Fine and Performing Arts New Student Advising and Orientation Overview

Congratulations! You're coming to Western!

We are excited to get to know you. Like many students starting at Western, maybe you haven't declared a major yet - or maybe you have, and you're asking "what's next?"

Students often come to Western hoping to explore their passions in the arts, performance, and music. Some students decide to pursue another major, but don't want to put down their instrument, give up their creativity, or miss out on the backstage and onstage camaraderie they grew to love. You don't have to miss a thing. Whether or not you major in fine and performing arts, we're here to help you succeed in it!

If you can't locate an answer to a question on this website, please reach out to us.

WWU arts alumni statistics

Strategic National Arts Alumni Project

Western's arts alumni reported satisfaction with their education and career, saying they recommend it. Read more about the most recent survey from the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP).

I'm thinking about pursuing a creative major or minor

We've got highly successful artists, dancers, performers, designers and entrepreneurs who are eager to promote you into a creative career. Browse the departments in this site's menu, or go straight to our advising pages and contact us.


Performance Composition Music History & Literature Jazz Studies Music Education

BA & BMus Majors, Minor, and Master of Music available


Dance BA Dance BFA Dance Minor Teaching Endorsement


Performance Production Educational Theatre Entertainment Design & Technology

BA Major, Minor, Theatre Ed Teaching Endorsement available


Design BA Design BFA

Art & Art History

Art Studio Art History Art Education Museum Studies STEAM

BA & BFA Majors, and Minors available

AECI Minor

Manage your creative career

I'm pursuing a different major. Are there more ways for me to study the arts?

We have some auditions, volunteer opportunities for productions, and basic classes open to non-majors. We also encourage you to check out the minors available.

If I’m not a major, can I audition for:

Music Ensembles?

Yes! We offer two choirs that can be joined without an audition! All other ensembles will require an ensemble audition. Auditions for music ensembles are currently open and will conclude before the academic year begins!  Learn more about the music ensemble auditions.

Theatre productions?

Yes! Please! Auditions will be advertised on the call boards outside the Theatre/Dance Department Office: PAC 395, on the Theatre website, and the Theatre Facebook page.

Technical volunteers are also welcome. Inquire at the Theatre/Dance office PAC 395.


There are a variety of options to audition for dance productions as a major or non-major, including the twice-annual Cabaret variety show. Dance classes require a level placement audition before the classes begin. Learn more about level placement.

Please contact Pam Kuntz for this year's dates.

Can I take art, dance, design, music, and theatre classes as a non-major?

There are many classes you can take in our departments. However, if you have a strong interest in a certain area, we urge you to speak to an advisor in that area and consider a minor (if available), since it will improve your chances of getting into certain classes.

Can I take studio art classes as a non-major?

Typically, no. The studio resources are limited, and the discipline is resource intensive. A minor is offered in Art History. A STEAM minor is offered for non-majors interested in studio arts.

Can I take Design classes as a non-major?

Design 111 and 211 are open to non-majors because they are also GURs. All other courses require major status. There is also a User Experience (UX) Design Minor available through the Engineering Technology Department.

Can I take music theory as a non-major or minor?

Unfortunately, no. Our core courses such as music theory, aural skills, keyboarding skills, music history, conducting, and music education courses are restricted to those who have been accepted via an entrance audition. 

Classes for non-majors

Art & Art History

Art 101 (Glass Blowing I); Art 109 (Visual Dialogue); Art History 220 (Visual Culture in Ancient Greece/Rome); 221 (Visual Culture in Medieval Europe); 230 (Visual Culture in Western Europe 1400-1550); 231(Visual Culture Western Europe 1500-1700); 240 (Visual Culture Western Europe 19th Century); 241 (Visual Culture Western Europe/America 20th Century); 270 (Visual Culture in South and Southeast Asia); 271 (Visual Culture in East Asia).


Some courses are available on a space-available basis. Others, such as DNC 232 (Movement and Culture), fulfill a GUR requirement.  Courses such as “open ballet” and “open modern” do not require any previous experience. See advisor.


Design 111 and 211 are open to non-majors because they are also GURs. All other courses require major status.


101, Fundamentals of Music; 104, The Art of Listening to Music; 105, Survey of Popular and Rock Music; 109, Iconic Music in Iconic Films; 202, Jazz: Genesis and Evolution; 205, Survey of Non-Western Cultures; ensembles & lessons (possible audition).

Private music lessons

Non-majors or minors who have previous experience on an instrument or voice are eligible to take private "applied" lessons on a studio space-available basis. Some studios may require an official audition to be considered. Please contact the instructor or area coordinator if you are interested in taking lessons. Note that there is an applied lesson fee for these courses. It may also be possible to take lessons on a more informal basis (not for-credit) from a music student. Please contact the applied instructor for student recommendations. 


Many Theatre courses at the 100 and 200 level are open to non-majors. Please contact advisor for more details.

What other opportunities are there for me to participate in the arts at Western?

Student Clubs

Associated Students Clubs has more than 40 clubs for “Arts, Music & Dance.”

There are also clubs for Stage Combat, Dramatic Writing, and Capoeira Club (to name a few) sometimes not listed in that category.


Whatever you pursue at Western, we welcome you to stay inspired by attending concerts, plays, dance performances, exhibitions, artist talks and more! Try something new to see if you like it. Enjoy more if you do! We have a large variety of events all year.