Welcome to the Music Department

The Music Department equips students for the serious study, composition and performance of great music within the scope of the liberal arts tradition and the context of the Christian faith and worship. The primary objective of the Music Department is to develop skilled musicians with Christian insight into their art and craft at an advanced level. We work toward that objective in many ways unique to the arts, and always as part of and in harmony with the total College community. The Music department is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).

Apply for Music Scholarship

Major: The music major is designed to develop musical skills, knowledge, and attitudes. Professors place special emphasis on encouraging and developing creativity. Students majoring in music may complete a liberal arts music program or may elect to complete a track in music performance, or music composition. Students may also earn the professional Bachelor of Music Education (B.M.E.) degree that leads to a public school teacher credential program

Minor: The music minor is designed to enable students who concentrate in other disciplines to receive training in music theory, history, and performance.

Career Choices
Traditionally, people have tended to view a music major as useful for persons who wish to perform or teach. However, many students are finding rewarding careers in music outside of performing and teaching. Exciting opportunities exist in church music, music publishing, music management, music business, recording, broadcasting and other areas. The music major at Westmont is designed to provide a solid foundation in music and yet offer enough flexibility for a student to earn a legitimate liberal arts degree and prepare for a variety of careers.

For students seeking a career in classroom teaching, the Music Department offers the Bachelor of Music Education degree and teacher certification program in conjunction with the Department of Education. Westmont College is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music.

Music News


FledermausThe Westmont music and theatre arts departments combine creative talents to produce “Die Fledermaus (The Bat),” an operetta composed by Johann Strauss, on March 2 and 4 at 7 p.m. in downtown Santa Barbara’s New Vic Theatre. Tickets cost $17 for general admission, $12 for students and seniors, and may be purchased at For more information, please call (805) 565-7140.

The effervescent story, first produced in Vienna in 1874, features intoxicating waltzes, a masked ball, romance and revenge. “It’s one of Strauss’ most beloved and often performed pieces in the repertoire,” says Michael Shasberger, Adams professor of music and worship and musical director of the play. “It has been a smash hit for more than a century. Perhaps surprisingly though, most of it will be brand new to our participants and much of our audience base, whom I hope take away a delightful experience that will open up doors to a wider world of musical and theatrical encounters.” Read More


CastleAbout 60 members of the Westmont Orchestra will Tour Ireland and Britain for 12 days, May 8-19, performing and celebrating the music of those regions. “We strive to offer each music student the opportunity to experience a local, regional and international tour,” says Michael Shasberger, Adams professor of music and worship. In the orchestra’s 12-year history, students have experienced China, Hungary, Italy, Austria, Northern and Southern California, Washington, D.C., and the Southwest.

“These tours offer the wonderful and overlapping purposes of opening up the world to our students, creating a deep sense of community among the participants, giving our musicians an opportunity to focus deeply on their craft largely removed from all the other worthy distractions of the Westmont experience, and sharing their gifts with others,” Shasberger says. The tour includes performances in Dublin, Kilkenny, Oxford and London. “This trip will add a unique chapter of collaborations with local musicians, cultural experiences and musical growth to the history of the orchestra,” he says. “The musical development and creative refinement of individual students and the ensemble continually astound me, and I always wish we could record the final concert on the last day of tour to capture their best playing.”

In choosing the music to perform, Shasberger considers both the interest of international audiences in hearing American music and the orchestra’s desire to play compositions relevant to the places they visit. “Likely the English have plenty of Vaughan Williams and want to hear more Copland, but we have played lots of Copland and really want to perform Vaughan Williams in his home town,” Shasberger says. “We try to program for the best of both interests.” He’s thinking about contemporary film scores, particularly those with a wild-west theme, and culturally familiar music of Ireland, Wales and England that will introduce us to those musical languages and be nostalgic favorites for the audiences. Potential titles include Stanford’s “Irish Rhapsody,” Vaughan Williams’ “The Wasps Overture,” and Elmer Bernstein’s “Magnificent Seven.”


InstrummentThe 2017-2018 Music Department Season Calendar is available for viewing online. Click here to view this years music events. If there are any changes throughout the school year, we'll keep this calendar current. You can also subscribe to our facebook page for event reminders! Make sure to bookmark the calendar page so you can stay up-to-date on the latest news. For questions or more information please email or call (805) 565-6040.


Twitter BirdFor instant updates on all the latest Westmont Music Department news, please follow us on Twitter @WestmontMusic! We'll be tweeting about upcoming music events, tours, information for prospective students, and fun music department facts.