Student playing bass and singing

Professional Music

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Southwestern Community College (SWCC) created the School for Music Vocations (SMV) to offer the serious music student the opportunity to explore music deeply, to discover by hard work his or her musical potential, and to consider seriously the relationship of music and the arts to the whole of life.

The first two years of college music study are, in many ways, the most important years in the education of a musician. Skills and understanding, which are well-learned at this time, provide an adequate base for a successful music vocation. Because of this, SWCC's professional music curriculum focuses on thoroughly developing in the student these most essential musical skills.

The philosophy and pedagogy of the program are guided by the following principles:

  • The most "freeing" education is a process of learning to see and think clearly and to understand relationships.
  • The transfer of information from teacher to student, while important, is secondary.
  • Effective education is not possible without internal motivation and self-discipline.
  • Understanding and skills are the key to musical competence.
  • Understanding results when the desire to learn and the creative teacher meet.
  • The pursuit of musical competence, when undertaken deeply, provides a mirror for self-examination and understanding.

Southwestern Community College's School for Music Vocations is committed to preparing its students for music careers in a stimulating and efficient way. The program is one of the only two-year vocational music programs in the United States. Our goal is to help the serious musician gain musical mastery, which will enable him/her succeed in and contribute to the art of music, whether in performance, education, or both.

SWCC Professional Music Brochure

NOTE: This program is located on the Creston campus.

Awards Available

The Associate of Applied Arts (AAA) degree is a specialized degree.  Emphasis is placed on competence of applying basic principles, theories, and occupational skills.

Potential Careers

  • Professional vocal or instrumental musician
  • Teacher, director, composer, or arranger
  • Entertainer or performer
  • Sound engineer (recording/studio)

Want to find out more about the Professional Music program? Get Information

  • MUA 120 Applied Piano
  • MUA 136 Jazz Keyboard I
  • MUS 120 Music Theory I
  • MUS 130 Aural Skills I
  • MUS 180 Arranging I
  • MUS 197 Final Project I
  • MUS 198 Psychology of Success
  • MUA 120 Applied Piano
  • MUA 137 Jazz Keyboard II
  • MUS 121 Music Theory II
  • MUS 131 Aural Skills II
  • MUS 181 Arranging II
  • MUS 195 Freshman Recital
  • MUS 297 Music Business
  • MUA 220 Applied Piano II
  • MUA 236 Jazz Keyboard III
  • MUS 220 Music Theory III
  • MUS 262 Recording Studio Performance
  • MUS 280 Arranging III
  • MUS 290 Fundamentals of Conducting
  • MUS 296 Final Project II
  • MUA 220 Applied Piano II
  • MUA 237 Jazz Keyboard IV
  • MUS 221 Music Theory IV
  • MUS 260 Introduction to Studio Engineering and Production
  • MUS 281 Arranging IV
  • MUS 295 Sophomore Recital

Click on the course number in the list above to view the course description. This may not be a complete list of courses that may be included for the Professional Music program. To see all courses in a semester-by-semester plan, view the Professional Music program course outline.

Download the program outline 

Degree requirement advising sheet

Music program electives and general education elective options

Upon completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • describe significant genres of music, using appropriate music staff notation and vocabulary.
  • aurally identify characteristic elements of music.
  • analyze and critically evaluate a musical performance.
  • demonstrate a basic understanding of and skill level in the use of music technology.
  • demonstrate effective communication skills in music notation and written assignments.
  • identify significant social, cultural, aesthetic and historical trends in music and assess the implications and consequences of these trends
  • perform through participation in Music Department vocal and/or instrumental groups


Instructor Tobi Crawford

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