Undergraduate Studies in Music 

Welcome to the Department of Music at Stanford University.

We invite all Stanford students to pursue their musical explorations in an environment rich in talent and knowledge through programs that focus on students’ interests in fields such as performance, composition, theory, conducting, history, and computer music.

The Music Major is a comprehensive series of courses that builds a solid foundation in music. Within the major, the Music, Science, and Technology specialization provides a well-rounded education by offering the same core of essential music courses in addition to more technology-based courses. We also offer a Music Minor, which provides an education that establishes both a foundation for an informed appreciation of music and a basis for further study.

The Department of Music welcomes all students to participate in the Department’s offerings regardless of their major. We strive to offer students an exciting setting in which they can continue enriching their lives through music in a wide variety of disciplines while at Stanford and beyond.

Programs of Study

The Music Major

The undergraduate major in Music is built around a series of courses in theory, musicianship, analysis, and music history, as well as performance (both individual and ensemble) and piano proficiency requirements. Our program is rooted in the Western, classical tradition; however, courses in modern composition and theory and jazz theory and history are available as well. Students may also choose to concentrate in one of four areas (performance, conducting, composition, history/theory), should they wish to study any particular discipline in more depth.

The Piano Proficiency Test is an important aspect of the Music Major. For information about what is expected, please download the Piano Proficiency Test. You will need a SUNet ID and password to access this document.

Prospective majors are urged to consult a department major advisor as early as possible to plan a program that allows sufficient time for major coursework, practice, and University General Education Requirements.

Contact the Undergraduate Student Services Officer (Elise Fujimoto) or look at the Department of Music's section of the Stanford Bulletin for current information on required courses, recommended schedules, and other details of the music major.

Music, Science & Technology Major (MST)

The specialization in Music, Science, and Technology (MST) is designed for those students with a strong interest in the rapidly evolving realm of computer music technology, digital audio, and signal processing, and in the acoustic and psychoacoustic foundations of music. The program entails course work and faculty-supervised research projects in the highly multidisciplinary environment of the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). This program can serve as a complementary major to students interested in science and engineering. Information on degree requirements and course offerings can be found in the Department of Music's section of the Stanford Bulletin.

Doreen B. Townsend Center for
Computer Research in Music and Acoustics

tel: 650.723.4971
fax: 650.723.8468
email: info@ccrma.stanford.edu

Music Minor / Minor In Music, Science and Technology

The minor in Music or in MST provides students with a core of essential courses in music that will establish a foundation for informed appreciation of music and a basis for further study, should the student wish to pursue it. To declare a minor, follow the declaration procedures outlined in the Stanford Bulletin or the quarterly Time Schedule.

Performance Certificate Program for Non-Music Majors

This program is open by audition to undergraduate students who already demonstrate a high degree of accomplishment in their area of music performance, study privately with one of the Department of Music’s faculty, and wish to bolster their performance studies with coursework that may be drawn from the Department of Music’s other areas of academic focus: history, theory, computer music, and composition. The Certificate in Music Performance is issued by the Department of Music and will not appear on any University record, including the student’s transcript.

How to Apply: Students are admitted to the Performance Certificate program based on a live audition adjudicated by Department of Music faculty at the beginning of Spring quarter. To request an audition, students must turn in a Performance Certificate Application, along with a musical performance resume. Applicants with sufficient applications and resumes will be invited to audition for Department faculty.

This year’s deadlines are:

Questions about the Performance Certificate can be directed to Fred Weldy and Elise Fujimoto.

The Double Major

In any given year, 20-30 percent of students majoring in Music simultaneously pursue a major in another department. Please consult the Degree Requirements section in the Stanford Bulletin for University guidelines regarding the declaration of multiple majors. While completing a double major is certainly possible, it does require extra planning, and we strongly recommend that students speak with their advisors in both majors before declaring.

Concentration Program

Concentrations are offered in performance, composition, conducting, history, and theory. Each requires six additional course units of coursework in the concentration area beyond the basic Music Major requirements. During their senior year, concentrators must also register for a 4-unit, faculty-supervised independent project, culminating in a recital, composition, conducting project, or a research paper. Concentration projects are reviewed by a committee of faculty members who give their approval for successful completion of the concentration, and who may or may not recommend that the concentrator receive the distinction of Honors in Music.


