The music program at Howard University has a rich history which may be traced to 1870, when a few courses were offered. In 1892, the program was organized as a stable department of the Normal School, and in 1914 it was established as an independent conservatory.
The School of Music (now Department of Music), under the dynamic leadership of Dean Warner Lawson, was admitted to membership in the National Association of Schools of Music ("NASM") in 1942, the first music program in the Washington area to gain such membership. The Department of Music's NASM accreditation was most recently renewed in 2020.
In January 1974, the School of Music was reorganized as a department in the College of Fine Arts. With the merger of the College of Fine Arts into the College of Arts and Sciences in August 1998, the Department of Music became one of three departments in the Division of Fine Arts—College of Arts and Sciences.
The Department celebrated its centennial in 2014.
NEW Fall 2020! The University will soon remove the Division of Fine Arts from the College of Arts and Sciences.The departments of Art, Theatre and Music will comprise the new College of Fine Arts. A nationwide search for a dean is currently underway.