Education

It's official: UCLA is opening a school of music

Thelonious Monk jazz students Michael Mayo, Ido Meshulam, Daniel Rotem and David Otis performing at UCLA's Schoenberg Hall.
Thelonious Monk jazz students Michael Mayo, Ido Meshulam, Daniel Rotem and David Otis performing at UCLA's Schoenberg Hall.
John Vande Wege/UCLA

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The University of California Board of Regents voted Thursday to formally establish the Herb Alpert School of Music. It’s the first free-standing school of music in the UC system.

The school will be part of the University of California, Los Angeles. Previously, UCLA's departments of music and ethnomusicology were in the School of Art and Architecture. The musicology department was part of UCLA College's Humanities division. Now, these departments will be fused together into one school of music.

"It’ll be easier to make changes and to form programs that help integrate across the three departments," said Judith Smith, interim dean of the new school. 

She hopes that it will be easier to collaborate between departments and develop and approve new curriculum.

The music school is designed to be comprehension and competitive -- so that resources are balanced between performance and composition and between Western Classical and world music. 

"It really has the scope, I think, that will position UCLA to be a global leader," said Smith.

Approval of the new school came after two years of proposals, committee votes and board votes. The next step is to find and approve a founding dean, which could take more than year.

It’s actually quite rare for universities to take on the process of creating new schools. The last to be added at UCLA was the school of public affairs more than 20 years ago.