Jul 17, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog

Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Roots Music Studies Major, B.A. (Old-Time Music Studies Concentration)

Department Information

Department of Appalachian Studies

Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Roots Music Studies
PO Box 70435
Phone: (423) 439-7072
Web Address: www.etsu.edu/cas/das/bluegrass/

Department Chair: Ron Roach, Ph.D.

Program Director: Dan Boner and Nate Olson

The Bachelor of Arts in Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Roots Music Studies is designed to produce uniquely-prepared individuals who can compete and succeed in a wide array of careers. Possible career opportunities include: performing artist, studio musician, audio engineer, recording artist, songwriter, writer for trade publications, manager or promoter, road manager, museum or heritage center staff or administrator, educator, and private music instructor. 

The Bachelor of Arts in Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Roots Music Studies, offered by East Tennessee State University, is as an Appalachian Studies major and thus not included in East Tennessee State University’s music accreditation.

Admission Procedures

Any student seeking a degree in Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Roots Music Studies must meet general university admission requirements. Once admitted to the university, the student must audition for admission to the degree program by video. The five-minute audition (approximately three songs/tunes) should demonstrate the student’s technique, musicianship, and artistry. Auditions  are judged by Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Roots Music Studies faculty. To submit an audition video, contact Dr. Nate Olson at olsonn@etsu.edu or visit the program website at etsu.edu/bluegrass.

When 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 credits:

Contact the Center for Advisement and Student Excellence (CASE) to schedule an appointment with your advisor. Visit the CASE website www.etsu.edu/cas/case/ and call (423) 439-5602. Students will also be assigned a BLUE faculty advisor, and should meet with advisors to have permits issued for individual instruction and band courses.

Students with 60 or more earned credits:

Students should Meet with your BLUE faculty advisor for advising.


B.A. Degree Requirements

All BLUE Majors will complete a core of 30 credits which will include 10 credits of individual instruction and 8 credits of band. With regards to individual instruction, students will complete 7 credits on a primary instrument (or voice) and 3 credits on a secondary instrument (or voice).

Every student in the major must choose a concentration from four options. Options include Audio Production, Bluegrass Profession, Old-Time Music Studies, and Scottish and Irish Traditional Music Studies.

Majors are not required to declare a minor, however, if desired a student may add an additional minor to their coursework. 

Band Auditions

Students who wish to be in a band class must attend an in-person placement audition the week before classes begin. Audition dates and details will be listed online (see the program’s web page, https://www.etsu.edu/bluegrass).

BLUE Forum

As part of the band experience, students are required to attend the weekly BLUE Forum, which will feature program meetings, concerts, workshops, master artist lectures, and performances. Events will be announced through the program website and program-wide communication outlets.

Transfer Information

All transfer students who wish to declare Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Roots Music Studies as a Major or Minor must submit an audition video (as described above). Transfer evaluations are completed by the College of Arts and Sciences Advisor in consultation with a BLUE advisor. For more information, email Dr. Nate Olson, Assistant Director, at olsonn@etsu.edu.

For general information about the program or courses, contact Mr. Daniel Boner, Director at boner@etsu.edu or (423) 439-7072

Degree Requirements: 120 credits

Compass Core Curriculum

41-42 credits
Major Total Requirements 63 credits
     Core Requirements    30 credits
     Concentration    27 credits
     Capstone    6 credits
Free Electives 15-16 credits
TOTAL 120 credits

Suggested Four-Year Program of Study: BORM-BA  

College of Arts and Sciences : Visit link to view the complete list of B.A. degree requirements.

  • Completion of a foreign language course numbered 2020 or above with a grade of C- or better. Students may be required to take courses numbered 1010, 1020 and/or 2010 based on a placement test or equivalent.
  • Non-U.S. History (3 credits)
  • MATH 1530  or MATH 1910  

Compass Core Curriculum   

These requirements include earning 40-43 credits in Strengthening Foundations, Understanding Natural and Social Worlds, Exploring Connections, Cultivate Artistic Awareness, and Growing as an Individual and Global Citizen categories.

Major Specific courses listed in Compass Core Curriculum Requirements:

Total Requirements for Major: 63 credits

Major Core Requirements: 30 credits

Old-Time Music Studies Concentration: 27 credits

BLUE Electives: 6 credits

Choose 6 credits of any other BLUE courses, EXCEPT private lessons or bands.

Free Electives: 15-16 credits

Additional Information

Click here to view Degree and Graduation Requirements  for all ETSU students.

CSCI 1100  or Proficiency exam: Must be completed to meet Bachelor’s Degree Requirements. CSCI 1100  has arequired lab course, CSCI 1150 .

Most minors range from 18-24 credits. Those few minors with more than 24 credits may affect the number of free electives allowed.