Honors in Music is awarded by the faculty to concentrators who have produced an independent project of exceptional, graduate-level quality. Conferral of honors is done solely through faculty consultation. Students do not need to apply or petition for honors.


Each newly declared Music major is assigned an advisor who aids the student in mapping out a course of study that satisfies both University and major requirements. The student-advisor relationship is an extremely important one that gives the student an opportunity to express intellectual concerns and discuss academic interests with someone who knows a great deal about music. Students must meet with their advisors at least once per quarter to have their study lists approved.

Your Postgraduate Life

Students wishing to pursue postgraduate studies should consult their advisor, departmental graduate students, and the Undergraduate Advising Center located in Sweet Hall. Peterson’s Guide to Graduate Study is a valuable resource for information on different programs and schools, as are the individual catalogues of various institutions. Requests for applications are accepted in the Autumn quarter and require a great deal of organization to complete and track. Be sure to ask for as much information as you feel you need, e.g., financial aid, housing, etc.

Any student applying for graduate school should expect to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and possibly other examinations related to the individual program. Students should take the GRE early in the year in order for the results to reach the schools to which they are applying in time. Be prepared to request recommendations early in the year from your professors for your graduate school applications. You may also be required to audition, send recordings and/or scores, enclose research papers, or submit a portfolio.

For students interested in entering the work force, the possibilities for Music majors include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Concert Soloist
  • Instrumentalist/Session Musician
  • Singer
  • Conductor
  • Church Musician
  • Teacher (music education, studio teaching, music therapy)
  • Composer/Arranger
  • Music Librarian/Researcher
  • Critic
  • Arts Administrator/Manager/Agent
  • Piano Tuner
  • Instrument Maker

Lessons and Scholarships

Sign Up for Private Lessons (Applied Music)

Many Stanford students (including non-Music majors) want to take music lessons with our outstanding faculty. Fees for individual lessons are $325 per quarter for Music majors and $650 per quarter for non-majors. Fees for group lessons are $175 per quarter for majors and $200 per quarter for non-majors. Details on all lessons offered this session are here. If you are new to Stanford, you will have to audition, regardless of whether or not you submitted a supplemental audition. Be prepared to play études, a sonata, a concerto excerpt, or anything else that demonstrates your abilities. Consult the Proficiency Requirements to see if you currently play at the minimum level at which we expect students to perform. To sign up for lessons in winter or spring quarter, you must contact the faculty member directly or check with staff in the department office to see if there is room in the studio.

To qualify for the lower lesson fees available for Music majors, you must not only be a declared Music major, but also be currently enrolled in, or have completed the first sequence of the core courses, or you must obtain written permission from the Undergraduate Student Services Officer and/or your academic advisor.

Bills for lessons are prepared in the department and sent through Student Financial Services about six weeks into the quarter. Questions about bills should be directed to Elise Fujimoto in the Department of Music Office, not to Student Financial Services.

Note that no refunds are given for lessons dropped after the deadlines listed. You must fill out a drop form (available from your instructor), give it to the Student Services Officer, AND drop the course on AXESS by the deadline to obtain a refund. Otherwise, you will be charged—no exceptions.

Applied Music Scholarships

Applied Music Scholarships are available for currently enrolled Stanford students to assist those who would otherwise be unable to afford private instruction. The Friends of Music at Stanford and other private donors have raised funds for full scholarships (for majors) and partial scholarships (for non-majors). Please do not apply unless you honestly need the assistance, as doing so reduces the pool of funds available to students in need and results in smaller awards for everyone.

Scholarship Categories

How to Apply

POLICY CHANGE (updated Winter 2014): All non-Annual Scholarship students must apply for scholarships each quarter, regardless of major area. This session's scholarship application period is now closed.

To qualify for scholarship, students must:

Department of Music Awards

Each year, the Department of Music recognizes exemplary student performances, compositions, and academic papers. Here is a list of the awards offered and the requirements for each prize:

How to Audition

The 2013-2014 Department Awards application period will be open in Winter 2014. This year's award auditions will be held in April 2014 (date TBA) at Campbell Recital Hall. Auditions should be 10 minutes in length at maximum. All auditioners must perform from memory.

If selected as a winner, you will also be required to perform at the Department Awards Concert in May, 2014 (date TBA). Any questions or concerns can be addressed to Elise Fujimoto.

