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Music: The UDC Edge

UDC’s music program has a long and rich history in the D.C. community. UDC was the first in the nation and remains the only university in the D.C. area to offer a concentration in gospel music studies. Coupled with our classical and jazz offerings, UDC’s music program provides a wide range of opportunities that serve the educational and artistic needs of our community. In addition, we are home to the Felix E. Grant Jazz Archives, a world-class jazz research and resource center.

The music program enjoys access to local and national resources such as the Washington Performing Arts Society’s Community Arts and Education programs, the Smithsonian Institution, the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and its education and outreach programs.

Bachelor's Degree (BM) in Music

Whether you're a high school student looking to continue formal training or a pro musician seeking a degree after years honing your craft on the road, the University of the District of Columbia is the place to extend your musical training and join a vibrant community of performers and educators.

With a diverse curriculum and personal attention, the UDC bachelor's degree program in music provides professional training and performance opportunities to help you become a skilled, creative contributor to the field.

UDC serves as a cultural resource to the D.C. music community, hosting a world-renowned jazz archives, organizing an acclaimed annual big band festival as well as other music-related outreach, research and performance programs. We prepare our students to give back to that community as both educators and performers.

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Curriculum and Requirements in the UDC Music Program

To be admitted to any of the music bachelor's degree programs, you must apply, audition and pass the program's placement examinations.  You can pursue a two-year associate's degree through UDC's Community College in preparation for acceptance into the four-year bachelor's degree program.

The bachelor's degree in music program offers five areas of concentration:

  • Gospel music studies
  • Jazz studies
  • Keyboard
  • Instrumental Studies
  • Voice

The current bachelor's degree in music education is a five-year program offering three areas of concentration, in preparation for P-12 choral or instrumental teacher certification:

  • Vocal music education
  • Keyboard music education
  • Instrumental music education

This degree option is no longer accepting majors. A revised four-year bachelor's degree in music education (pre-certification) is under review and is designed for students intending to complete the additional requirements for P-12 teacher certification or in anticipation of enrollment in the Master of Arts in Teaching program (MAT).

The music education program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and is in compliance with the music education standards of the District of Columbia Public Schools.

Please note that many music courses are open to students not seeking a music degree.

Student Organizations and Activities in the UDC Music Program

UDC's music ensembles give you a chance to pursue your musical interests, expand your skills and be a part of the cultural life of Washington, D.C.  The ensembles are open by audition to all UDC students and welcome members of the D.C. community, as well.

UDC's performance ensembles include:

  • UDC Chorale
    • Founded in 1969, the UDC Chorale's repertoire covers a broad spectrum of choral literature that includes the music of African-American composers. In addition to the regularly scheduled concert engagements, the UDC Chorale performs at University events and has appeared with the HBCU Concert Choir Consortium and at the National U.S. Veterans Day Concert in Washington, D.C.
  • UDC Jazz Ensembles
  • The Voices
    • The University's gospel music choir has been featured in concert at UDC Gospel Music Festivals, the Smithsonian Institution, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and at various churches, schools and community centers.
  • Chamber Ensembles (Woodwind, Brass and Percussion)

Faculty Spotlight: UDC Music Program

Allyn Johnson is director of the jazz studies program at UDC and steward of the university's rich legacy of jazz. He is one of the most influential figures in the Washington, D.C., jazz scene, helping cultivate the District's next generation of musicians. A pianist, composer-arranger and educator, he is respected by the revered musical giants as well the "young lions" of his generation.

Career Pathways and Prospects

With a bachelor’s degree in music from UDC, you can pursue graduate studies in music, music education, arts management or library and information science. You may also go on to a career as a teacher, performer, studio musician, composer/arranger, sound engineer or music therapist.  

With demand for musicians in religious organizations very high in the D.C. area, you may consider that path, as well—our gospel studies concentration would be ideal preparation.

Contact info:

Judith A. Korey, Music Program Director

E: jkorey@udc.edu | T: 202.274.5803 | F: 202.274.5817