Music performance at Lawrence University is a comprehensive, collaborative, forward-thinking training program in your instrument(s) that culminates in the Bachelor of Music, a professional degree program that will best prepare you for musical success in our rapidly changing world.

Develop outstanding technique, flawless tone, and beautiful musicality through a challenging yet supportive combination of private lessons, ensembles, music theory, musicology and keyboard skills. Expand your musical boundaries through community engagement, entrepreneurship, World Music ensembles, improvisation, hands-on internships, and reimagined performances.  Within our context of the liberal arts (one-third of your curriculum), you will graduate not just as a performer, but as an intellectually engaged, highly creative artist. (Audition required.)

  • Sharing your passion for music with the world through innovative performance
  • Becoming the most versatile, well-rounded musician you can be
  • A career in an orchestra, choir, opera company, chamber ensemble, jazz combo, improvisation ensemble, contemporary music, or a performance ensemble you create
  • A learning environment that allows you to push yourself to the highest levels of musicianship in a supportive community of creative music makers
  • Performing in some of the top collegiate ensembles in the country
  • Studying with globally acclaimed faculty who are leaders in their fields and on their instruments
  • Developing an entrepreneurial mindset so you can create a musical life unique to you and your passions
  • Positively impacting your community and the world through music
  • Becoming a teaching artist committed to sharing the joy of music with others
  • At least one of our 18 studio programs
  • Music Education
  • Music Composition
  • Music Theory
  • Jazz Emphasis
  • Pedagogy Emphasis
  • Nearly any other major in the college with our five-year, double degree program


Life After Lawrence

Lawrentians can enjoy careers in...

The performance field: freelance musician, studio musician, symphony performer, opera singer, musical theater performer, jazz performer,  military band member,  opera chorus member, collaborative pianist, conductor,  pop musician, teaching artist;
The education field: band, choir, and orchestra teachers, studio teachers, private instructors, music directors, instrument repair technicians, music therapists;
The arts administration field: executive director, music school director, music librarian, artist management, senior operations manager, stage manager, booking agent, business owner, dean

Recent employers include...

Chicago Symphony Orchestra; Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra; Hawaii Symphony Orchestra; United States Air Force/Marines; Lyric Opera; Metropolitan Opera; Roomful of Teeth; Merit School of Music; San Francisco Conservatory; Schilke Music Products; Carnegie Hall; Aspen Music Festival and School; Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra

Lawrentians can earn advanced degrees in...

Music, education, performance, composition, management, business administration, music therapy, medicine, law, the choices are endless

Recent schools include...

Eastman School of Music; Juilliard; Peabody; Yale; Manhattan School of Music; University of Michigan; New England Conservatory; Northwestern; DePaul; Royal College of Music; San Francisco Conservatory of Music; Shepherd School of Music; Cincinnati Conservatory of Music; Indiana University 

Study with faculty who are active, professional performers.

In each of our studios, you will learn from professors who are not only exceptional music educators, but also are award-winning, world-class musicians themselves. Our undergraduate-only studio environments are noted as much for their excellence as they are for their warmth and collaboration.

Perform expansively.

Demonstrate your musical prowess individually through recitals as well as large ensembles, smaller chamber ensembles, music clubs (from fiddle to funk, and improvisation to jazz) on campus, around Appleton, and beyond through travel opportunities to major U.S. and international cities.

Expand your musical vocabulary.

Beyond a full array of opportunities in western classical music from baroque to new music, we also offer one of the world's finest collegiate jazz programs, as well as hands-on world music ensembles, including: Balinese Gamelan, Ghanaian Ewe Drumming and Dancing, Cuban Drumming and Singing, Brazilian Samba Drumming, and Australian Aboriginal Didjeridu.

Launch confidently into your life after Lawrence.

Along with your core musicianship and performance skills, develop an essential writing, speaking, critical thinking, and entrepreneurial skillset through your coursework and collaboration in our college of liberal arts and sciences. This combination will prepare you to be a top-notch, yet nimble, creative and innovative musician, ready for anything.

Components of the Major

Music Theory and Analysis (5 terms)

Aural Skills (5 terms)

Sight Singing (5 terms)

Keyboard skills (or demonstrated proficiency)

Western Music History I & II
One advanced musicology course

Six consecutive terms of applied individual instruction

At least one course in ensemble performance study

Ensemble participation every term in Appleton
Voice majors only: 5 terms of vocal studies and diction (English, Italian & Latin, German, French)

Complete a qualifying exam

At least 15 additional music electives

Course descriptions and more courses

The Chandler Senior Experience

Music Performance majors will give at least two recitals during their time at Lawrence: a half-recital (30 minutes) during junior year, and a full-recital (60 minutes) during the senior year. Repertoire requirements will differ with each specific studio.

Recent Senior Experiences include:


Senior Recital: Works by Brahms, Debussy, Piazzolla and Vivaldi

Senior Recital: Works by Navarro, Copland, Vaughan, Williams and Rossini

Senior Recital: Works by Handel, Faure, Strauss, Britten, Ives, Sisco, Hoisby, Marenzio, Encina and Lassus

A Piano Recital for Left Hand Alone: Works by Brahms, Godowsky, Liszt, Chopin, and Ravel

Listen to the Children: A Senior Voice Recital Featuring Works by Britten, Barber, Bellini, Humperdinck, Joyce-Walter and Mahler