Info & FAQ

What is Music @ West Liberty?
It’s PERFORMANCE, EDUCATION, and the latest TECHNOLOGY. It’s also mentorship, dedication, and excellence. Below you will find general information about our degree offerings. Thanks for visiting!

Performance |  Bachelor of Music

The Bachelor of Music Degree in Performance is considered a “professional” degree because it provides the opportunity for intensive study in general musicianship in addition to mastery in the major performance area – brass, guitar, percussion, piano, voice, or woodwinds. Students learn from dedicated artist teachers who maintain active schedules of creative professional activity.

Education |  Bachelor of Arts

The BA in Music Education provides a variety of experiences that prepare talented individuals to meet the challenges of teaching K-12 choral, instrumental and general music in the 21st Century. West Liberty University is an institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission/North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC/NCA), and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).


Technology |  Bachelor of Music

The Bachelor of Music in Music Technology degree is the only such degree offered by institutions of higher learning in the state of West Virginia. Students learn in state-of-the-art facilities with experienced and dedicated instructors. The foundation of the degree combines study in general musicianship with advanced experience in recording, mixing, and electronic music.
WLU Recording Studio

The music minor curriculum is offered for students with previous musical experience who wish to continue music study, though not on a full-time professional basis.

(Either B.A. or B.S. degree)
(Minimum 26 semester hours)
A. MUS 102 Musicianship………………………………………………..4
B. MUS 103 Ear Training I ……………………………………………..2
MUS 113 Theory I………………………………………………….2
C. Applied music (see MUSIC STUDENT HANDBOOK for full requirements)…….4
D. Musical Organizations……………………………………………….8
E. Electives (any other MUS courses)…………………………………….6


What prior knowledge and experience should I have in order to succeed as a music major?

Every student is unique and brings individual strengths. Certain prior knowledge, however, can give a prospective student a higher chance of success in a collegiate music program. The following list shows preferred knowledge and experience for incoming music majors.

  • The ability to read music.
  • The ability to identify and understand basic musical elements such as key signatures, scales, rhythms, etc.
  • Private instrumental or voice lessons. Preferably, a student will have taken private lessons for at least one year prior to college.
  • Experience performing in an ensemble and/or choir.
If I have been taking lessons with a private teacher, can I still study with this person? Who will I take lessons with at WLU?
We encourage all students to maintain contact with their former teachers. This includes past private instructors, choir and band directors. These people will soon become your colleagues as you develop your professional career. However, all current students are required to study with the appropriate WLU music faculty member. The music faculty at West Liberty is comprised of World class accomplished performers and educators. We are sure that you will enjoy working with them as much as they will enjoy working with you! For a list of the music faculty and their bios, click here.
How much will I be expected to practice as a music major?
Similar to the study of other disciplines on campus, your work ethic and commitment outside of the classroom will determine your success while in school and following graduation. The college years are your time as a music major to acquaint yourself with the techniques, repertoire, and advanced skills of your specific instrument or voice. Due to the physical and psychological nature inherent in the study of music, one can expect to practice between two and six hours per day. This holds true for both instrumental and vocal majors, regardless of the choice of music education or performance tracks.
What does it mean to be a music major and how is it different from being in band or choir in high school?

Declaring your major as music, whether it is in education, performance, or technology can be an exciting decision to make. People choose to major in music for many different reasons, but the primary motivation seems to be a passion for making music in some capacity. Inspiring people through performance and teaching can be a life-changing experience for all involved. The majority of students who choose to major in music are typically the ones that were heavily involved in their high school choir, orchestra, and band programs. These students were often found in the band or choir room before and after school and participated in many musical activities on and off campus. In short, they played and sang a lot! Choosing music as your major in college brings new challenges as you prepare for a professional career. One of the most shocking realizations for the college music major at any institution is the fact that they will be taking academic style music courses and not simply just singing or playing their instrument. As with any discipline studied, the student must take core classes that help them gain knowledge and skills they will need to develop a successful professional career after graduation. For the music major, these courses include music theory, music history, class piano, and other fundamental classes. In addition to these studies, the music major will also take general education classes such as college algebra and literature courses. The student will be expected to develop a practice routine and also juggle class assignments and ensemble requirements. Fundamental to the academic mission at West Liberty University, we we hope to produce professional musicians across a multitude of musical disciplines that are prepared to achieve success and happiness in their professional lives.

