For Music Theory and Composition jobs that begin in 2021.

Last year's page, for jobs that started in 2020: Music Theory/Composition 2019-20

Music Theory/Composition 2018-19 (2 years ago)

Music Theory/Composition 2017-18 (3 years ago)

Music Theory/Composition 2016–2017 (4 years ago)

See also: Musicology/Ethnomusicology 2020-21


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Theory Only

Hochschule für Künste Bremen (deadline 9/30) Professor, Early Music Theory

Purdue University Fort Wayne (deadline 9/30) Lecturer in Music Theory

  • Begins Spring 2021
  • Duties: Coordinate music theory curriculum with other instructors. Teach assigned music theory courses. Advise and mentor undergraduate majors and supervise tutoring program with university personnel. Actively participate in the work of the School of Music and other duties as assigned by the director.
  • 10/19 Invitation for a Zoom meeting

Smith College (deadline 10/15) Assistant Professor of Music (Music Theory)

  • Deadline appears to have been extended to Oct 26, 2020 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time

University of Dortmund (deadline 8/19) Professor (W2) in Music Theory

  • 7/20 The announcement is unclear, but I believe this is actually for Fall 2020, not 2021. European job searches are often done much closer to the start of the job than in the US.
  • 7/21 Ad only says "as soon as possible." I believe the German "fall semester" normally begins October 1 and the "spring semester" April 1. An August 19 deadline seems incredibly late for an October 1 start date (unless the outcome is pre-determined), but I'm used to the US hiring system so I suppose it's possible!
  • 7/24 A variety of things might be lost in translation here (not necessarily linguistic---there's obviously differences in academic cultures). According to Wikipedia's article on academic ranks in the UK, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academic_ranks_in_the_United_Kingdom the W2 rank is equivalent to US associate professor (or higher). The German equivalent of this page, "Liste akademische Grade (Deutschland)" lists degrees, not professorship ranks--"Dr. habil." reminds us of the extra hoop of Habilitation there. SMT's job listings list this job as "Full Professor," which may have to do with how the position was submitted to the SMT or with how it was interpreted by the organization. I am very happy to stand corrected if any of the information that I wrote here is incorrect (like probably most users of this wiki, I am much more familiar with US academia).    

Theory/Performance, etc.

California State University, Fresno (deadline 11/2) Assistant Professor of Flute

  • Primary teaching responsibilities and scholarly activities will be in the area of Flute instruction and Flute ensemble, with a secondary focus such as, but not limited to; Music Theory, Ear Training, Music History, Music Appreciation, Music Technology, World Music, or another area of expertise.

Davidson College (deadline 10/18) Assistant Professor of Music

  • "We seek a specialist in African diasporic musics who has the ability to teach courses such as but not limited to, jazz history & theory, hip hop theory and practice, musical ethnography, improvisation, and transcription. The ability to direct student performances related to their area of expertise is highly desirable."
  • Also posted at Musicology/Ethnomusicology 2020-21

Eastern Oklahoma State College (review begins immediately, posted 9/22) Instructor of Music/Director of Music and Choral Ensembles

  • "The successful candidate will teach courses in music theory, including harmony, ear training, and sight- singing and vocal and instrumental performance classes"

Eastern Oregon University (deadline 9/15) Full-time Instructor of Jazz and Contemporary Music

  • "Teaching responsibilities include ensemble instruction for small instrumental groups. The successful candidate would also teach music theory, individualized lessons for woodwinds and classes in improvisation as needed."
  • "Internal EOU candidates only"

Elon University (deadline 11/29) Musical Director/Conductor in Music Theatre

  • "Elon University’s Department of Performing Arts invites applications for a Musical Director/Conductor in Music Theatre full-time lecturer or tenure-track position depending on professional experiences and educational qualifications"
  • "Primary responsibilities include musical directing and conducting mainstage productions and teaching Music Theatre History, Music Theatre Literature, and Music Theory/Sight-Singing all from a global perspective. Strong keyboard, programming, and sound design experience as well as secondary area in vocal coaching and writing for music theatre is desired."

Valparaiso University (deadline 1/6) Residential Postdoctoral Fellowship, Humanities and the Arts

  • We offer up to two two-year residential postdoctoral teaching fellowships in all areas of the Humanities and the Arts for 2021-2023 for scholars seriously considering academic careers in church‑related institutions.

Victoria College (Victoria, TX) (open until filled, posted 9/14) Adjunct Instructor - Music

  • "Victoria College is hiring Adjunct Instructors to teach music major courses in Sight Singing and Ear Training, Class Piano, and Music Theory."

