The Department of Music at Washington University was founded in 1946 and has since enriched the cultural and intellectual life of the university and the St. Louis area. Research faculty specialize in the full range of concert, popular, and world music, and the department sponsors over 70 concerts each year featuring students, faculty, and local and visiting artists.

Offering both a bachelor of arts in music (a broad liberal arts education with a foundation in music) and a bachelor in music (a pre-professional degree with coursework in performance, music history, music theory, composition, and keyboard skills) as well as minors in music and jazz studies allows the department to fulfill the needs and interests of a variety of students. Doctoral and master’s degrees are offered in both musicology and music theory.

The department houses many resources, including music classrooms, a music library, practice rooms, and an electronic music studio. In addition to the educational facilities on the Danforth Campus, the department's applied music program is located in the newly renovated 560 Music Center. This facility includes studios, ensemble rehearsal rooms, practice modules, and performance spaces. Any Washington University student may enroll in private music lessons or participate in a variety of ensembles. The following groups are available: small chamber ensembles, wind ensemble, jazz band, jazz combo, flute choir, symphony orchestra, concert choir, and chamber choir.