Music; student choir singing into microphones



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


When you study music in the center of Washington, D.C., and develop your artistry, performance and scholarship with world-renowned faculty, practicing performers and esteemed composers, you are prepared to succeed after graduation. Whether majoring or minoring, Corcoran students work closely with celebrated musicians and have performance opportunities in the city, ranging from solo shows to ensembles. Our students gain a breadth of instruction in a curriculum that specializes in both theory and practice.


Our faculty of scholars and creative artists includes members of the National Symphony and Kennedy Center orchestras. Students perform with vocal and instrumental jazz groups, orchestra, choruses, bands, opera productions, chamber music groups and musical theater.





Male playing trombone

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:

  • Show and use practical skills in vocal or instrumental sight reading; 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.
  • Demonstrate intelligibility, craft, informed expression and a commitment to independent inquiry in creating or performing music.
  • Knowledgeably situate their own musical activities within a culturally, aesthetically and intellectually pluralistic community in the program and the larger musical 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

Male playing drums


female student singing into microphone

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




student performing at piano

Musician Ben Thornewill, BA ‘07, launched his 13-song album, "First Improvisations", which he describes as  “part film score, part whimsy, part Frederic Chopin and part Erik Satie.” His creative process included playing whatever music popped into his head, letting his fingers meander into unexplored territory when he’d come up with a new melody or texture.

More About Ben's Work



Andrew Hesbacher, BA ‘20, plays the trumpet in the music program. The holistic understanding he has gained through the Corcoran’s curriculum has benefitted him as a student, musician and person.



Katelyn Hensel-Etim
Phillips Hall
801 22nd St., NW
Room B144
Washington, D.C. 20052

Phone: 202-994-6245
Fax: 202-994-9038
[email protected]


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