Points of Pride

As diversity initiatives have risen to top priority on campus, the School of Music is already doing much to position ourselves to assume a leadership role in this area. The Bachelor of Science in CS + Music and the BMA in Lyric Theatre join the renovated Music Education curriculum, the BA in Music Technology, the Hip-Hop Collective and the global resonance of musicology courses and ensembles. The School of Music’s new ISYM programs in Hip-Hop, Technology, and Black Chorus are just a few recent and ongoing developments that signal new thinking within the School.  


The School of Music offers a suite of Music Production Courses. Classes include "Decoding Dr. Dre: Exploring CS+X in Hip Hop, Cultural Engineering, and Technology Entrepreneurship" taught by Dr. William Patterson, “Popular Music Production – The Art of Beatmaking” taught by Lamont Holden, “Introduction to Contemporary Approaches to Creating Interactive Music” taught by Eli Fieldsteel, and  "Critical Listening for Audio Engineers" and "Audio Recording Techniques Practicum" taught by Graham Duncan.

Since Fall 2018, the Lyric Theatre Faculty has continues to bring courses aimed at all levels of singing experience and ability. "Singing in Musical Theatre" includes a final cabaret-style performance at the semester’s end. "Musical Theatre Repertoire" is a high-contact class conduced in a studio setting presented through methods of vocal exercises, studying and singing Musical Theatre repertoire, and class and individual evaluations. With Instructor Approval, music students and students across all disciplines can gain exposure to Lyric Theatre coursework experience.


The University of Illinois School of Music offers a large selection of ensembles that are open, by audition, to all students regardless of their major. Some of our ensembles are also open to community members. These include University Band, Black Chorus, Oratorio Society, Balkanalia, and Gamelan. Students also have the opportunity explore a wide variety of musical traditions in our World Music Ensembles, The University of Illinois Hip-Hop Collective, Illinois Modern Ensemble, and Lyric Theatre Productions .


In the Fall of 2019, the School also welcomed its largest freshman class of students since 2013. Interest in SoM programs has been steadily increasing in the past four years due to targeted recruitment efforts by the SoM faculty, music admissions and public engagement offices, as well as the development of new degree programs. Undergraduate applications were at a record high for the second year in row, due in part to the addition of the new Bachelor of Musical Arts degree in Lyric Theatre and the Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science + Music.

The CS+Music Degree , devised by Professor Heinrich Taube (Composition-Theory) and Paris Smaragdis (Computer Science/Electrical & Computer Engineering), has already attracted much interest, including out-of-state and international students. Given the inherent links between music and mathematics, the School of Music’s rich history of fostering experimentation with technology , and the increasingly dynamic role of data and computing in music, Taube called the creation of the degree program “a no-brainer” and envisions the university being “the premiere place on Earth” to pursue such studies.


Since 2017, Illinois Summer Youth Music  has increased its 2020 program offerings  to include a larger variety of music traditions including the Black Chorus at ISYM, ISYM Hip Hop , and ISYM Music Technology.

Adam Kruse has received a Creative Research Award from the College of Fine + Applied Arts and an M3I4 grant from the School of Music to host the first-ever Hip-Hop Music Ed Symposium. He is a co-leader for the Hip-Hop Xpress project, which received a $150,000 grant from the University president to repurpose a school bus into a mobile production, recording, and education studio. 

Student Initiatives and Organizations

The American Choral Directors Association, U of I Chapter

The American Choral Directors Association, U of I Chapter is a collection of students who are individual members of the National Organization. ACDA brings together choral directors from all walks of life for conferences, workshops, and other large events. The collegiate members of the ACDA are often preparing for their own future jobs as school, church, and as college choir directors. Through membership in the U of I chapter of ACDA, students can attend these national events and conferences for networking. The U of I Chapter plans events, workshops, and master classes which members of the school and community can attend to continue to hone their craft as choral music conductors and educators.

Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, U of I Chapter

Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia shares a bond that transcends that of most fraternities. Unlike most social fraternities, Sinfonia and its members share a very specific quality: a love of music. It is through this love that we find the strength and will to put forth as one voice in support of the realization of our Object:

The Object of this Fraternity shall be for the development of the best and truest fraternal spirit; the mutual welfare and brotherhood of musical students; the advancement of music in America and a loyalty to the Alma Mater.

Bound by faith in our art, Sinfonia fosters permeating Brotherhood among its members through shared exalted experiences. Transcending mere friendship, Sinfonia offers an opportunity for connection and camaraderie that lasts a lifetime.

Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity

  • TO FORM chapters of women college students and alumnae who have a sincere interest in music. TO UPHOLD the highest standards of music.
  • TO FURTHER the development of music in America and throughout the world.
  • TO GIVE inspiration and encouragement to members.
  • TO ORGANIZE the cultural life of Sigma Alpha Iota members as a contributing
  • factor to their educational growth.
  • TO SUPPORT the ideals and goals of the member's Alma Mater.
  • TO ADHERE to the highest standards of citizenship in school, community and
  • fraternity life.
  • vpm.sai.sigmadelta@gmail.com

Kappa Kappa Psi

We, the brothers of Kappa Kappa Psi, believe that service to the college or university band program fosters responsibility, loyalty, and leadership; that a spirit of brotherhood is enhanced by the participation in a band program; that music is a universal language and truly the greatest of the arts; and that through fraternal participation, each member will strive for the highest.

American String Teachers Association

We are the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign student chapter of the American String Teachers' Association. The American String Teachers Association founded more than 60 years ago, is a membership organization for string and orchestra teachers and players, helping them to develop and refine their careers. ASTA's members range from budding student teachers to artist-status performers.

Please contact Steven Fairbanks for information: stf@illinois.edu

National Association for Music Education

NAfME at U of I is made up of future music educators and musicians alike who strive to
improve the world through music. This RSO caters to all music disciplines and encourages professionalism in all aspects of education. Members of NAfME raise each other up while supporting all genres of music. We hold several professional development and social events each semester and strive for inclusivity and diversity in the planning of our events. Each member of NAfME is required to come to all meetings, as many events as possible, and hold the utmost respect for music education. By doing this, each member has the privilege to travel with NAfME to the Illinois Music Educators Conference. Contact any of our executive members with any other questions about membership requirements. 


National Band Association

At the National Band Association at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, we strive to give music education majors (and others) a chance to perform on secondary instruments. This gives developing conductors a workshop environment to hone their craft, to give all a chance to become more familiar with high-quality repertoire at lower grade levels, and to provide members with numerous professional development opportunities. We host bi-weekly reading and additional events are posted on our calendar and sent out through email and social media. UIUC NBA members attend the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, Illinois every year. This clinic provides professional development opportunities, and gives members a chance to attend clinics, view exhibits, performances, and interact with other musicians and educators.


Jazz Education Network

"JEN was founded in a spirit of celebration… celebrating music, celebrating community, and celebrating endless learning. Jazz isn’t just about performing. It’s about making music together. And we can only do this if we all join together in keeping the love and education of jazz alive." Jazz Education Network is a national organization dedicated to advancing jazz education, developing audiences, and promoting performance. It is a community where educators, students, pros and aficionados share and learn from each other Advancing jazz education comes in many forms: introducing jazz education at younger levels, supporting the academic community, and connecting students and pros for once-in-a-lifetime experiences.