Utility Nav Top Nav Content Site Search Site Search
Menu
Program delivery update

To ensure we can safely offer the high-quality learning you expect, we've changed how many of our programs are delivered. Please view this program's delivery option(s) under "locations & availability". Learn more about how programs will be offered

Music Arts

Prepare for an independent music career by building business skills and developing your musical craft.

Program Image
Start Date:
September
Typical Length:
2 Years
Credential:
Diploma

Apply Now

Overview

Do you possess a fundamental level of musical ability and the skill of reading music? Do you have an interest in how the music industry works?

This program prepares you to pursue a career as a professional freelance musician and entrepreneur in the music business. It covers ear training, music theory, ensemble practice and rehearsal, music skills development and performance, as well as music technology, business management and applied computer applications.

In this program, you build on your musical craft while learning essential business skills, such as accounting, grant and proposal writing, contract development and marketing. You also get an understanding of the roles of managers, agents and other industry professionals.

Explore this program on YouTube »

Co-operative education

  • This program is eligible for an optional cooperative education (co-op) credit course between year one and two.
  • Co-op provides an opportunity for paid employment – in a field related to your program.
  • Opportunities are full-time work placements that last 12 to 16 weeks.
  • Our co-op program follows Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL) guidelines.
  • For more information visit Work Experience Opportunities

Choose NSCC

  • The Music Arts program offers industry-standard practice rooms and rehearsal spaces.
  • Emerging technologies, for both live and studio performance, are incorporated into your learning in order to mirror the trends of the music industry.
  • Continue your studies at university – This program includes courses that count towards a university degree. Find out more

Other info

  • You're required to take private music lessons (either with an existing instructor or through recommendation by NSCC) and are responsible for the costs incurred (they’re not included in regular tuition fees).
  • Due to the ensemble nature of the program, qualified applicants may not be accepted on a first-received, first-qualified basis.

September 2020

Campus Location Full time/part time Delivery Availability
Ivany Campus Dartmouth Full time In-class Cancelled
Marconi Campus/Online Classes at The Convent Full time BlendedBlended
Complete your program through courses that combine online (scheduled), and on-campus learning.
Seats available

Admission requirements

  • High School Graduation Diploma or equivalent.
    • International students – High school diploma equivalency and English language requirements vary by country. View details
  • Qualified applicants will be invited to an audition. The purpose of the audition is to demonstrate your musicianship and level of theory comprehension. The audition helps ensure that you'll have a reasonable probability of success in the Music Arts program. Auditions take place at Ivany Campus and Marconi Campus. For details on what to expect at the audition, see the Music Arts Audition Requirements (PDF 107KB).
    • If you don't respond to your audition invitation, or if you miss a scheduled audition, your application is cancelled.

Program requirements

  • Portfolio Development – As part of your studies at NSCC, you develop a portfolio of your work; the portfolio captures your achievements and profiles your skills to employers.

Tuition

Tuition is valid for the 2020-21 academic year. Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional.

Tuition (Domestic):
$3,515
Tuition (International):
$11,350

Tuition, fees and program costs

In addition to annual tuition, there are program costs (books, tools, etc.) and student fees for college services, health and dental plans, your student association and parking.

View detailed program fees page(s). Please note that amounts on these pages are meant for planning purposes only. They don't represent final amounts owing.

Career options

  • The music industry is a major contributor to the economic pulse of Nova Scotia and central to cultural life throughout the Maritimes. Graduates are ideally positioned to launch or enhance their own independent careers in the music business. Having achieved a high standard of musicianship and a comprehensive knowledge of business practice, grads can enter the industry with realistic expectations and attitudes about a career in music and will be equipped with the tools to thrive.

Courses may include

These are some of the courses offered in this program. It is not a complete list and courses are subject to change in advance of the academic year.

