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Just because you were active in choir, orchestra or even just an awesome garage band in high school doesn't mean that you want to make a career out of it by majoring in music in college. Instead of leaving your talent at home and losing those sweet skills when you go away to school, check out these ten great schools that offer options for the musically inclined.

  • Arizona State University. The Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at ASU offers a music minor, ensemble classes for non-music majors and a great collection of other, intermittently offered music classes ranging from music history to genuine practicing-your-art kind of courses. African Drumming, Beginning Piano, Gospel Choir, Rock Band, Marching Percussion, Drum Circle, Urban Dance Music Ensemble, The Beatles After The Beatles -- these are just a few of the courses you can take without majoring in music.
  • DePauw University. Five large ensembles and almost 20 smaller ones, individual applied music lessons offered in over twenty instruments (including voice) and major annual opera productions are all for-credit music options for non-majors -- and these are just the programs that don't fit into standard class schedules. At the DePauw School of Music, you'll also find classes in theory, history and dance.
  • Northwestern University. Northwestern offers a great collection of music classes for non-majors through the Bienen School of Music, including Masterpieces of Opera and History of the Symphony. All non-music majors are invited to apply for a full-on concentration in music for undergraduates -- and with only six credits required to tack it on to your primary degree, it's accessible to everyone.
  • The University of Oklahoma. From beginning instrument and voice classes to courses on every kind of international music you can think of, OU has something for you. They even offer an undergraduate seminar option covering "newly developed, experimental or inter-disciplinary topics in music" that changes every semester. Graduate students should be happy to know that there's even private instruction in instrumental or vocal music available for credit.
  • Rice University. The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University offers private instruction for 17 different instruments that's open to all non-majors. You can even play in their Campanille Orchestra, which meets on Saturdays for credit. For those looking for something less traditional, there are also classes like Unity and Variety of Music, Basic Electronic Music, and Radiohead and Björk: Connections with the Past, Present and Future.
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln. If you like being high-minded about topics in music, UNL has the non-major programs for you. Classes include Issues in Music and the Arts, Music and Film, The Music Experience, and History of Rock Music. If you've got the itch to perform, your bases are covered there, too. UNL offers a multitude of seminars and ensembles, as well as the ability for non-music majors to participate in Campus Band, University Chorale and Varsity Men's Chorus without auditioning.
  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas. UNLV makes all undergraduates satisfy a set of multicultural, fine arts and technology core requirements, all of which can be met in the music department. From standards like Music Appreciation and Music History to more in-depth and interesting classes like Introduction to MIDI Synthesizers and Issues in American Music, UNLV wants to help the musically inclined succeed. You can also find a variety of for-credit ensembles.
  • University of Oregon. The School of Music and Dance at UOregon offers a huge variety for non-music majors. You can dive deep into history and theory with classes like Popular Music in Global Context, American Ethnic and Protest Music, Music and Gender, Folk Music of the Balkans, and Digital Audio & Sound Design. If you were born to play, check out their numerous private lessons available for credit and the long list of eclectic ensembles, which range from the Oregon Basketball Band to Javanese Gamelan.
  • University of Southern California. USC's Thornton School of Music has several different music minors, a host of classes for non-music majors and even offers credit for participating in music ensembles. Want to hone your performance and songwriting skills? They've got jazz studies classes, musical theatre classes and much more. Got production in your future? Check out their music industry, music recording and popular music studies classes.
  • University of Texas at Austin. The Butler School of Music at UT-Austin offers a robust music program for non-majors, going far beyond just getting a minor. Ensembles, private lessons in instruments ranging from piano to guitar to euphonium to oboe, voice lessons and, of course, a long list of music history, theory and production classes -- all for credit. In short, if you want to hone or grow your musical skills without calling it a major, you'll love UT-Austin.

There are many, many colleges that didn't quite make the list, so when you're shopping around for your degree, be sure to ask about these kinds of programs. Your physics major doesn't have to be the end of your love of music.



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