Values and Educational priorities

At the Mead Witter School of Music

  • we teach by example offering participatory, mentor-driven education;
  • we provide individualized instruction and flexible curricula that encourage students to find their own musical pathways;
  • we foster musical excellence and high academic standards;
  • our faculty exhibit the best of their respective fields, are deeply engaged in artistic scholarship and research, and are committed to teaching at all levels;
  • we whole-heartedly embrace the Wisconsin Idea;
  • our department is a dynamic educational community, part of a large and vibrant research university within a city that values and supports the arts.

The Mead Witter School of Music enriches students' educational experience by hosting guest artists and scholars for master classes, recitals, colloquia, seminars, and festivals. Its performing organizations and ensembles perform more than 350 recitals and concerts every year, making a significant contribution to the cultural life of the university and the wider Madison community. Facilities specifically designed for music study and performance offer excellent resources for students to pursue their interests. 

In addition to a thriving undergraduate student body, music students have the advantage of working side-by-side with master's-level and doctoral-level music students. Working collegially in class and studio, making music together on stage and off, and building professional relationships across program boundaries all enable the sharing of expertise, experience, and perspectives and add immeasurably to every student's development.

The music degree programs are demanding and require care in taking courses in the proper sequence. Graduation could be delayed if a course is not taken in the appropriate semester. Refer to the Requirements tab for details on the coursework and sequences of study in specific majors.

Mead Witter School of Music views its goals and objectives as complementary to those of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, which include "to provide an environment in which faculty and students can discover, examine critically, preserve and transmit the knowledge, wisdom and values that will help ensure the survival of the present and future generations with improvement in the quality of life." 

The University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Music is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), and has been an institutional member of NASM since 1966.

People and Facilities

The greatest asset of Mead Witter School of Music is its people—staff, faculty, and students—who are daily immersed in learning, building, researching, writing, and making music. Mentoring is the core of our teaching, manifest in one-on-one applied instruction as well as in small-group coaching and classes. Undergraduate students will build professional relationships with many faculty, form friendships with peers across the boundaries of degree programs, and collaborate with staff in addressing the practical matters of academic study. Extensive information on faculty, including biographies, is available here.

The Mosse Humanities Building, built in 1969, houses most of the music classrooms, rehearsal rooms, faculty studios, and 111 practice rooms. Most recitals and concerts take place in one of three performance spaces: Mills Concert Hall, Morphy Recital Hall, and Eastman Organ Recital Hall. The school's extensive collection of instruments, both common and unusual, is available to both faculty and students. Music Hall with its clock tower, built in 1879, is a campus landmark. Renovated in 1985, it is the home of the opera program. The new Hamel Music Center includes a concert hall, a recital hall, and a large ensemble rehearsal space.

Memorial Library is the home of the Mills Music Library, which offers extensive research and circulating collections, attractive study space, and personal staff assistance with research. Music materials on campus number over half a million, ranging from scores and sheet music to archival collections and historic audio recordings. Through Mills Music Library and other UW–Madison libraries, students have access to a wide range of online research databases as well as millions of articles, books, and streaming media. All genres of music are represented, with notably strong collections in Americana and ethnic music. Nationally known special collections include the Tams–Witmark Collection, a treasury of early American musical theater materials, and the Wisconsin Music Archives.

Choosing A Music Major

Mead Witter School of Music offers several degree programs at the undergraduate level. The bachelor of arts and bachelor of science curricula are liberal arts majors in the College of Letters & Science and are excellent programs for students interested in exploring the wide array of course offerings in the college or in two or more major areas of study. The bachelor of music curriculum is a professional degree in music, with 75 percent of total coursework within the Mead Witter School of Music. Students in this program are looking for depth in performance study along with a large complement of other musical studies at advanced level. Both programs may provide a foundation for graduate study and sometimes for a career in music. We encourage conversations with Mead Witter School of Music professors at any point during your first two years as a music major to learn as much as possible about options that are available to you.

Grades and Advising

Mead Witter School of Music is a department of the UW–Madison College of Letters & Science. Information on the grading system and academic procedures is available in the College of Letters & Science section and the opening section of this Guide.

The undergraduate advisor of the School of Music serves as the advisor for every music major. The advisor maintains records and assists students in determining an appropriate course schedule each semester.

Music Courses for Non–music Majors

A variety of courses in music theory, music history and literature, as well as orchestra, chorus, band, and some ensembles, are open to students from other departments, schools, and colleges. Students should review the specific regulations of their degree program to determine whether music courses can fulfill breadth requirements. The Course Guide indicates music courses that are open to nonmusic majors.

Music performance courses are generally filled by music majors. Fundamentals courses (007–036) are for instrumental music education majors only. Class Piano (101–104) is for music majors only. Basic courses require the ability to read music and to pass a prepared audition; in addition, Basic Guitar requires previous experience with classical guitar. Students outside the School of Music may audition to be on a waiting list for group or individual voice study with a teaching assistant (MUS PERF 143 Introduction to Performance: Voice or MUS PERF 144 Vocal Instruction for Non-Voice Majors). Contact the course instructor for more information about course requirements and admission criteria. The School of Music offers private music lessons (not for university credit and with separate costs) for non-music majors through the Community Music Lessons program.