BART 2050 - Music Business I: Live Performance
This course will introduce learners to the current landscape of the Canadian music industry. It will convey a broad understanding of the various functions that exist within the industry and how they interact with the artist and each other. Learners will gain a basic knowledge of the mandate and scope of the organizations which support the music industry with a focus on how these organizations relate to revenue generation and collection. After a general overview of the industry and the artist’s place within it, the course will shift focus to the live performance industry, introducing learners to all related business, marketing and logistical components. It will review the roles and responsibilities of all participants from artist to agent to venue owner and how they fit into the overall touring picture. Learners will be taken through the A-Z process of strategizing a tour, identifying opportunities, negotiating contracts, overseeing and implementing related marketing initiatives, the logistics of touring and the financial settlement of shows.

BART 2060 - Music Business II: Essentials
Through a combination of lectures, research and guest speakers, this course will introduce learners to the fundamentals of the world of business. It will identify the skills necessary for successful entrepreneurship and will introduce the importance and basics of business planning and financial forecasting. The fundamentals of MS Excel and the practical application of spreadsheets in the organization of a music business will be explored in depth. This class will provide the nuts and bolts knowledge and resources necessary to launch a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation. Topics will range from record keeping to government reporting.

BART 3020 - Live Performance Development and Presentation
This course will bring the knowledge and insight gained over the last two years into focus as it relates to the learner. Time will be spent on ascertaining the learner’s interest in particular focus areas and in researching the opportunities available in those areas. Significant focus will be given to finalizing the learner’s Business Plan for the three to five years following graduation.

BART 3050 - Music Business III: Product Development
This course will familiarize the learner with the process of preparing recorded product for the marketplace. It will outline the roles and responsibilities of the people involved in the project and how all parties interact during that process. It will review the financial aspect of recording from budgeting to funding to settlement and will provide detailed information on contract and license requirements as well as the registration of all existing rights. The course will identify the various usage formats for the final recorded product and will instruct the learner in how to achieve those formats. It will also assist the learner in understanding the relevance and requirements of the visual element of the project. After examining the process of recording music, learners will be introduced to the business of song-writing and publishing and the roles of both writers and publishers in the context of the bigger music industry picture. The course will explain copyright basics and licensing by examining specific royalties and revenues streams and the registrations required. Learners will learn about the various types of publishing deals, their terms and conditions, and how they can advance a writer’s career. Emphasis will be given to the self-published writer and how they function in the world of publishing.

BART 4050 - Music Business IV: Artist and Career Development
Through a series of lectures, research and guest speakers, this course will examine many facets of the development of the artist’s career. From artist management contracts to band agreements to recording contracts, the various legal partnerships in the music industry will be explored in depth. Learners will gain a broad knowledge of the different types of label, distribution, and aggregator deals available including the services provided under each deal and the most common industry royalty computations. Learners will understand the many steps that need to be taken to make the best of an independent release, and will be able to critically analyze the state of the music industry to better cope with the changes that lie ahead in their careers.

MART 1000 - Theory I: Diatonic and Blues Harmony
This course is designed to ensure that learners have a good knowledge of the basic rudiments of music. Learners will be introduced to composition by assignments to create small pieces illustrating various concepts presented in class. These compositions will then be played in class. All assignments in Theory I will be completed on manuscript paper with pencil in order to develop hand calligraphy. Learners who have been performing at a professional level often don’t have the theory skills necessary and will need to spend extra time and energy into ensuring that they catch up to the skill level of the class as a whole. There will be special allowances for those learners and an extra work-book which must be completed within the first month of study. The course will be delivered each week within a 2-hour lecture/ensemble class, a 1-hour lab class and 1-hour of independent study.

