School of Music


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About the School of Music

The School of Music is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music (or of NASM). The School of Music is housed in the newly modernized and expanded surroundings of the Creative Arts Center. Facilities include Schuster Hall, the more intimate Recital Hall, and numerous purpose-built teaching studios, offices, and practice rooms. The music library is located next door to the Creative Arts Center in the Paul Laurence Dunbar Library.


The School of Music faculty and staff are ready to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have. The school is organized as follows:

Area Coordinators and Directors

If you have questions about any of the areas listed below, Contact the listed faculty member:


The School of Music is committed to preparing music graduates for careers and further study in performing, teaching, conducting, composing, and other music-related fields. The school does this through maintaining existing degree programs and by continuing to meet standards necessary for accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Music. In all degree programs, the school provides student counseling to ensure the development of an appropriate balance between applied music, ensemble experience, academic courses, and special skills. Students are given many opportunities to discover correlations between the various components of music study. The rigorous standards necessary to prepare students for graduate study are also maintained.

The School of Music continues its efforts to improve quality in the arts in the surrounding region and nation through a variety of faculty involvements in research, scholarly work, community service, and such creative and professional activities as performing, conducting, composing, adjudicating, and participating in arts organizations. Because the faculty serves as positive role models, music students are inspired to become involved in these same activities during their college years and in subsequent career pursuits.

Degrees and Curriculum

Music is universal in human culture. It is a medium for expression and communication, a powerful accompaniment of ceremony and work, a pastime that lifts our spirits. Research has repeatedly demonstrated that musical training strengthens mathematical and spatial abilities, and the historical study of music is a window on the fundamental worldviews of the cultures that produced it. Through technology, music is now accessible to a degree unprecedented in human history; it pervades our lives.

The study of music at the college level is multifaceted. Performance and teaching require technical skill developed in rigorous sequence, carefully honed musicianship, thorough knowledge of styles and repertoire, and facility in the use of electronic and computer technology. The Wright State University School of Music offers a curriculum designed to prepare students for careers as performers, teachers, and community leaders. Wright State music graduates are successful in a variety of music-related fields such as teaching privately and in the public schools and in colleges and universities; performance as professional singers, instrumentalists, and conductors; creating music as composers and arrangers, and administration of musical and cultural organizations and institutions.

When you come to Wright State to study music, you will develop a variety of essential musical skills, and you will discover new worlds of cultural expression and communication.


As a major component of a balanced curriculum of music performance, applied music, music history, music theory, and music education, the School of Music offers a wide range of performing ensembles.

These ensembles are open to all students at the university, regardless of major, and, in some cases, to community members.


School of Music Bragging Wrights

  • Wright State School of Music graduates have gone on to become award-winners, graduate assistants, and scholarship recipients at some of the world’s finest music schools, including the Eastman School of Music, the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, the Northwestern School of Music, the Florida State College of Music, the University of Illinois, University of Southern California, the University of Oklahoma, and many others.
  • Wright State School of Music alumni are published by many of music's most prestigious publishers, including Hal Leonard, Alfred Publishing, Lorenz Corporation, and more.
  • School of Music alumni Steve Hampton is one of the most successful composers in Hollywood, having composed theme music for many commercials as well as television shows such as Just Shoot Me, among many others.
  • School of Music alumni are placed as directors of many band and choral programs across the Midwest, including school systems nationally recognized for music quality such as Centerville (OH), Carmel (IN), King’s (OH).
  • Current School of Music students and alumni have won or placed in some of the nation's most prestigious competitions, including winning and/or placing in the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, Percussion Arts Society International Conference (PASIC), MTNA Collegiate Artist Competition, the Three Arts Competition, and The World Choir Games.
  • Wright State School of Music alumni serve on the faculties of music schools across the nation including the Utah State University, Las Vegas Academy of the Arts, among many more.
  • Current and past Wright State University students have been accepted into some of the nation's most prestigious summer music festivals, including the Brevard Music Festival, the Miami Music Festival, the Interlochen Arts Festival, and more.
  • Wright State alumni in music have been awarded some of Ohio's most prestigious arts prizes, including the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts (Jim McCutcheon).
  • Wright State School of Music ensembles have performed at some of the world’s most sought-after venues, such as Carnegie Hall, St. Mark’s Cathedral (Italy), and the Sistine Chapel (the Vatican)
  • Wright State alumni have achieved high-level administrative posts at some of the nation’s top music organizations, such as Wolf Trap Opera, Florida Grand Opera, and The Lorenz Corporation


The Wright State University School of Music (then Department of Music) was organized in 1965 with Dr. William C. Fenton as chair. The university had been established the previous year as the Dayton Campus of Miami University and The Ohio State University. Music was housed in Allyn Hall and Warner House (since destroyed). Student recitals were held in the basement of Allyn Hall. The Music Library consisted of four feet of shelf space in what is now The Hangar in Allyn Hall.

From this simple beginning, the department moved in 1973 to the Music Wing of the Creative Arts Center. The department has shown steady growth since that time. The faculty has increased from two full-time and six part-time positions to include more than 40 full-time and part-time faculty.

In the 1970s, seven performing ensembles were established, including the Wright State/Community Orchestra (now the University Symphony Orchestra), Symphony Band, Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, Chorus, Brass Choir, and Chamber Singers. The department became a member of the National Association of Schools of Music in 1970, receiving initial full accreditation in 1977.

Degree programs have grown to include Bachelor of Music degrees in Music Education, Performance, and Music History and Literature, a Bachelor of Arts in Music, and, in conjunction with the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science – Music Option. The Master of Music in Music Education degree was approved in 1974. The School of Music now offers two additional graduate-level degrees: the Master of Music in Performance and the Master of Humanities (Emphasis in Music). In 1975, the non-credit Community Music Division was established to provide the same level of applied music lessons to the general public that our students enjoy.

Through the years, the School of Music's commitment to performance opportunities for faculty, as well as students, has resulted in the establishment of three faculty-performing ensembles: String Quartet, Brass Quintet, and Woodwind Quintet. Since 1985, select students have been able to perform with faculty and area professionals in the Chamber Orchestra. In 1990 the department added the Varsity (Pep) Band to its growing list of performance opportunities for students. Recent additions include Men's Chorale and the Women's Chorale, as well as a wide array of student chamber ensembles.

About Wright State University

Wright State University, one of Ohio's 13 state-assisted universities, became accredited and independent in 1967. The university offers 40 master's programs, two research doctoral programs, and two professional doctoral programs. Although Wright State has a rural-suburban setting, downtown Dayton is only 20 minutes away by car or campus bus. Ballets, concerts, lectures, and other cultural activities are available throughout the year. In addition, the university and the School of Music sponsor performances by students, faculty, and visiting artists. Art exhibits and theatre productions are also offered regularly in the modern Creative Arts Center.


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