Sep 17, 2021  
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies Major, B.A.

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College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Appalachian Studies

Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies Program Information

Ron Roach, Ph.D., Chair
222 Nicks Hall
Box 70556
(423) 439-7494

Dan Boner, Director
304D Memorial Hall (Brooks Gym)
(423) 439-8582

PO Box 70435
Johnson City, TN 37614

The Bachelor of Arts in Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies is designed to produce uniquely-prepared individuals who can compete and succeed in a wide array of careers: entertainers, studio musicians, recording artists, songwriters, journalists for trade magazines, artist management or promotion, road managers, museum management and curatorial work.

A minor is required for this degree. It is recommended that students choose from either Entrepreneurship or the Appalachian Studies Minor as their minor; however, business, management and communication (advertising, journalism, broadcasting, etc.) are also appropriate.

Admission Procedures

Any student seeking a degree in bluegrass, old time, and country music studies must meet general university admission requirements. Once admitted to the university, the student must audition for admission to the degree program, either in live performance or by video, for students who live more than 150 miles from campus. The five-minute audition should demonstrate the student’s technique, musicianship, and artistry. Auditions for admission to the major are held on selected dates prior to each semester (see the program’s web page, for dates) and are judged by bluegrass, old time, and country music studies faculty. To schedule an audition, you may contact Daniel Boner at (423) 439-7072.

If a student meets the audition requirements and is admitted to the major, an academic advisor will assist the student in selecting courses and planning a program of study.


Students with 0-59 earned credit hours:

Contact the Center for Advisement and Student Excellence (CASE) to schedule an appointment with your advisor.  Visit the CASE website ( or call (423) 439-5602.  Continue to meet also with your faculty advisor and/or speak with Teresa Owens, Executive Aide for the Department of Appalachian Studies, to have permits issued for your individual instruction and band courses.

Students with 60 or more earned credit hours:

Meet with your faculty advisor for advising.

B.A. Degree Core and Performance Tracks

The student will complete a core of 36 credit hours and choose between two performance tracks: vocal or instrumental. Students pursuing the vocal track must pass a guitar proficiency test or take two credit hours of class guitar or individual instruction on guitar.

Progression Standards

Band class and individual instruction are offered at three levels. Any student enrolled in band class and/or individual instruction must meet program progression standards in order to advance to the next higher level. Any student majoring in Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies must have successfully completed three credit hours of study at Level III (4xxx) in band classes and three credit hours of study at Level III (4xxx) in individual instruction before the degree may be awarded. Band class progression will be evaluated during any of the three required performances each semester. Individual instruction progression will be evaluated via jury examinations held at the end of every semester. Progression standards are published in course syllabi.

Performance Requirements

All students enrolled in Bluegrass, Celtic, Country, and Old Time Band classes are required to perform at a minimum of three public performances during the semester. Performance dates will be provided at the beginning of each semester and listed online (see the program’s web page,, for dates). Any student who inexcusably misses any scheduled performance will receive a failing grade for the semester.

Attendance at Lectures, Workshops, Master Classes, and Performances

The program hosts a wide variety of concerts, workshops, guest speakers, master artist lectures, and performances. See our website for a schedule of events:

Attendance at these events is critical to the education of a musician. All ETSU bluegrass, old time, and country music studies majors must submit evidence of attending a minimum of five events each semester of enrollment. Records are maintained in the student’s advisement file in the Bluegrass Office.

Transfer Information

All students who want to declare Bluegrass (BLUE) as a major must audition and be accepted into the Bluegrass, Old Time, & Country Music program. To schedule an audition, you may contact Daniel Boner at 423.439.7072.

The Association of Applied Science Degree/Bluegrass Music Program from Volunteer State Community College articulates with ETSU’s B.A. in Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies. For more information please visit:

For general information about the department or courses, contact Dr. Ron Roach, Chair. (; (423) 439-7494)

General Program Information

To earn a degree from ETSU, there are specific course requirements established by ETSU, by the East Tennessee State University Board of Trustees, by each college, and by each department. All students must meet the degree requirements at each of these levels outlined in the following list:

University-level Degree and Graduation Requirements

Total Credit Hours for Degree: 120

College of Arts and Sciences B.A. Degree Requirements

Students majoring in the College of Arts and Sciences must meet the following requirements for the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree. Some requirements must be taken in addition to the General Education Core, whereas others specify which courses from the General Education Core must be taken.

