Our Mission | Music

The music program at Howard University has a rich history which may be traced to 1870, when a few courses were offered.


In 1892, the program was organized as a stable department of the Normal School, and in 1914 it was established as an independent conservatory. In January 1974, the School of Music was reorganized as a department in the College of Fine Arts. With the merger of the College of Fine Arts into the College of Arts and Sciences in August 1998, the Department of Music became one of three departments in the Division of Fine Arts—College of Arts and Sciences.

The Department of Music celebrated its centennial in 2014.

A Newly Reestablished College of Fine Arts

Effective July 1, 2021, the departments of Art, Theatre and Music were removed from the College of Arts and Sciences and now comprise the new Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts. The University appointed legendary actress and HU alumna Phylicia Rashad as the first dean of the new college.


The School of Music (now Department of Music), under the dynamic leadership of Dean Warner Lawson, was admitted to membership in the National Association of Schools of Music ("NASM") on September 1, 1944, the first music program in the Washington area to gain such membership. NASM completed a comprehensive review of the Department in 2010, and is currently in the process of completing its 2019-2020 review.


Video credit: Music From The Mecca - "Acclaim & The Choir"; Unofficial Trailer #1, Directed by T.L. Benton, B.M. '19 Composition, (Mecca Filmworks LLC)

Mission Statement

The Department of Music is a professional Fine Arts unit within a historically black private university.  Our purpose is to attract diverse students of high artistic and academic potential, and provide for them a scholarly environment and musical experience of exceptional quality in performance, research, pedagogy, technology, therapy, and composition.


Our department is dedicated to attracting and retaining faculty of the highest order who work together to inspire students, through example and leadership, to reach their full intellectual and artistic potential. The Department of Music places particular emphasis on the provision of educational and cultural opportunities for individuals of the global community, with significant focus given to the musical contributions of peoples of the African Diaspora.