Performance Opportunities


Students taking departmental lessons have the opportunity to perform in academic (Music major senior recitals) and non-academic recitals. As most senior recitals take place in the Spring quarter, informal (or non-academic) recitals are generally limited to Autumn and Winter quarters. Students may share recitals as well. For detailed guidelines, please see the Scheduling Recitals section of our website.


The Department of Music hosts several performing ensembles and combos. Participation is not limited to Music students, but auditions may be required. Some ensembles are also open to community members.

Each ensemble has its own audition requirements, rehearsal, and performance schedules, as well as minimum levels of proficiency. Minimum proficiency levels can be found here. Check the links below for each ensemble’s other requirements. To determine eligibility for academic credit, please see the Stanford Bulletin.

Ensemble auditions take place in Fall quarter, generally beginning the Thursday and Friday of Orientation week. Auditions for ensembles are now closed. If you wish to join an ensemble at other times of the year, contact the ensemble director for information.

Departmental ensembles include:

Choral Studies:

Instrumental Ensembles:

Jazz Ensembles:

Other Groups in the Department of Music

Note: These groups are not in the Department of Music

Services and Resources

Music Students Association

The Music Students Association (MSA) is the body through which students communicate with faculty, administration, and one another concerning improvement of music programs and ensembles at Stanford. Every Stanford student who takes classes or lessons, or who participates in Department of Music ensembles, is automatically a member and is entitled to vote in the MSA elections.

The MSA sponsors noon-time recitals, a series of musicology colloquia, and social gatherings. It also provides student representatives for various department committees. Notice of MSA meetings is posted in the department and all are welcome and encouraged to attend. If you have questions or would like to be involved, ask for further information in the Department office.

Music Library

The Music Library supports music research, composition, and performance at Stanford with a collection of 110,000 books and scores, 34,000 sound and video recordings, 9,000 microforms, and several hundred active periodical subscriptions. Most of Stanford’s rare music materials form the Memorial Library of Music, housed in the Green Library Department of Special Collections. Some music books and recordings are also located in the Green Library stacks and the Media/Microtext Center.

Information on access, borrowing, course reserves, and more is available here.

Music Library hours during the academic year, as well as during intersessions and holidays, are available here.

Archive of Recorded Sound

300,000 recordings in the Archive of Recorded Sound make it one of the five largest archives of its kind in the United States. From wax cylinders to compact discs, the collection reflects the entirety of recorded sound history. See the archive's website for information on hours, listening appointments, and research consultations.

Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA)

The acronym “CCRMA” (pronounced “karma”) refers to Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, one of the most important organizations of its kind in the world. Located at the Knoll, CCRMA offers classroom and practical instruction in every aspect of computer-generated sound and composition. 650.723.4971 or visit the CCRMA website for information.

Center for Computer-Assisted Research in the Humanities (CCARH)

Located in Braun Music Center, Room 129, the Center for Computer-Assisted Research in the Humanities (CCARH) is a pioneer in the field of large-scale databases for music research. Since 1984, CCARH has been developing databases of musical information and has compiled electronic scores for the works of J.S. Bach, Handel, and many others. CCARH offers courses in music information processing, with an associated lab available for student use. Call 650.725.9240 for information.

Borrow an Instrument

If you play in a department ensemble or are taking lessons with Department of Music faculty and need an instrument, you may be able to borrow one from our collection. A recommendation is required from your teacher or conductor. The curator of our general collection, and of the Harry R. Lange Special Collection, is Herb Myers in room 217 of the Braun Music Center. He can also be reached at 650.723.0635 or 650.854.1447.

Friends of Music

Friends of Music (FoM) is a community-based volunteer support organization for the Department of Music. Its members work to raise funds for scholarships for student music lessons and for other department programs and needs. FOM also serves as a liaison to the community, promoting the activities of the department with outreach programs such as the Faculty Showcase series and the Pied Piper Concerts for children. Friends of Music needs student volunteers, and we hope students will help if called on, as FoM’s work benefits us all. Contact the Friends’ office for more information at 650.723.1780 or by email.

Concert Recordings

Tapes and CDs from all concerts are available for a small fee. Please order your recording in advance of the concert. It takes about two weeks to get a copy of the concert tape.