Sewanee has a long tradition of outstanding music making, from the nationally renown University Choir and orchestras of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival to various student bands that have had flourishing careers post-Sewanee. The Music Department supports such music making with five faculty-led ensembles: the University Choir, the Sewanee Symphony Orchestra, the University Jazz Ensemble, Sewanee Praise, and the Sewanee Folk Music Collective. These ensembles rehearse and perform in Guerry Hall, St. Luke's Chapel, and elsewhere around campus and in the greater Sewanee community. The Choir does a biannual performance tour of England. Student bands have practice space in Guerry scheduled through the Mountaintop Musicians.
Departmental offerings prepare students for performing and creating music. Instruction for academic credit is available in several vocal styles and on most classical instruments and on guitar and fiddle. Courses in Theory/Composition prepare students both to analyze music and to write it themselves (for both acoustic ensembles and the electronic media).
Classes in music history and culture extend and sharpen students’ knowledge of and engagement with music in a variety of traditions--from medieval Europe, to world musics, to contemporary American developments. These classes are open to all students, regardless of musical background.
The Department facilitates the Music major and minor, and the curriculum as a whole supports students for many different professional and post-graduate possibilities, including church music (especially organ performance), internships in the music industry and with non-profit performing arts organizations, and graduate programs (musicology, theory/comp, etc.). Music majors frequently double major or add a minor from another department so as to better prepare for music business, ethnomusicology, and music education. Members of the Music Department faculty are affiliated with American Studies, Environmental Studies, and International and Global Studies.