A man sits at a church organ and plays.
Graduate & Professional | In-Person

Master of Music in Church Music

Belmont's Masters of Music in Church Music will allow you to combine your passion for the church with your passion for music, while preparing you for your dream career.

Why Study Church Music? 

Students will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience by doing supervised work in a church setting, become well-versed in church music history and techniques and learn from Belmont's expert faculty. This program is highly individualized to your needs and desired career path. Our hands-on faculty help mold the skills required for students to become a strong leader in the field.

What You'll Learn

  • Music research tools, materials and techniquesworship band in a chapel service
  • Worship theology, history and practice
  • Hymn history and use
  • Leadership in a church music setting
  • The philosophy and practice of church music
  • Church music educationmethods and materials used to lead and teach various age groups

Career Possibilities

  • Minister of Music for congregational worship
  • Creator of new musical works for church services
  • Serving in church leadership as coordinator of arts ministries
  • Choirmaster
  • Organist
  • Children's choir leaders
  • A combination of the roles above

Program Details

View all program requirements.
  • Introduction to Music Research: Introduction to music research tools, materials and techniques. The focus of the course will include major references and indexes, database and internet research. The course will be relevant to all majors and will encompass both quantitative and qualitative research. A research project relating to the student’s major will be required.
  • Music History Seminar: A series of in-depth topical seminars for graduate music students which will cover a wide range of periods, composers and musical genres. Prerequisites: MUG 5010 or passing score on Graduate History Placement Exam.
  • Analytical Techniques: Advanced study in the analysis of music from across a range of genres and styles. In addition to traditional harmonic and formal analysis, a variety of techniques will be explored and may include LaRue style analysis; analysis of rhythm and meter; and an introduction to Schenkerian and related linear-reductive systems. Prerequisites: MUG 5020 or passing score on Graduate Theory Placement Exam.
  • Culminating Project/Examinations: MUG 6000 includes the terminal requirements for the M.M. degree. All students are required to successfully complete comprehensive written and oral examinations and a culminating project which varies, depending on the student’s particular track. Options and requirements for each culminating track are described in Guidelines for the Master of Music Degree accessed through the Belmont University Portal. Students should register for the course during their final semester of enrollment. The class is graded pass/fail. Prerequisites: Student must have achieved Candidacy status.
  • Graduate Chamber Music Studies: Composed of graduate students interested in pursuing the chamber repertoire for their applied area. Requires two (2) hours of rehearsal and 30 minutes of coached time per week. A Graduate Chamber Music Studies Contract designating a coach and planned repertoire must be completed by student and coach and approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. Prerequisites: Permission of director required.
  • Ensemble Internship: Graduate students may select an internship with any of the following School of Music classical instrumental or choral ensembles: Instrumental - Belmont Wind Ensemble, Belmont Orchestra, Belmont Percussion Ensemble, Belmont Guitar Ensemble, Belmont Jazz Ensemble; Choral -Belmont Chamber Singers, Belmont Chorale, University Singers, Nashville Children’s Choir, Opera Workshop, Oratorio Chorus, Women’s Choir. An Internship Contract must be completed and approved by the Director of Graduate Studies, describing specific responsibilities of the internship (e.g. assistant director, lead roles, etc.). Limited to two semesters of participation. Prerequisites: Permission of director required.
  • Graduate Ensemble Studies: Graduate students may participate in an approved School of Music ensemble. Prerequisites: Permission of ensemble director and instructor required.
  • Issues in Church Music Education: A study of the philosophy and practice of the church music education program. The focus will include church music education methods and materials used to lead and teach various age groups from early childhood level through high school level.
  • Worship: Theology, History and Practice: A survey of important views on the theology of music in worship with a focus on the historical development of approaches to worship in various Christian traditions. Emphasis will be placed on worship resources and planning for effective worship.
  • Hymns: Their History and Use: A study of congregational song from the early church to the present. Emphasis will be placed on the practical use of hymns in modern worship.
  • Advanced Choral Techniques: An advanced choral conducting course which emphasizes continuing attention to physical skills of conducting, score analysis, interpretation, and rehearsal procedures.
  • Supervised Music Ministry Practicum: The practicum includes a semester of supervised leadership in a church music program. The student will be supervised by an experienced choir director or pastor and by the student’s faculty mentor.