The following are recommendations  from the National Association for Music Education for successful completion of a music major program. You can read more of their articles and information on their website at

1. Clarify your reasons for becoming a music major. What do you want to do with your music study? Do you want to teach or be an international recitalist? Do you want to go to graduate school or professional school?

2. Request the assignment of an adviser from the music faculty. This adviser can guide you through course selection and audition preparation. Ask about the proper sequence of courses and their content. If you need remedial work, it is best to discover this early on. At West Liberty, a music advisor will be provided for you.

3. Keep a portfolio of your progress throughout your undergraduate studies. Theory tests (with high marks), programs of ensemble work and student recitals, notes from master classes, and other professionally related experiences will confirm your determination to succeed.

4. Manage your time carefully. You must allow time for core courses, music major courses, studio practice time, ensemble rehearsal, and ensemble performance dates. From an organizational standpoint, this is often the true test of whether you can “make it.” This is also the true training ground for becoming a teacher. Time management and organization will always be critical.

5. Prepare for your proficiency tests with great care. Juries and recitals with your major instrument are the cornerstone for your musicianship. Work closely and diligently with your applied teacher. Plan appropriately for secondary instrumental requirements. This could mean lessons and performance opportunity in a less-threatening environment. Prepare for your piano proficiencies with the appropriate faculty member. While the approving faculty member may be responsible for testing, he or she may not always be the most suitable person for planning an instructional strategy to satisfy the test. You might consider asking the applied piano teacher for a referral.

6. Academic habits that are predictors of success in school-punctuality, reliability, preparedness, industriousness, and effort-are also indispensable for success in the music profession. Declaring a music major is more complicated than singing or playing for pleasure. With careful planning and dedication, however, the curriculum can be one of the most rewarding in the liberal arts.

How can I learn more about applying to WLU and becoming a music major?
To become a music major at WLU, you must first apply to the University. Please visit the Office of Admissions webpage for more information. After submitting your application to the University, please register for a music audition and download the audition requirements for your instrument or voice here. Questions? Please send us a message and we will be happy to assist you in this process! Email the Department of Music here.
What scholarships are offered for music majors and non-majors?

The Department of Music offers several generous scholarships for music majors, as well as some for non-majors.  All music scholarships are awarded based on an audition process.   For most students the audition for admission into the the music program serves also as a scholarship audition.  Non-majors must schedule a scholarship audition.  See below for specifics regarding this scholarship and others offered by the Department.

Music Program Scholarship
These scholarships have been made available through the generosity of donors. They are offered based on talent, personal need, and the needs of the Music Program.  Recipients of these scholarships

Housing Grant
This award is equivalent to 90-100% of the cost of the current residence hall room rate based on double occupancy. They are offered based on talent, personal need, and the needs of the Music Program.

Marching Hilltoppers Scholarship
Scholarships will be awarded to every member accepted into the ensemble!  The most popular music scholarship offered for all students, regardless of major is given through the Marching Hilltoppers. Current members of the 2018 Marching Hilltoppers each received a $500 scholarship. Click Here for more information about the Marching Hilltoppers.

Donald S. and Mary Anne Bruno Education Scholarship (in cooperation with the College of Education)
This one-time scholarship (award amount $2000.00) is for a rising sophomore majoring in elementary education or music education.

Minimum Requirements for Consideration:
1. The student should be a top sophomore elementary or music education major.
2. The student must demonstrate a commitment to the teaching profession and intend to enter the profession upon completion of undergraduate or graduate study.
3. The student must demonstrate strong academic performance, college and community activities, and financial need.

Alfred R. de Jaager Choral Scholarship
This award is offered to a student entering with a music-related major. The student must have achieved at least a 3.0 cumulative high school GPA, and a minimum score of 20 on the ACT or 950 on the SAT.

