Music is a way of thinking. It is expressive, nuanced, and exacting; it elevates and changes us. When we make music, listen to it, or write about it, we are engaged in creating new knowledge.


At Duke we explore music from every angle: as performers; as composers; as students of its history and its complex languages; as observers of everything that is musical in the world around us.


Studying music develops our capacity for self-expression, and for collaboration. It is a communal art form, inviting us to reach beyond ourselves to connect with other musicians and with our audience.


Your undergraduate years are a time for creative and intellectual exploration. The Music Department offers many pathways through academic and performance courses that connect to your interests, whether you consider yourself a skilled musician or not. In fact, you can participate in all of our programs whether or not you major or minor in Music.

The Music Department cultivates an environment that:

  • Integrates scholarship, performance, and composition
  • Brings together a close-knit community of students and faculty that support each others’ work and offers a favorable faculty-student ratio
  • Complements studio lessons with academic courses that focus on the repertory you are learning
  • Offers classes that engage other disciplines, including computation, medicine, literature, engineering, film, theater, dance, public policy, and cultural anthropology