Why Study Music at K?
Engaging courses, lively ensembles, and personalized faculty mentorship make K an excellent school to be a musician.
As a music student, you will explore the world of sound and its role in social life across geography and history. Balancing theory and practice, you will become a better listener, learning the languages and histories of the craft, as well as a better creator, developing your technical and artistic ability.
You will develop these skills through courses in music theory and history (e.g., Music of World Cultures, Western Art Music Before 1750, and Jazz Explorations) and practical classes to improve your musical talents (e.g., Band Methods and Conducting). Outside of the classroom, all students—regardless of their major—are welcome to take part in private lessons and campus ensembles to further hone their musicianship and joyfully create music with fellow students. The Music Department is also a part of the wider tapestry of great music-making that goes on in the vibrant cultural life of Kalamazoo.
The creativity, self-discipline, communication, and analytic thinking skills you will develop as a music student will prepare you for professional life or to continue your education in graduate school. Our alumni work in every aspect of music—as teachers, performers, composers, editors, and technicians—and beyond.
What can you do with a music degree?
Below are some of the careers, employers, and graduate schools of our music alumni.
- Music Therapist
- Audio Engineer
- Sound Designer
- Arts Administrator
- Sony Music Publishing
- Vicksburg Public Schools
- Irving S. Gilmore International Piano Festival
- Livewire Recording and Production
- Grover Gaming
- Berkee College of Music
- Bowling Green State University
- University of North Carolina
- Cambridge College
- University of Wisconsin Madison
Music is for everyone, not just majors
At K, we do not place you in “majors-only” siloes, instead, your study of music will benefit from a broad and open-minded engagement with the liberal arts. All our ensembles, lessons, and courses are open to all students regardless of their major (or majors!): we have chemists and anthropologists playing in the orchestra and biologists and poets in the jazz band.
Join the community of musicians in Kalamazoo
Located near downtown Kalamazoo, the College takes full advantage of the city’s rich music community. You will get to learn from and play with local professionals in our advanced ensembles, attend musical events hosted both on and off campus, and benefit from the College’s close connections with local music organizations, such as The Gilmore, Bach Festival, and Fontana Chamber Arts. Some of our students have even had the privilege of playing with the Kalamazoo Symphony!
Play in one of the College’s nine ensembles
Any and all students are encouraged to take advantage of the breadth of campus ensembles K has to offer.
- Kalamazoo Philharmonia (orchestra)
- The Academy Street Winds (band)
- Bach Festival Chorus (choir)
- Jazz Band (band and some strings)
- College Singers (choir)
- Lux Esto Chamber Singers (choir)
- International Percussion Ensemble (percussion)
- Bayati Ensemble (strings, woodwinds, and singers)
- Improvisation Ensemble (all instruments)
Meet the Current Departmental Student Advisor
Mikki Wong (She/Her/Hers)
Majors: Music and East Asian Studies
What is the best thing about being part of this department?
Being surrounded by other musicians who both encourage and inspire me.
What has been your favorite class at K? Why?
My favorite class at K has been the Japanese percussion ensemble, taiko, because of the progress I’ve been able to see in myself. I first took this class during the fall term of 2020 as a complete beginner, so I was not accustomed to the full-body experience that taiko demanded. My arms would tense up as I struggled to keep up with the rhythms. But I stuck with it and at the end of every term, I felt closer and closer to understanding the philosophy of movement that would allow me to play more efficiently. Now, I embrace taiko as a physical activity of complete focus and celebrate my body’s ability to successfully conserve and direct energy, for the subject is infectious.
What experiential education opportunities have you participated in?
Starting in Fall 2021, I became the president of the student organization/club K-Rock. Since then, we have held two fantastic performances, one in Fall 2021 and a second in Spring 2022. I have learned much about event management, peer collaboration, and leadership responsibilities.
What is your Senior Integrated Project (SIP)?
For my SIP, I decided to write music with Japanese lyrics that correspond with the content of the first- and second-level Japanese textbooks. This idea combines both my interest in reviewing and furthering my Japanese language skills and my passion for music.
What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?
I would very much like to continue being involved in music and am considering a career in arts management.