Parent Information

For general Western University parent information. please visit Parents and Families of Western Students.

Information for Parents of Prospective Music Students of the Don Wright Faculty of Music at Western University

Download a PDF of these Questions & Answers here.

1.  What can my son or daughter do with a music degree from Western?

While some music degree programs are designed to lead to a career in a particular aspect of music (teaching, performing, composing, post production, administration, further academic study), all music programs help to develop a wide range of skills that are transferable to both music and non-music careers.

Music-related careers that our alumni have had include:

Arts Administrator
Elementary Teacher
Military Musician
Music Publisher
Opera Singer
Pop Musician
Secondary School Teacher
Television Personality
Church Musician
Choral Singer
Film Producer
Music Editor
Music Therapist
Orchestra Player
Radio Music
Solo Performer
University Professor
Educational Officer
Fund-raising Officer
Music Librarian
Musical Theater
Piano Technician
Recording Engineer
Studio Teacher

Non-Music careers that our alumni have had include:

Corporate Trainer
Guidance Counsellor
Senate Admin Assistant
Television Director
Organic food
Speech Pathologist
Web Master
Computer Technology
Financial Services
Information Security
Personal Trainer
School Principal
Supreme Court Justice

Transferable Skills – as experienced and reported by music alumni:

Time management
Comfort speaking in front of a group
Ability to handle many projects at once
Critical thinking/Problem solving





2.  What scholarships and other financial support are available?

Every student who auditions for Music at Western is automatically considered for merit-based awards. These range in amount from $500 to $5000. Most are one-time awards, but some continue for multiple years.

For further information regarding scholarships, please visit the scholarship page at 

In 2014-15, 67% of entering first-year music students received one or more entrance awards.

All continuing music students are considered annually for additional scholarship support. These awards range in amount from $100 to $4200 and are determined according to a variety of criteria, including competition, application, nomination and academic standing; some are designated as needs-based and others are strictly merit-based.

Further scholarship and financial information is available at

3.  Can my son or daughter live in residence?

All first-year students admitted to Western are guaranteed a space in one of the residences. Some students request to live on a “music floor” with their music colleagues such as the one in Delaware Hall, across the street from Talbot College, which will re-open in August 2015 after recent renovations.  Faculty-based “Living Learning Community” floors provide residents with informal out-of-class contact with professors as well as programs designed to complement their interests such as career nights, academic counselling, exam review sessions, informal interactions with faculty mentors.

Upper year students have the option of living in residence where space is available, or as a staff member.

Check out the residence webpage for parents at

4.  What academic and social supports are available for my son or daughter?

In addition to such campus-wide resources as the Writing Support Centre, the Student Health Centre which focuses on both physical and mental well-being, the Student Success Centre, the Student Development Centre, Western Foot Patrol, and the Western Campus Police, the Don Wright Faculty of Music has a variety of supports in place for our students.

Academic Counseling and the Student Services Team in Music are second to none on campus. These are the people with whom all students interact from the moment they first apply to audition. Once a student has been admitted to, and decides to study, Music at Western the team guides them through their course selection during Western Launch and helps to ease the transition into university life. These dedicated mentors then become the first stop for both academic and non-academic issues throughout students’ programs.

Peer Guides are senior music students who volunteer to help first year music students navigate their way through some of the more complicated core aspects of a music student’s program, particularly with such courses as music theory and history. A typical session might include a music theory review or help in editing a music history essay.

Orientation Sophs are select senior music students who serve as mentors to first year students during orientation week and throughout first year.  Each Soph is responsible for a small number of new music students and helps with residence move-in, introducing them to the Faculty of Music and its faculty, students, facilities and resources, and helping new students to feel at home and part of the community from the first day they are on campus.

The Faculty of Music Students’ Council is one of the most active and supportive student-run groups on campus. In addition to organizing social events that are open to all music students, this group oversees a fund to support special events in the Faculty such as master classes by visiting artists. They also seek to enhance the overall mental health of our students through such initiatives as bringing in therapy dogs during stressful times of the term, offering free tea once a week for all students, running a weekly radio program on Western’s radio station, CHRW, and hosting Tuba Christmas at the end of first term for all music students, faculty and staff.

Community is a defining aspect of the Don Wright Faculty of Music. Even though we are one of the largest music schools in Canada we have managed to maintain a close-knit feeling within the Faculty of Music. Small class sizes, being part of a studio and its master classes, playing in ensembles of various sizes, an active Students' Council, other music student groups such as the Music Education Students’ Association, Peer Guides, and Nota Bene, our student-run research journal all add to this sense of community.

5.  Is Western a safe place?

Safety on our beautiful campus is a top priority at Western. We are committed to maintaining an environment where faculty, staff, students and visitors can pursue their business peacefully and without fear for their safety and security.

The Western University Campus Community Police Service supports the University’s academic mission by creating a safe, secure, and equitable environment for all members of the community. The Campus Community Police Service works in a receptive and genuine partnership with the University community in providing a reliable response 24 hours each day to emergencies and violations of rules, including the Criminal Code, and in promoting crime prevention, security and safety awareness, community service, and referrals. 

Western Foot Patrol is a free service at Western University that assists in keeping the campus a safe place to study, work and live. It is a volunteer driven service with between 250 to 300 volunteers each school year. Western Foot Patrol conducts safe escorts, campus patrols, lighting audits and safety campaigns. Even if a student has a night class or rehearsal the Western Foot Patrol will ensure that they travel home safely.

6.  My son or daughter is not quite sure what s/he wants to do yet, but s/he likes music. What are some options?

They have time to decide. The Don Wright Faculty of Music offers courses and programs for both music and non-music students. Many students just know that they would like to study music but they aren’t quite sure of their direction when they first start. For this reason, all students who are accepted by audition to the Bachelor of Music degree program take a common first year. This allows all students to experience at least one course in each of the main areas of music study: composition, education, performance, and research (theory and history). They also take a non-music course of their choice and have one music elective. At the end of first year, students may apply to one of the Bachelor of Music (Honours) programs - Composition, Music Education, Music Performance (Orchestral Instrument, Piano, Voice), or Music Research - or remain in the general Bachelor of Music program. We have found the common first year to be very helpful in assuring that all students have a solid foundation in the core music subjects and that it affords students the time and experience  necessary in determining their future direction. There are also BA programs in music.

Courses are available for non-music majors. Some of these are designed strictly for non-music students and others are open to any student on campus, music and non-music students alike. Often a student majoring in a different subject selects just one or two music electives.

A Music Minor is also an option. Minors at Western begin in second year and students are eligible to select a minor in music at the end of their first year without audition. Lessons are available for credit for a separate fee.

A Minor in Dance is also available through the Don Wright Faculty of Music. This begins in second year.

7.  What is the environment like in the Don Wright Faculty of Music?

We enjoy the benefit of being able to offer the opportunities that result from being a large, respected music program, within a “small school” supportive community environment. This helps our students to flourish as expert faculty and staff share a common desire to nurture and support students as they become the best artists and scholars they can be! When the graduating class of 2014 was asked “what one word best describes your experience as a music student at Western?” the most frequent response was “Community.”