Regulation of music courses available for degree credit varies among the divisions of the university. Students should consult their major department for specific advice.

Courses open to non-music majors that satisfy the university's humanities breadth requirements:

MUSIC 101 The Musical Experience3
MUSIC/​FOLKLORE  103 Introduction to Music Cultures of the World3
MUSIC 104 Study Abroad: Elementary Music Appreciation/Theory/History1-3
MUSIC 105 Storytelling on Stage: Introduction to Musical Theater and Opera3
MUSIC 106 The Symphony3
MUSIC 113 Music in Performance1
MUSIC 151 Basic Concepts of Music Theory3
MUSIC 204 Study Abroad: Intermediate Music Theory or History1-3
MUSIC 205 The Big Bands2
MUSIC 206 The Legendary Performers2
MUSIC 305 Popular Music in the USA: 1920-19502
MUSIC 319 Topics in Music and Ethnicity in the United States3
MUSIC/​FOLKLORE  402 Musical Cultures of the World3
MUSIC 461 Collegium Musicum1


Persons who are interested in courses offered by the School of Music but who are not working toward a UW–Madison degree should contact the Division of Continuing Studies, 21 North Park Street, Madison, WI 53715; 608-263-6960. Enrollment is limited in music courses, and priority is given to UW–Madison undergraduate degree candidates.


Mead Witter School of Music offers four principal degree options for the music major. Each requires a performance audition for admission. Continuation to upper-level study in these programs is contingent upon faculty approval and upon specific GPA minimums in several categories. Refer to the Requirements tab in each program description for details.

Bachelor of Music: Performance, with concentration in Brass, Composition, Guitar, Harp, Jazz Studies, Organ, Percussion, Piano, Strings, Voice, or Woodwinds.

Bachelor of Music: Music Education, with certification in General and Instrumental Music (Early Childhood through Adolescence), or General and Vocal Music (Early Childhood through Adolescence).

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science, with a music major: options in performance, history, theory, or an individualized music curriculum. The individualized music curriculum can be designed with an emphasis in composition or jazz studies. The history and theory options are under review and may be changed. During this time, the School of Music is not admitting new students to these options.

Faculty: Professors Cook (director), Calderón, Chisholm, Di Sanza, Dominguez, Fischer, Fulmer, Hetzler, Johnson, Karp, Perry, Rowe, Schwendinger, Taylor, Teeple, Thimmig, Vallon, Wallmann; Associate Professors Butler, Farah, Grabois, Nelson, Ronis; Assistant Professors Chana, Cornish, Flowers, Laurenz, Lee, Lewis, Rathgeber, Sans, Walsh, Weinstein-Reimann; Marching Band Director Pompey; Teaching Faculty Brailey, Curry, Gladstone, Gonzalez, Koester, Pompey, Purdue, Rottmayer, Weinholts, Wohn; Faculty Associate Rich; Lecturers Lee, McCullough, Mok, Patenaude, Tran, Waldo; Teaching Specialists Hammes, Ross

The faculty of the Mead Witter School of Music is a distinguished group of educators, performing musicians, and active scholars. The backgrounds of performance faculty include rich experiences as professional musicians, researchers, recording artists, and entrepreneurs. Faculty in music education have particular insight into their field as a result of their backgrounds as school educators, performers, and scholars. In areas such as music theory and musicology, the musical community has high regard for the past and current contributions to the study of musical theory, historical perspectives on music, the role of music in societies around the world, and the unique contributions of American musicians. Teaching is a priority for the faculty, who are readily accessible to students for advice and support. Faculty, staff, and students cooperate in extraordinary ways with joint ventures that reach across disciplines both in research or instruction. 

Office of Student Financial Aid

Prospective music students should contact the Office of Student Financial Aid (333 East Campus Mall #9701, Madison, WI 53715-1382; 608-262-3060) to obtain information about grants and loans when returning the application for admission.

School of Music Scholarships

Some funds are available for scholarships awarded by the School of Music to outstanding applicants. It is always advisable to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit it to the Office of Student Financial Aid. Application materials will serve as support for music scholarship consideration.

Scholarship applicants must audition in person and must take the Theory Placement Examination on the audition day in order to be considered for an award. After the audition and review of materials, the associate director will notify each applicant about the scholarship decision. Accompanying each award notification will be a Letter of Commitment, to be signed and returned to the School of Music. Criteria used for awarding scholarships are:

  1. Quality of the performance audition
  2. High school and/or college academic record
  3. Letters of recommendation

Most Mead Witter School of Music scholarships are awarded for a four-year period. The music faculty reviews every scholarship award each semester and expects that each student on scholarship will maintain satisfactory progress toward completing the music major and degree requirements, continue to make significant contributions in performing organizations or accompanying, and maintain a minimum 3.000 grade point average. Please see the Mead Witter School of Music website for more information regarding music scholarships.