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 its 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, the university is 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, the Smithsonian Institution, the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Bachelor’s Degree (BM) in Music

UDC is the place for students to extend their musical training and join a vibrant community of performers and educators. The Department of Music has something to offer everyone; from high school graduates looking to continue formal training to professional musicians seeking a degree after years honing their craft.

The music program’s diverse curriculum combines professional training and performance opportunities to help each student 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. The Department of Music prepares students to give back to the community as both educators and performers.


Curriculum and Requirements in the UDC Music Program

Programs of Study

Music Education – Instrumental
Music Education – Keyboard/Instrumental
Music Education – Keyboard/Vocal
Music Education – Vocal
Music – Gospel Music
Music – Jazz Studies
Music – Keyboard
Music – Instrumental Music
Music – Voice

For admission to any of the music bachelor’s degree programs, prospective students must apply, audition and pass the program’s placement examinations.  Students 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 of Arts degree in Music is offered in two options: Music Performance and Music Education

The music performance option offers five areas of concentration:

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

This four-year degree program prepares students for performing careers and for graduate study in performance, pedagogy, and related areas.

The bachelor’s degree in music education (pre-certification) offers three areas of concentration:

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

The program prepares students for teaching careers and entrance into the Master of Arts in Teaching program (MAT).

The Master of Arts in Teaching program (MAT) prepares teacher candidates to teach music in Grades P-12 with certification in either Choral (Vocal) or Instrumental Music (P-12).

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

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the program students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate the technical skills, musicianship, and understanding of repertory as solo and ensemble performers in at least one major performing area at a level appropriate to the concentration;
  2. Comprehend the organizational patterns and common elements of music and apply this understanding to aural, verbal, and visual analyses;
  3. Create original or derivative music at a level appropriate to the concentration;
  4. Demonstrate a basic understanding of music history and repertories in addition to that of the area of the concentration;
  5. Utilize basic technologies and applications that are current to their area of concentration;
  6. Integrate the range of musical knowledge and skills learned over the course of study in preparation for a career in music and for graduate study in performance, pedagogy, and related areas.

Student Organizations and Activities in the UDC Music Program

UDC’s music ensembles give students a chance to pursue your musical interests, expand their skills and participate in 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)

Student Organizations

Music Student Senate, UDC Chorale (Organization), UDC Voices (Organization), and MENC Student Chapter (Music Educators National Conference)

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 Coordinator
E: | T: 202.274.5803 | F: 202.274.5817