Understand what makes music, music.

Hone your analytical skills and decode the language and systems of music by exploring a wide variety of musical styles and genres. Discover advanced music theory training rarely found at the undergraduate level. 

Discover the array of courses offered in music theory.

Discover what comprises a major and minor in music theory.

Learn from faculty with a variety of musical backgrounds.

Students work together playing violins in Music Education class.

Support & Tutoring

You’ll have access to a robust student-led, faculty-supervised tutoring program for music theory and aural skills. With weekly drop-in tutoring sessions and dozens of tutors who can work with you one-on-one, support is easy to find. And, once you have completed the core theory sequence, you have opportunities to be a tutor. It’s a great opportunity to gain valuable teaching experience and deepen your understanding of theory and aural skills as you help fellow students in the core sequence work through new concepts.

reflected light shining on sheet music

The Power of Collaboration

What happens when you combine a world-class conservatory with a world-class college? An unmatched undergraduate musical education. At Lawrence, the Conservatory and College experiences are intertwined. Multiple degree options let you be your own muse by connecting your musical passions with your academic interests. 

Large ensemble performs on stage

Performance & Ensemble Opportunities

Performance and ensemble opportunities abound, from large orchestras to small chamber ensembles, choirs to jazz bands. Explore a diverse range of styles and repertoires and take part in professional performance alongside your peers.

Open book of music.

Up to $5000

Funds for Conservatory Student Projects

You'll have access to financial support for internships at venues like Carnegie Hall, touring and summer festivals, and even commissioning new works to perform in recitals.

The Chandler Senior Experience

The topic of the Senior Experience in music theory will arise from your encounter, in upper-level courses, with advanced theoretical and analytical concepts, methods, and techniques. Your Senior Experience may be a substantial original (and publishable) essay; a critical exegesis of a monograph; a lecture-recital; a software application for music theory pedagogy or analysis.

Examples of recent Senior Experiences:

  • Pieces written for and performed by the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra and other ensembles
  • Recitals and portfolios of original music


Aerial drone shot of Bjorklunden in Door County, Wisconsin

Sound the Retreat

Bond with your fellow musicians, focus on your craft, and immerse yourself in natural beauty during retreat weekends at Björklunden, a 441-acre estate on the shores of Lake Michigan.

2021 graduate smiles for a portrait

Music Theory Outcomes

Whether paired with a performance degree or as standalone study, a degree in music theory prepares you for a variety of music-related professions and graduate study.

On Any Given Day...

...discover an array of opportunities that await you at Lawrence University.

Music & Arts

A Musical Journey | This is Lawrence

As a student in the Conservatory of Music, Martha McDonnell ’14 found a way to balance her two distinct musical interests: classical violin performance and fiddling. Her unique skill set landed her a spot in Sting’s musical The Last Ship before she had even graduated, and she’s since performed on Broadway in Steve Martin’s Bright Star.

Image of a person playing the drums

Music outdoors

Music is woven into life at Lawrence. Wander campus and you'll hear students practicing piano in lounges, violins in Warch, and horns outside.

A musical life awaits. Take the next steps by applying and auditioning.

The best way to find out if Lawrence is the university for you is by visiting.

Your virtual tour starts at the Arch but be sure to check out Conservatory, to explore learning and performance spaces.