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Areas of Study


The KU Bands are a diversified group of performing ensembles. The Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, and University Band provide an opportunity to perform the widest possible range of concert wind and band literature from the traditional to the experimental. Nationally recognized and award-winning directors continually provide new challenges for all levels of performers. The band program is also home to the Sudler Award-winning Marching Jayhawks and the bands for both the men's and women's basketball teams.

For more information, visit Band.

Brass & Percussion

The Brass & Percussion Area is part of the School of Music, and is home to a nationally and internationally known faculty who are master teachers, performers, and recording artists. The Brass & Percussion Area is known for its rich and diverse ensemble opportunities including chamber music. These include the KU Brass Ensemble, the KU Percussion Ensemble, the KU Trumpet Ensemble, the KU Trombone Choir, the KU Horn Ensemble, the KU Tuba-Euphonium Consort, and a host of smaller chamber ensembles, all having presented prestigious performances on regional, national, and international conferences and symposia. 

For more information, visit Brass & Percussion.


KU Choirs is an excellent opportunity to expand your musicianship, work on your singing, and meet new friends. All choirs are open to KU students, no matter the major. The choral ensemble experience at the University of Kansas is diversified and comprehensive - ranging from traditional to experimental, classical to jazz, and the intimate to the grandiose. Each of our seven choirs has its own identity, and they all combine for special events such as the annual Holiday Vespers, and other major concerts with the KU Symphony Orchestra. We hope you will consider being a part of the choral experience here at KU!  

For more information, visit Choral.


The KU Jazz Studies program offers performance opportunities for both the instrumentalist and the singer. Three large jazz ensembles, eight combos, and two vocal jazz groups form the core of these opportunities. Down Beat award-winning Jazz Ensemble I, Jazz Singers, and Fusion Combo set the standard for jazz performance in Kansas and throughout the country.

For more information, visit Jazz

Music Education & Music Therapy

Music education and music therapy at KU are recognized as among the finest programs in the world.

We offer degrees and programs in music education including the bachelor's, the master's, and the doctoral. Our degrees and programs in music therapy include bachelor's, graduate equivalency, master's, and doctoral.

National Association of Schools of Music and North Central Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges accredit our programs. The music education programs are also accredited by the Kansas State Department of Education and the music therapy programs are accredited through the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA).

Fore more information, visit Music Education & Music Therapy.

Music Theory & Music Composition

The Division of Music Theory and Composition within KU's School of Music features internationally and nationally accomplished composers and scholars, and offers degrees in music theory and music composition at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels.

For more information, visit Music Therapy & Music Composition.


The Division of Musicology offers the BM degree in music history, the BA degree with a concentration in music history, the MM in musicology, and the PhD in music (musicology).

The faculty members in the Division cultivate a wide number of research interests. Paul Laird has published books on the Spanish villancico, Leonard Bernstein, the Broadway musical, and the revival of the baroque cello. He also directs the Instrumental Collegium Musicum. Roberta Freund Schwartz's research specialties include the Spanish Renaissance, patronage, blues and rock. Colin Roust's interests include French music of the twentieth century, especially Georges Auric, film music, and music history pedagogy. Martin Nedbal's research specialty is opera in Vienna in the late Classic Era, especially those by Mozart. Ketty Wong, an ethnomusicologist, focuses on Latin American popular music and ballroom dancing in China.

For more information, visit Musicology.


The Kansas University Symphony Orchestra (KUSO) studies and performs standard orchestral repertoire and 20th century masterworks and combines with the choral ensembles for the annual productions of the Holiday Vespers. It also performs as part of the KU Opera productions. A distinguished and internationally renowned faculty create a rich and varied program for this organization.

For more information, visit Orchestra.

Organ & Church Music

The history of organ and church music study at the University of Kansas is long and distinguished. From modest beginnings in 1867, it has grown into one of the largest programs in the country. With degree programs at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels, exceptional facilities and instruments, and distinguished faculty, the University of Kansas offers an extraordinary educational opportunity for anyone wishing to study and pursue careers in organ performance, teaching, or church music. 

For more information, visit Organ & Church Music.


The history of the KU Piano Division is also a musical history of the state of Kansas itself. The first KU Dean of Fine Arts, William MacDonald, was a pianist who established the Department of Music in 1884 as well as founder and first president of the Kansas Music Teachers Association. In 1923 Donald Swarthout, a pianist and conductor, was appointed Dean of Fine Arts until 1950 and served as President of the Music Teachers National Association and Director of the KU Concert & Chamber Series, which became the foundation of the arts programming for the Lied Center. The appointment of the renowned composer and pianist Carl A. Preyer in 1903 marked the beginning of a distinguished roster of musicians who have served as faculty members of the KU Division of Piano.

For more information, visit Piano.


The String Division is comprised of nationally and internationally recognized artists. Students study with faculty who are in demand as featured soloists with orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout the United States and the world, and who are equally active as university faculty and master class teachers.

For more information, visit Strings.

Voice & Opera

The University of Kansas Opera program is led by a dynamic faculty who maintain active careers as singers, coaches, and directors. Productions range in scope from chamber-sized to full-scale opera with styles covering traditional to experimental, comedy to tragedy; and the varied performance venues include the Baustian Theatre and Swarthout Recital Hall. KU Opera and the KUSO join the University Theatre to create full-scale operas in the Crafton-Preyer Theatre. The distinctive opera productions offer a fresh style, a variety of directorial approaches, and exceptional quality.

For more information, visit Voice & Opera.


The Division of Woodwinds in the School of Music is comprised of five full-time faculty, all of whom are artist-level performers and teachers of their instruments. Enrollment in private lessons with members of the woodwind faculty is open to all university students regardless of their major. Woodwind graduates have distinguished themselves within the music profession by achieving positions of leadership in colleges, universities, chamber ensembles, bands and orchestras throughout the country.

For more information, visit the Woodwinds.

School of Music Calendar
Music students present hundreds of public concerts every year
Students perform in KU choirs, concert bands, pep bands, ensembles, symphony orchestra, and jazz combos
The school owns one of the greatest jazz record collections in the world
KU Wind Ensemble performed the world premiere of the symphony "In the Shadow of No Towers" at Carnegie Hall
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.