Edna M. Goodnight Memorial Scholarship
This scholarship is awarded to a music major with an emphasis in piano. Other factors that may be considered include talent, scholarship, need, and character.

Dr. Edward C. Wolf Scholarship
Students may apply for this scholarship by submitting a letter to the Chairman of the Department of Arts & Communications during the second semester of their freshman year. Recipients must have and maintain a 3.5 GPA and be declared a music major. Preference will be given to students who play a brass instrument.

William and Lee Abraham Scholarship
Awarded every four years to a deserving High School senior who has passed the Music Program Audition and is, or will be, enrolled in a music-related major at West Liberty.

Donald Pahl Scholarship
Awarded every four years to a deserving Music Education major. Preference will be given to individuals who play brass instruments.

To inquire about Scholarships, please contact Dr. Matthew Harder, Chair, Department of Music and Theatre:[email protected]

Does the University provide instruments for student use?

The Department expects all music majors to own their own instruments and encourages all non-majors to bring their own for use in ensembles. The University has an ample collection of instruments that can be loaned for student use, however, these are generally the larger and less likely to be owned instruments such as baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, bass trombone, string bass, etc. For information on borrowing a WLU instrument, please contact the music faculty member associated with that instrument.

There are separate instruments for Marching Hilltopper member use. These include sousaphones, marching French horns and baritones, piccolos, and battery percussion instruments. Other members of the ensemble are encouraged to bring their own instruments. For information about the Marching Hilltoppers, please click here.

Must I be a music major to participate in one of the Department of Music ensembles?

No.  Admission to all Department of Music ensembles is open to West Liberty students, regardless of major. Some ensembles do require a successful audition, or the permission of the instructor prior to enrollment in the course. For further information, interested students should check with the music faculty member responsible for each ensemble. Auditions for the individual ensembles typically occur during the first week of  each Fall and Spring semester. Click here for a listing of all the music department ensembles, including vocal and instrumental groups.

For information on auditioning for the Marching Hilltoppers, click here.

How can I arrange for an audition? Do I need to bring an accompanist?

We strongly encourage all interested students to apply for one of our audition days. Click here for the schedule of audition days and the registration form for the audition. If you are unable to attend one of the scheduled days, contact the area coordinator to arrange an individual audition. Students are strongly encouraged to bring their own accompanists; however, if needed, one may be provided for you. Arrangements must be made with the Department (send email to your area coordinator) and you must send your sheet music no less than two weeks prior to the audition.

What career opportunities will be available for me upon graduation?

All music majors at WLU will select a track of either music education, music performance, or music technology.

Music education majors, receiving a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Music Education will take courses and participate in internship experiences that prepare them for a career in teaching music. This can be at the elementary, middle, or high school level. Other opportunities for music education majors could include teaching at a private or parochial school, music camp instructors, or developing a private teaching studio. Both choral and instrumental focus is offered. West Liberty University is an institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission/North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC/NCA), and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

A Bachelor of Music (BM) degree in music performance prepares students for a wide variety of opportunities. Many young people view a music performance career as giving concerts. The glamour of becoming a concert artist attracts many people, but opportunities for a career in music performance are very limited, and great perseverance is required to succeed. In addition to solo performance careers, there are performance opportunities in chamber music, folk, rock, and pop music, as well as free-lance concert and studio opportunities. Performance careers differ widely and depend upon the instrument played and performance medium. Most performers combine their activities with other careers in music. The BM in performance degree can help prepare students for entry to a graduate program or artist training degree.

The Bachelor of Music with Emphasis in Music Technology (BMEMT) degree is the only one of its kind offered by an institution of higher learning in West Virginia. This degree provides students with advanced experience in recording, mixing, and electronic composition. Career opportunities vary widely for students in this degree program. Some possibilities include recording engineer, sound technician, mastering engineer, and electronic composer. The majority of compositions for movie soundtracks and television shows utilize electronic music and effects.

Other career possibilities in music include music publishing, instrument making and repair, disc jockey, arts administration, sound technicians and tour organizers for musical groups, and many others.

West Liberty University is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music.