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 Hanger 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 twenty full-time faculty and over twenty adjunct faculty.
In the 1970s, seven performing ensembles were established, including the WSU/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, Women's Chorale and the Chamber Players, as well as a wide array of student chamber ensembles.
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 insure 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.