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. Specific degree requirements can be found in the CWU Academic Catalog:

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. Specific degree requirements can be found in the CWU Academic Catalog.

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 two different specializations leading to K-12 Certification: MUS Education Instrumental Emphasis and MUS Education Choral Emphasis. The Choral Emphasis is for students wishing to pursue teaching positions with a choral focus. The Instrumental Emphasis is for students wishing to focus their teaching in a band related area. We also now offer a Chorale Music Education Certification to add onto the MUS Ed Instrumental degree and an Instrumental Music Education Certificate to add to the Choral degree. 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

Requiring approximately 200 credits, these are among the most credit-heavy degree programs 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), ensemble participation and academic courses in various areas.

For specific degree requirements, please see the CWU Academic Catalog:

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. Specific degree requirements can be for in the CWU Academic Catalog.

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. Specific certificate requirements can be for in the CWU Academic Catalog.

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