Western Carolina University (posted 9/9) Assistant Professor in Musical Theatre

  • "Conducting, sight-reading and piano accompaniment skills. Teaching assignments include a sequential Musicianship I and II for musical theatre students, Song Study, and Ensembles."

Theory/Composition, etc.

Geneva College (no deadline listed, posted 10/13) Part Time Musical Composition Instructor

  • "Teach applied lessons in composition; Guide students in compositional projects and recitals; Possibly teach courses related to music theory, depending on departmental need; Possibly teach piano related courses, depending on departmental need."
  • "Christian Commitment: eligible candidates must be a thoughtful and articulate Christian and an active member of a Protestant evangelical Christian church."

Composition Only

University of Chicago (deadline 10/1) Assistant/Associate Professor of Music Composition

  • 10/22 request for additional materials

Composition/Music Technology

Athens State University (posted 9/15) Adjunct Instructor of Music/Audio Technology

Eastern Oregon University (deadline 9/15) Senior Instructor of Music Technology

  • This posting is for "Internal EOU candidates only"

Georgia Tech (review begins 9/15) Research Scientist, Center for Music Technology

  • 9/16 I can't find this job on the Georgia Tech HR site anywhere, just on the InsideHigherEd Careers site (where it was posted 9/15).

Hong Kong Baptist University (open until filled, posted 10/8/20) Augmented Creativity Lab, Chair Professor / Professor of Practice / Professor / Associate Professor

Newcastle University (Deadline 9/20) Research Associate, RADICAL (‘A Radical New Interdisciplinary Space for Sonification’)

  • "You will work on the RADICAL project with a primary focus on the ethnographic/auto-ethnographic and/or practice-as-research aspects of the project. You will likely have a background or demonstrable interest in contemporary technologically-mediated musical or sonic arts practice. Applications are welcomed from theorists, ideally with some practical experience in the relevant fields, or from practitioners who have a demonstrated ability to theorise their work to a high research standard."

North Carolina State University (deadline 11/1) Open-Rank Teaching Assistant/Associate Professor in Music Technology

  • "The Department of Music at North Carolina State University invites outstanding applicants for a full-time, nine-month, non-tenure track faculty position in Music Technology."

NYU (deadline 10/15) Postdoctoral Associate, Music and Audio Research Laboratory (Machine Listening)

  • "Required Education: A doctoral degree (or all but defense) in CS, EE, music technology or related discipline, by the start date of the position."
  • Preferred start date: January, 2021

Osnabrück University (deadline 8/20) Research Assistant/Postdoc, Music and Media Technology Group

San Jose State University (open until filled, posted 10/10) Assistant Professor - Music - Theory/Technology

  • "The candidate will teach and develop courses in music theory, as well as courses in music software and hardware, instrument and device controllers, and programming."

Southern University of Science and Technology (Shenzhen) (deadline 11/15) Lecturer in SUSTech Arts Center

  • "Have a doctoral degree in arts (in one of the following area: music, dramatic art, fine arts, dancing art, new media art, media, intangible cultural heritage and modern and contemporary art)"

United States Air Force Academy (posted 6/24) Assistant Professor of Fine Arts (starts June '21)

  • "Applicants must hold a terminal degree in one of two categories:  1) Musicology (music appreciation/history); or 2) Creative/Applied Arts with expertise in interactive media, and/or integrated media, with a strong background in digital technology."
  • Also posted at Musicology/Ethnomusicology 2020-21

University of California, Santa Cruz (deadline 12/14) Assistant Professor of Electronic/Electroacoustic Music Composition

University of Edinburgh (deadline 8/2) Lecturer in Sound for Media (starts January 2021)

University of New Haven (deadline 12/15) Adjunct Instructor of Studio Recording (starts January 2021)

University of Oxford (deadline 9/25) Postdoctoral Researcher (starts March 2021)

  • "The Faculty of Music proposes to appoint three postdoctoral researchers for 36 months from March 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter to work on the ERC Consolidator Grant Sonorous Cities: Towards a Sonic Urbanism (SONCITIES). ... Postdoc 1 will be a sound artist with experience of creating sound work for public spaces and exhibitions, and collaborating with communities in sound/sound art contexts."