MART 1001 - Ear Training I: Rhythm and Root Movements
This course is a comprehensive ear training, practical study program, that focuses on the elements of music that are most useful to the freelance professional musician working in the industry today. Musical examples from different styles and ethnical origins will be used to reinforce the concepts as they are introduced to the ear. This course will follow closely the concepts covered in MART 1000 (Theory: The Language of Music I). Learners who have been performing at a professional level often don’t have formal ear training skills and will need to spend extra time and energy into ensuring that they catch up to the skill level of the class as a whole. There will be special allowances for those learners and they will be paired to enable drill practice back and forth. The course will be delivered each week within a 2-hour lecture/ensemble class, a 1-hour lab class and 1-hour of independent study.

MART 1002 - Primary Instrument and Primary Instrument Workshop I
This course is designed to help the learner identify the musical skills and language needed to be a successful performer in today’s music community and industry. The learner will be introduced to a comprehensive plan of study that will ensure that the main areas of musical performance are all maintained. Learning paths will be set in place to ensure that study is focused in the theoretical/technical, physical/technical and interpretational/stylistic aspects of musical performance. Techniques for live and studio performance will be discussed and as well as repertoire development. The elements of music introduced in Theory and Ear Training will be explored and discussed during this course of study. The instruction for this course will be delivered by musician/teachers who are active members of our musical community, under the guidance and supervision of the NSCC music faculty. The faculty, learner and teacher will together fine tune the learning contract to reflect the learner’s particular area of specialization.

MART 1003 - Creative Ensemble for Live and Studio Performance I
This course is designed to introduce the learner to the musical skills and language needed to perform in a variety of situations. This will involve reading music as well as playing by ear, in live performance and studio session. Learners will be expected to perform at a level consistent with that of Primary Instrument 1002. The course will provide the necessary strategies and techniques to ensure the learner can adapt to the varying situational demands in today’s music marketplace. The elements of music introduced in Theory and Ear Training will be explored and discussed in ensemble classes. In the large ensemble and workshops emphasis will be placed on sight-reading to develop basic reading and scanning skills and the ability to play a variety of musical styles accurately. Small ensembles will provide a venue for the development of the learner’s musical strengths and area of specialization. These style specific groups will use public appearances and studio recording sessions to provide the venues needed to gain experience and develop confidence with performing on their instrument. Additional small workshops will provide master class environments, sectional rehearsals or workshops as needed. Learner participation in groups outside of scheduled times (including off campus) will be recognized as contributing to the learning outcomes.

MART 1004 - Keyboard Basics I
This course is designed for the non-keyboard majors and will introduce basic concepts of keyboard technique, proper keyboard fingering, and posture. Along with acquiring basic piano voicings the learner will also start to compile a list of repertoire to draw on for performance purposes. This course will help facilitate arranging, composition, ear training, and theory assignments as well as gain a valuable understanding of proper keyboard technique.

MART 1006 - Midi and Music Notation
This course introduces the learner to the world of digital technology and MIDI to create arrangements of original and existing material utilizing computer-based music workstations. The course consists of lectures, lab work, group, and individual projects. The learners learn the basics of software notation programs, keyboard synthesizers overview, and basic troubleshooting techniques. Projects are designed to simulate real-world writing assignments. The concepts taught in this course will help facilitate the completion of theory, arranging, and compositional assignments for other required courses in the program.

MART 2000 - Theory II: Arranging Techniques
This course is designed to carry on where MART 1000 (Theory: The Language of Music I) leaves off. Learners will be introduced to composition by assignments to create small pieces illustrating various concepts presented in class. These compositions will then be played in class. Learners will be asked to compose two tunes using concepts presented and arrange them for small ensemble. Arrangements in MART 2000 will be completed on Sibelius while in class assignments will be hand written on manuscript paper to further develop the learners hand calligraphy. The course will be delivered each week within a 2-hour lecture/ensemble class, a 1-hour lab class and 1-hour of independent study.

MART 2001 - Ear Training II: Sight Singing and Chord Progressions
This course is a comprehensive ear training, practical study program that focuses on the elements of music that are most useful to the freelance professional musician working in the industry today. Musical examples from different styles and ethnical origins will be used to reinforce the concepts as they are introduced to the ear.

