Skip to main content
Murphey Theory Class LBrown 45
Barbara A. Murphy, associate professor, teaching a music theory course.

UT is one of only a few universities in the United States to offer specific certificate and degree programs for students who want to be music composers or music teachers, according to a recent article in the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy.

The School of Music’s theory and composition programs, which include graduate and undergraduate study in music theory, composition, and theory pedagogy, are designed to help students learn to write music, analyze the music of others, and teach music theory.

“The teaching experience I gained in the program allowed me to leverage myself above other applicants for teaching assistantships with many universities,” said Alex Gray, an alumnus of the program and current music publishing intern at Dunvagen and St. Rose Music in New York City.

Grace Baugher, current music theory graduate teaching assistant at UT, said the program is preparing her for a variety of career options:  “Not only have the classes helped me with my current teaching assistantship in ear training, but they have also shown me other avenues that theory pedagogy can be applied to, such as band programs and private lessons. I have no doubt that completing this certificate will open new doors for me and be useful in any field of music I decide to pursue.”

UT is the only university in the country to offer a fully developed certificate program in music theory pedagogy, a master’s degree in pedagogy or a pedagogy emphasis, and two or more pedagogy classes.

Classes are available to all undergraduate music majors, an opportunity rarely offered through music programs at other universities. Certificate students complete a capstone teaching project where they serve as instructors in two theory classes, developing practical skills that can be immediately applied upon graduation.

“We truly immerse our students through rigorous pedagogical theory and practice,” said Brendan McConville, coordinator of theory and composition and associate director of undergraduate studies. “Their training pays off when they begin assistantships and jobs elsewhere; they are ready for any course they might teach after UT.”

Visit the UT School of Music’s theory and composition website for more information.


Brian Canever (865-974-0937,

Jeff Roberts (865-974-8935,