Contemporary Music Degree FAQ’s

Contemporary Music Degree FAQ’s


At SFUAD, theory and practice work together. In our Contemporary Music Department, from Orientation onward, you’ll be auditioning, performing, and recording; while also learning the ins and outs of the industry, participating in professional internship opportunities, and creating a body of work worth showcasing! Our alums are having no trouble finding their place in the world. From Hollywood to Chicago to New York, from the studios to the stage, to the Grammys, you’ll find SFUAD graduates working and ready to welcome you to their ranks.

Contemporary Music Degree FAQ’s

Are contemporary music degrees worth it?

Yes, and with world renowned musicians teaching your classes their amazing experience and network becomes your gateway to an education and career that you want and need. Here is what our students have to say when we asked them about their degree and time at SFUAD:

“It’s beautiful here, and there’s art everywhere. I was looking for a college where I felt like I belonged right when I arrived. I wanted a place that felt like a good fit right away, and SFUAD was the place. I liked the people here, and loved the vibe. R&B was my thing in high school. I loved it. When I got to SFUAD, my professor Mirabai Daniels introduced me to jazz. She taught me how to bring out a softer, more vulnerable side. It became a newfound love for me. I love being around 15 people in the class and not 40. I feel like I can’t learn with 40 people. I need to be in an environment where I feel like I can learn, and build real relationships with my professors. I’ve gotten to know my own craft a lot better here. At SFUAD’s recording studio, I work with my professors one-on-one.” Rachel,Senior, Contemporary Music

“The professors are the best part of this program, because you get a ton of time with them. They’re all really good at what they do and really hands on. I feel like I could just come up to any of them at any point and ask a ton of questions, and they’d be okay with it. It’s nice to have teachers who can be excited about anything anyone could want to do at the school…I’m planning tours with two different bands after I graduate in the spring. One is from here to Austin, Texas for South by Southwest, with a bunch of stops along the way. The other is from North Carolina up to New York, which is huge. Benito Rose, who went to SFUAD and is in one of the bands, checked me out of the academic world and into the ‘real gig’ world. At SFUAD, I’ve been given more direction about where I want to go, and how to develop more technical ability.” Sam, Senior, Contemporary Music

“We’re getting to work with people from different departments, who work with different media..and I don’t think that could have happened outside of this community.”Donald Pena (‘15), Contemporary Music

“If you are a professional in any field, you should know that field inside out, you should understand it historically, you should know how to do the most menial task in that field and you should also be challenged by the best tasks.”Horace Alexander Young, Chair, Contemporary Music

What can I do with a contemporary music degree?

Students who have a contemporary music degree learn the skills necessary to work across the industry, finding jobs in areas such as: Musician, Recording Engineer, Audio Technician, Music Producer, Concert Promoter, Music Teacher, Music Composer, Stage Manager, and Recording Artist to name just a few. Learn more about the careers that will be available to you here!

Are there opportunities for me to play and be heard?

Yes, in fact we have ensembles that span every thinkable music genre and performance spaces available across campus. The Band Shell is an outdoor music venue located right on the main quad of the campus and the O’Shaughnessy Performance Space is available for concerts and open mic nights! Santa Fe is also bustling with a music scene and there are opportunities all over the city to perform and hear music. Any student on campus will also have access to our professional recording studio, home to Arroyo Records, the student run music label. Learn more about the facilities and opportunities here.

What’s the difference between SFUAD’s BA in Contemporary Music and a traditional university?

The BA in Contemporary Music at SFUAD starts when you are a freshman and is a much more in-depth degree track than a typical BA. In fact, we are one of the only music degrees in the country that also requires students to learn audio engineering. In terms of the competition, when you graduate from our program, you are leagues ahead of the game. You’ll graduate with your own voice and you’ll have spent four years studying your major when most of your peers at other schools didn’t start till they were juniors.

Does SFUAD have its own recording studio and record label?

Yes! Arroyo Records is a student-run, non-profit record label that operates out of Santa Fe, NM from Santa Fe University of Art and Design. All of the equipment used to produce our albums is on campus. Check out the website here!

What are the requirements for a Contemporary Music degree?

Click below to see detailed major requirements outlining your degree track as a student at SFUAD!

How do I apply to the Contemporary Music program?

Students who apply to the photography program will be required to submit an online application, send transcripts, audition and write a personal statement in order to be considered for admissions.