What is the Professional Music program?

When I was working at the Fall 2019 Open House, I attended a presentation for future students and found out about the Professional Music program. My first thought about the program was, “that seems so cool!” and my second thought was, “how do I transfer?” 

Although I don’t intend on transferring to the Professional Music program, I still wanted to learn more about it. I spoke to the program’s interim director Noah Schwartz to find out more about Ryerson’s newest undergraduate program for a three-part blog series. This first part of the series covers exactly what the Professional Music program is all about. 


Jenna: My first question is, what is the professional music program?

Noah Schwartz: The Professional Music program is Ryerson’s upcoming Bachelor of Fine Arts, and it has been in the works for a long time. Ryerson has been developing an undergraduate music presence for the past couple of years. And there’s been an acknowledgement around Toronto, I think, that it was surprising Ryerson didn’t have more music offerings for undergrads. So this is the big step forward in trying to offer that.


An image of smoke machines going off at a concert

J: My next question is who is the program for, and who are the type of people that should apply to it?

N: The Professional Music program is for people looking for an undergraduate degree where they can pursue their passion for music, while also expanding their knowledge and expertise of the creative industries in general, and other sections of the media and artistic industry. This program is not for those who want to necessarily specifically become an instrumentalist or a singer, but it’s for a more holistic perspective on how to build a career in the music industry at large—which isn’t just focused on the business of recorded music but also film, television and new media like technology companies and video games. By trying to support students’ passion for music while at the same time offering them opportunities to develop their career -as well as their theoretical and practical knowledge of a wide and diverse variety of different opportunities -they’ll have a broader view of what it means to be successful in music.


J: You kind of touched on this in your first answer, but what inspired the creation of this program?

An image of the Toronto skyline near the waterfront, including the CN Tower

N: I mean a lot of things, but in terms of Ryerson, there’s been a wide acknowledgement that it was surprising that, especially in the Faculty of Communication and Design (FCAD) with the RTA School of Media, Creative Industries and the School of Performance, that there wasn’t more music offerings for undergrads and specifically, there wasn’t a degree program. In the last decade, the music industry in Toronto has grown exponentially, and has also become extremely sought after and popular with the success of artists like Drake and The Weeknd, but also many other producers and business executives who have come out of the city for the last 50 years. The Canadian presence in the global music industry has always been very strong and it’s gotten even stronger in the past 10 years, so that even heightens the imperative to try to make some integration with that industry at Ryerson and develop some sort of program for students. 


Professional Music seems like a well-rounded, super cool program for anyone that has a musical gene, and is eyeing a career with music. I’m still as interested in it as I was last fall! Check out their website for more information! The program is currently accepting applications this fall for admission in fall 2021. Noah recently came out with a book called “Infinite Span: Lives in Music” which explores his perspective on the music industry if you want to learn more about the music industry. 

If you have questions about the program itself, Noah Schwartz can be reached at noah1.schwartz@ryerson.ca

If you have questions regarding the application process or admissions, you can contact the Ryerson Service Hub

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