Music Integrated Studies
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 Integrated Studies major attracts students who are strong performers and composers, but are also interested in various facets of music. Students in this major declare a primary performance area or composition, and in addition to these primary area requirements, they are required to declare a concentration in another musical area. Some examples of music concentrations are: composition, musicology, ethnomusicology, pedagogy, music theory, jazz, multiple winds, collaborative arts, or an individually designed area. This program provides a solid foundation in the study of music and liberal arts, as well as the opportunity to develop and refine a secondary discipline in music.
Because well-educated performers and musicians 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.
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 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, 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, 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. 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, and more.
The Blair School of Music enrolls students from over thirty-five states and foreign countries. Blair alumni have gone on to pursue graduate study at major schools of music in the United States and Europe.
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 for Department Chairs
Karen Ann Krieger
Contact for Blair Admissions Questions
Thomas Crespo and Molly Jewell
Blair School of Music
2400 Blakemore Ave
Nashville, TN 37212
Phone: (615) 322-6181