Music Performance (BM)

Fast Facts

  • Students in all concentrations learn from faculty who are also active performers nationally and internationally.
  • Alumni perform regionally, nationally and internationally with opera companies, symphony orchestras and other ensembles.
  • More than half of sacred music majors continue on to graduate school or seminary.
  • Composition and theory students perform their works regularly in on-campus recitals.

The Bachelor of Music in Music Performance degree provides skilled musicians with opportunities to develop expertise as professional performers or composers of solo, chamber and large ensemble music; as directors and performers of church music; or as university-level faculty following graduate study.

There are four concentrations within the Bachelor of Music in Music Performance degree program:



In addition to the general Appalachian State University application, any student interested in being considered as a music major, regardless of degree program, must audition successfully before the Hayes School of Music faculty. Information on auditions



Classes in the Bachelor of Music in Music Performance degree program include the Hayes School of Music’s core curriculum: private instrument/voice study, ensemble participation, music theory and aural skills, music history, world music and other musicianship classes.

In addition, each concentration has special courses or features:


Studio lessons focus toward solo performance recitals in the junior and senior year.


Studio lessons focus toward solo performance recitals in the junior and senior year.

Sacred Music

Studio lessons focus toward solo performance recitals in the junior and senior year. Specialized classes and an internship prepare students in this concentration for careers in sacred music.

Composition and Theory

Students participate in a weekly composition seminar with all theory/composition majors. They also receive weekly private composition lessons and take upper-division courses designed for composers and music theorists.

More information

Programs of Study

A four-year course plan and other details are found in the Hayes School of Music Student Handbook.

Course descriptions and advising information are found in the Undergraduate Bulletin under the Hayes School of Music. 



Instrumental and Vocal

Alumni perform as professional musicians regionally, nationally and internationally with opera companies, symphony orchestras, and other ensembles. These include New York Polyphony, New York City Opera and the North Carolina Symphony.

Many graduates also choose to attend graduate school, receiving significant scholarship funding to study at Florida State, Maryland, Indiana, San Francisco Conservatory, Boston Conservatory, Texas and Alabama and other institutions. With advanced degrees, many also choose to teach at the university level. Graduates are now on the faculty at University of Kansas, Furman University, Wingate University and Appalachian, among other institutions.

Sacred Music

Graduates typically seek careers as organists or choral directors with congregations throughout the region and nation. After graduation, more than half of Sacred Music majors continue on to graduate school or to seminary.

Composition and Theory

Alumni have gone on to work as professional composers and arrangers, university professors of composition, and video and game composers.

Get help

For assistance in finding internship, career and graduate school opportunities, visit Appalachian’s Career Development Center.

More about music careers


Program Directors/Faculty

The Music Performance faculty includes experts in all individual conservatory instruments, including woodwinds, brass, strings (including guitar and harp), piano and organ and percussion.

Concentration coordinators


Dr. Scott Kallestad, professor of saxophone, is an accomplished performer and clinician with more than 20 years of instrumental teaching experience.


Dr. Priscilla Porterfield, mezzo soprano and professor of voice, has regional, national, and international experience that includes numerous competition awards from the Music Teachers National Association, the Metropolitan Opera, and others.

Sacred Music

Dr. Joby Bell is an accomplished organist and sacred music specialist who has performed throughout the United States and Europe.

Composition and Theory

     Ben Hjertmann is a composer, vocalist, and teacher.  He has collaborated with top-tier ensembles across the US 
     and abroad.  He is the recipient of the 2015 Barlow Prize, 2013 Ticheli Award, and numerous other composition
     awards, and he has been a resident artist at the MacDowell Colony, Djerassi, and the Other Minds Festival.  Ben is
     vocalist and composer in the outsider-folk trio, Grant Wallace Band.  He has also self-produced Rock, Indie-Folk,
     Avant-Hip-Hop, and Chamber-Metal albums under the name Kong Must Dead.
     Visit for more nformation.


See the full faculty and staff listing.



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Music Scholarships