Regardless of what they specialize in, all music majors study a common core of rigorous courses in music fundamentals, theory, history, technology, and aural and keyboard skills.

1) Music technology skills

MUTC 100 Technology for Musicians is an introduction to notational tools, sound reinforcement, recording, sequencing, video capture/editing, and music-specific web design and social media.

2) A sequence of Music Theory courses, each with corresponding ear-training laboratories.

a) MUTH 191 Diatonic Music Theory with MUTH 192 Diatonic Music Theory Skills

b) MUTH 291 Chromatic Music Theory with MUTH 292 Chromatic Music Theory Skills

c) MUTH 391 Post-Tonal Music Theory with MUTH 392 Post-Tonal Music Theory Skills

Together these courses lead the student to mastery of theoretical concepts, linked directly to strengthening aural perception and sight-singing.

3) A sequence of Music History courses

The music history curriculum at UMW is designed for students to explore the significance of the context in which different musics originated:

a) MUHL 375 Music History I: Genre and Form considers how musical works relate to each other within a tradition

b) MUHL 376 Music History II: Narratives and Ideologies considers how certain figures have been privileged at the expense of others, how developments in technology have been directly connected with stylistic change, and how money always talks in music history

4) Keyboard skills

Music majors are required some facility at the piano: they may opt either for two credits of private piano lessons (MUPR 305 or MUPR 405), to take appropriate-level Class Piano courses (MUPR 205, 206, or 207), or some combination of both.

5) Capstone seminar

All music majors reconvene in their senior year so that each may complete a required special project that relates to their specialized focus. This is undertaken in a seminar format (MUTH 490).

In addition to this common core, all majors take private lessons  in some applied medium, and participate in faculty-led ensembles. Students also elect from a list of more specialized courses.