Major in Music

Music is the cornerstone of a liberal arts education and at Virginia Wesleyan, creativity is developed through a nurturing student-focused approach. Students are guided by nationally recognized faculty who are exceptional teachers and gifted artists. A well-rounded liberal arts curriculum ensures that students will develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed after graduation.

About The Program

The Music Department offers students the opportunity to study music in a program that places the specific discipline of applied music study within the context of a liberal arts curriculum. All students have the opportunity to explore the creative process embodied in this art form and to investigate the manner in which music reflects historical trends and cultural patterns in society. The study of music provides individuals with personal fulfillment, enhances and complements everyday life, and creates an opportunity for students to discover and experience aesthetic beauty. Our program of study encourages all learners to appreciate as well as critically articulate their responses to music in culture. In addition to musical ensembles available to all students, Virginia Wesleyan offers a Bachelor of Applied Music with tracks in Applied Performance, Choral and Vocal Studies, and Music Composition. Virginia Wesleyan also offers a Bachelor of Arts in Music where individuals can select electives to focus on their interests - including Music Therapy and Arts Administration. Students may prepare for careers in private teaching, church music, music merchandising, arts management, music librarianship, or for graduate study in music or the humanities.

Majors: Applied Music (BA), Music (BA)

Chair of Fine and Performing Arts: Dr. Bryson Mortensen
School: Susan S. Goode School of Arts And Humanities

Music and Technology are becoming increasingly integrated, and it is now essential for anyone interested in pursuing musical activities to be familiar with the tools and techniques of music technology. Music educators are expected to teach MIDI Sequencing and Digital Production classes at the middle and high school levels. Increasingly, both professional and amateur musicians findthe affordability of sound recording equipment and editing software make it possible to create their own home recording studios.

This certificate will allow both music majors and non-music majors to augment their area of study by developing skills and experience in the field of music technology. Contact the David L. Kaufman Center for Enrollment for additional information.

Certificate Requirements: Music Technology and Sound Recording

Note: To be successful in this certificate, it is strongly suggested that students have a basicunderstanding of music theory and some degree of competency on the piano. Students who feel deficient in this capacity are encouraged to take MUS 101 or MUS 225 to prepare for the certificate coursework.

Course Number And Title

Sem. Hrs.

MUS 254: Principles of Music Technology 4
MUS 355: Digital Music Workshop 4
MUS 356: Sound Recording Workshop 4
Total 12

This certificate offers practical and theoretical knowledge for church music ministry career preparation, and has been recognized by the College Board for its excellence in programming. Prior experience in some aspect of church music, a strong desire to serve the Church, plus basic musicianship and keyboard skills are beneficial.

Course Number And Title

Sem. Hrs.

Complete Three Semesters of:MUS 310: Topics in Sacred Music (more information below) 12
15 Hours of Local Church Musician Observation  
Total 12*

Three semester-length courses, which *may be taken for college credit (MUS 310) or as continuing education units, provide a theoretical basis of study. These include: Sacred Music History, Directing Church Choirs, Hymnology and Choral Literature (or “Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs”). Optional courses can also be taken in Organ History and Design and Children’s Choirs. In addition, during the course of study, students complete a 15-hour program of observation with a variety of area professional church musicians.


Music majors present a formal recital or write a historical or critical thesis in their senior year, which is the culminating experience for the student. Using music selected from each major historical period, they demonstrate their ability to apply knowledge gleaned from their studies to their performances or investigations of the chosen repertoire. Students who are interested can also complete internships in church music, music management, or with one of the many non-profit arts organizations in the Tidewater area.

The music major at Virginia Wesleyan University will prepare students for a variety of careers in music. Music majors and minors are prepared to become professional musicians, educators, arts managers, and church musicians. Alumni of the department have careers as performers, church musicians, and in vocal music education. Students can also prepare for careers in music business and arts management, or go on to graduate school in musicology, music therapy, or performance.