Experience the magic of life through music.

Music department students performing on stage.
Jazz musicians with instruments
Trombone players
Vocal Ensemble
NCCU Marching Band

The Department of Music at North Carolina Central University is dedicated to preparing students — through innovative teaching methods, individual attention and excellent facilities — to excel as leaders in the music professions.

Look for upcoming events soon.

Audition Dates

Join us for auditions on the following dates:

  • November 18, 2023
  • December 2, 2023
  • January 27, 2024
  • February 24,
  • March 23,
  • April 20, 2024

Message from the Chair

Our greatest desire is to serve you on your journey as a musician with an experience that is both memorable and impactful! For more information about our offerings, read the full welcome message from department chair, Dr. Lenora Helm Hammonds.

Degree Programs


The Instrumental Performance concentration (Music, B.M.) focuses on overall musical preparation and development for instrumentalists, increasing the student's technical and analytical abilities and enhancing their performance skills through applied practice.

A girl drawing music symbols.

The Music Education concentration (Music, B.M.) provides students with the knowledge and skills required to teach K–12 school music, along with coursework required by North Carolina Department of Education for Music K–12 licensure. Separate tracks for instrumentals and vocalists are offered.

Students in recording studio

The Music Industry Concentration is designed to acquaint students with the concepts and methodologies of the music industry; to give students an introduction to digital music production technology; to provide specialized career preparation for the contemporary music profession; and to focus on the legal, financial and ethical aspects of a career in music.

Bethany Gilmore Singing

The Vocal Performance concentration (Music, B.M.) focuses on overall musical preparation and development for vocalists, increasing the student's technical and analytical abilities to sing diverse genres of music by enhancing their performance skills through applied practice.

Student with microphone in foreground

The Jazz concentration (Music, B.M.) provides academic, applied instrumental and vocal, and ensemble instruction focused on the development of knowledge and skills necessary in jazz instrumental and vocal performance. Targeted instruction is offered in jazz theory, jazz arranging, jazz improvisation, jazz composition and the history of jazz.

Horn players

The Jazz Studies Graduate Program at North Carolina Central University is dedicated to offering a quality education, shaping the future of aspiring musicians and maintaining the integrity of a great art form. Program ensembles have earned recognition at numerous college festivals, including the Villanova Jazz Festival, where they garnered first-place honors. 

Bass Guitar

The National Association of Schools of Music (NASM)-accredited Jazz Studies graduate program at NCCU is dedicated to offering quality education, shaping the future of aspiring musicians and jazz educators while maintaining the integrity of a great art form. The online Jazz Studies M.M. degrees provide the integrity of this historical and award-winning program with increased accessibility for distance education students. This program offers two concentrations: Jazz Composition and Arranging and Jazz Performance.

Apply to NCCU

Alongside traditional music courses, we encourage open-minded debate and a commitment to all types of music. Our alumni go on to become award-winning musicians, industry professionals and educators. Come join our vibrant and dynamic community of talented and innovative students and faculty!

Application Guidelines

Student playing trombone

Students are required to audition on their primary instrument and take a music theory assessment prior to acceptance into the NCCU Music Department.

Saxophone player

Already have an undergraduate degree and want to further your study? Check out our graduate study guidelines to learn more about becoming a graduate student in the Music Department!

The Jazz Studies Program at North Carolina Central University is dedicated to fostering quality education, shaping the future of aspiring musicians and maintaining the integrity of a great art form.

An NCCU Area of Distinction

In 1979, NCCU became the first university in the state to offer a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies. The program has since evolved to include a comprehensive vocal jazz component and the Master of Music degree in Jazz Composition and Jazz Performance.

Branford Marsalis

Everybody talks about finding your voice. Do your homework, and your voice will find you.

Branford Marsalis

Schedule Your Audition

If you are interested in becoming a music major, don't hesitate to schedule an audition. Use this form to upload samples of yourself performing and tell us a little bit about your experience playing music. If you want to join one of our musical ensembles but are not sure you want to be a music major, you can provide that information in your application. We look forward to hearing you and meeting you!

Music News

Ways to Support the Music Department

We depend on the philanthropic support from our alumni, donors and stakeholders to ensure that the Music Department continues to train the best and brightest music professionals. Visit this page to learn about the ways you can support the NCCU Music Department.

Joey Calderazzo

NCCU Jazz Studies has always put feel and groove before everything else. We have been blessed with students who have a great feel, and the experience of the faculty has helped students learn and apply theory and basic vocabulary to help them in their musical paths.

Joey Calderazzo

Our Facilities

The Department of Music is located in the Edwards Music Building, the B. N. Duke Auditorium and Annex, the Lee Building, and the Student Services Building Annex. These facilities house two recording studios, a concert hall, a computer laboratory, five large rehearsal spaces, several internet-ready smart classrooms and numerous practice rooms.

The department’s 25 pianos feature mostly Steinway products, including a Steinway “D” 9’ grand and three Steinway 7’ grand pianos.

Meet Our Faculty

Our award-winning faculty as well as artists-in-residence Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo provide hands-on instruction via workshops and other instructional opportunities.

Annual Jazz Festival

Every year, NCCU hosts a jazz festival featuring a week of events with NCCU’s Jazz Studies program and special musical guests. 

Additional Links