Who we are

SPU's Music Department trains undergraduates interested in pursuing a career in music, as well as for those wanting to sharpen their musical skills, or pursue music as an avocation. SPU-educated musicians, music educators, and music therapists are in high demand throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond. The Music Department values the richness that diversity brings to the learning community at SPU, and faculty and students strive to maintain respect for the rigor of learning from and with one another.

Our mission

The Music Department at Seattle Pacific University seeks to be an exemplary community committed to helping students to develop their talents and abilities fully, to engage cultural heritage, and to integrate music knowledge and skills in a life characterized by Christian faith, wholeness, and service.

    Music Department goals

  • We are committed to helping students develop their talents and abilities fully. As Christians, we affirm that we are formed in the image of God, and are endowed with the ability and the mandate to be creative. Therefore, we expect students to embrace their own giftedness, understand their potential, and exercise good stewardship through study, practice, and performance.
  • Through the study of music in its cultural, sociological, and historical contexts, we seek to graduate people who engage cultural heritage, who understand who they are, who possess historical perspective, and who will, therefore, be positive change agents in their communities.
  • We value music as a way to serve God and the greater community. Therefore, we are committed to helping students to integrate their knowledge and skills with their faith, equipping them for lives of service.

Learning outcomes

A 21st Century musician trained at Seattle Pacific University will have strong abilities in three primary areas:

Musicianship core

Our core classes in music will acknowledge and message lifelong growth and talent development. Here, content and the skills developed are timeless, unchanging, and culturally / genre universal.

  • Music Fundamentals (Aural Skills, Ear Training, Rhythm Development)
  • Music Theory (Harmony, voice-leading, analysis, composition)
  • Music History (Critical listening, understanding of musical styles from the Renaissance to today and across the globe.)

Cultural and contextual understanding

  • Reflecting on how to create art with a social consciousness
  • Exploring the intersection of faith and our work
  • Developing identity and cultural context

    21st century essential skills

    Certainly, these skills are not new as Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven were all improvisers, performers, composers, and business people. However, these components not systemically and universally taught in most traditional music schools. We believe that these skills are crucial to defining what will become a complete musician in the coming decades of the 21st century.

    • Performance: Technique development and repertoire knowledge of the student's primary instrument or vocal type.
    • Composition: Creative application of learned skills in both traditional written contexts and in electronic sound design. Skills in arranging and collaboration.
    • Improvisation: As a separate and unique skill in need of study and development. Much of the music of the past century is of an improvised language and we anticipate that the convergence of improvisation, performance, and composition will continue long into the future.
    • Technology Integration: Understanding and competence in the professional technological capabilities in music is of crucial importance for all musicians. Students will work from music creating and generation, to recording and producing, to integration of electronic elements in live performance.
    • Business Savvy: The modern musician is often self-employed and has a portfolio-based career. Skills in marketing and promotion, fundraising, budgets, networking, and freelancing are essential to both financial and artistic success.

      With a Music degree, graduates enter a wide variety of careers, from church musician to ethnomusicologist, composer to music critic, music librarian to music teacher. They also work in arenas as diverse as business or entertainment.

      The Music Therapy Program’s rigorous, multidisciplinary curriculum trains students to realize their potential as a music therapist, prepare for the six-month clinical internship, and, ultimately, pass the national examination to earn Board Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC) designation.