A&M-Commerce Elevating Music Education with New School of Music Designation

The Texas A&M University-Commerce Department of Music is elevating its status to become the School of Music, effective September 1, 2024.

Approval to change the department's designation was granted by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) in January 2024.

While the music department was first accredited in 1969, A&M-Commerce has offered music courses dating back more than 100 years. In that time, the university has mentored countless music educators and performers across an array of disciplines. With more than 250 total students, the department helps musicians to hone their craft as vocalists, percussionists, pianists, or with brass or woodwind instruments. Additionally, a Guitar Performance program is slated to be offered beginning in Fall 2024.

Dr. Eric Branscome, head of the Department of Music, explained that the School of Music designation is something that has been highly sought after for several years.

“The idea to become a school of music was first presented over a decade ago,” said Branscome, who assumed his role in 2021.

Branscome notes that the latest proposal to become a School of Music began in the last year, going through a slew of approvals at the university level before being submitted to THECB in August 2023. The new designation gives A&M-Commerce a leg up when it comes to recruiting students.

“Holding a designation of a School of Music denotes a higher level of distinction and signifies that we have cultivated a long tradition of excellence in music education,” Branscome said. “While we welcome our performance-minded music students, our strength has always been about teaching and mentoring future music educators, and this new designation is a testament to that.”

Further expected benefits include attracting additional world-class faculty to the university's music program and increasing the department's endowed donor base.

The redesignation announcement was first shared with A&M-Commerce music students and alumni during the annual Texas Music Educators Association convention in San Antonio, Texas, in February, as A&M-Commerce hosted a meet and greet for current students and alumni attending the convention.

Branscome says he hopes that music education at A&M-Commerce continues to evolve long after becoming a School of Music.

“We don't intend for this longstanding goal of ours to be an endpoint, but the starting point of something even greater at A&M-Commerce,” Branscome said. “We have to keep evolving, expanding our curriculum and more to maintain relevance.”

He adds that an inaugural concert to celebrate the official redesignation as the A&M-Commerce School of Music is in the works for Fall 2024, with details to come later this year.

Learn more about Music at A&M-Commerce.