Music technology degree approved

Photo by Maria Furukawa

On Jan. 19, Tech announced the approval of its new Bachelor of Science in Music Technology by the Board of Regents.

The new program is a 122 credit hour degree that incorporates courses in music performance and fundamentals as well as the study of music from a technological perspective. It will also feature four concentrations: two in Mechanical Engineering, one in Electrical and Computer Engineering and one general concentration.

The School of Music currently administers a Master of Science in Music Technology alongside a Ph.D. in the same field.

According to Dr. Jason Freeman, an associate professor in the School of Music, the Bachelor’s program is built to provide a foundation in music technology as well as a foundation in musical performance that the Master’s program does not incorporate.

Freeman additionally noted that the program at Tech will be focused on a broader, engineering-style approach to music technology as opposed to programs at other colleges and universities, which focus heavily on music production.

“Normally when you see a school of music … there’s a bunch of people sitting there practicing piano and violin … to have these careers making 19th century music … We’re not aspiring to be that,” Freeman said.

The degree will culminate in a senior capstone project, in similar fashion to Tech’s current engineering programs. It also requires a complete two-semester Intro to Physics sequence with PHYS 2211 and PHYS 2212.

Freeman believes the Bachelor of Science in Music Technology will raise the profile of music technology on Tech’s campus.

“You know, the School of Music, we’re off in the middle of a bunch of dorms on west campus, kind of in our own little spot, … but I don’t think we’re really part of the undergraduate culture yet, and I think this is going to be a really important change,” Freeman said. “I think [the BSMT program] is really a way of infusing music and the arts and this connection between arts and technology more into the mindset of Georgia Tech.”

The BS in Music Technology will be the first music degree program available to undergraduates; currently, the School of Music offers certificates and minors in music at the undergraduate level.

As part of the proposal for the new degree program, the School of Music has added two new Fundamentals of Musicianship courses with MUSI 2012 and MUSI 2013 and consolidated its performance ensembles into single 3000-level courses.

The School of Music has also added a course to their core curriculum in digital music performance called Laptop Orchestra, which is a 2000-level class requiring the prior completion of Fundamentals of Musicianship I.

The proposal also included letters of support from Gracenote, Spotify, Pandora and the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

The degree program will not be open to prospective students for the Fall of 2016 as it was approved on Jan. 9.

The performance ensembles are still open to all students, but most will still require an audition to participate.