Students at the university and in the School of Music have a wealth of course options available to them.

Music courses for all U of M students

Popular Courses in Music

The School of Music offers many popular courses on a variety of musical topics.

  • Rock I: The Historical Origins and Development of Rock Music to 1970 (MUS 1013)
  • Rock II: Rock Music from 1970 to the Present (MUS 1014)
  • Music and Movies: The Use and Representation of Music and Musicians in Film in a Global Context (Mus 1015)
  • Introduction to Music (Mus 1021/3021)
  • World Music (Mus 1804)
  • American Music Cultures (Mus 3029)


Regardless of your intended major, schedule, or ability level, the School of Music has an ensemble for you, from large group ensembles to West African Music ensemble and marching band. Learn more about joining an ensemble.

  • Choirs, Bands, and Orchestras (auditioned and non-auditioned)
  • World Music Ensembles (including African Drumming, Steel Pan Ensemble)
  • Jazz Combos & Big Bands

Group Music Lessons

The School of Music offers courses in the format of group lessons on the following instruments:

  • Class Piano I (Mus 1051)
  • Class Piano II (Mus 1052)
  • Class Guitar I (Mus 1471)
  • Class Guitar II (Mus 1472)
  • Class Voice (Mus 1260)

Elective Lessons

One-on-one lessons, typically with graduate student instructors. Space is limited and placement is not guaranteed. A course fee (in addition to the normal per-credit tuition) is assessed for the lessons. Elective lessons are normally 2 credits. For more information, please email this address.

  • Voice (MusA 1104)
  • Piano (MusA 1101)
  • Guitar (MusA 1123)
  • Other Instruments as Available

Honors Seminars

The School of Music offers seminars specifically for Honors students on a variety of musical topics.  Past topics have included: All About Music and Exploring Play in the Twin Cities. Learn more about Honors Seminars.

Freshman Seminars

The School of Music offers seminars specifically for freshman on a variety of musical topics.  Past topics have included: The Color of Music; Guitar Heroes; Music in Nazi Germany; and Violence Against Women in Opera. Learn more about Freshman Seminars.

Music Therapy/Music Education  

All students, including music majors, who want to learn more about these professions are encouraged to register for Intro to Music Education (MuEd 1201) and Intro to Music Therapy (MuEd 1801). Please email for permission to register for these courses.

Courses for music majors and minors

Students must be formally admitted to a music major or minor in order to pursue the following courses, which make up the core of the undergraduate music degree programs. Learn about the application and audition process to pursue a music major or minor.

Applied Lessons  

Applied Lesson registration includes a weekly private lesson with an instructor and a weekly studio class. Some divisions also required weekly attendance at recital hour.


Ensemble study is a core component of majoring and minoring in music.  Learn more about playing in ensembles.

  • Major Ensembles - Choir, Band, Orchestra
  • Chamber Ensembles - Assigned by instrument
  • Elective Ensembles - Jazz Big Band & Combos, World Music, Contemporary Music Ensemble

Music Theory & Ear Training  

The core Music Theory and Ear-Training sequence consists of four semesters of theory and ear-training courses, three semesters of Tonal Theory and Ear-Training (Mus 1501,1511, 1502, 1512, 3501, 3511), and one semester of Post-Tonal Theory and Ear-Training (Mus 4504 and 4514).  Once students have taken the prerequisite theory courses, there are a variety of theory offerings available, such as 16th- and 18th-Century Counterpoint, Jazz Theory and Arranging, Schenkerian Analysis, and other individual topics.    

Music History 

The core Music History sequence is four semesters long.  The first semester is Music, Society, and Culture (Mus 1801W), a course in which students study how music works in a variety of contexts around the world. The remaining three semesters (Mus 3601W, 3602W, and 3603W), historically centered on Western art-music, are continually expanding to increase the diversity of offerings within and beyond that tradition. "The Music of Black Americans" fulfills the Mus 3601W requirement in Spring, 2023. 

Class Piano 

Every music degree has a 2-semester class piano requirement for instrumentalists and vocalists (Mus 1151 and 1152) or a 1-semester advanced keyboard skills requirement for keyboard majors (Mus 1155). These courses teach students essential keyboard skills like scales, arpeggios, harmonization of a melody, improvisation, sight-reading, and score reduction. They also prepare students for the keyboard skills necessary for success in the Ear-Training and Sight-Singing sequence.

Program-specific coursework 

Some degree programs require coursework that is specific to that program.  Please follow the links for the programs below to see their specialized coursework.