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Explore the music - applied instrumental bachelor's degree program at UW-Eau Claire

Turn your passion and talent into a career with a bachelor's degree in applied instrumental music from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Designed for those aspiring to be performing artists or private studio instructors, the applied instrumental music major pairs a rigorous curriculum with valuable, professional experiences.

Known for its vibrant music scene, both UW-Eau Claire and the city of Eau Claire offer many opportunities to showcase your skills. You may perform in solo recitals, chamber music and ensemble concerts, and theatre productions. Serve as a rehearsal pianist for opera productions. Or discover best practices and new perspectives through internships, study abroad and the National Student Exchange program. Multiple guest artists frequent classrooms, offering special classes, masterclasses and performances every year. And the department regularly offers concerto competitions and annual tours/performance opportunities. 

Our professors have deep experience on and off stage, and they use that knowledge to help you realize your professional potential. Small class sizes allow you to get one-on-one attention and collaborate with others who are passionate about music. No matter your career goals, we are here to help make them happen. In fact, the applied instrumental music major is known nationally for producing successful graduates. Are you ready to be one of them?

Senior music major Connor Pietrzak

Blugold credits UWEC for success in the music industry

Applied instrumental music alum Connor Pietrzak is proof that if you want something badly enough, anything is possible.

"Before college, I had this idea that anyone who had a career in music was some sort of prodigy and if I hadn’t ascended to some incredible level by the time I was 18, then that window had closed," he said. "But I got to UW-Eau Claire and discovered that people from this program were actually out there being professional musicians. I realized that if I wanted it badly enough, there was a path I could take to have a life doing what I love to do.”

And so he did.

Connor just recently completed a national Broadway tour throughout the United States and Canada — a gig he credits UWEC for helping him land. From inspiring professors to informative courses to networking opportunities, Pietrzak is certain he wouldn't be where he is today had he not chosen to be a Blugold.

Why music - applied instrumental at UW-Eau Claire?

Expert, caring faculty. Our student-focused faculty make it their top priority to keep you motivated, engaged and inspired, so you continue to grow. Perform alongside your professors in the Contemporary Music Ensemble and engage in collaborative research and performance projects.

Opportunities to travel. Each spring break, music and theatre arts students have the opportunity to visit New York City. There, they attend plays, musicals, masterclasses and other artistic events, while also shadowing working professionals and meeting various actors and musicians to learn more about their specific trade.  

Real-world experience. Our applied instrumental music major will provide you with many opportunities to build your performance portfolio. A variety of ensembles — from band to orchestra to jazz — will push your creative boundaries and facilitate collaboration with experts in your chosen field. An abundance of community music festivals offer many internships and networking opportunities. 

Global learning. Gain a global understanding of culture and music through study abroad, the National Student Exchange program or undergraduate research opportunities. Frequent world-renowned guest artists will introduce you to new music and new ways of thinking. And chances to perform internationally are also available to students. Past performances have taken place in Ireland, Singapore and Italy, to name a few.

One-of-a-kind spaces. UWEC is home to multiple concert venues, six music classrooms, over 40 practice rooms (including chamber music practice rooms), percussion rooms, a reed room, organ practice rooms, harpsichord practice rooms, an audio recording studio, a music technology lab, a digital piano lab and several rehearsal rooms. We are also proud to partner with the Eau Claire community's newest performance venue, Pablo Center at the Confluence. This state-of-the-art facility is home to many UWEC classes, rehearsals and performances.

Skill-building student organizations. Join one of 20 student clubs and organizations dedicated to celebrating music, theatre and dance. Express yourself, learn new techniques and network with other students. Many student organizations lead to volunteer opportunities, competitions and shows. 

The Blugold Marching Band is the

largest marching band

in the Midwest


departmental ensembles

100% employed

or continuing education after graduation

2020-2021 Graduate Report

Quick facts

Music - applied instrumental program details
  • Program length: four years
  • Offered: in person
  • Campus: Eau Claire
  • This major does not require a minor.
  • Students majoring in this program will earn a Bachelor of Music (BM) degree.
Student organizations
  • National Band Association Collegiate Chapter
  • American String Teachers Association (ASTA)
  • Clarinet Studio Organization
  • Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (PMA)
  • Sigma Alpha Iota (SAI)

Accreditation information

All music degrees from UW-Eau Claire have been accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music.

What can I do with a music - applied instrumental degree from UWEC?

Our applied instrumental majors are well-prepared for their professional careers. Graduates have gone on to receive Grammy awards and join professional ensembles, as well as become composers, professors, arts administrators, studio instructors and more.

Where are music - applied instrumental alumni now?

Music - applied instrumental careers

From accompanying professional musicians to playing in jazz bands and conducting operas and musicals, I have had experiences here that have not only shaped me as a musician but as a human being as well.

Miles Plant Music - Applied Instrumental
UWEC's Cohen String Quartet

Unique opportunities to set you apart

One of the reasons Hannah Kennedy was drawn to UWEC’s music program was simply due to the size of the department. She knew that while there would be many robust musical experiences for her here, she would also be able to have an individual voice — something she found incredibly valuable.  

“There are unique opportunities here because of the size, like even playing in a faculty recital," she said. 

There's also the Cohen String Quartet, which awarded Hannah a full-tuition scholarship to UWEC. Through the quartet, Hannah received weekly coaching by faculty, the opportunity to perform a full recital every semester, and the chance to play great music by Mozart and Shostakovich alongside skilled musicians who quickly became close friends.   

What opportunities await you at UWEC?

Music - applied instrumental bachelor’s degree program curriculum

UW-Eau Claire's applied instrumental music bachelor's degree program will provide you with many opportunities to enhance your musical skills and knowledge. A robust curriculum includes courses in music theory, history, literature, pedagogy, recital, conducting and ensembles.

In addition to UW-Eau Claire admission requirements, students enrolling as a music major or minor are required to successfully complete a departmental audition for instrument or voice prior to enrolling. Audition information and scheduling are available on the department website.

What classes do music - applied instrumental majors take?

Your classes may cover topics like: 

Learn more about the comprehensive music - applied instrumental major in the UWEC course catalog.

Related programs at UW-Eau Claire

Thinking about a bachelor’s degree in music? Here are other programs you may be interested in exploring.

Department information

Photo of a camera in front of theatre seats

Music and Theatre Arts

Haas Fine Arts Center 156
121 Water Street
Eau Claire, WI 54703
Visit the Music and Theatre Arts department website

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