About Music

We are a department of scholars, composers, and performers, and offer a strong and exciting program to undergraduate liberal arts students. We teach music through its interrelated sub-disciplines (music history, ethnomusicology, music theory, composition, and performance) within the context of William & Mary's broader liberal arts curriculum.

Music Faculty and Staff.  Photo by Meredith Howard

Our curriculum is grounded in classical music, world musics, and a full complement of American music (jazz, music and film, popular music, musical theatre, art music). The department collectively values the contributions of all musical cultures and styles, and in any given semester offers courses that reflect this diversity.

The Music Department's distinguished faculty members exemplify the diversity of our program. Our academic faculty includes three composer/theorists, two ethnomusicologists, three music historians, and four conductors; many of our faculty members enjoy national and international reputations in their fields. They bring fresh insight to the classroom, based on their own research, composition, or performance activities. Our applied faculty of some thirty-five musicians teach everything from bassoon to xylophone in both the classical and jazz idioms. They include some of the best jazz musicians around and some of the finest classical musicians in the Tidewater area, many of whom perform as principle in their instrument with either the Virginia Symphony or Richmond Symphony.

Our department attracts a variety of students. While a host of our majors and minors join our program with the intention of seeking employment in a music-related field after graduation, many of our students study music as a life-enriching activity while pursuing their other interests by double-majoring in another program. The Music Department also welcomes upwards of 1,000 non-majors to the building each semester through private lessons, ensemble rehearsals, and Music academic coursework. 

Students in our department are very involved. Our department is home to four large ensembles (including the Symphony Orchestra, the Wind Ensemble, the Concert Choir, and the Women's Chorus), several medium-sized ensembles (including the Jazz Ensemble, Botetourt Chamber Singers, Appalachian Music Ensemble, Middle Eastern Music Ensemble, Early Music Ensemble, Gallery Players, and Performance Art Ensemble), and eight to ten other small ensembles, which feature various combinations of string, percussion, and wind instruments. Auditions for the our departmental ensembles are typically held at the beginning of each school year. Students do not have to be music majors to audition for departmental ensembles. 

Music student groups also thrive on campus. William & Mary's three music fraternities and sororities regularly work with our faculty to support the Music Department, and these group hold weekly meetings in Ewell Hall, our music building. The College's various a cappella groups often rehearse and take lessons in our department, while the student-run Sinfonicron Light Opera Company, which gives students an opportunity to involve themselves in directing, producing, designing, and performing their own show, puts on a major performance at the beginning of each calendar year. 

NotesThe Department of Music offers many opportunities for supplemental funding and scholarships to its students. Each semester, several Applied Music scholarships are awarded by audition to students who are active in our department in order to supplement the cost of private lessons. The department also regularly distributes at least 14 unique music scholarships to sophomore, junior, and senior music students each spring. 

Students who graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Music from William & Mary enjoy a host of different professions. Many of our former students have gone on to complete advanced degrees (M.A., Ph.D., D.M.A.) in performance, music therapy, conducting, ethnomusicology, musicology, and arts teaching. Others have started careers as teachers, freelance musicians, managers for arts organizations, audio producers, and conductors, veterinarians, lawyers, and policy-makers in Washington, D.C.

While auditions are not required for admittance to the Music program, we encourage prospective students to include an Arts Submission along with their Common Application to the College. Please note that CDs, videos, and DVDs will no longer be accepted by the College as supplementary materials to the Common Application.

We hope our website provides answers to any questions you may have about our department.  If you have additional questions or would like to make an appointment to visit us, please contact Receptionist/Scheduling Coordinator Olivia Sorensen at [[ocsorensen]] or by phone at (757) 221-2157.