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A Teacher from Day One

Undergraduate Program

What music degree programs are offered?

VanderCook College of Music has a long tradition of focusing on training future music educators to enter the classroom with an expansive skill set and excellent musicianship. Earning your bachelor’s degree in music is a rewarding experience. With an expert faculty and beautiful campus, you won’t find a more enjoyable place than VanderCook to achieve your goals.

Music undergraduate candidates may apply to three distinct bachelor of music degree programs:

Bachelor of Music Education (BMEd)

Graduates of the Bachelor of Music Education (BMEd) program are trained to have a thorough understanding of the methodology Pre K-12 music teachers use as licensed educators. The bachelor of music degree in music education focuses on instrumental, choral, and general music studies. Throughout the four-year curriculum, candidates will gain an understanding of what it takes to be a qualified music instructor, as follows:

  • Fully prepared and certified to teach pre-K-12 music, band, choir, orchestra, and general music.
  • Learn to play and teach 19 instruments commonly taught in school music programs.
  • Introduction to becoming a licensed educator with an immersive student teaching experience and state licensure qualification.

Music degrees that focus on education require comprehensive experiences that match the curriculum. BMEd students will work with school-aged children beginning in their first semester via clinics, local music programs, and valued partnerships.

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Bachelor of Music in Performance and Pedagogy (BMped)

Study performance with world-class musicians while learning the fine art of teaching at the country’s leading institution for music education. At VanderCook, you will be able to:

  • Develop well-rounded musicianship with diversity of performance and teaching opportunities, and apply the knowledge of stylistic interpretation, performance practice, and techniques acquired. 
  • Recognize various learning styles and describe challenges of teaching students of different ages, class sizes, and levels.
  • Develop knowledge of pedagogical and standard repertoire, teaching styles and philosophy, technical approaches, and the use of technologies to provide appropriate teaching materials. 
  • Establish a private studio, website, social media presence, recording project, as well as networking and marketing skills.
  • Complete an internship focused on the industry.
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Bachelor of Music Pre-Certification (BMpc)

The music undergraduate major who wishes to complete their certification at a later time may choose the Bachelor of Music Education Pre-Certification (BMpc) program. Two key differences separate the BMpc program from the BMEd program:

  • BMpc graduates complete a minimum of 6½ fewer credit hours (no senior seminar hour requirement).
  • Student teaching and licensure is not required.

Bachelor of Music students who temporarily forgo certification often choose the BMpc degree for several reasons:

  • A desire to pursue graduate studies
  • Pursuing a career in music education that doesn’t require licensure (paraprofessional, private lesson studio, etc.)

VanderCook Performer's Certificate

The Performer’s Certificate recognizes outstanding achievement in solo and chamber music performance. The certificate is not a degree program, but rather a means to acknowledge the most accomplished performers at the undergraduate level. Candidates may apply for the Performer’s Certificate by completing an application and audition adjudicated by a faculty panel.

If accepted, candidates must complete the following requirements to be awarded the Performer’s Certificate:

  • A minimum of 12 credit hours per semester taken in the major applied area throughout the entire BMEd degree program
  • A junior solo recital with 30 to 45 minutes of music in the major applied area
  • A senior solo recital with 50 to 65 minutes of music in the major applied area
  • At least two semesters in an honors ensemble after acceptance into the Performer’s Certificate program

How do I pay for college and when should I apply?

VanderCook College of Music works tirelessly to keep tuition costs lower than other schools, however, it can still be difficult to fund your education. 100% of our undergraduate students receive institution aid. Over 90% are awarded financial assistance. Contact our financial aid office to develop a plan that works for you. Are you ready to begin your journey at VanderCook? Apply now and follow all admissions requirements and timelines. Stay connected to VanderCook through our social media links and events calendar.

Student Resources

2022-2023 College Catalog


Every Gift Matters…

Gifts to VanderCook come in many forms and sizes and each one truly makes a difference. You may wonder how a small contribution can matter to the college – how it can “make a dent.” Combined with other donor gifts, even a relatively minor contribution can make a major impact.

Thank you for your generosity and support!

The mission of VanderCook College of Music is to enrich the lives of present and future generations by developing uniquely skilled music teachers who exhibit strong character, professionalism, and a commitment to excellence.

© 2022 VanderCook College of Music. All Rights Reserved.
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