• Degree Type Bachelor of ArtsBachelor of Science
  • Department Music
  • Academic Division The College
  • Offerings Major Minor

Students performing on stage Students performing on stage

Through small classes and one-on-one interaction with outstanding faculty, music majors develop the ability to perform, create, contextualize and analyze music, and have opportunities to pursue their musical interests.


The Music Department offers two majors and a minor: The B.A. in music allows you to focus on general music, performance, or composition. It is also an excellent choice if you would like to double major in music and another field. If you want a degree with a higher content of music courses, you can choose the B.S. in music. Students interested in becoming music teachers may add the Education Minor to the B.S. in music in order to gain K-12 teacher certification. The music minor consists of 23 credits of coursework, and is easily added to most majors on campus.

Our Conducting Mentorship Program gives aspiring conductors plenty of podium time in front of our major ensembles. Our facilities are located in Wilson Hall and include modern, spacious practice rooms with excellent pianos. Most music performances take place in Wilson Concert Hall, a state-of-the art auditorium that is acoustically tunable for different types of concerts. Our faculty members are active scholars and performers who regularly appear on stages and in conferences around the country.

  • Applied Lessons are available in orchestral strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion, guitar, voice, piano, organ and harp.
  • Student music ensembles include University Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, University Singers, Men’s Glee Club, Cantatrici (women’s chorus) and Bluegrass Ensemble. We also offer chamber ensemble opportunities such as string quartets and piano trios.
  • The Concert Guild Series brings world-class classical music performers, and the SonoKlect Series brings equally great new music performers to campus each year.
  • Touring opportunities are available throughout the U.S. and abroad with the Jazz Ensemble, the Wind Ensemble and the University Singers.
  • The University Singers was one of four choirs from across America chosen to perform in the Gotham Sings! Choral Festival at Carnegie Hall in April 2017. The choir presented a 40-minute concert in Isaac Stern Auditorium.
  • The department offers a prison concert series in partnership with Augusta Correctional Center — the only series of its kind in Virginia. Every fall and winter term, W&L music students present a concert at the prison.
  • W&L hosted the Southeastern Composers League Forum in March 2017, bringing 29 composers to campus for two days of world premieres of their compositions.
  • K-12 music education licensure is offered in partnership with the W&L Education Program and Southern Virginia University through the Rockbridge Teacher Education Consortium. W&L is the only top-20 liberal arts college in America that offers a K-12 music education degree.
  • Summer research grants allow students to work under the supervision of music faculty on such projects as music arrangement and composition or music education.
  • The winner of the annual Concerto-Aria Competition performs as a soloist with the University Orchestra or Wind Ensemble.
  • Students may participate in music performances during the bi-annual Science, Society and the Arts (SSA) Conference.
  • Funding is available to students for music internships as well as participation in professional conferences. Music internships are available at such places as Pandora, PARMA Recordings, Charlottesville Opera, and the Roanoke Symphony.

What can you do with a degree in music? Career paths in music include performance, teaching, church music and music marketing. Students with music majors are also successful in the fields of business and medicine. Employers include arts organizations, public and private schools, universities, businesses and hospitals.

W&L music alumni have gone on to graduate study in a variety of different disciplines at institutions including Florida State University, Baylor University, Westminster Choir College, the University of Georgia, Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Notable Alumni include:

  • Kevin Struthers ’89 — Director of jazz programs, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, D.C.)
  • Anne Marie Patterson ’93 — Teacher, middle school and high school strings, and director, Charles County Youth Orchestra and Encore Strings (Charles County, Maryland)
  • Matt LaMotte ’00 — Vice president, marketing at Interscope Geffen A&M Records (Los Angeles, California)
  • Erin Dougherty ’04 — Operational enablement & excellence lead at Pandora, Inc. (New York, New York)
  • Morgan Luttig ’14 — Ph.D. in Music Education - Choral Conducting; Director of Choral Activities at The University of Alabama
For Applicants

All prospective students who are interested in pursuing their musical interests at W&L should upload audio or video recordings of their solo performances through the applicant portal. This is especially important for those students who are planning to declare a major in music.

Gregory Parker

Department Head

Erin Phillips

Administrative Assistant


"Statistics in Korean Music" Spring Term Abroad course explores Seoul, South Korea

Spring Term’s Got Seoul

Students in the Spring Term Abroad course Statistics in Korean Music explore mathematics in the traditional and contemporary music of Korea.

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University Singers graduating in 2024, l-r: Top Row: William Pittman Joe Condie Josh Lewis Mynor Lopez Stuart Robinson Sarah-Gabrielle Lynch (originally ’22) Kate Lardner Annie Thomas 2nd Row: Garrett Price Adele Roulston Jordan Jontz Elizabeth Gonzalez Avalos Lana Hess William Dantini 1st Row: Catherine McKean Elizabeth Kent (originally another year) Jowita Chotkiewicz (originally ’23) Sydney Brun-Ozuna (’24 Law) Colleen Curto Deuce Smoot

A Choir That Cares

This year's graduating class of Washington and Lee's University Singers reflects on their college experience.

