Central Michigan University's Music Department dates almost to the university's founding. By 1892, Mrs. Eva McAllister was the Head of the Department. In 1901, Harper G. Maybee became the Department Head and added a Festival Chorus, a Girls Glee Club, and a 24-Piece Orchestra. From 1913 on, various courses in music analysis, appreciation, instructional techniques, and theory were added. In 1928, the Festival Chorus divided into the A-Capella Choir, Womens Glee Club, and Mens Glee Club. Smaller groups, Madrigal Singers, quartets, and trios also began. The college band was established in 1918 by Mr. J. Harold Powers. The band program has expanded to include a concert band, a marching band, and several smaller ensembles. In 1944, more courses that had previously been offered on a club basis were added for credit. During the 1940s and 1950s, more private instruction and credit courses were added.
In 1995, the Department of Music became the School of Music. The Department of Music's original mission was to prepare students to become public school music teachers. Now, the School of Music offers undergraduate, graduate, specialist, and doctorate degrees. Undergraduates may specialize in Music Performance in Keyboard, Voice, or Band and Orchestral Instruments; Music Theory or Composition; Music Education; or Music in Liberal Studies. Graduates may opt to specialize in Music Performance in Keyboard, Voice, or Band and Orchestral Instruments; and Music Education. Currently, the School of Music is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the National Association of Schools of Music.
In 1998, the School of Music moved from its longtime home in Powers Hall to a new, state-of-the-art facility, known simply as the Music Building.
Later additions to the collection have been added over time.