MART 2002 - Primary Instrument and Primary Instrument Workshop II
This course is designed to increase the musical skills and language needed to be a successful performer in today’s music community and industry. The learner will be able demonstrate a professional study method that will ensure that the main areas of musical performance are all maintained. The course will have technical focus on musical skills such as reading music, scale and repertoire development, while working on aspects of both live and studio performance. The instruction for this course will be delivered by musician/teachers who are active members of our musical community, under the guidance and supervision of the NSCC music faculty.

MART 2003 - Creative Ensemble for Live and Studio Performance II
This course is designed to continue the work started in Creative Ensemble 1003. Learners will be expected to perform at a level consistent with that of Primary Instrument 2002. The course will provide the necessary strategies and techniques to ensure the learner can adapt to the varying situational demands in today’s music marketplace. The elements of music introduced in Theory and Ear Training will be explored and discussed in ensemble classes. In the large ensemble and workshops emphasis will be placed on sight-reading to develop basic reading and scanning skills and the ability to play a variety of musical styles accurately. Small ensembles will provide a venue for the development of the learner's musical strengths and area of specialization. These style specific groups will use public appearances and studio recording sessions to provide the venues needed to gain experience and develop confidence with performing on their instrument. Additional small workshops will provide master class environments, sectional rehearsals or workshops as needed. Learner participation in groups outside of scheduled times (including off campus) will be recognized as contributing to the learning outcomes.

MART 2004 - Keyboard Basics II
This course is designed for the non-keyboard major and it will give the learner a clear understanding and command of basic keyboard technique. Keyboard majors who do not have a background in the language of jazz theory, will find this course very helpful.

MART 2006 - Recording and Sequencing for Film
This course is a continuation of MART 1006 (Midi and Music Notation) with a concentration on Music Sequencing technologies which will help aid in music composition. The course continues to introduce the learner to the world of digital technology and MIDI to create arrangements of original and existing material utilizing computer-based music workstations. The course consists of lectures, lab work, group, and individual projects. The learners learn the basics of audio signal flow, history of MIDI, keyboard synthesizers, software sequencing programs, and basic troubleshooting techniques. Projects are designed to simulate real-world writing assignments. The concepts taught in this course will help facilitate the completion of theory, arranging, and compositional assignments for other required courses in the program.

MART 2300 - Music History I
This course outlines the history of western classical music with a study of the six principle eras and a survey of the contributions of the defining composers of each era. The survey will include discussions surrounding individual works, relevant historical background, thematic/stylistic development (i.e. musical complexity, feature instruments, defining characteristics etc.), biographical information and terminology, as well as social and environmental conditions/influences. Distinction will be made between sacred and secular traditions. In addition, a suggested listening library will be established to expose learners to a wide-variety of repertoire, reinforcing the course themes as well as providing ‘era recognition’ test material.

MART 2500 - Capstone Project I
This course requires learners to help prepare, present and promote a Spring Music festival. Learners will further develop rehearsal techniques, individual practice and administrative routines to meet a set minimum hours in each category. Learners will also work with 2nd year learners to learn and demonstrate the skills needed to promote and present a series of shows. All aspects of this course should be accurate and well documented in a journal that will be presented at the end of the course. While many of the rehearsals and promotions are organized with help from the instructor, the goal of this course is the self-direction of learning.

MART 3000 - Theory III: Composition and Film Scoring
This course is designed to carry on where MART 2000 (Theory: The Language of Music II) leaves off. Two-part and four-part (SATB) writing will be further developed with musical examples composed, arranged and performed in class. An examination of “common root movements” in various genres will be explored and learners will continue a more extensive analysis of blues progressions. Assignments will be given to explore the use of harmonic guide tones as a tool for melody and part writing. A more extensive exploration of melodic development, chord relationships, non diatonic chords and sectional writing will be used in composition and arranging assignments. Learners will demonstrate their understanding of the new materials through assignments to compose small pieces illustrating various concepts presented in class and arrange them for small ensemble. An exploration of orchestration for small ensemble will facilitate the arranging of these compositions for in class performance. Arrangements in Theory III will be completed on music notation software while in class assignments will be hand written on manuscript paper to further develop the learners hand calligraphy.