You'll have a variety of opportunities in Belmont's Master's of Music in Church Music program including:

  • Participating in ensembles with other students passionate about music
  • Performing in state-of-the-art performance halls
  • Joining a thriving and creative musical community in Nashville and at Belmont

National Association of Schools of Music (NASM)

1. Apply to the University

  • Create a BU4U account
  • Complete the Belmont University Graduate Studies Application for Admission
  • Pay the $50 Application Fee

2. Submit Supplemental Materials

Once your application is submitted and the application fee is paid, you will receive an email with instructions on how to submit the supplemental pieces of the application. You will be required to provide the following:

  1. Two completed recommendation forms from individuals who know the applicant's musical abilities. At least one recommendation must be completed by an individual who can address the applicant's accomplishments and potential in the academic classroom setting.
  2. A list of repertory studied in the principal performing area, including undergraduate junior and senior recital repertory, if applicable.
  3. A writing sample from undergraduate academic course work.
  4. Statement of Purpose. This one-page essay should describe why you are interested in the desired degree program and Belmont University, and address your personal and professional career goals.
  5. Official transcripts of all previous college and masters level work. International applicants with college level coursework from foreign institutions must have their transcripts evaluated by a credential evaluation service such as World Education Services ( wes.org). Applicants must have a minimum of a 3.0 cumulative GPA. Students who have earned below a 3.0 may be considered on a case-by-case basis.


All prospective students should apply as soon as possible to submit their application, including all supplemental materials, by the deadlines.


3. Audition for the School of Music

All applicants are required to audition for the School of Music. The audition day will consist of a live audition and interview with our performance faculty and an informational meeting. The information session will also allow time for questions from attendees.

Audition Dates


Audition Requirements:

Please note, students wishing to pursue conducting as their principal will need to submit a video audition, and are not required to come to a live audition.


  1. An art song in either of the following languages: French, German or Italian
  2. A 20th century art song in English
  3. An aria from the standard operatic or oratorio literature sung in the original language


  1. Two (2) works appropriate to the instrument that demonstrates two (2) distinctly different styles. This includes individual pieces, sonata or concerto movements, or (Percussionists, please see MM Performance audition requirements for suggested repertoire.)
  2. Demonstrate a proficient knowledge of scales and arpeggios
  3. Applicants may substitute one music selection suitable for a service of worship for one of the repertoire pieces listed above


  1. A substantial Baroque work by a composer such as Bach, Handel or Scarlatti, OR a sonata movement by Beethoven, Haydn or Mozart
  2. A substantial work by a 19th century composer such as Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Mendelssohn or Schumann; or a 20th century work or movement from a work by a composer such as Barber, Bartok, Copland, Debussy, Hindemith, Prokofiev or Ravel
  3. Demonstrate a proficient knowledge of scales, arpeggios and sight-reading
  4. Applicants may substitute one music selection suitable for a service of worship for one of the repertoire pieces listed above


  1. A work by J.S. Bach or other important Baroque composer for organ
  2. A 19th century work by a composer such as Franck or Mendelssohn
  3. A 20th century work by one of the following: Dupre, Hindemith, Langlais, Vierne or Widor
  4. Applicants may substitute one music selection suitable for a service of worship for one of the repertoire pieces listed above

Conducting for Church Music:

Students wishing to pursue conducting as their principal will need to submit a video audition and are not required to come to a live audition.

Conducting Audition Requirements

  • Include 10-20 minutes of high-quality video. Applicants should include an excerpt from a rehearsal and a full performance of one selection.
  • Demonstrate applicant’s best work by highlighting musical ability and technical training.
  • Please include the link to your video with your supplemental materials.
  • A complete conducting repertoire list and dates of performances.
  • Include “liner notes” detailing background information on the audio or video submitted.
  • An interview with a Graduate Conducting faculty member (Director of Choral Activities, Director of Bands, Director of Orchestras). The interview portion can be in person on campus or via online meeting.

How to format and submit materials

All musical selections should be uploaded to YouTube. The video must be set to “unlisted” and viewable by anyone with the link. Please do not email video files directly. Any video files received directly via email will not be reviewed.

Submit PDF file(s) in the “Supplemental Materials” section of your Belmont University application. Use the example below as a guide for liner notes.

Liner Notes Template

  • Student Name
  • Intended Major and Emphasis
  • Principal Instrument
  • The following details for each musical selection:
    • Title
    • Songwriter/Composer
    • Date of recording
    • Purpose of recording (i.e undergraduate recital, professional studio project, professional live performance, demo recording, newly recorded for this submission, etc.)
    • YouTube link.
      • Please upload your video to YouTube and provide the link on the PDF document. The video must be set to “unlisted” and viewable by anyone with the link. Please do not email video files directly. Any video files received directly via email will not be reviewed.

All scholarships will be distributed based on the strength of the audition. All applicants are considered for scholarships.

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Contact Us

College of Music & Performing Arts

Angela Stenzel
Graduate Admissions Coordinator
(615) 460.8307
Email Angela