Commercial Music

Brigham Young University (deadline 10/1) Full-time continuing faculty in Commercial Music

Buena Vista University (deadline 10/19) Assistant Professor of Music Production

Purdue University Fort Wayne (posted 10/14) Clincal Assistant Professor of Popular Music

South Carolina State University (posted 8/19) Assistant Professor of Music Industry

  • The candidate will teach courses in Music Industry to include, but not limited to, the following: digital media, music technology, recording production, contemporary song writing, musical arts administration & funding, and commercial music practices.

University of North Alabama (posted 10/9) Assistant Professor, Entertainment Industry

York College of Pennsylvania (deadline 11/1) Adjunct Professor of Music Production

York College of Pennselvania (deadline 11/1) Adjunct Professor of Music Production, Graduate Program

School-Specific Discussion

General Discussion

  • I do not plan to actively post jobs again this year (though I often can't help myself if I see something that should be up and isn't), but I will be keeping an eye on the page in case discussion gets out of hand like it did last year. You can contact me via email at 5120janon at gmail.com if needed. -5120j (musicology page moderator)
  • August and not a single TT job yet announced...is this normal? Should we start to worry?
  • Unfortunately, no one knows how bad the market is going to be this year and when (/if) frozen lines will start to reemerge. "Should we start to worry?" Worrying is only productive inasmuch as it motivates us to take action, for instance, do a great job on that revise-and-resubmit before the semester starts etc. That famous saying about what you can or can't control.... I hope that everyone stays positive during these difficult times and that the crisis makes us nicer to each other on this online forum. At any rate, August 2 is still on the early side----just as an example, IU's opening last cycle was on "smt-announce digest" on Sep. 4, Princeton's opening was announced to "smt-announce" digest on Aug. 15th. Both of these had early-side deadlines as far as I remember. Good luck to everyone! 
  • What schools have had retirements recently? Yale has, but anywhere else?
  • (8/4) While tracking retirements might be a good indicator of jobs to come, I am skeptical universities will replace these positions with TT lines. From my perspective there are a few reasons.
    • For a start, many universities (with the possible exception of schools with large endowments) have taken a serious financial hit last semester, having to refund millions of dollars to students for dorms, meal plans, etc. Many university systems are predicting 100–200 million in lost revenue just from that to say nothing of low enrollments in the fall if classes remain virtual. Because of that uncertainty, I expect the hiring freeze will continue at least through Fall 2020 and quite probably into Spring 2021.
    • Second, universities won't know what they need until its too late. Many of us got a crash course in how difficult and time-consuming online teaching was, and administrations won't be able to act fast enough to ease that burden by hiring new faculty--and even if they did, it certainly wouldn't be anything more than an adjunct or lecturer position to lighten the load for their existing faculty.
    • Third--and I don't intend to come off as ageist by any means--retirements might ramp up this year if things remain virtual. I can't imagine all faculty jumping at the chance to teach online again, even if it is the safest option from a public health perspective. And if schools stubbornly open despite warnings from public health officials, at-risk individuals regardless of age may be forced to leave their positions (which is deplorable but a real possibility). Whether or not these choices are met by emergency sabbaticals or sudden retirements/resignations is anyone's guess. In either scenario, those classes will be filled by contingent labor (or quite possibly by graduate students who are already at these institutions). And still, I doubt openings such as these would be filled before 2022.
    • In my opinion--no doubt a pessimistic one--the job market this year will be a complete wash. We've already seen numbers drop significantly over the past decade, and our current situation will only exacerbate that. My guess is that things start to return to normal in Fall 2021 for jobs that start in Fall 2022. Now, I truly hope I am wrong and some schools do begin opening up opportunities sooner than my predicted timeline, but I can't comment on the odds of that happening. There simply are too many variables (many, many more than what I've mentioned above). Still, I hope everyone can remain optimistic about the field and their chances. I do however echo the comments from previous posts: keep working and allow things to fall into place as best you can. Good luck to everyone. Stay safe and keep washing those hands!
    • (8/6) I also expect the prospects to be bleak, likely much worse than what happened following the 2008 crash. Personally, I expect that many departments will drastically cut their faculty lines or otherwise remake their programs to be very different than what they are today. Part of this is due to finances in the post-covid world, assuming there is one, and part of it is the attacks on classical music that we've seen lately from a growing number of voices (i.e., classical music is "white" and therefore "racist" and therefore faculty must be purged). Especially for those who compose music and theorists who adhere to traditional analytical methods, the coming period looks to be very dark, indeed.
      • (8/7) The attitude of privilege that one must bring to bear to lament the radical inclusion of non-traditional musics and non-traditional theories into the world of North American music theory—that attitude is the source of the field's problems. No one is arguing that studying Western Classical music is inherently racist. They are arguing that studying and teaching Western Classical music at the exclusion of any other music is an institutionalized form of oppression. So some music theory departments (hardly all) are becoming wise to the trend in the field of music theory towards a plurality of musics, voices, and theories. Does that mean that a smaller percentage of people will study Haydn? Perhaps. Does that mean that you cannot study Haydn? No. Does that mean that you should be prepared to explain how you position your work in an ever-diversifying field of music theory—an explanation that, for decades, a white Western supremacist mindset has seen fit to ignore—to explain how it is original, significant, and worthy of investment? Yes. Moreover, rather than casting about for excuses as to why the job market might be particularly challenging to those who "adhere to traditional analytical methods," perhaps offer advice and guidance on how one might present oneself as a collegial member of a community of scholars, instead of as a spiteful reactionary, a victim of the "purge of faculty" that is quite simply non-existent, a dog whistle and little more.
      • It begins.......
        • like clockwork!
      • (8/7b) This is hilarious. I am picturing a composer writing their cover letter / artist statement right now. "Hello! I am a composer of music that adheres to traditional analytical methods. I hope in my work to craft listening experiences which reflect the rich cultural hegemonies of the glorious common-practice period of supreme western musical history, with the goal of offering my listeners a safe refuse to escape from the cacophonous very dark period. I combine my rigorous training in the foundations of tonality, with special innovative modern techniques, such as 013 sets, and drawing big pretty lines that clearly show how I develop large-scale harmonies. Also, I am very not a racist."
