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Music Performance

The Blair School of Music serves as a focal point at Vanderbilt for the study of music as a human endeavor and as a performing art. The Bachelor of Music in Performance provides a balanced education in music as a vital medium for the expression of the human spirit. It affords the professional student the opportunity to develop high-level musicianship, artistic sensibilities, and a strong commitment to the art, and will instill a lifelong desire to participate creatively as an artist in an ever-evolving musical culture.

For students dedicated to developing performance skills at the highest level, Blair offers the bachelor of music degree in: Bassoon • Cello • Clarinet • Double bass • Euphonium • Flute • Harp • Horn • Oboe Percussion • Piano • Saxophone • Trombone • Trumpet • Tuba • Viola • Violin • Voice

The Blair School of Music enrolls students from over thirty-five states and foreign countries. Performance majors may also choose to enhance their studies by taking a minor or second major in another field, Blair alumni have gone on to pursue graduate study at major schools of music in the United States and Europe.

Through individual performance instruction, weekly performance classes, solo recitals, master class participation, and performance in chamber music and larger ensembles, students gain valuable experience to prepare for a career in music.

Because well-educated performers understand music's foundations and progression, the program also emphasizes knowledge of music theory, musicianship, conducting, and history/literature. In addition, all music students complete a varied liberal arts core of coursework. A school-sponsored referral service provides opportunities for student soloists and ensembles to gain performing experience for pay in Nashville.


The Blair building incorporates innovative developments in acoustical design and engineering. It contains teaching studios, classrooms, practice rooms, library, administrative offices, a large electronic piano lab, instrumental and choral rehearsal halls, the 272-seat Steve and Judy Turner Recital Hall, and the  609-seat Ingram Hall which includes full staging capability with orchestra pit, orchestra shell, full lighting/sound systems, and opera scene shop.

The Anne Potter Wilson Music Library is a division of the Jean and Alexander Heard Library system. It is a central gathering place, with plentiful spaces for study and contemplation, where researchers collaborate with the music library staff to discuss methods of accessing resources and information in the field of music. The current collections contain over 95,000 items, including scores, recordings, videos, books, journals and numerous online resources.

Other Special Opportunities

Students may participate in a wide variety of large and small ensemble experiences, including Vanderbilt Orchestra, Vanderbilt Wind Symphony, Vanderbilt Chorale, Symphonic Choir, Vanderbilt Opera Theatre, Big Band, Fiddle Ensemble, Steel Drum/Pan Ensemble, Sankofa (African Performing Ensemble), and Percussion Ensemble.

The Blair School of Music sponsors a variety of concert series that offer solo, chamber music, and large ensemble performances to the University community and the Middle Tennessee area. The Blair Concert Series provides exceptional programming through the Faculty Signature Series, BMI Composer-in-Residence Series, Nightcap Series and Music on Film Series. National and international artists and ensembles, the Blair faculty, including resident ensembles and soloists, and student ensembles and performers are all featured.  Weekly student recitals, junior and senior solo recitals, and senior composition recitals are free and open to the public.  

More than 300 concerts are presented at the school each year. Internationally known performers visit the Blair School frequently to perform and give master classes.  Some recent artists include Thomas Hampson, baritone; Emanuel Ax, pianist; the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet; Kim Kashkashian, violist, Laurence Lesser, cellist, and S? Percussion. The BMI Composer-in-Residence program, sponsored by Broadcast Music, Inc., brings visiting composers to campus every year for a three-day residency. Composers-in-residence have included William Bolcom, George Crumb, Lukas Foss, John Harbison, Karel Husa, Joseph Schwantner, Frank Ticheli, Michael Torke, and Joan Tower.

Students at the Blair School engage in research and creative expression in many different ways. Each summer several are involved in the VU Summer Research Program (VUSRP). Throughout the academic year students can enroll for credit to work one-on-one with faculty mentors in an independent study, a thesis in musicology, a junior thesis in composition, an honors thesis in musicology, a recital, and other collaborative projects in the arts. 

Recent student projects include:

  • A study of Sondheim’s setting of language to music, and the composition of a new musical theatre work based on the findings
  • Researching music and the mind, with a focus on using music to help veterans with PTSD
  • Organizing a concert to celebrate the 140th birthday of Charles Ives, featuring Blair faculty and student performers
  • Investigating current trends in audience engagement in classical music in order to understand best practices for increasing and expanding engagement

Students may also gain valuable experience by receiving academic credit for an internship. Opportunities are available throughout Nashville in the academic year, or students may intern anywhere in the summer. Students have interned at: Nashville recording studios, National Public Radio, the Nashville Symphony, the National Music Festival, and the Washington National Opera.


Blair School of Music is home to internationally known faculty soloists and ensembles, and Blair’s performers, composers, ethnomusicologists, and musicologists are among the most respected in their fields. Faculty chamber ensembles in residence include the Blair String Quartet, the Blakemore Piano Trio, the Blair Woodwind Quintet, and the Blair Brass Quintet. Their dedication to teaching and a low student/faculty ratio provide students the personal attention that fosters maximum musical growth and understanding.

For information about faculty, please visit and link to the departmental websites.

Contact Information for Department Chairs

Peter Kolkay
(615) 322-4918

Connie Heard 
(615) 322-7681

Jeremy Wilson
(615) 322-7676

Karen Ann Krieger
(615) 322-7671

Amy Jarman
(615) 322-7684

Contact for Blair Admissions Questions

Thomas Crespo and Molly Jewell
Blair School of Music
2400 Blakemore Ave
Nashville, TN 37212
Phone: (615) 322-6181

Music Performance Website