The School of Music is recognized for its emphasis on solo and ensemble performance. Students study primary and secondary instruments with a faculty of gifted artists and teachers. At Illinois Wesleyan University, this relationship blends emerging and established talents in a unique environment. From their first-year through their senior year, students are able to participate in a wide range of performing experiences seldom available in schools of comparable size.
If you would like to know how the required courses vary between majors, look at our Music Course Catalog
Majors in Music
The Bachelor of Music Education prepares students for careers through intensive coursework combined with field experiences in front of K-12 music students. Students learn how to incorporate both traditional and contemporary teaching techniques in order to adapt to the rapidly evolving landscape of 21st century education. Students are also encouraged to become involved with the IWU collegiate chapter of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and to attend professional development conferences.
The Bachelor of Music in Composition places strong emphasis on private composition study as well as on other areas of critical importance to composers: applied instrumental and vocal instruction, music history, theory, conducting, and music technology/computer music. This program is aimed at developing young composers’ aesthetic sensitivities, practical skills and inner ears in ways that will make it possible for them to create music of significance and meaning.
Bachelor of Music in Performance
The Bachelor of Music in Performance is designed for students committed to the achievement of excellence in the field of performance. Students pursue this program in one of the following performance areas: percussion, piano, strings, voice, or winds. This degree program also includes extensive studies in music literature, pedagogical techniques, and theory.
The Bachelor of Music in Contemporary Musicianship integrates the rigors of a traditional performance degree with training in recording technology, improvisation, composition, music technology, jazz, world music, and business entrepreneurship to forge a successful foundation for a career as a 21st century musician.
The Bachelor of Music in String Performance and Pedagogy develops performance skills, explores technical and musical resources, and formulates teaching strategies. Students develop their own effective teaching styles and gain hands-on experience working with students of pre-college level in the IWU String Preparatory Program.
The Bachelor of Arts in Music is for students who wish to complete a general study of music within a liberal arts curriculum. Coursework and experiences are designed to provide opportunities for students to develop basic musicianship skills, performance skills, and to engage in a broad study of musical repertoire. This is the program recommended for students who wish to double major.
Minors and Concentrations in Music
The Minor in Arts Management is designed to help prepare students to manage performing and visual arts organizations such as orchestras, theatres, galleries, museums, and arts councils. Because it is intended to complement major study in one of the fine arts disciplines, this program is available only to students majoring in art, music, or theatre arts.
The Minor in Music is designed for qualified students who have a background in music and who wish to complete a secondary concentration in this area to complement their studies in the liberal arts
The Minor in Jazz Studies is designed for music majors and non-music majors who wish to acquire a substantial understanding of jazz music, particularly in the areas of arranging, harmony, history, improvisation, performance, and theory.
The Concentration in Composition is for music majors who have a strong interest in composition but who are not pursuing the Bachelor of Music in Composition. Completion of the Concentration will be noted on the student’s transcript.
Additional Academic Options
Many students also elect to pursue two degree programs. Depending on the combination of degrees, this requires a minimum of five years of study. When pursuing two degree programs, the names of the degrees are different; e.g., B.A. in music and the B.S. in biology.
Because of the distinctive combination of the liberal arts and a professional school of music, many students pursue two majors. There are numerous combinations that can be completed in four years, particularly if the music degree is the B.A. degree; e.g., music and business, music and psychology, or music and computer science, to name a few.