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W&L’s Department of Music Presents ‘Nymphs and Shepherds’

The May 7 recital will feature W&L faculty, students and alumni in a showcase of Claudio Monteverdi’s compositions.

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A Violinist’s Anthem

Duncan Hart ’24 lends his musical talents to Washington and Lee University athletics by playing the national anthem on the violin before home events.

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Jordan Peimer Selected as Next Lenfest Center Director

The former executive director of ArtPower at the University of California, San Diego will begin his new role in July.

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W&L Presents Senior Recital with Sarah Gabrielle Lynch ’24

Lynch’s soprano recital will be held on April 6 at 8 p.m.

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W&L Student Performs at Havana Jazz Festival

A meeting with a Broadway legend allowed engineering major Zaria Daniels ’26 to take her vocal talents to Cuba.

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W&L Presents Senior Recital with Gabriella Kogan ’24

Kogan’s piano recital will be held on March 24 at 3 p.m.

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W&L Presents Senior Recital with Annie Thomas ’24

Thomas’s piano recital will be held on March 29 at 8 p.m.

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W&L Music Professor Elected President of the College Orchestra Directors Association

Chris Dobbins officially assumed the position at the organization’s 2024 conference last month.

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This Year’s Bentley Production is Opera ‘Dido and Aeneas’

The iconic myth comes to life March 21-22 in Wilson Concert Hall.

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W&L Presents Senior Recital with Duncan Hart ’24

Hart’s violin recital will be held on March 17 at 3 p.m.

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Sample Courses

At W&L, we believe education and experience go hand-in-hand. You’ll be encouraged to dive in, explore and discover connections that will broaden your perspective.

MUS 121

Worlds of Music

This course introduces students to musical cultures outside of the Western European tradition. Through readings, lectures, listening sessions, and research, students explore the musical traditions of Native American, African, African-American, Central and Southeastern European, Indian, Indonesian, Asian, Latin American, and Arab cultures. Whenever possible. attendance at a live concert of non-Western European music is included.

MUS 111

Opera Workshop

This course focuses on the preparation of scenes from operas or of complete operas. Students audition for and are cast in roles in the production of the opera or the scenes. Rehearsals are scheduled subject to the availability of the cast and instructor. While some cast members may rehearse during weekdays, most should expect evening and weekend rehearsals.

MUS 221

History of Jazz

A study of the development of jazz from its roots in turn-of-the-century New Orleans to contemporary styles. Strong emphasis is placed on listening and recognition of the performers and composers discussed.

MUS 325-327

Conducting and Methods I & II

Conducting and Methods I is designed to provide essential skills for basic conducting, including work on gesture, rehearsal techniques, and logistical considerations. MUS 326 continues with a focus on more advanced gesture and rehearsal techniques and choral literature and approaches from a broad spectrum of historical and cultural era and a variety of ensemble types. MUS 327 is focused on more advanced musical gesture and rehearsal techniques. Band and orchestral literature are studied, and the emphasis is on providing students with a broad spectrum of approaches from a variety of historical and cultural eras.

MUS 195

Pro Tools Fundamentals

An introduction to fundamental Pro Tools concepts and principles, covering everything for a basic project from initial setup to final mixdown. Students learn to build sessions that include multi-track recordings of live audio, MIDI sequences, and virtual instruments. Hands-on exercises and projects introduce essential techniques for creating sessions, recording, and importing audio and MIDI, editing session media, navigating sessions and arranging media on tracks, and using basic processing and mixing techniques to finalize a production. Included with the course material is a download of media files and Pro Tools sessions to accompany the exercises and projects in the text.

Meet the Faculty

At W&L, students enjoy small classes and close relationships with professors who educate and nurture.

Gregory Parker
Gregory Parker

Gregory Parker

Department Head, Professor of Music

Parker teaches courses on applied voice, world music and vocal pedagogy. He has appeared as a baritone soloist in recitals, operas and oratorios.

Chris Dobbins
Chris Dobbins

Chris Dobbins

Associate Professor of Music, Director of Instrumental Programs

Dobbins leads the University Wind Ensemble and the University Orchestra. He also teaches courses in conducting; general music methods; secondary instrumental music methods; and the music, folklore and literature of Ireland.

Shane Lynch
Shane Lynch

Shane Lynch

Professor of Music, Director of Choral Activities

Lynch, a noted conductor and composer, is W&L’s director of choral activities. He conducts the award-winning University Singers, Cantatrici and the Glee Club, and oversees W&L’s unique conductor mentorship/teacher preparation program.

Terry Vosbein
Terry Vosbein

Terry Vosbein

Professor of Music

Vosbein directs the University Jazz Ensemble and teaches Jazz History, Theory, and Composition. He a leading authority on jazz band leader Stan Kenton.

Chris Dobbins
Shane Lynch
Terry Vosbein
Gregory Parker