The goal of the University of Wisconsin Colleges Department of music is to increase musical literacy in the institution. This will be achieved in a variety of ways, no one of which is sufficient in itself: through the study of historical styles in appropriate courses (Music Literature and Appreciation, Jazz History and Appreciation, History of Rock and Roll and World Music), the study and analysis of the language of music (music theory), and through performance (instrumental and vocal ensembles and studio instruction). These enhance both cognitive understanding and aural sensitivity. By such means, the department aims to provide "an environment in which musical and artistic knowledge, skills, and creativity are achieved This goal also entails specific objectives such as improving aural and analytical skills on the part of non-majors, as well as of music majors. The successful pursuit of all these activities will lead to the growth and refinement of musical taste and understanding—in short, to musical literacy.

This goal is premised upon the University of Wisconsin Colleges Select Mission statement, upon the integral place that music as a performing art, as well as an academic discipline, holds within the liberal arts curriculum and upon the importance accorded the arts in recent national studies such as the Carnegie Report on "The Undergraduate Experience in America."

Stated simply, the goals and objectives of the UWC Department of Music are to provide through its course offerings and performing organizations an environment in which musical and artistic knowledge, skills and creativity are achieved.