Students playing during the Jazz Ensemble
Concert Choir 2016
Daniel Sommerville Symphony Orchestra


Why Study Music?

When you study music, you build a repertoire of skills that apply well beyond the field of music. You’ll instill personal discipline, refine problem-solving skills and abstract thinking and improve memory and intellectual capacity. You’ll also explore your artistic potential while building collaboration and leadership skills with other musicians. With these skills, you’ll be well-prepared pursue to a variety of career, graduate school and ministry options.


full-time faculty
students for every teacher
music ensembles

Why Study Music at Wheaton?

Music is powerful – moving us deeply, bringing people together, and offering a vehicle that is unlike anything else in human experience. At the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music, music is an act of worship. We provide a Christ-centered environment that fosters musical excellence, creativity, and spiritual growth. Our students don’t simply become better musicians, they become better people as they endeavor to follow Jesus Christ in every aspect of their lives.

Your studies will focus on the theoretical, historical, and stylistic aspects of musical practice; relate each of these to the vast literature of music; and demand the highest level possible of technical and artistic achievement in performance, composition, and teaching. The Conservatory of Music is a fully accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Music.

The Conservatory of Music is served by 20 full-time music faculty, representing 393 years of teaching and performing experience, ranging from members of the Lyric Opera and Chicago Symphony Orchestra to notable musicians in churches, schools, businesses, the recording industry, and many more. And with a student teacher ratio of 7:1, our faculty will know you – and your learning style – well.

Located at the heart of Wheaton’s campus, the new Armerding Center for Music and the Arts invites musical participation and artistic engagement of all students, staff, and faculty, and includes a 650-seat concert hall, digital recording studios, and acoustically engineered rehearsal and performance spaces.

Joining one of our ensembles will develop your skills as a musician through opportunities that combine excellence in teaching and performing.

  • Chamber Music
  • Concert Choir
  • Jazz Ensemble
  • Men’s Glee Club
  • Opera Music Theater
  • Percussion Ensemble
  • Symphonic Band
  • Symphony Orchestra
  • Women’s Chorale

Ensembles perform regularly on and off campus and often have the opportunity to perform with guest artists and alumni such as Grammy-winning soprano Sylvia McNair ’78 and internationally known Maestro John Nelson ’63.

Our programs will prepare you in four major areas – performance, composition, teaching, and scholarship – offering six Bachelor of Music degrees or a Bachelor of Arts in Music, so that you can take advantage of career opportunities in whatever fields you choose to pursue. You will also be prepared to study in leading graduate programs in the United States and abroad.

Chicago’s World-Class Music

Enhance your musical experiences through Chicago’s world-class classical and jazz communities at venues such as Symphony Center, the Lyric Opera House, Ravinia Festival, and Millennium Park.

Arts in London

Offered biannually, students experience the arts in different areas of Britain, and explore Celtic culture in Wales during a four-week cultural and academic experience taught by Wheaton College professors and British scholars.

Ensemble Tours

Our ensembles undertake national and international tours, accept invitations to perform on concert series and at regional and national conventions, lead worship in churches, and perform with professional ensembles. They also perform in less conventional situations, ranging from soup kitchens and furniture stores to public lectures and prisons in Chicago and elsewhere. Taken together, these varied experiences enrich students’ understanding of the vocation of the musician.

What Will I Learn?

  • The Bachelor of Music in Performance provides comprehensive music training that encourages the formation of performing artists capable of meaningful contributions to society and the church.
  • The Bachelor of Music Education provides comprehensive music and professional training aimed at teaching K-12 music in public or private schools.
  • The Bachelor of Music with Elective Studies in an Outside Field provides comprehensive music training with focused study in a separate discipline. This degree assists you in integrating interests beyond music and encourages the development of breadth and diversity in the arts and in the complementary discipline.
  • The Bachelor of Music in Composition provides comprehensive training aimed at the development of skills and imagination necessary to create compelling music in a variety of professional contexts, as well as in the church and community.
  • The Bachelor of Music in Pedagogy is designed for students contemplating a career as a private studio music teacher.
  • The Bachelor of Music in Music History-Literature provides comprehensive music training aimed toward further study in musicology or related fields and encourages the formation of a diverse approach to music scholarship.
  • The Bachelor of Arts in Music is one of over 30 majors offered through the College of Arts and Sciences. The degree is intended to enable students to pursue music study and performance in the context of the liberal arts.

A Music minor fosters musical excellence, achievement, and creativity. It calls for 7 hours of music theory and composition, 4 hours of context studies, 4 hours of individual performance, and 5 hours of music electives.

Consult the course catalog for full listing of current courses available in this field.

Possible Careers for Musicians

The study of music leads to the development of a range of transferable skills. Diligent music study enhances habits of mind, personal discipline and abstract thinking applicable to an astonishing range of careers, including and well beyond music and the arts. Our Center for Vocation and Career will be happy to partner with you to explore the full scope of options available.

  • Church Music Minister
  • Film Composer/Orchestrator
  • Music Librarian
  • Entertainment Attorney
  • Music Teacher (Private, Public, K-12, University)
  • Orchestral Musician
  • Ethnodoxologist
  • Arts Missionary
  • Marketing Specialist in the Arts
  • Music Medicine Specialist
  • Opera Singer
  • Recording Engineer
Approximately 30% of Conservatory of Music alumni go on to study in many of the leading graduate programs in the world directly after graduation. Recent graduate school placements include:
  • Indiana University
  • Eastman School of Music
  • Florida State University
  • University of Michigan
  • Guildhall School of Music and Drama
  • Cincinnati (CCM)
  • Northwestern University
  • Goldsmiths University of London
  • Juilliard

The most recent degrees pursued:

  • Master of Music (M.Mus.)
  • Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
The rigorous music program, incredible professors, and the Men’s Glee Club have stretched me in ways I never thought possible. I will never forget Wheaton and the impact it has had on my life, spiritually and musically. — Mitchell Kirby '16
The Conservatory is a safe space where everyone is encouraged to be the best musician they can be. The tour opportunities have helped me to grow my musicianship and character. — Olivia Mullins '18
The best part about being a Wheaton grad is that graduating doesn't mean leaving Wheaton behind. I use the skills I learned in the Conservatory every day in graduate school. — Catherine Grace Miller '16
Rachel Ringeisen '09 Wheaton College Alumni
Rachel Ringeisen '09
5th-8th Grade Strings Teacher
The Conservatory of Music Prepared Me to be a Music Educator
"Wheaton College developed me as a musician and shaped my abilities and knowledge; I have been able to accomplish my goals thanks to my Wheaton education."