MART 3001 - Ear Training III: Transcription and Improvisation
This course is comprehensive ear training, designed to follow MART 2001 (Ear Training for Contemporary Musicians II). The focus is on the elements of music that are most useful to the freelance professional musician working in the industry today. Musical examples from different styles and ethnical origins will be used to reinforce the concepts as they are introduced to the ear. This course will follow closely the concepts covered in MART 3000 (Theory: The Language of Music III). Learners who have been performing at a professional level often don’t have formal ear training skills and will need to spend extra time and energy ensuring that they catch up to the skill level of the class as a whole. There will be special allowances for those learners and they will be paired to enable drill practice back and forth. Class attendance and participation are essential to the success of the learner in this course and will figure prominently in the evaluation and calculation of marks. The course will be delivered each week within a one-hour lecture/ensemble class, two one-hour lab classes and 1 hour of independent study.

MART 3002 - Primary Instrument and Primary Instrument Workshop III
This course is designed to deepen the knowledge on the learner's primary instrument. The learner will explore techniques to develop a personal approach to performance. The course will have technical focus on musical skills such as reading music, scale and repertoire development, while working on aspects of both live and studio performance. The instruction for this course will be delivered by musician/teachers who are active members of our musical community, under the guidance and supervision of the NSCC music faculty.

MART 3003 - Creative Ensemble for Live and Studio Performance III
This course is designed to continue the work started in Creative Ensemble 2003. Learners will be expected to perform at a level consistent with that of Primary Instrument 3002. The course will provide the necessary strategies and techniques to ensure the learner can adapt to the varying situational demands in today’s music marketplace. The elements of music introduced in Theory and Ear Training will be explored and discussed in ensemble classes. In the large ensemble and workshops emphasis will be placed on sight-reading to develop basic reading and scanning skills and the ability to play a variety of musical styles accurately. Small ensembles will provide a venue for the development of the learner’s musical strengths and area of specialization. These style specific groups will use public appearances and studio recording sessions to provide the venues needed to gain experience and develop confidence with performing on their instrument. During second year of study learners will be expected to take a more active role in the operation and management of each ensemble.

MART 3006 - Studio and Session Recording
This course introduces the learner to the world of recording. Techniques will be discussed on how to manage industry standard software applications for composing, song writing, and demo purposes. An emphasis will be placed on home recording techniques. Introduction to microphone techniques, software recording, monitoring environment, mixing, and final mastering will be discussed.

MART 3300 - Music History II
This course outlines the history of Jazz Music from Ragtime to Modern Jazz as well as a discussion about its origins. For organizational purposes the history will be divided into seven broad categories or eras to be studied, understanding that there is significant overlap both stylistically and chronologically. With each era a concentration will be placed on the defining artists, their biographical information, best-known works and, where relevant, their influence on subsequent artists. In addition, relevant historical, social and economical matters will be discussed and surveyed. As well, a suggested listening library will be established to expose learners to a wide variety of repertoire, reinforcing the course themes as well as providing ‘era/artist recognition’ test material.

MART 4000 - Theory IV: Applied Composition and Arranging
This course is designed to carry on where MARTS 3001 (Ear Training for Contemporary Musicians III) leaves off. Diminished harmony, chord functions, extended tonality and a more extended view of song form will be used in performance ready compositions and arrangements. Learners will analyze various genres of music then use common melodic and rhythmic structures to compose and arrange in those genres. Assignments will be given to gear the learner for composing and arranging situations. Learners will demonstrate their understanding of the new materials through assignments to compose pieces illustrating various concepts presented in class and arrange them for various ensembles. An exploration of orchestration for small ensemble will facilitate the arranging of these compositions for in class performance. Arrangements in Theory IV will be completed on music notation software while in class assignments will be hand written on manuscript paper to further develop the learners hand calligraphy.

