Explore the future of music


One of the first music schools in America
Men: 42%; women: 58%
First-year-to-sophomore retention rate: 74%
Students of color: 24%
Geographic diversity: 26 states and two countries
200+ events per year
First required entrepreneurial music curriculum in the country
Average class size: 12

School of Music graduates take advantage of many diverse opportunities. Nearly 40% of our graduates go directly to graduate school, and approximately 50% of our students move directly into full-time employment. From performers to administrators to entrepreneurs, our graduates take part in various career opportunities.

'Seth Tsui ’11 embodied the 21CM spirit before the initiative was in full force. While at DePauw, he was encouraged to develop his playing skills as a trombonist but also to experiment with composition, rock music, and sound recording. He now composes film music in Los Angeles and tours nationally with Addictive Stranger. In 2013 Seth was the co-winner of the inaugural CINE Film Scoring Competition for Emerging Composers.

Susie Miller ’14 is the manifestation of the 21CM Initiative. With a diverse set of skills she learned at DePauw’s School of Music, she now teaches violin (at the Music House Academy in Chicago and her own studio) and performs with a variety of bands through Arlen Music Productions. As a recent graduate, Susie has done some amazing things: played the radio show In a Nutshell, at Lollapalooza, in the Legally Blonde: The Musical pit orchestra, and at the Oshkosh IrishFest and started her own chamber ensemble. She credits her success to saying “yes” to every single opportunity that came her way. “DePauw prepared me for the performing and teaching career that I have now.”

Founded in 1884, the DePauw University School of Music is one of the first institutions for music education in the country. With a history spanning well over a century, the School of Music has established itself as a leader among undergraduate music institutions with its reputation for producing excellent music educators, performers, scholars, and administrators. With an innovative, adaptive curriculum and a brimming performance calendar, the School of Music is strengthened by its rich history of exemplary faculty and legendary guest artists.

DePauw’s School of Music is an example of innovation at its finest. Our cutting-edge curriculum, experience outside of the classroom, touring and recording opportunities, community engagement, and guest artists prepare our students to become musicians of the future.

You may be wondering what exactly this means. A 21st-century musician is defined in many ways: they choose their path, perform or compose music the way they like, make their own opportunities, shape their careers like entrepreneurs, see the audience as an active partner in their success, and collaborate with artists from other disciplines. Beyond simply being talented, 21st-century musicians are adaptable, creative, and tech savvy. As such, DePauw has taken the initiative to establish a new curriculum that teaches students to become musicians of the future: the 21st-Century Musician Initiative (21CM), a complete reimagining of the skills, tools, and experiences necessary to create musicians of the future-—a flexible, entrepreneurial musician who finds diverse musical venues and outlets, in addition to traditional performance spaces, and develops new audiences to impact and strengthen communities.

Why is 21CM important?
Along with rigorous musical training, 21CM places increased emphasis on community engagement, audience development, and business skills for musicians, as well as expanded efforts in advocacy and entrepreneurship. President and former Dean Mark McCoy acknowledges the fact that the classical music world is changing. The days of the single-career musician are waning. Today’s musicians must be flexible and open to new possibilities. Music students must always strive for artistic excellence, but they must also know how to engage today’s audiences in new and innovative ways in order to demonstrate the power and value of music.

While the landscape of traditional career paths has changed, there are artists who are successfully creating new niches for themselves—helping the art form evolve. The 21CM curriculum connects the established music community with talented innovators while providing a “best practices” resource for musicians interested in learning to create their own path. We provide a place where collaboration, experimentation, and excellence in music are discussed, applauded, copied, and emulated, which will lead to providing more opportunities.

Though 21CM is helping DePauw lead the way for music education across the country, other components of our program are undeniably part of our success.

Be heard
Students at DePauw’s School of Music know they will be heard. Our small class sizes, caring faculty, and the absence of graduate students guarantee that you are heard from the very beginning of your career.

Beyond the concert hall
To generate and develop audiences, today’s musician must reach beyond the concert hall. DePauw musicians regularly perform in atypical places like coffeehouses, restaurants, senior centers, and outdoor venues. DePauw and the Greencastle community are making this possible through the integration of a new community music space, Music on the Square (M2).

Through master classes and workshops, applied teaching, or working in the public schools, the modern musician gives back to the community. DePauw gives students the opportunity for innovation both in and out of the classroom.

Music on the Square (M2) is a space that fosters courageous music-making. Gathering as a community of music lovers, we spark curiosity, expand creativity, and cultivate collaboration through one-on-one lessons, adult-learning classes, coached ensembles, and radical, breathtaking performances.

From children taking private music lessons for the first time to adult learners experiencing Communiversity [n. community + university = expanded universe] courses that connect us with music-makers, creators, and innovators, we invite you to make Music on the Square your home for music-making!

Guest artists
As the music world evolves, 21st-century musicians must have firsthand experience with the successful performers and innovators of today. The Green Guest Artist Concerts and the Artist-in-Residence program provide our students with these experiences. Students have the chance to interact with composers and artists to provide a fresh and insightful perspective on the modern musical world.

The musical world is shrinking. Luckily DePauw has connections that allow our students the opportunity to tour many parts of the country and around the world. At DePauw we understand that concert touring is a vital and necessary experience for today’s musician.

Whether producing one’s own album, gaining vital studio and live recording experience, or even managing a weekly radio show, DePauw’s in-house recording studios provide real-world experience.

An online professional resource created specifically to help serious musicians thrive, not just survive, in today’s modern musical landscape, the site combines a magazine focused on people, organizations, projects, and innovations with live events and educational tools.