Why Music?

The benefit of studying music

Close up of a violin

Music is the organization of sound into discrete elements we refer to as pitch, rhythm, tempo, timbre, and harmony. These organizations communicate emotions and understanding to listeners in a way that words fail to.

The study of music is to learn skills and terminology that allow you to communicate what you and others hear, play and compose.  That communication exists in multiple forms such as discussion, writing, and performance.  We study music to better understand this fascinating phenomena, to better communicate it to other musicians as well as the listening audience, and to learn lifelong skills that will enable us to practice it.



“When the human race created the culture of speech and writing, it also produced the sublime culture called music. It is a language that goes beyond speech and letters—a living art that is almost mystical."

— Shinichi Suzuki, Nurtured by Love, 1983, pg. 83



What can I do with a degree in music?

Whether your dream is to be a composer, conductor, performing musician or simply to share you love of music with others, our music degree will prepare you with the foundational skills to build on for life. 

Rose Crelli, Senior Recital

Create Your Career in Music

A lot of our students end up working in the school district as music educators. Our performance majors tend to go off to graduate school and pursue their masters degree. Some of our students are now doctoral students and now work at various universities in the nation.

Recent student successes include:

  • Rebecca Dunne ‘23. Music Educator, Galena Interior Learning Academy.
  • Jenna Dreydoppel ‘21. Choir Director, North Pole High School.
  • Phoenix Williams ‘21. General Music Teacher, Anchorage School District.
  • Lisa Ibias ‘19. Soloist with Juneau Symphony, Associate Concertmaster of Juneau Symphony.
  • Rose Crelli, ’18. Assistant Principal of Huntsville Symphony. Graduate Assistantship at University of Louisville.
  • Trevor Adams, ‘15 & ’17. Scholarship recipient and Teaching Assistantship at Roosevelt University, Film Composition Degree.

Some careers music majors go on to pursue are...


... and more!


A BA degree in music gives a person a deep background in a variety of musical fields that can be used to continue musical studies, or as a jumping off point for nearly any other profession that requires a college degree.  Some options for continued studies after a BA in music include music therapy, master in music history or music theory, or pursuing a medical degree.


Teach music

Music educators teach students how to sing and play instruments, instruct them in fundamentals such as scales and chords, impart knowledge about music history and theory, and lead school bands, orchestras, choirs, and ensembles. 


Perform music

Music performers are artists who showcase their talents, skills, and abilities in front of an audience.  Performers can be solo artists who perform live music in addition to recording albums.  Performers can also be a part of ensembles, large or small, that perform live music in addition to recording albums.


  Universal Skills
Some key skill sets in Music are time management skills, networking with other artists, event planning, problem solving skills, public performance skills, managing stress under pressure, adaptability, working with others as well as on your own.




Music at the University of Alaska Fairbanks





Take Command of the Stage and Classroom

Starting your first year, you’ll gain valuable performance experience through a variety of large and small ensembles, workshops with guest artists, apprentice programs, master classes and state and national competitions. You can also specialize your degree to explore and shape your particular musical interests and career paths.



Complete your degree in your time


The following study plans outline required music courses in the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor Music degree programs over four-year and five-year sequences. Your course registrations will always be completed and approved in consultation with your academic advisor.


Combine first-class musical training with exciting new ideas.

Each degree path stresses the importance of instilling a lifelong commitment to learning, creating music research opportunities that generate new artistic insights as well as new perspectives on traditional knowledge. Part of this approach involves an understanding of non-Western frameworks of knowledge as cultivated in Alaska Native musical culture and neighboring regions. Students are trained to engage the public as musical ambassadors in Fairbanks and other communities around Alaska and beyond.



 Flute Studio

The UAF Department of Music strives to prepare its students for 21st century musical careers by providing a rigorous coursework curriculum and opportunities for a variety of musical experiences and numerous community partnerships. The UAF Music Department is a cultural hub of Fairbanks and by extension the rest of Alaska. It provides graduating students with performance and educational skills in preparation for the workforce in Alaska and beyond, as well as a broad skill-set of knowledge to meet the needs of an ever-changing world. Graduates of our program go on to diverse careers in music, or continue their studies in graduate programs in the United States and internationally.



  Online Availability
We don’t offer an online degree program, but we do have three general music classes that we offer online:  MUS 103 (Music Fundamentals), MUS 410 (Women in Music), MUS 200 (Explorations in Music). These are classes that are transferable to other institutions.


We offer student worker positions such as Music Community School instructor, student Music Office worker and Davis Concert Hall student worker.


If you live in Alaska, the university offers competitive in-state tuition.  Our music department has several scholarships for which music majors can apply each year.  Our department offers a high faculty to student ratio as well as a partnership with the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra, UAF Music Community School teaching opportunities, Summer Music Academy, and Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival.  There are weekly public live-streamed performance opportunities, Alaska initial teacher certification for music (currently the only such program in Alaska), and numerous performance opportunities in the Fairbanks community.
UAF's Academic Advising Center hosts Major Mania in the Wood Center on Tuesday, October 17, 2023. A student plays a violin under the guidance of a music student | Photo courtesy of UAF University Relations



How else can I get involved around campus?

The UAF Department of Music offers many opportunities to explore the auditory fine arts without even leaving campus. There are a number of ensembles for both majors and non-majors to join, holiday concerts and festivals to attend and recitals and performances to enjoy. UAF also offers lessons in all major orchestral instruments, voice, guitar, piano, and more. Please contact our faculty for information about taking lessons in the Music Department.

Musicians at UAF can participate in cooperative arts groups such as the Fairbanks Symphony, the Choir of the North, the Jazz Combo, and more. Contact us for the best fit for you.

NAfME is a collaborative community that supports music educators and advocates for equitable access to music education. 

Music at One is the name for student recitals that normally take place at 1:00 p.m. on Thursdays at the C.W. Davis Concert Hall. You can also watch the live weekly performances on the department's Youtube channel. 

Several concerts are offered throughout the holiday season presented by the many groups UAF supports, including the greatly anticipated Design Alaska Holiday Concert. Check the News & Events for upcoming shows.

Native artists, craftspeople and dancers from all major Native culture groups gather together at UAF to share with each other, the University community and Fairbanks their rich artistic traditions.


Jaunelle Celaire leads an aesthetics appreciation class

Our performance faculty are professional musicians and researchers who frequently serve as guest artists, clinicians and conductors at venues around the world.

Our department is like a family - we expect great things from our students but we also are here for you as you navigate college life.  UAF itself has many options for students to get help in any way they may need it, and we here at the music department work with you so that you don’t get lost in the crowd.