About the Music Department

Since 1972, the Music Department at Sonoma State University has been a fully accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Music. Last year the department presented more than 100 performances reaching 9,000 audience members.

From faculty and guest artist recitals to large and small student ensembles, everybody performs. As a fully invested partner in music education, the music department hosts numerous high school music festivals each year, and music faculty members are in demand as conductors, clinicians and performers.

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. Students and faculty are involved in many ways--as listeners, performers, composers, critics or historians. Intelligent and lively participation informs every facet of the department's various degree programs.

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.