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School of Music

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The KU School of Music

The University of Kansas is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music. The entrance and graduation requirements in this catalog conform to the published guidelines of that organization.

The school acquaints students with music as an important field of a liberal culture, either as members of a discriminating public or as trained practitioners. It prepares students for careers in music and promotes scholarship and research. It offers curricula for teachers of music in public schools and institutions of higher education and special degree curricula for training music therapists.

The school makes a substantial contribution to the cultural life of the campus, community, and state by providing a center for the best in music performance.


The University Symphony Orchestra performs works from the standard symphonic repertoire on campus and occasionally on tours. It combines with choral ensembles to present oratorios or other large works and assists in musical theatre productions and opera. In addition, the orchestra reads new orchestral works submitted by KU composers for the George Lawner Prize, an annual adjudicated competition co-sponsored by Music Theory and Composition and the KU Symphony Orchestra.

The Wind Ensemble presents 4 or more concerts annually and tours nationally and internationally. The Symphonic and University Bands perform 2 concerts each semester. The KU Jazz program includes 3 jazz ensembles, 2 jazz choirs, and several ensembles.

The Marching Jayhawks are part of the pageantry at football games. The Basketball Bands (Men’s and Women’s) and pep bands also perform for sports events.

KU Opera’s productions have included The Mikado, The Marriage of Figaro, Albert Herring, Candide, Falstaff, Strawberry Fields, The Magic Flute, Face on the Barroom Floor, The Tales of Hoffman, La Traviata, and Gianni Schicchi.

The Chamber Choir, Concert Choir, and Men’s Glee Club are select groups of singers who perform concerts on campus, tour, and participate in combined choral and orchestral presentations. Students are eligible through audition for University Singers and Women’s Chorale.

The Collegium Musicum specializes in early music, both vocal and instrumental, using KU’s collection of replicas of early instruments. Helianthus is the performing arm of KU’s New Music Ensemble. Each semester it performs the finest available contemporary chamber music.

Recitals of music by KU student composers are presented each semester by the KU Composers Guild, a student organization. The Kansas Brass Quintet and Kansas Woodwinds are faculty groups that present numerous concerts.

Applied Music Lessons

All majors and nonmajors (as space permits) who wish to take lessons must first pass an audition. All music majors enroll in 121-level applied music courses until they have accumulated 4 credit hours (6 or 8 hours for performance majors) at which time they may enroll in the 221 level. Music majors who are not performance majors must accumulate 8 applied music hours before enrolling in the 321 level and 12 applied music hours before enrolling in the 421 level (or 442 level for the B.M.E.). Performance majors must accumulate 12 or 16 credit hours at the 121 and 221 levels before they enroll in 622 level.

All music majors take applied music in the primary performance area for a minimum of one hour-long lesson a week at 2 to 5 credit hours a semester; others receive a half-hour lesson a week at 1 credit hour. See degrees listedon the Programs page for specific credit-hour and recital requirements. The summer session limit on all music major lessons is 1 to 3 credit hours.

Students may state their preferences as to teachers for private lessons, but final authority rests with the director of the division.

Courses for Nonmajors

Students in other KU schools may enroll in music courses for credit, subject to the availability of instructional time, with the permission of the chair of the department in which the course is offered.

Students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences not majoring in music may elect an appropriate introductory course (MUSC 298, MUSC 301, MUSC 302, MUSC 309, MUSC 336, MUSC 394, MUS 140, or MUS 340). Minors in music are offered for students in other disciplines. Most degree programs accept up to 6 hours of electives in music ensembles and performance.

Junior/senior credit in applied music involves a prerequisite of 4 hours of university credit in sequence in the field concerned.

University Honors Program

The school encourages qualified students to participate in the University Honors Program.

The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University’s programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access,, 1246 W. Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS, 66045, (785)864-6414, 711 TTY.