We believe that music changes the world. As part of a liberal arts education, music and its study provide essential perspectives on culture and our identity as human beings. Sewanee music majors develop the creativity, musicianship, and critical thinking skills to understand and practice music in context. Both in and out of the classroom, our graduates collaborate with faculty and each other to train for a lifetime of meaningful musical engagement.

Why study Music at Sewanee?

If you study music at Sewanee, your talent will be cultivated in a variety of settings, increasing your professionalism, talent, and likelihood of success in postgraduate pursuits. A wide variety of music styles are represented here on the Mountain. Through composition, performance, theory, and music culture, you’ll be exposed to a wide range of tracks and be able to choose the paths that best suit your talents. We offer composition and theory, music history, and performance. 

Sewanee has a long tradition of outstanding music making, from the nationally renowned University Choir and orchestras to faculty-led ensembles. You’ll get to experience choral music, jazz, classical, folk, and much more. Let the Sewanee music program connect you with other disciplines across campus. It's the embodiment of a liberal arts experience.

First Destinations: Music Majors

Sewanee graduates secure positions in a variety of fields. Some you would expect, others are a bit of a surprise. Sewanee prepares you for your profession and your passion. Below is a sampling of recent graduates' first jobs.

  • ·      Solo and ensemble performing career
  • ·      Consulting job; music director at a church
  • ·      Grant writer (currently writing for a health organization but looking to move into arts admin)
  • ·      Seminarian and eventual ministry
  • ·      K-12 teacher
  • ·      Insurance and marketing
  • ·      Health sciences graduate student and Teaching Assistant
  • ·      Watson Fellowship involving music and culture at a variety of global locations
  • ·      Completed graduate school in arts management, now highly placed with the SSMF
  • ·      Multiple things since graduating, but performing as a chorister is always an essential part of that
  • ·      Plays in a Spotify-verified band
  • ·      Church organist in Nashville
  • ·      A rising lawyer in SC
  • ·      Fund-raising position at Carnegie Mellon U.
  • ·      Mezzo-soprano vocal performer

Students with exceptional promise in performing or studio arts can apply for a Fellowship in the Arts. These fellowships range in value and are renewable for four years.

The University offers course credit to interested students while learning how to play two unique types of bells in towers around the quad. For physical education credits, students can register for classes that teach them how to ring eight change ringing bells in the historic Breslin tower. For music credits, students can learn how to play the University's historic Leonidas Polk Carillon, an instrument using a keyboard to ring bells in All Saints' Chapel.

For more information on these courses, and the bells at Sewanee, contact Professor Ray Gotko (rmgotko@sewanee.edu).

Sewanee's Ensembles

Sewanee Symphony Orchestra

The Sewanee Symphony Orchestra (SSO) presents a full range of the symphonic repertory and includes a wide variety of musical styles and genres. As a key component of the liberal arts environment, the orchestra not only collaborates with other music ensembles but also often participates in campus-wide interdisciplinary projects. Sewanee's orchestra is a vivid reflection of our community. It is common for students to play alongside their professors, University administrators, and community members.

University Choir

The University Choir plays an important role in Sewanee's musical life, singing at weekly services in All Saints' Chapel, monthly evensongs, and other campus events. A highlight of each year is the annual Festival of Lessons and Carols. This service regularly attracts 3,000 visitors to campus and has been featured in Southern Living and Garden and Gun. As an active touring ensemble, the choir has performed extensively throughout the United States and England.

Sewanee Praise: University Gospel Choir

Sewanee Praise ministers the Gospel in song to the campus and surrounding communities. The choir’s diverse membership is made up of students, faculty, and community members from various backgrounds and experiences. Its repertory covers spirituals, traditional and contemporary gospel, contemporary Christian, and praise and worship. Sewanee Praise performs two concerts—one each semester—as well as other campus events and regional tours.

University Jazz Ensemble

The University Jazz Ensemble started as a small ensemble and has grown into a 17-to-19 piece big band that covers the repertory of large ensemble jazz ranging from Duke Ellington and Count Basie to big band arrangements of popular songs by the Beatles and the Jackson 5. The Jazz Ensemble focuses on developing student jazz musicians by providing an opportunity for a challenging ensemble experience while encouraging performers to explore jazz improvisation. The Jazz Ensemble offers two performances on campus each school year, and also plays in local venues as requested.

A Sampling of Courses


Programs of Study

Requirements for the Major & Minor in Music

Meet Some Professors


Stephen Ray Miller
Professor of Music, Chair


Breslin Tower 300, Ext. 1874

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