Technical mastery and creative passion.

A small, close-knit department that offers ample individualized attention, the D'Angelo Department of Music can help you realize any musical dream you have. Immerse yourself in engaging courses and enjoy abundant performance opportunities in solo, chamber music, large and small ensembles, and operatic and musical theatre stage settings. You'll have access to expert faculty and performers, guest masterclasses, excellent music therapy cliinical placements, and three exceptional performances spaces. We offer our students endless opportunities for special student-initiated projects. Gain the hands-on experience you need and receive mentoring tailor-made to you and your goals. Mercyhurst University is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. 

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Fast Facts

  • Mercyhurst is the only institution in the Erie area that offers accredited Music degree programs. Our five programs are B.A. in Music, B.M. in Composition, B.M. in Performance, B.M. in Music Therapy, and B.M. in Music Education.
  • Generous performance scholarships are available for music students.

  • Audition for annual musical theatre productions and plays as part of the Mercyhurst Theatre Program. Participate in opera scene productions produced by our D’Angelo Opera Theatre.

  • Compose scores for live performance by our students, faculty and ensembles. Develop your creativity through the active writing of music in a variety of forms and styles, and for a wide range of instrumental combinations.

  • With the B.A. Music degree, enjoy the flexibility of pursuing a minor in an outside area, or perhaps even a double major, to enhance your career options and graduate school opportunities.

  • Music Therapy majors get hands-on clinical experience working with patients living with autism, brain injury, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease among others. 

  • As a Music Therapy major, your curriculum will focus on music, psychology, neurology, health care and real-world clinical experiences in a wide variety of Erie-area health care facilities. Our program is a member of the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA).

  • All majors enroll every semester in at least one large ensemble—such as Concert Choir, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, or Chamber Orchestra. Choose from one of eight small ensembles. All ensembles are open to non-Music majors as well.

  • As a Music Education major, your student-teaching placement will provide you with excellent hands-on classroom experience. Find professional development and networking in our chapter of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME).

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will possess an appropriate understanding of music theory and the skills to properly read and compose music
  • Students will be able to identify significant events, innovations, and composers in the history of music and identify pieces within each major historical period
  • Students will exhibit a proficient level of piano performance
  • Students will attain an acceptable level of performance proficiency on their respective major instrument
  • Students will obtain necessary skills to properly evaluate the musical performances of others
  • Students will grow musically and socially by participating in musical ensembles

B.A. in Music

The Bachelor of Arts in Music provides students with the opportunity to pursue a full major in Music together with an expanded emphasis on the liberal arts. The additional elective courses built into this degree allow students to incorporate a minor in another field of study without adding overload credits. Music majors benefit from the same general departmental offerings as those in the performance and education degrees—weekly private lessons, regular participation in ensembles, opportunities for stage roles, and the full range of music core classes—with the additional flexibility to design a broader four-year liberal arts curriculum, add a minor, or even double major with another field of study. This degree provides a solid preparation for graduate study in music, and, in some cases, professional performance opportunities, along with a strong grounding in the broader humanities. Concentrations within the Bachelor of Arts in Music are available in all areas of approved study (winds, piano, percussion, strings, and composition).

B.M. in Composition

This Bachelor of Music allows students to develop the essential technical toolbox and broad aesthetic perspective needed to assume a place in the community of professional composers. Composition study offers an array of musical opportunities for graduates, including film scoring, commercial music, educational and church music publication, recording arts and careers in higher education. The program aims to prepare each young composer for high-level graduate work and a career in music. Applied composition is designed to unleash and develop the innate musical creativity of the natural composer through the active writing of music in a variety of forms and styles, and for a wide range of instrumental combinations. The program provides students with the opportunity to hear live performances of every completed composition, from solo to large ensemble works, and orchestral pieces. Students in the composition program are encouraged to develop their own unique musical voice, and are urged to explore a broad spectrum of tonal and non-tonal musical languages in their writing.

B.M. in Performance

This Bachelor of Music program emphasizes musical proficiency at a pre-professional level through individual instruction, mentoring, and career guidance. Performance experience includes large and small ensembles, solo performance opportunities, solo work in large-scale productions, and solo recitals in the junior and senior years.

B.M. in Music Therapy

This Bachelor of Music program emphasizes musical proficiency at a pre-professional level through individual instruction, mentoring, and career guidance. Performance experience includes large and small ensembles, solo performance opportunities, solo work in large-scale productions, and solo recitals in the junior and senior years. 

Music Therapy is an evidence-based and credentialed health care profession that utilizes the properties of music to accomplish non-music goals in a medical, therapeutic, or special education environment. The Music Therapy curriculum focuses on music, psychology, neurology, health care, and real-world clinical experiences within a wide variety of Erie-area health care facilities. All graduates of the four-year program who also complete a six-month internship will be eligible to sit for the national board exam, which leads to the Board Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC) credential. Students are encouraged to craft a minor or concentration in a related field to enhance their practice in a specific area of health care, such as psychology, neuroscience, or art therapy.

B.M. in Music Education

This Bachelor of Music in Music Education program stars graduates that are sought after by school districts, and are currently teaching all over the country. Students learn instructional techniques and classroom management skills while performing with a variety of ensembles similar to ones they’ll supervise in schools. The education program has a contemporary curriculum designed to assist future teachers in fostering a lifelong love of music in their own students. In order to receive the degree and certification in Music Education, all candidates must meet all the requirements outlined in the education department section of the university catalog. Please refer to all standards, policies and admissions/retention criteria specified for all education majors seeking a degree from Mercyhurst University and certification by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

State Authorization

This program may fulfill a portion of the requirements leading to licensure within this field. Please visit the State Authorization webpage to review the requirements for licensure by state or program. 

Department Awards and Opportunities

  • The Mary Pellegrino Spadafor Scholarship for Excellence in Music Performance—an annual award to a rising junior or senior.

  • Concerto/Aria Competition—an annual solo competition with the winner performing in a spring concert with the Mercyhurst Civic Orchestra.

  • Woman’s Club of Erie Scholarship—an annual award to a rising senior from Erie County.

  • For an additional scholarship, join the Athletic Bands program, participating in marching band in the fall and pep band in the spring.

  • Music Education majors in NAfME (National Association for Music Education) travel to the yearly all-states conference and help run the annual Tri-State Honors Band Festival at Mercyhurst.