Why Music?

Quartet performing

Study music in a small and welcoming school, where you will build strong and lasting friendships with other passionate musicians and work closely with dedicated faculty who are invested in your education and success. In our hands-on classes and lessons, you will have access to the highest quality of professional training in music that will prepare you for a broad variety of careers, including performance, education, therapy, and more, all of which draw from our rich variety of specialty areas.

"The best part of my experience at the U of M so far has been the people. The faculty and staff members have gone out of their way to make all of the new students in the School of Music feel welcomed and prepared for the semester." —Alyssa, graduate student

Join our vibrant community of musicians on campus and in the Twin Cities as you come to understand, share, and disseminate music through creation, performance, research, and education. As you dive deeper into your education, you will learn the finest technique and come to better understand your own musicality as an artist and student. Our ensembles foster an open and inclusive sense of community among students, while our lessons allow for close work with our faculty.

Here in the School of Music, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the many advantages of a premier research University while also benefiting from the welcoming and friendly atmosphere created by our small cohort of faculty, students, and staff, gaining a truly world-class education.

Our Mission

The mission of the School of Music is to understand, share, and disseminate music through creation, performance, research, and education. We are committed to excellence in all scholarly, creative, and pedagogical endeavors. We seek to provide the highest quality of professional training in music to students pursuing a broad variety of careers and offer artistic, cultural, and intellectual enrichment to the community within and beyond the University of Minnesota.


When the University of Minnesota Regents authorized music study and hired the first music professor in June 1902, they set in motion a history of achievement that has enriched the university, the state, and the country in remarkable ways. The department’s creation signaled that, with musical culture exploding in the Twin Cities at the turn of the century, Minnesota needed to create its own cadre of teachers and performers.

More than a century of musical achievement has produced golden memories for tens of thousands of musicians and music-lovers. They remember the University Orchestra presenting a new composition by Dominick Argento; Vern Sutton singing Gilbert and Sullivan; Paul Oberg or Lydia Artymiw playing Bach or Bartók; Reginald Buckner performing his own jazz compositions; the Choral Union singing Beethoven’s Ninth with the Minnesota Orchestra; the Brass Choir performing at the St. Paul Cathedral. And they remember the Minnesota Marching Band, established in 1892 and still strutting its way into the hearts of Minnesotans.

Today, more than 380 talented undergraduate and graduate students are led by a faculty of 45 artists-scholars-teachers, many with national and international reputations. Thanks to strong partnerships with the Twin Cities music community, another 35 professionals from organizations like the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, enrich the learning environment as affiliate and adjunct faculty.

The School of Music marked its centennial during the 2002–03 academic year with an unprecedented investment in new faculty, facilities, equipment, and curricular and program innovations. A rich collection of collaborations within the university and between the major music and music education organizations in the metropolitan region provide an exciting environment for excellence in performance, teaching, and research.