Foreign Languages Completion of a foreign language course numbered 2020 or above with a grade of C- or better * **
Mathematics Specified General Education Core: MATH 1530  or MATH 1910  
Non-U.S. History 3 credit hours


* International Students whose native language is not English, and whose admission to ETSU requires them to take a standardized test of English as a foreign language (e.g., TOEFL), may substitute scores that meet the admission requirements for the foreign language requirement.
** Consult the Literature and Language Department’s placement policy listed at and in the listing for Foreign Languages in this catalog.


General Education Requirements: 41 - 42 Credit Hours

Listed below are the categories and courses specified under East Tennessee State University Board of Trustees General Education Requirements. Note that certain courses are required for this degree, specific to this major. Thus, these courses will satisfy both a General Education requirement AND a requirement of this major. (Other majors may require different General Education courses.) Where specific courses are required for this major, only those courses are listed under the category. If there are no specific major requirements for a category, all course options appear.


9 credits, consisting of 6 credits of written composition and 3 credits of oral communication.

Written Composition

Complete both of the following: 

Oral Communication

Humanities and Fine Arts

9 credits, consisting of 3 credits of literature, 3 credits of fine arts, and 3 credits of humanities electives.


Other courses from this block are acceptable, but these courses satisfy the non-US history requirement in the BA degree:


6 credits, consisting of both of the following:

Natural Sciences

8 credits, consisting of two of the following (some require labs which are listed directly after the lecture):

(Note: Students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in the College of Arts and Sciences must select 8 credit hours in a SINGLE laboratory science. Please see listing in College of Arts and Sciences B.S. Degree Requirements for options.)


Students will enroll in the appropriate general education math course during their first calendar year of enrollment at ETSU. Students required to complete learning support in mathematics must enroll in a learning support-designated section (L01-L99) of MATH 1530  during their first 15 hours at ETSU (not including summer) unless they are also required to complete learning support in reading or writing. Students needing learning support in reading or writing in addition to learning support in math should enroll in MATH 1530-Lxx immediately upon completing their other learning support requirements. Additional information may be found on the University Advisement Center website

Complete one of the following:

Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies Major

Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies Core: 36 Credit Hours

Students must take 4 credit hours from the following:

Students must take 7 credit hours, with at least 3 credit hours at the 4000 level, from the following:

Students must take 4 credit hours from the following:

In addition to the core, students must select one of two performance tracks:

Instrumental Performance Track: 9 Credit Hours


Experienced Fiddle players may substitute Fiddle Harmony I, II, or III for two hours of individual instruction (students must take Fiddle/Bluegrass I, II, or III concurrent with Fiddle Harmony).

Vocal Performance Track: 9 Credit Hours

Students must take 7 credit hours, with at least 3 credit hours at the 4000 level, from the following:

All vocal students must pass a guitar proficiency test or take 2 credit hours from the following:

Optional Electives: 3 - 10 Credit Hours

Minor: 18 - 24 Credit Hours

Additional Information

Click Here to view the Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies Suggested Course Sequence .

B.A. Foreign Language Requirements

The Bachelor of Arts degree requires completion of at least one foreign language course with a number of 2020 or higher with a grade of at least C-. Students may need prerequisites that could include courses numbered 1010, 1020, and/or 2010 to prepare for success in 2020.

Graduation Requirements

Graduation in this major/concentration requires a minimum of 120 credits, including General Education requirements, CSCI 1100 , college degree requirements, major requirements, and minor requirements.

Passing the CSCI 1100 proficiency test produces no credit, but satisfies the graduation requirement (see If the total credits from these areas are less than 120 credits, students may use free electives to complete the requirement.

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