Pursue your passion and elevate your repertoire by studying music within a broader liberal arts education

The Bachelor of Arts in Music degree fosters musicianship, creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking. A major in music prepares students for a wide variety of career choices, both in music-centered professions and beyond. Students customize their academic path by selecting from courses in performance, theory, ensembles, composition, history, ethnomusicology, and electronic and computer music. Many of our music majors find the flexibility to double major in another academic area, due to the ability to tailor the music curriculum to their individual interests. Graduates from our program possess the knowledge, practical skills, and wisdom needed to investigate, advocate for, and create music and to analyze how music intersects with critical issues in both historical and contemporary contexts.



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Date: Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Time: 6:00-7:00 p.m. ET
Location: Online

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Date: Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Time: 7:00-8:00 p.m. ET
Location: Online


An overview of the program, featuring music made by GW students! "Early Light” by Carolyn Bremer (courtesy of Carl Fischer, LLC, and performed by GW Wind Ensemble), “Birch Tree” by and courtesy of Nica Albertson, and “Dreamscape” by and courtesy of Tommy Zamroz.


Born to Run

Born to Run—for President

How did Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen travel a thunder road to the political promised land? Luther Rice Fellow Maureen Rafter studied the ties that bind the president and the Boss.



Our Bachelor of Arts in Music degree lays a strong foundation for advanced music study in graduate school and entry into a variety of music-related professions. We offer a variety of courses in music theory, history, composition, ethnomusicology and electronic and computer music so students leave the program with fundamental knowledge to engage with music meaningfully. Students can also take individual performance lessons and participate in ensembles.

Upon completion of the program, our students:

  • Demonstrate lucidity, craft, informed expression and a commitment to independent inquiry in musical creation and research.
  • Apply appropriate vocal or instrumental skills in independent learning of pre-existent or new compositions; and stylistic, analytical or interpretive discussion.
  • Write and speak fluently and cogently on a wide range of musical topics in formal and impromptu settings.
  • Employ a wide range of digital technologies in support of their work as musical inventors and scholars.
  • Describe their own musical activities as positive contributions to a socially, aesthetically, and intellectually pluralist community both in the Music program and in the larger world.

Music Major Courses



Our minor is designed for students in another major field who want to add to their experience and knowledge of music. Through introductory courses in music theory, music history and performance, the minor develops students’ scholarship through coursework that provides a historical context as well as experience in music performance. To declare a minor, please contact the program about the application process: [email protected].

Music Minor Courses


Performance Study

Performance study is an important part of our curriculum and we offer courses in voice, keyboard and all jazz and orchestral instruments. Music majors, minors and Corcoran Scholars are eligible for private lessons. Eligibility and placement for students new to private performance study are determined at an appointment with a faculty advisor.

All other performance study courses include individual lessons and require a supplementary fee. New majors and minors interested in private study should contact Professor Baker ([email protected]) to begin the registration process.

There are three levels of performance study available to undergraduates:

  • 1000 level: All students will take at least one semester and no more than three semesters of performance study on one instrument at this level.

  • 2000 level: Private instruction that shows advancement beyond the 1000-level of study. Students are also required to participate in a Program of Music select ensemble.

  • 4085 level: For the most advanced students, public performance is required.



Our students often create music seven days a week individually and through ensembles, performing in venues on and off campus, around D.C. and beyond Washington. Thanks to ensembles, students get to know each other and enjoy encouraging and productive relationships with faculty members.

Ensemble study and performance is an essential part of our curriculum. Our majors and minors are encouraged to join ensembles to develop performance experience and expand their repertoire.

  • Chamber Ensembles
  • Jazz Ensembles
  • University Band
  • University Orchestra
  • University Singers and Chamber Choir

Opportunities for Non-Majors

GW students with a background in music are welcome and encouraged to audition to participate in our chamber, jazz, orchestra, band and choral ensembles. Membership in these ensembles is composed of the varied and talented GW community and is not limited to those registered as a music major or minor.

Find an Ensemble


Where You'll Go




Our music graduates have pursued advanced education in performance, composition, conducting, jazz, musicology and arts administration. GW musicians have built successful careers as freelance performers, teachers, scholar-professors, managers and development specialists in the arts. Music majors are also working in medicine, dentistry, law and information technology.

Use Career Services


Student Work



Sheng Gao


In 2021, Music B.A. students like Sheng Gao displayed their hard work through their music at Corcoran’s year-end show, NEXT. Sheng’s senior piano recital covers major keyboard works from the Western classical music world. The varied program includes compositions by Bach, Mozart, Liszt, Chopin and Prokofiev.

Nicole singing


Nicole Kremin was born with microphone in hand. She always had a passion for music, and began taking vocal lessons at age 10, building up a repertoire across genres. Her senior thesis recital for NEXT 2019Renovations: Investigating the Boundaries of Repertoire Ownership, was a solo vocal performance primarily focused on Jazz and R&B.


Music Events in the Salon DorE

Corcoran's 18th century period room, the Salon Doré, hosts music events throughout the year. Shown here are two events from the fall of 2023: Instruments in the 21st Century: Expanding Sounds with artists Natalie Chami, Alma Laprida and Prof. Heather Stebbins for a workshop and performance dedicated to exploring sound through various instruments, methods and technologies. The Salon also hosted Open Jam, the GW Hip Hip Ensemble's space to hear, collaborate, and perform with people from all fields - artists and photographers to emcees and performers.



All GW students are invited to take dance, music and theatre classes and audition for music ensembles, plays and performances.

Check out dates and more information about auditions.

Upcoming Auditions






Campus Address

Phillips Hall
801 22nd St., NW
Room B144
Washington, D.C. 20052
[email protected]
Phone: 202-994-0225



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