About Us

Grand Valley State University is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music. Music at GVSU offers curricula leading to the B.A., B.M., and B.M.E. degrees, as well as a Music Minor and Piano Pedagogy Certificate. These programs present music in the context of a broad liberal education, provide a course of study for the exceptionally gifted student who is interested in performance, composition, music technology, private studio teaching, or further graduate study, and prepares both vocal and instrumental students for careers in elementary and secondary school teaching. Additionally, the faculty is committed to providing cultural enrichment to students in all departments and to serving the university community by providing appropriate musical support for all facets of academic life.

Concerto Competition Winner

Concerto Competition Winner

Cello Section

The music faculty consists of 24 regular full-time faculty, 11 additional full time faculty and more than 20 adjunct faculty. Most of the part-time teachers are specialists on one or more instruments. The Music Program has over 200 students enrolled in a music major or minor and is housed in GVSU's Performing Arts Center (PAC). Available facilities include the Louis Armstrong Theatre, which seats 400, the 100-seat Sherman Van Solkema Recital Hall was added in 1997, along with fourteen new teaching studios for individual performance instruction, and a doubling of practice rooms, to make a total of 26 well-equipped rooms. Four ensemble rehearsal rooms now occupy the south wing of the PAC, one for instrumental ensembles, another for choral ensembles, one for percussion teaching and rehearsals, and one for jazz, sectionals, and chamber music. A third concert auditorium, which seats 250 in the neighboring Cook-DeWitt Center, is also much used for student and faculty performances. This hall houses the Jay and Betty Van Andel 28-rank Reuter pipe organ, used for lessons and organ recitals. The Cook Carillon Tower houses the 48-bell Cook Carillon, cast by Royal Eijsbouts Bell Foundry in the Netherlands.

The GVSU Digital Music Lab is available for use by all music students and includes 23 specialized DSP/MIDI workstations utilizing Intel iMacs, m-Audio keyboards, and CD and DVD burning and recording capability. In this lab students may build an impressive digital portfolio for their career in the music and/or video industry. The workstations may be used for composition, music theory and aural perception training, and audio and video recording/editing and processing. For these expressed purposes computers have the following software installed: Final Cut Studio including Soundtrack and Motion, Logic Express, Finale, and GarageBand.

The Composition Music Lab is available to those studying music composition at GVSU. It includes an iMac workstation with m-Audio keyboard and various MIDI controllers, recording equipment. and software including Finale, Sibelius, Logic Pro X, and Ableton Live.

Thomas J. and Marcia J. Haas Center for Performing Arts

Thomas J. and Marcia J. Haas Center for Performing Arts

Thomas J. and Marcia J. Haas Center for Performing Arts

Why study music at GVSU?

  • Studying music at GVSU, within the context of a liberal education foundation, prepares our students to answer the call of a rewarding career and life.
  • As an undergraduate-only program, our students have greater opportunities to learn and perform.
  • Small class sizes allow students to engage directly with our faculty members, who are committed to understanding and encouraging each student's unique talent and needs.
  • Our professors are performers, international competition winners, conductors, composers, theorists, scholars, and acclaimed teachers.
  • Grand Valley is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music. 
  • Our graduates go on to careers as varied as Arts Administrators, Composers, Musicologists, Music Directors, Music Therapists, Performers, and Classroom and Private Studio Teachers.



Piano lesson

Degrees Offered:

  • The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in music promotes the study of music within the context of a liberal education curriculum.
  • The Bachelor of Music (B.M.) is designed for students with exceptional ability and particular interest in performance.
  • The Bachelor of Music Education (B.M.E.) prepares students to teach music and meet certification requirements for Michigan’s elementary and secondary schools.
  • The Music Minor offers non-degree seeking students with previous training the opportunity to continue studying music.
  • The Piano Pedagogy Certificate will enable undergraduate piano majors and area piano teachers to focus on the skills necessary for successful piano teaching.

Learn more here.


In addition to being admitted to Grand Valley, each applicant wanting to major or minor in music must have a personal audition with the music faculty. If considerable distance or extreme hardship prevents a personal audition, the applicant may, with the permission of the Department, submit a tape recording of an appropriate performance. Find out more:

Music Audition Information

Entering freshmen and transfer students will be required to take a theory placement and keyboard musicianship placement exams. In addition to completing a successful audition before admission, a second screening is conducted before admission to upper-division courses. This evaluation includes performance, faculty recommendations, a profile of teaching competencies, a brief essay, and an interview with department faculty. Find out more:

Transfer Information


In addition to scholarship and aid packages based upon need, talent-based scholarships ranging up to $4000 per year are awarded from the Gierst-Egler Band, Fine Arts, Chamber Orchestra, and jazz scholarship funds. For information about the general aid packages, contact the Financial Aid Office. For information about music talent awards, contact the Office of Music, Theatre, Dance (616-331-3484) or see the Scholarships and Awards page by clicking the button below.


Page last modified June 8, 2018