MART 4001 - Ear Training IV: Transcribing for Large Ensemble
This course is comprehensive ear training, designed to follow MART 2001 (Ear Training for Contemporary Musicians II). The focus is on the elements of music that are most useful to the freelance professional musician working in the industry today. Musical examples from different styles and ethnical origins will be used to reinforce the concepts as they are introduced to the ear. This course will follow closely the concepts covered in Theory 3000 (Theory: The Language of Music III). Learners who have been performing at a professional level often don’t have formal ear training skills and will need to spend extra time and energy ensuring that they catch up to the skill level of the class as a whole. There will be special allowances for those learners and they will be paired to enable drill practice back and forth. Class attendance and participation are essential to the success of the learner in this course and will figure prominently in the evaluation and calculation of marks. The course will be delivered each week within a one-hour lecture/ensemble class, two one-hour lab classes and 1 hour of independent study.

MART 4002 - Primary Instrument and Primary Instrument Workshop IV
This course is designed to prepare the learner to be a professional performer in today’s music community and industry. The learner will be required to develop an independent study approach and encouraged to develop and create a performance approach through their primary instrument. Learners will develop skill sets necessary for professional performance situations, practice routines and rehearsal techniques necessary to work in any band setting. The course will have technical focus on musical skills such as reading music, scale and repertoire development, while working on aspects of both live and studio performance. The instruction for this course will be delivered by musician/teachers who are active members of our musical community, under the guidance and supervision of the NSCC music faculty.

MART 4003 - Creative Ensemble IV
This course is designed to align the learner with professional musical skills and language needed to perform in a variety of professional situations. This may involve reading music as well as ear playing, in live performance and studio session. Learners will be expected to perform at a level consistent with that of Primary Instrument 4003. The course will provide the necessary strategies and techniques to ensure the learner can adapt to the varying situational demands in today’s music marketplace. The elements of music introduced in Theory and Ear Training will be explored and discussed in ensemble classes. In the large ensemble and workshops emphasis will be placed on sight-reading to develop basic reading and scanning skills and the ability to play a variety of musical styles accurately. Small ensembles will provide a venue for the development of the learner’s musical strengths and area of specialization. These style specific groups will use public appearances and studio recording sessions to provide the venues needed to gain experience and develop confidence with performing on their instrument. Additional small workshops will provide master class environments, sectional rehearsals or workshops as needed. Learner participation in groups outside of scheduled times (including off campus) will be recognized as contributing to the learning outcomes.

MART 4006 - Applied Live Sound
This course introduces the learner to the basic principles of live sound systems needed for the performing musician. An emphasis will be placed on hearing safety at the beginning of the course. Learners will learn to design, setup and utilize small PA systems and monitors for live events. Learners will become familiar with appropriate microphone choice and placement and will also learn the importance of the correct procedure for cable wrapping. Basic crossover concepts and basic repair of PA systems and cables will be covered in this course.

MART 4500 - Capstone Project II
This course requires learners to prepare, present and promote a Spring Music festival. Learners will further develop rehearsal techniques, individual practice and administrative routines to meet a set minimum hours in each category. Learners will also learn and demonstrate the skills needed to promote and present a series of shows. All aspects of this course should be accurate and well documented in a journal that will be presented at the end of the course. While many of the rehearsals and promotions are organized with help from the instructor, the goal of this course is the self-direction of learning.

Apply Now

Have Questions? Contact Us.

Fill out this form and we'll be in touch.

Required fields are marked with a red symbol (*)

Yes No

Thank you for contacting us.
We will respond to you within three to five business days. While you wait, feel free to browse our list of Programs & Courses or visit our Admissions information section.