Instrumental Performance, B.Mus.

Program Overview

Do you love the feeling of performing music for others? Are you excited about the idea of elevating your performance skills? If so, a degree in instrumental performance may be perfect for you.

PLNU's instrumental performance program is built on a foundation that ensures you will become well versed in written theory, aural skills, and music history, but also offers a specialized curriculum to help you develop expert-level applied music skills in your primary performance area. Your degree will culminate during your junior and senior year recitals.

PLNU’s wind, brass, strings, and percussion musicians enhance their coursework with a number of performance opportunities. You can participate in a chamber orchestra, concert band, jazz band, or even form your own string quartet. You’ll also get to play in the pit orchestra at our annual Cider Celebration, and can join worship bands in the local community.

Course List

For information about the courses required for the Instrumental Performance, B.Mus. program, view the PLNU Catalog. 

Course Information

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Are you ready to take the next step to begin your PLNU journey? Whether you’re a high school senior, college transfer student, or international student, find out what we’re looking for in our applicants and how you can apply.

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Student Support

For most students, the transition into college life is one full of adjustments. There is the excitement of newfound freedoms, but also some uncertainty as you begin to make choices and take responsibility for your own future. 

At PLNU, we’re committed to supporting you — academically, professionally, spiritually, personally — so that you may be successful both in your time as a student and beyond. That’s why we offer a holistic support system that focuses on your unique experiences, particular needs, and personal and professional goals — resulting from our deep concern for you, our student.

With a focus on authentic relationships and personalized attention, our goal is to help transform you so you can follow your calling in your own career and life.

Student Support

Career Opportunities

With a degree from PLNU’s music program, you will be well prepared to pursue both graduate studies and an array of career options that will allow you to live out your passion for music while making a lasting impact in the lives of those who hear it.

Whether you’re aiming to develop a performing career, get into a doctoral program, or undertake any other musical professional pursuit, an instrumental performance degree from PLNU will prepare you to reach your goals and stand out in any path you choose to take.

A Bachelor of Music in Instrumental Performance can lead to careers such as:

  • Music teacher
  • Instrumentalist
  • Conductor
  • Singer/Songwriter
  • Music therapist
  • Music producer
  • Music publisher
  • Music editor

Job outlook for instrumental performance careers

Jobs in the music industry will remain steady, but competitive. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of musicians and singers is projected to grow 1% from 2019 to 2029. However, with the knowledge you’ll gain from your music studies, you’ll be prepared for many jobs within the music industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of broadcast, sound, and video technicians is projected to grow 9% from 2019 to 2029.

John Reynolds headshot

Student Profile

Dr. John Reynolds

In addition to performing regularly with the Gaslamp Quarter Jazz Orchestra, and the John Reynolds Jazz Quintet, and as a freelance trumpeter all over Southern California, Reynolds works as the director of the music program at the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts.

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What can you do with an instrumental performance degree?

If you are passionate about music and ready to dedicate your life to it, once you graduate PLNU with a instrumental performance degree, you will be prepared to seek out a musically centered career that suits you, your interests, and specializations. 

The following are examples of positions people with instrumental performance degrees may hold:  


2020 Median annual salary $51,235

Instrumentalists play one or more musical instruments as a solo performer, an accompanist, or as members of an orchestra, band, or other musical group. They must be able to perform before live audiences. Instrumentalists typically specialize in a specific family of instruments or a particular type of music. They must be able to play music from memory or by following scores.

What it takes to be an instrumentalist: 

  • Dedication
  • Innovation
  • Eagerness to learn

Music Teacher 

2020 Median annual salary $47,997

Music teachers have a wide array of workplace opportunities such as: schools, community centers, music shops, and public institutions, like hospitals and prisons. Also, music teachers often do freelance work for a more flexible schedule. Music teachers' primary responsibilities are to teach people how to read music, understand music theory, and to recognize scales and musical techniques. Music teachers may also help prepare clients for music examinations, auditions, and live performances. 

What it takes to be a music teacher:

  • Extensive musical knowledge
  • Patience
  • Creativity
  • Encouraging disposition

Worship Director 

2020 Median annual salary $38,288

Worship directors are primarily responsible for planning the weekly liturgy by choosing and organizing the music to be played at each worship service. They prepare and assemble musicians to lead the congregation in worship. Worship directors often work closely with pastoral staff to create a worship service that correlates with the message of a sermon. 

What it takes to be a worship director:

  • Knowledge of Scripture 
  • Organization and administration skills 
  • Communication skills 
  • Humility

What are PLNU Department of Music alumni doing now?

Many PLNU students have successfully completed graduate school. Many are now successful teachers, and some are university professors. Some music department alumni have gone on to be performing artists, including professional opera singers and studio session musicians, while others are commercial music composers.

Instrumental performance as more than just a degree

As the famous philosopher Plato once said, “Education in music is most sovereign because more than anything else rhythm and harmony find their way to the innermost soul and take strongest hold upon it.” Here at PLNU, instrumental performance majors let music and Christ enter their souls and take hold upon them as they further their passion for music and improve their skills in hopes of making a long-lasting impact on others. 

Start off on a strong note, and apply to PLNU today. To learn more, get connected with one of our counselors for additional support and to answer any questions you may have.