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Department of Music
Phone: (509) 963-1216
Fax: (509) 963-1239
music@cwu.edu

General Information

CWU Music majors don’t just attend college; they invest in a community of excellence with a great passion for music and the impact it has in making a difference in our society. With great discipline and full hearts, our students pour themselves into their years here and leave with a plethora of musical knowledge, skills, and experience to share with the world. 

As a CWU music student, you will be immersed in a unique learning environment. A diverse community, knowledgeable, dedicated professors, and an incredible experience in any of our CWU Ensembles awaits you. The first steps on your road to becoming a music major at CWU can be found on our Music Program Auditions & Admissions page. Transfer students should also be sure to visit our Transfer Student Information for Music Majors page for important information specific to transfer students.

We look forward to the possibility of you joining our music family to embark on a path in music.

Undergraduate Programs

Bachelor of Music - Performance

The Bachelor of Music with a concentration in Performance requires coursework that includes Pedagogy, Literature, Ensembles, and completion of both a Junior and Senior Recital. Students pursuing a performance concentration may choose to study from a wide variety of specializations that include voice, piano, and all orchestral and band instruments. This degree is ideal for musicians pursuing a professional performance career.

Bachelor of Music - Composition

The Bachelor of Music Composition degree requires a high level of musicianship, demonstrated through performance on primary instrument as well as a basic understanding of music theory. Application of basic compositional techniques, knowledge of significant composers and their compositional techniques as well as creative potential are also important for students wishing to study music composition. As many incoming freshman have not been exposed to these concepts, acceptance into the BM in composition at CWU cannot occur until the end of the first year of study.

Music Education Program

The Music Education Program at CWU has a long history of being one of the largest and the most active in the region, and often graduates more certified teachers than any other single institution in the state. There are three different specializations leading to K-12 Certification: Vocal/Choral Music and General Music. The Vocal/Choral Specialization is for students wishing to pursue teaching positions with a choral focus. The Instrumental Specialization is for students wishing to focus their teaching in a band related area and finally the Broad Area Specialization combines the previous two for those who would like to teach both. In addition to having the courses required for accreditation, music education majors are offered many opportunities to prepare for their future profession. Some include:

  • Attendance at a yearly Music Education Conference. Think networking, inspiration, and performance opportunities!
  • Membership in our award winning collegiate chapter of NAfME. Upon arrival at CWU, you will quickly see the importance of NAfME in our department.
  • Teaching opportunities in local and regional schools

For more information please see the Online Electronic Catalog. The Online Electronic Catalog (OEC) is the university's official compilation for all curriculum. The OEC serves as the basis for major, specialization, certificate, and program requirements for the academic year.

With totals of 200 to 220 credits, these are among the most credit-heavy degrees in the university. While it is possible to graduate in four years, most Music Education majors plan on a five-year career as an undergraduate. In this way they can take more than the minimum required courses and experience the many opportunities for added musical study, growth and performance provided by the department, such as continued applied music (private lessons), the ensembles listed above and academic courses in various areas. 

Bachelor of Arts in Music

This degree is ideal for those students wishing to major in music, but do not necessarily want to teach music in the classroom or pursue a performance career. Past graduates of Central Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music have gone on to teach in private schools, run their own private studios, work in Arts Management, and succeed in many other professions, both in and out of the arts.

Jazz Studies Certificate

Our award winning, nationally recognized Jazz Program offers a jazz studies certificate, providing a secondary focus to our existing music degrees with emphasis in jazz performance, improvisation, composition and arranging, and history/pedagogy.

Students in this certificate program are either instrumentalists (drum set, bass, vibes, piano, guitar, saxophone, trombone, and trumpet) or vocalists and participate in both large and small jazz ensembles.

Graduate Programs

Master of Music Education

The CWU Master of Music Education degree allows teachers in the profession to obtain a Masters Degree without having to take time off from their careers to do so. The program consists of three summer comprehensive sessions on the CWU campus. These summer intensives last approximately 3 weeks and cover a wide range of practical course work that gives our students the tools to become master teachers. 

The master of music education curriculum is designed to provide opportunity for depth of study in an area of specialization, to increase professional competence in teaching and performance, and to prepare for continued, self-directed study or advanced graduate study. For further information visit our Summer Master of Music Education page.

Master of Music Education for Band Directors

CWU is proud to partner with the American Band College, a unique masters program designed just for school band directors.  For more information, visit our American Band College program page..

Master of Music Program

The Master of Music Program is designed to provide opportunity for in-depth study in an area of specialization, to increase professional competence in teaching and performance, and to prepare for continued self-directed study or advanced graduate study.

The following degree programs are available: 

  • Composition
  • Conducting
  • Performance
  • Pedagogy
  • Music Education

For further details visit our Graduate Studies in Music page.

Post-Baccalaurate Degree

The post-baccalaureate degree program is designed to serve students who already have an undergraduate degree in music, but wish to become trained and certified in music teaching.

Prospective students must apply to the University and audition for the music education faculty (see audition dates for information and dates). The degree programs above can serve as a guide for the post-baccalaureate student but decisions about what previous credits will transfer are made on an individual basis at the time of admission.