About the Department
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.
Why Study Music at W&L?
- 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 Choral Music Education candidate at Florida State University.
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.