Music Performance

Natalie Closner

Are you a musician with an interest in studying music and developing your skills for a future in music performance? SPU's Music degree with an emphasis in Performance offers you a rigorous education and a rich foundation.


A Music major will provide you access to an outstanding faculty who perform with world-class organizations, including the Seattle Symphony, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Opera, Seattle Bach Choir, and Seattle Pro Musica; and who record for top studio movie and TV productions.  

Furthermore, a music degree with an emphasis in Performance will teach you to hone and develop your musicianship while engaging you in the advanced study of music theory and literature. As you perform in both large and small ensembles and multiple solo recitals, learn a multitude of styles, experience rigorous in-class and private instruction, and participate in regular studio recording, you will begin your preparation for a promising future in music.

Major Courses and Degree Requirements

SPU’s Music Program is accredited at the state and national levels. Each component of the program is designed to sharpen your skills, develop your competence and character, and prepare you for a life in music performance and service.

As a Music major with a Performance emphasis, you will engage in an integrative approach to advanced musicianship. You will study music theory, aural skills, music history, and a wide range of styles from the early Middle Ages to the 21st century. You will have the opportunity to reflect on the integration of music and faith, as well as on your sense of vocation, as you study in depth great works such as Bach’s “St. Matthew’s Passion,” Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis,” Brahms’ “German Requiem,” and Mahler’s “Resurrection Symphony.” You will perform in a variety of ensembles across Seattle and be a part of the music and art created in this inspirational and culture-defining city.

The minimum total quarter credits required for a major emphasis is 124. The minimum total quarter credits required for degree is 180.

View the major courses and degree requirements.

Entering the Major

You may enter the Music major during your first quarter at SPU. Entrance after your first quarter requires only good academic standing (2.0 or higher SPU cumulative GPA). Consult the Undergraduate Catalog for complete information on how and when to enter and what you must do to complete the program.   

Career Opportunities

  • Church Musician
  • Composer
  • Conductor
  • Ensemble Member 
  • Freelance Musician
  • K–12 Music Teacher
  • Music Director
  • Music Librarian 
  • Music Professor
  • Music Therapist
  • Musicologist
  • Orchestra Member
  • Private Lesson Studio
  • Solo Performer
  • Sound Engineer
  • Studio Musician

Faculty Contacts

Brian Chin

Professor of Music
DMA, University of Washington

Office: Crawford 107

Chérie Hughes

Assistant Professor of Music; Director of Vocal Studies
DMA, University of Oregon

Phone: 206-281-2925
Office: Nickerson Studios 111

Dainius Vaičekonis

Associate Professor of Piano; Director of Keyboard Studies
DMA, University of Washington

Office: Crawford 105

Stephen Newby

Dr. Stephen Newby, associate professor of music and director of the Gospel Choir and Worship Arts Ensemble, leads fans in the national anthem at nearly every Seattle Sounders FC home game.

Photo courtesy of Peter Haley, News Tribune.

Brian Chin

Why I Teach at SPU

Brian Chin, Professor and Chair of Music

“A life in music is a joy-filled and humbling lifelong education, and I believe that we musicians, young and old, are on this journey together. The 21st century is an era that rewards the skills of the complete musician, and SPU is uniquely positioned to encourage this blossoming of talent. Through teaching, I consciously choose to invest my sacred time on Earth to walk and create with my fellow artists and incite human flourishing.”