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Department of Music
College of Liberal Arts


The Department of Music is committed to providing high quality educational opportunities in music education, performance, and technology, enabling students to develop the skills required to assume leadership roles in music education, the music industry, and supporting fields. The Department of Music offers courses and performance opportunities which broaden the musical education in the liberal arts tradition and provide artistic enrichment for students, faculty, the community, state and nation.

Welcome to the Music Department

The Department of Music at Jackson State University has become, over a period of 111 years, one of the largest music programs in the State of Mississippi. University records show that as early as 1887, a teacher was assigned to teach music as well as other subjects. In 1896, the title “Music Department” was used to refer to music instruction. According to the catalog for that year, instruction was given on the piano, cabinet organ, cornet and in vocal music. 

Some twenty-five (25) years later, during the administration of Frederick Douglas Hall who served from 1921-1927, the Music Department was referred to as the Jackson College Conservatory of Music and in 1925 published its own catalog. The Conservatory operated branch studios at Lanier High School and Martin Public School in Jackson. In addition, extension classes were taught in Canton, McComb, Magnolia and Summit, MS. Hazel Lee Olive, Acquilla Jones, Lannie Marshall, James White and Peal Varnado served in various departmental capacities. Dr. Hall edited and arranged the Alma Mater “Jackson Fair” and also sponsored the Lyre Club, a student group that provided numerous campus services. 

Past chairman of the Department of Music have included: Edgar R. Clark (1950-1957), Robert A. Henry (1957-1962), Dollye M.E. Robinson (1962-1983), Jimmie James, Jr. (1983-2009), Alfred Duckett (2014-2015), and Lisa Beckley-Roberts (2020 – present).

The Department of Music is housed in the F.D. Hall Music Center, which was completed in 1976. This two-story modern structure has a gross area of 58,638 square feet. The building contains studios, a gallery, recital hall, recording studio, classrooms, large ensemble rehearsal rooms and space for the academic and performance requirements of music students and faculty. 

In 1977, the University was granted associate membership status in the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) being entitled to all the rights, privileges and recognition appertaining thereunto, and became a full member in 1985. 

Jackson State University has been designated an Urban University by the Board of Trustees. The Department of Music supports this designation by helping to carry out programs in support of the mission. An outstanding curriculum, a distinguished faculty, modern facilities and a commitment to excellence in all programs of study best describe music at Jackson State University.


More About Us
This unit is home to over 20 music ensembles that master and perform Western classical, jazz, gospel, and world music genres throughout the Southern region.  These include numerous brass ensembles, vocal and instrumental jazz combos, an orchestra, opera workshop, choirs, symphonic bands, and an African music and dance ensemble. The program has produced internationally renowned performers, music educators, and music producers who have matriculated through our National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) accredited programs in Music Education (both graduate and undergraduate), Music Performance, Music Technology, and Jazz Studies.


The department is home to chapters of international music service and professional Greek letter organizations Tau Beta Sigma, Sigma Alpha Iota, and Phi Mu Alpha. Faculty in the area are acclaimed and published composers, authors, performers, and grantees from numerous internal and external funders. Graduates of the department of music are consistently accepted into top graduate programs, performance ensembles, and work professionally in the fields of performance, music education, music technology, and theory/composition. The music department is home to one of the oldest Jazz emphasis programs at an HBCU in the nation.

“Challenging Minds, Changing Lives.”


We have one of the only African music and dance programs at an HBCU and we are the only music department at an HBCU in the state of Mississippi that has a fully functional orchestra and string ensemble, as well as an accredited music technology program with a state of the art recording studio and music technology lab. Additionally, in the state of Mississippi, we are the only HBCU music department with an opera/musical theater workshop. The Jackson State University Department of Music prepares the 21st Century musician to continue their educational endeavors or enter the competitive field of professional music!


Music majors have a plethora of career options:

Audio engineer Film developer Music attorney Acoustic consultant
Executive producer Video game designer Music therapist Concert promoter



Programs of Study

Orff-Schulwerk Music Institute

Useful Links


For more information, please contact us at (601) 979-2141.  We look forward to meeting with you and seeing how our program can help you achieve your goals.



Jackson State University
Department of Music
F.D. Hall Music Center
JSU Box 17055
Jackson, MS 39217-0155


Phone: 601.979.2141
Fax: 601.979.0858
Department of Music
Phone: 601.979.2141
Fax: 601.979.0858

Welcome To The Music Department

Music Department Information Corner