Skip to Content

School of Music

University of South Carolina School of Music Vision 2025

The University of South Carolina School of Music seeks to be a model public higher education music school for America.

To be a model public music school our unit must:
•    Be the music school that our students and our university require;
•    Be the music school that our state requires;
•    Be the music school that our art and our society require.

To achieve this vision, the School of Music has articulated its core values and has initiated a planning process to fully embrace these values by recognizing goals and actions that manifest the values, and to do so over the next ten years, 2015–2025.

Our core values:

Excellence - A School of Music cannot be a model without being musically, academically, and artistically excellent. We observe this value by hiring only excellent faculty; recruiting and admitting only excellent students; conducting our work in excellent facilities; creating, delivering, and partnering with excellent programs at our exceptional university; and by expecting excellence in student achievement.

Student success - At the School of Music, we invest in the success of every student. We do not assume that some students will fail—we instead commit ourselves to assisting every enrolled student to achieve success. We realize this value by seeking to bring each and every student to our standards in all that we do and all that we expect of them, and by offering students choices and opportunities to realize success that our competitors do not.

The following three values distinguish us and combine with the two traditional ones above to make our five core values that propel us toward our vision.

The Preparation of Music Leaders - The USC School of Music acknowledges that for our budding professional musicians, should they wish to make their lives and careers in music, they will need to be prepared with more than just purely musical and traditional academic skills and dispositions. Our students must be skilled music leaders to ensure that they advance the quality of life in the communities where they live by helping to make others happier, healthier, more hopeful, and more fulfilled through the power of music. A School of Music-­‐wide culture fostered since 2008 by the work of the nation’s first public university music leadership institute, Spark: Carolina’s Music Leadership Laboratory, makes possible the preparation of tomorrow’s music leaders by assuring their participation and learning in four distinct but interdependent sub-­‐disciplines: 1. Community Engagement experiences; 2. Leadership training; 3. Entrepreneurship activities; and 4. Advocacy education. We observe this value by insuring that in their degree programs professional music students gain: documented and assessed community engagement experience through either the school’s award-­‐winning Music For Your Life programs or in other community endeavors; training in the principles and ethics of music leadership; participation in and creation of entrepreneurial projects in music that expand their imaginations, require deep collaboration, and help them create new personal and professional behaviors; and instruction in and experience with the necessity of making a case for music through music advocacy coursework.

The Preparation of Musicians as Educators & Educators as Musicians - The USC School of Music has long been a leader in music education, realized in effective teacher training programs, specific elite instrumental and vocal pedagogy programs at all levels, and by renowned research and scholarship on music teaching and learning. We value the role that all of our professional music students ultimately play during their careers as teachers and educators in music and we have designed courses and programs to maximize these roles.

We also value the proposition that all teachers and pedagogues must be excellent musicians and able to demonstrate that excellence as a part of their teaching—we actualize our commitment to this proposition by advancing choices for realizing musical skills through teaching activities in applied music, large ensembles, chamber music and through academic coursework in music.

The Preparation of Diversely Skilled Musicians - The USC School of Music recognizes the changing world and marketplace for professional musicians who wish to make music their life’s work and we value the necessary skills we feel our graduates will need to improve and sustain, in music, their own lives and the vitality and fulfillment of persons in their communities. We observe this value by offering our students both instruction in and experiences with making music in diverse ways; opportunities to utilize a variety of musical skills beyond performance, composition, writing and teaching; work with persons from diverse populations in their community engagement activities; and by offering programs that contain such features.


Music is an essential component of the human experience. The University of South Carolina School of Music exists to transform lives through excellence in music teaching, performance, creative activities, research and service. Toward these ends, the school endeavors to meet five tenets:

  • prepare musicians for professional careers and leadership in music teaching, performance, composition, research and related fields
  • serve as a cultural and educational center of excellence for the State of South Carolina and the nation
  • generate research and other creative activities in music that have local, national and international impact
  • provide meaningful music experiences for all University students through courses designed to foster an awareness of the role of music in society
  • enhance the University of South Carolina’s commitment to become one of the finest public universities in America

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.