The undergraduate organ program at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts is a small, intimate program where you can pursue your passion for music while being prepared with a breadth of skills for a life as a professional musician – on the stage, in the church and beyond.
Bachelor of Music
Immersion in the conservatory environment means you will have weekly private lessons with your major teacher, which allows for a highly individualized approach to your studies. You will also attend weekly performance classes, where you will build confidence and skill performing in front of an audience. Your curriculum will have a strong emphasis on hymn-playing and improvisation, along with major works from the 17th through the 21st centuries. Guest lecturers and performers include some of the leading organists and organ instructors in the world.
As a student pursuing an undergraduate organ degree at UNCSA, you will have access to some of the best historic instruments in Winston-Salem. Your organ instruction takes place primarily on the C.B. Fisk organ (Opus 75; III/) in Crawford Hall, although there are four organs on campus. A partnership with Salem Collegemeans you will also have occasional master classes on the instruments there, particularly the Flentrop (III/26) or Holtkamp (III/50) organs.
The city of Winston-Salem has a rich culture of the organ and many active, avid supporters. Because of this appreciation, you will have access to historic instruments in local churches and have ample opportunities to perform. Connections in Lockport, New York and St. Augustine, Florida also provide students the opportunity to travel with all expenses paid to perform recitals, and internships are available at places like Duke University and Augsburg Lutheran Church in Winston-Salem. You may also have the opportunity to study abroad in Europe with your peers.
In your first two years of undergraduate study, you will begin private lessons and master classes while studying the foundations of music theory, aural and keyboard skills, and musical styles. You will pursue liberal arts courses in English, math or science, and the humanities. In Year One you will study the harpsichord as a secondary instrument, and in Year Two you will begin ensemble work.
Your studies will continue in your third and fourth years with additional liberal arts courses, music history, sacred music, and career development classes. To prepare you for the possibility of teaching professionally, in Year Four you will take a course in pedagogy. You will also fulfill your capstone graduation requirement, a full recital at both a juried recital hearing and a public performance. The program aims to prepare you for work in performance, church music, or graduate studies.
Graduates of the organ program at UNCSA have gone on to work as church musicians and instructors, and many have pursued advanced degrees at prestigious institutions like the Eastman School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, Westminster Choir College, Oberlin Conservatory, University of North Texas, and Lincoln Cathedral in England.