        • RefuGe? or Freudian slip?
        • Refugue
      • 8/8: I really appreciate the fact that I can go to a music theory conference (online or in person, whatever it means right now) and hear a report on a computational study of hip-hop or of a critical study of common-practice music, along with many other approaches to many other musics. It strikes me as a much stronger discipline now than when it was founded. As someone else said above, those who "adhere to traditional analytical methods" can present themselves in a cover letter as collegial and open-minded contributors to an academic department. Trying something out here as an example--acknowledging that others might be able to give far better professionalization ideas than me: "My dissertation deals with Haydn's usage of Type 4.3.7 sonata form, more specifically with how Urlinie's scale-degree 4 goes down to scale-degree 3. I have presented this research at [X,Y,Z] and have an article forthcoming about the dissertation topic in [journal X]. etc. etc." Teaching paragraph contains: "While in graduate school, I taught ______ and I am currently visiting faculty at ______, where I am working with majority first-generation college students.... I have included [diverse musics / analytical approaches / innovative teaching methods / blogging / Spotify playlist shares / public music theory activities / program note writing / etc. etc.] in my teaching..... I have asked my students to share what they were listening to and have included examples from their listening in my teaching, so that I can connect theoretical concepts to my students' musical interests and make music theory more experiential." I am sure that there are many, many other ways to frame this and there are many recent pedagogy resources that would be useful. Despite the urge to just counter-attack, (which is extremely understandable in light of the shocking recent events in the discipline, as well as with the nonsensical cycles of this heaven/cosmos-forsaken wiki itself), I think that we can try to make this a space for useful professionalization ideas--again, others' ideas would be more useful than mine, I just gave it a very quick try in the spirit of brainstorming.
  • (8/23) I bet we don't see any job announcements before 9/15...
  • (9/16) Here's a bit of anecdotal context that might provide comfort (if cold comfort) to job-seekers. I'm at a flagship state institution in the Midwest, and we had several retirements announced last year immediately prior to the COVID shotdown. This year, we're running searches to fill those slots (none in theory/comp, FYI), but because of budget uncertainty there's a statewide hiring freeze. So, any replacement searches need to be specifically approved by the Chancellor's office before a search committee can even be assembled. This means that there likely be 1-2 jobs announced by our institution in short order, but we can't advertise them yet because they've got an extra several layers of administrative hurdles to clear before the searches happen. Given that budget uncertainty is everywhere, I imagine this is more common than you might think: there are jobs waiting to be announced but delayed in their budgetary approval due to the chaos around COVID. 
  • (9/17) Much of what was predicted a month or more ago is coming to fruition. Few jobs overall and almost zero jobs for composers. What's left of the field has been filtered into theory positions and all manner of technology, industry, "sonic arts" (whatever that is), and the like.  The idea of composers relying on academia for a career is fast becoming or has already become a thing of the past. In any case, don't wait for academia to come to you. 
  • (9/17a) The fact that you put "sonic arts" in air quotes is a telling sign that you see the academy as a life-support mechanism for a form of composition that is no longer relevant. Composers don't need the academy for a career -- one's career is to be a composer. An academic position in composition provides security, resources and social prestige as a benefit incidental to the musical profession. Academia never "came to anyone", talk about entitlement! I suggest listening to Malcolm Gladwell's recent podcast on nihilist hiring policy as a way to rethink the current job market. 
  • 9/17c. Some composers of so-called art music are conversant and competent in genres of the music industry, sonic arts, and many diverse fields of creativity and knowledge. The point has been made earlier that one wants to represent oneself as an open-minded potential future colleague, not as an entitled curmudgeon--if you pretend to be open-minded rather than dismissing out of hand fields that you don't care that much about (and perhaps don't know that much about), that might potentially even help your job search and perhaps future collegiality. What "flagship state-school midwestern prof." (9/16) implies, I think, is not that things are great right now for any job seekers in the two disciplines represented here (theory and composition), but that there's a possibility that jobs will pop up later than usual during this cycle (if those chancellors and administrators sign off on those searches, which under previous circumstances would have required fewer approvals). A possibility is just that, a possibility. My hope is that at least the 1-year hiring will be increased, and that things will become better later on (institutions will subsequently be able to convert those lines to tenure-track lines). Of course, this is my hope, not a forecast / prediction / assessment of the situation, the academy and the economy over the next few years, which I'm not in a position to assess. Good luck to everyone--keep up positivity and do whatever you need to do to be happy, find gainful employment in academia or beyond. Just remember: any minute spent on this part of the WIki is a minute not spent applying for a job / composing / theorizing / enjoying life.
  • (9/28) When searches ask for "evidence of teaching effectiveness," what does that mean, specifically? A video? A PDF sampling of your best student evaluations over the years? Personal testimonials? (That last one was partially meant in jest, but who knows?) And, assuming that this is a document, how should it be prepared?
    • I think that teaching evaluations from a recent course/semester (if one has them) are great, but also things like syllabi that you have designed yourself, assignments that you have designed, anonymized student work with your feedback on it---anything that can give the committee a sense of what students in your class experience. Teaching videos are tricky and obnoxious to create (they were certainly one of the worst parts of my past experiences as a past job applicant)--I'd focus on quality vs. quantity (like a 15-minute interaction that went well during a class session), unless one is requested to submit a teaching video with a whole class on it. I don't know about personal testimonials (from prior students? prior 1-on-1 composition students?) Not sure. Think about the committee evaluating this and about the fact that they are probably not going to spend 5 hours evaluating your teaching, at least not at the initial stages of a search. I wonder what other readers of this wiki think about this. 
    • (9/28b) Good advice here: theprofessorisin.com/2011/09/23/1610/ 
  • (9/29) Some numbers for you theorists out there, jobs announced on the SMT listserv, beginning the following Fall:
    • 2015 July–Sept
      11 tt jobs    1 non-tt job
    • 2016 July–Sept
      11 tt 4 ntt          
    • 2017 July–Sept
      5 tt
    • 2018 July–Sept
      11 tt 4 ntt           
    • 2019 July–Sept
      7 tt 5 ntt    
    • 2020 July–Sept
      1 tt 0 ntt

