About the Music Department

Voted among the Most Wired, Top Green & Best Value schools in America (Princeton Review), Sonoma State University offers generous scholarships and performance opportunities in instrumental, choral, jazz, and music theatre.

Our graduates are high achievers who go on to successful careers as music educators and mentors, jazz and recording artists, and performers in all media from symphonies and pit orchestras to clubs and sound studios. Music students at Sonoma State enroll in one of the following degree programs: the Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies, Music Education, or Vocal/Instrumental Performance; the Bachelor of Arts degree in Music, Liberal Studies concentration; or the Music Minor. The Department of Music is pleased to announce the inauguration of an Orchestral Studies program in 2015-16.

Aim High. Reach Wide. Educate All.

Accredited since 1972 by the National Association of Schools of Music, the Department of Music at Sonoma State is situated an hour north of San Francisco in the heart of California’s wine country. Crisp mornings fueled by Pacific Ocean breezes give way to dry and sunny days, providing an idyllic climate for work and play.

The Department of Music is housed in the Donald and Maureen Green Music Center, a state-of-the-art performing arts complex within a public university that includes the 1400-seat Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall, the 250-seat Schroeder Recital Hall, an education wing, and meeting and conference facilities.

Since Lang Lang’s solo performance at Weill Hall’s Grand Opening in 2012, the breath-taking acoustics of this uniquely designed space have attracted such artists as Yo-Yo Ma, the Vienna Philharmonic, Herbie Hancock, Itzhak Perlman, John Adams, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Wynton Marsalis and countless others.

The Hall serves the campus and community as both a major concert venue and the performance space for the Department of Music. Student ushers get the added perk of earning money while experiencing top-tier talent!

Our Philosophy

At Sonoma State University, developing artists cultivate their individuality in a humane environment that emphasizes personalized instruction. Classes are small, averaging twelve students per faculty member. Studio instruction for musicians is one to one. Many ensembles are “chamber” scaled, reflecting our belief that intimacy is the best guarantee of quality. Even our large ensemble strive for this intimacy. The faculty know their students by name and are accessible to their needs and concerns.


Acknowledging that an artist’s life can be a difficult one to navigate, we ground our students in a broad range of real-world skills and perspectives and encourage innovative career planning as the best path to productive, fulfilled lives as working artists.

A commitment to active involvement stands at the heart of the music curriculum. We value music of different cultures, ethnic groups, formal styles, and historical periods.

Our Curriculum

The rigorous degree program requires private voice/instrument lessons of all music majors. All students attend a weekly repertoire class where they can play and sing for each other, participate in a master class or talk about aspects of performing before an audience.

Major ensembles are open to music majors and non-majors alike, and include Symphonic Wind Ensemble, University Chorus, Jazz Orchestra and Music Theatre production. Numerous smaller ensembles specialize in the performance of everything from classical guitar to Indian singing.

The department is housed in the Green Music Center's Music Education Hall and offers degree programs in Applied Music, Liberal Arts Music Concentration, Jazz Studies and Music Education.

The core curriculum for music majors provides a thorough foundation in such essential skills as keyboard facility, theoretical understanding, aural perception, and analysis of a wide range of music literature. All majors gain experience with both the intuitive and the intellectual processes of the art. The curriculum is designed to place the specialized study of music in the setting of a liberal arts education and to serve as a firm basis for careers in a wide variety of professions in music and those related to music. Visit our Majors and Programs page for more details.

Interested in hiring a Sonoma State University Department of Music musician for your event? Click Hire A Student Musician and fill out the gig request form.