The choir department comprises five different choirs which meet during the school day unless noted otherwise.
Southwest Singers is a coed audition choir whose repertoire includes classical, jazz and pop music. The newly created Chamber Singersis also a coed audition choir specializing in madrigals and a cappella. The Chamber Singers meet twice a week during zero hour (7:30am-8:25am). Donne Voce is an upper level womens audition choir. Mens choir meets once a week during zero hour. Womans choir meets twice a week during zero hour.
The instrumental music department comprises three different programs which meet during the school day unless noted otherwise.
The Orchestra Program includes Chamber and String Orchestras. Chamber Orchestra is an auditioned group that meets twice a week during zero hour focusing on advanced string literature. The String Orchestra meets daily and plays a range of styles and genres of music. Wind Ensemble, Concert Band and Pep/Marching Band make up the Band Program. Wind Ensemble is an advanced (audition) instrumental ensemble performing a broad range of music for winds and percussion. Concert Band performs a variety of intermediate band music. The Pep and Marching Band is a co-curricular activity offering band students experience in performing pop music in a variety of school and community settings (school sporting events, State Fair, Holidazzle Parade etc). The Jazz program at Southwest has historically included a Big Band, Dixieland Jazz Band and assorted jazz combos. American classical jazz is both sung and played. All Jazz bands meet twice a week during zero hour and Big Band requires an audition. Lastly, the Pit Orchestra participates in the Spring Spotlight Musical. Students enjoy this theatre experience and are committed to this time consuming responsibility after school.
Southwest students perform two musicals each year. The Fall Footlight musical is performed by underclassmen. The Spring Spotlight musical has produced over fifteen years of impressive performances. They include Anything Goes, Guys and Dolls, Damn Yankees, Prom Queens, Wizard of Oz,, West Side Story, Pirates of Penzance, Joseph, Man of La Mancha, Once Upon a Mattress, Hair, South Pacific, Grease, 42nd Street, Les Miserables, and Hairspray.
The music department has been recognized with many awards. The Southwest Singers and Wind Ensemble have consistently scored superior ratings at music competitions. Past musical performances have received awards in outstanding musical production, outstanding dance and outstanding performance by a pit orchestra.
Southwest music students are also involved in a variety of community arts programs such as the Minnesota Opera, MacPhail Prelude Program, Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphony (GTCYS), Minnesota Youth Symphony, All State Choir, Band and Orchestra, Viva City, Minnesota Youth Jazz(MYJ), Dakota Combo and Interlochen Center for the Arts.
Southwest alumni have continued their music interests in prestigious music programs at St. Olaf College, Northwestern University, Boston University, New York University and many others.