World Music

Supported by an internationally renowned faculty and robust list of guest lecturers, the School of Music offers world music courses and ensembles for everyone, from the elective music student to the graduate music major.

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While world music can be found woven throughout the repertoire of various ensembles at the School of Music, the following opportunities focus specifically on performing and understanding world music traditions. These ensembles are open to any member of the University community: West African Music Ensemble, Steel Pan Ensemble, or World Music Ensemble. Learn more about joining a World Music Ensemble.

Academic Courses

  • MUS 1804-001 World Music
    • This class is open to all students and includes lectures, in-class music-making, guest artists, videos, listening. Students musical practice and meaning around the world and in our backyard, as well as world music styles and perspectives in a cultural context.
    • This course satisfies the Arts/Humanities and Global Perspective Requirement.
  • MUS 3029 American Music Cultures
    • Explore folk, country, gospel, blues, polka, klezmer, powwow, mariachi, and salsa to understand the ways in which ethnic identities coalesce and find expression in sound. Music cultures of nationally prominent European-, African-, Asian-, and Latin-American ethnic groups, and local communities in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
    • This course satisfies the Arts/Humanities and Diversity and Social Justice in the U.S for CLA undergraduate students.
  • MUS 1801W Music, Society, and Cultures 
    • Study rural, urban, tribal musics throughout the world with interdisciplinary methods of humanities/social sciences, and worldwide distribution of musical creativity with audio/video documentation. This course is open to students who are actively pursuing an undergraduate degree program at the School of Music.
    • The course satisfies the Arts/Humanities, Global Perspectives, and Writing Intensive requirements for CLA undergraduate students.
  • Topics and Seminars
    • Each term, the music faculty offer a variety of special offerings on specific topics for students in advanced stages of their music and research studies.


Students can incorporate world music in many of the music degree programs offered at the School of Music. However, the following degree programs students the opportunity to make world music a focus of their study:

Guest Artists

The School of Music is honored to welcome guest artists, who provide invaluable insight into global music traditions and cultures through their artistry and expertise. Past guests have included:

Beyond the School of Music

Music is a popular topic on campus!  We encourage you to look to our colleagues in CLA departments who regularly offer courses that address music as a topic of study: American Studies; Anthropology; Communication Studies; Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature; Geography; and Theatre Arts and Dance.