Skip to main content

Home > Find Your Major > Music Performance

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 musicology/ethnomusicology. 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.

Blair applicants must submit all Vanderbilt application materials as well as a Blair School of Music application. Applicants must include a prescreening audition video; requirements are listed for each instrument/area at: https://blair.vanderbilt.edu/admissions/apply.php

Facilities

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 and the music library staff collaborate on methods of accessing resources and information in the field of music. The current collections contain more than 110,000 books, scores, sound and video recordings, and subscriptions to journals and online music databases.

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, 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, 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 320 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 Sō Percussion Guest composers 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, the Washington National Opera, and more.

Faculty

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 blair.vanderbilt.edu/departments/ and link to the departmental websites.

Contact Information for Department Chairs

Woodwinds
Peter Kolkay
Phone: (615) 322-4918
Email: peter.kolkay@vanderbilt.edu

Strings
Connie Heard
Phone: (615) 322-7681
Email: connie.heard@vanderbilt.edu

Brass/Percussion
Jeremy Wilson
Phone: (615) 322-7676
Email: jeremy.wilson@vanderbilt.edu

Piano
Karen Ann Krieger
Phone: (615) 322-7671
Email: karen.a.krieger@vanderbilt.edu 

Voice
Gayle Shay
Phone: (615) 322-7687
Email: gayle.shay@vanderbilt.edu


Contact for Blair Admissions Questions

Thomas Crespo and Molly Jewell
Blair School of Music
2400 Blakemore Ave
Nashville, TN 37212
Phone: (615) 322-6181
Email: blair.inquiries@vanderbilt.edu

 

Music Performance Website