The Penn Music Department offers an innovative program for undergraduate studies in music. We aim to provide opportunities for students to pursue their passions and develop expertise in musical traditions they may know well; and to open their ears and minds to sounds and practices with which they may be less familiar. There are many different and overlapping ways to pursue music: through performance, listening, academic investigation, and composition. All of these are encouraged and fostered by the department. Our approach also espouses a belief in the value of integrating different spheres of musical practice. Thus, classes and ensembles frequently bring together fields and repertoires that are more usually pursued separately (for example, western art music will resonate with musical traditions of the wider world; analytical techniques in a theory class will be applied in a history seminar); while music-making is a practical component of many courses taught.

Students may participate in one of the many performance ensembles on campus. Students may also pursue instrumental lessons through the College House Music Program, which matches interested students with Philadelphia area instructors, many of whom are Fellows in the College Houses. A special program of instruction in vocal and instrumental performance, made possible through an endowment by Marian Anderson, is also available for music majors and minors. The Music 10 programs, open to music majors and minors, offer students the possibility of up to two years of private applied music instruction, while the popular chamber music program may also be taken for performance credit.

For students interested in pursuing an academic course of study, we offer a range of options. The curriculum includes a number of introductory-level courses on topics, from world music to musicianship, all of which fulfill requirements for the general education curriculum. We also regularly offer Freshman Seminars and classes that contribute to the Writing Program at Penn. For a more sustained study of music, the Department offers a Music Major (see link above right), which, through a balance of requirements and electives, equips students with fundamental tools and contexts for thinking about music, while at the same time offering them options to customize their course of study according to their particular interests. We also offer two music minors, one specializing in jazz and popular music, and the other organized with flexibility in mind, enabling students to select from courses in many different fields. Finally, the department offers a number of service-oriented courses, particularly in the context of freshman seminars, where students may learn first hand the values and functions of music in public life today.