I had learned. I was able to lead congregational singing, prepare adult and children's choirs, plan music for church services, and schedule and prepare special music. I also gained valuable experience learning to communicate with the pastoral staff about church music philosophy and how to shepherd people through a music ministry. After my internship, I felt prepared to begin working in a music ministry in the local church.
Mark Egerdahl, ’09
When I walked on campus as a freshman in the fall of 2005, I knew I was going to receive a top-notch musical education from a variety of well-equipped teachers, but what I didn’t know was that I was going to receive something far more valuable than musical training: namely, a biblically based, God-glorifying, others-minded music philosophy.
The balanced instruction I gleaned from classes and the one-on-one instruction given to me by my friend and mentor, Fred Coleman, has been a driving force behind my ministry as I traveled with the Steve Pettit Evangelistic Team. After traveling from church to church over the course of 4 years, I have observed that the foundational music philosophy I was taught at BJU not only works on paper, but also works in real life experiences in local churches all over the United States.
The church music program at BJU opens the door to many career possibilities.
- Music director
- Music pastor
- Youth and children’s choir director
Our church music graduates have been accepted into leading graduate schools including:
- Hartt School of Music
- University of South Carolina
- Westminster Choir College (Ryder University)
- Boston University
- Cincinnati College-Conservatory
- Eastman School of Music
- Florida State University
- Indiana University
- Peabody Conservatory
- Rice University
- The University of North Carolina School of the Arts
Church music graduates excel in a wide range of settings and have held positions such as:
- Choral editor, Shawnee Press (Hal Leonard) Music Publishers
- Staff musician, The Wilds
- Music pastors throughout the United States
- Christian schoolteachers throughout the United States
- Missionaries in China, Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines
- Christian university/Bible college faculty members throughout the United States
BJU offers students a variety of ways to network with employers and organizations. A multitude of job opportunities are posted each year on CareerCentral, our online placement service. In addition, over 60 businesses and 150 Christian schools/mission boards/Christian organizations come on campus to recruit students through on-campus interviews and job/ministry fairs. The Career Services office also helps students by holding seminars on resume preparation and interview techniques.
Membership in the University’s bands, orchestras or choirs will provide you with unparalleled opportunities for further development of your musicianship under the direction of our accomplished faculty conductors. You will also be challenged to achieve your best in your chosen principal through private lessons, culminating in a senior recital. You may choose voice, keyboard (piano or organ), guitar or one of the standard orchestral instruments as a principal.
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.
The Gustafson Fine Arts Center Music Library
You’ll have access to many different resources in the Music Library. Among them are:
- 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’ll have access to online music resources such as Music Index Online, IPA Source, and JSTOR Music Collection.
At BJU, you’ll experience excellent music in a variety of performances—as a performer and as a member of the audience. You’ll grow through personal performances, through junior and senior recitals, large and small ensemble recitals, the Concerto and Aria Competition, Annual Music Contests and Student Recital Hours. Additionally, you’ll learn from top artists in the Concert, Opera and Drama Series, such as the King’s Singers, Canadian Brass or Prague Symphony Orchestra. You can even perform under professional guest conductors in productions like BJU’s operas.
Each week BJU students participate in more than 100 outreach opportunities. These ministries will challenge you to grow in your music skills, either as an instrumentalist or in leading music. You’ll get experience ministering alongside others, so you’ll be better prepared for whatever ministry God calls you to do.
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.
Division of Music
Your professors 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.
Courses & Objectives
Sample Course Outline
- BJU Core
Each student will:
- Survey the historical development of congregational song in gathered Christian worship.
- Administrate various musical aspects of Christian worship (e.g., congregational singing, vocal ensembles, instrumental music, music library).
- Perform with satisfactory technique and artistry as a voice, keyboard (piano or organ), guitar or orchestral principal.