Trumpet Degree Statistics in U.S. Music Institutions

Today, I was able to look at the latest Higher Education Arts Data Services (HEADS) Music Data Summaries 2011-2012. This survey is conducted for all of the National Association of  Schools of Music (NASM). There are about 636 public and private institutions who report statistical information to NASM.

When I posted my article, “Why Do We Grant So Many Trumpet Degrees?” on August 10, I made quite a few guesses about the numbers of trumpet students there were and how many degrees were conferred each year. Now that I have some concrete statistics on higher education trumpet study, I’d like to share that with you.

Screen Shot 2013-08-30 at 12.13.28 AMNot all 636 NASM schools offer trumpet degrees. 18 offer Associate’s degrees; 269 offer Bachelor’s degrees; 131 offer Master’s degrees; and 47 offer Doctoral degrees. I was not able to find out the total number of institutions that offer some trumpet degree, but with a little common sense, I was able to make a good guess. Because most master’s degree programs offer bachelor’s degrees, and because most doctoral programs offer both the master’s and bachelor’s degrees, I assume that there are about 270 trumpet degree-granting institutions in the U. S–that reported statistics for the HEADS. The following chart shows the break down of trumpet majors in these institutions:

Trumpet Major Enrollment, All NASM Institutions
Degree level Number of Institutions with majors Summer enrollment Fall semester Degrees conferred
Associate 18 7 38 7
Bachelor’s 269 87 1066 213
Master’s 131 27 296 125
Doctorate 47 24 149 24
Totals about 270 145 1549 369

You might want to know the statistics of total music major enrollment at all 636 music institutions: summer enrollment was 16,676, fall semester enrollment was 116,351 and the total music degrees conferred were 22,721.


In addition, demographics of doctoral trumpet students were presented in the study:

  1. In 19 institutions that granted doctoral degrees (and reported to HEADS on demographics) this last year, there were 27 trumpet degrees given (this is slightly more than reported above because some institutions may not report all pertinent data). Of these 27 graduates, 1 (3.7%) was a black male, 1 (3.7%) was a Hispanic male, 23 (85%) were white, non-hispanic males, 1 (3.7%) was a white female and 1 (3.7%) was an Asian male.
  2. In 43 institutions reported on enrolling a total of 136 doctoral trumpet students (again this is slightly different that reported above because some institutions may not report all data), 4 (2.9%) were black males, 1 (0.7%) was a Pacific islander female, 5 (3.7%) were Hispanic males, 83 (61%) were white males, 17 (12.5%) were white females, 4 (2.9%) were Asian males, 2 (1.5%) were Asian females, 17 (12.5%) were “other/race unknown” males and 3 (2.2%) were “other/race unknown”females.

There were no American Indian or Alaskan Native trumpeters in doctoral programs. The following chart compares these demographics with U.S. demographics on race as a whole:

Enrolled Trumpet Doctoral Student Demographics Compared to U.S. General Population
Race/Ethnicity U.S. Population Percentage Doctoral Trumpet Enrollees Percentage
White/European American 72.4% 73.5%
Black/African American 12.6% 2.9%
Asian American 4.8% 14%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0.9% 0.0%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0.2% 0.7%
Hispanic 16.4% 3.7%
Some other race (or unknown in trumpet demographic study) 8.0% 2.2%


3 responses to “Trumpet Degree Statistics in U.S. Music Institutions”

  1. sean harvey Avatar
    sean harvey

    great stuff! thanks for sharing. are you making the argument that this is too many trumpet degrees? if so i’m not entirely sure i agree but would love to hear your case.

  2. Stanley Avatar

    Sean, thanks for reading. There are two thoughts on college education: the first is that it is a pathway to greater knowledge and mastery; the second is that it is a precursor to better employment. Reading a Gallup pole blog, I quote: “No matter who you ask — whether it’s a representative sample of Americans, incoming college freshmen, or parents of 5th-12th graders — they say the most important reason for a degree beyond high school is to get a good job.” I think the economics of getting a degree (between $40K and $200K depending on what institution you choose) involve a financial risk, unless you somehow can independently afford your degree without concern for future employment. So, yes, getting a job is, at the very least, in the back of students’, parents’ and teachers’ minds.
    Of course, no one knows who will be successful in their chosen college career path, nor who will try a different path after college. Most will arrive at their place of success if not immediately, then after some wait, or after a long and winding road. All of that is good.
    I want to reveal some of the discrepancies between music degrees and the job market as a “consumer” disclaimer so that everyone can make the best decisions. If nothing else, a trumpet student who more accurately understands the numbers, can get really motivated!!

  3. Stanley Avatar

    By the way, I feel that I didn’t adequately address the gender discrepancy that was in some of the demographics. Women represent just 16.9% of the doctoral trumpet enrollees in the U.S.

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