Wiki Counter

  • Check all that apply

I will keep this wiki a positive place for discussion and not post negativity: 12

I will respect the anonymity of the wiki and create a safe atmosphere by not trying to find out who posted what: 12

I am a theorist: 12

I am a composer: 12

I am a little of both theorist and composer: 8

I am a music technologist: 1

I am a little of both composer and music technologist: 1

I am a musicologist with strong theoretical leanings: 1

I am currently in a TT position: 2

I am currently in a renewable-track non-TT position: 4

I am currently in a VAP/Postdoctal position: 1

I am currently in a Lecturer/adjunct position: 8

I am a recent (3 years or less) PhD and on the market: 10

I am a recent (3 years or less) DMA and on the market: 4

I am a no-longer-recent PhD and on the market: 1

I am a no-longer-recent DMA and on the market: 1

I was denied tenure and am back on the market:

I am a tenured or tenure-track professor whose position has been cut: 1

I am an adjunct professor whose position has been cut:

I am a senior tenured scholar looking for a better position:

I am working outside of the academy: 3

I am ABD and on the market: 4

I am ABD and not yet on the market:

I am not on the market but am an interested observer: 6

I am a member of a search committee:

I am so deeply discouraged professionally: 2

I am unsure of whether to keep trying or cut my losses and find a new career: 3

I am leaving academe if nothing comes through for me this year: 1

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