The mission of the Vernacular Music Center is to provide a center for in-depth and comparative research, study, teaching and advocacy on behalf of the world's vernacular musics — their construction, history and role in defining cultural life in human communities — in all cultures and historical periods. The VMC is dedicated to the study of the process by which music is taught and passed on within a community, as well as assisting in the ongoing cultivation of arts on the South Plains.

The Texas Tech VMC offers graduate and undergraduate courses and ensembles, open to students in music, arts & humanities, social sciences, business, law, and international public policy. The VMC emphasizes "teaching across the curriculum", drawing on the expertise of a faculty team from a range of disciplines. Ample opportunities are provided for interaction with visiting scholars and guest teachers. The VMC serves as both a liaison and consultant for partners such as learned societies, music archives, museums, public broadcasting, and private corporations.

The TTU VMC serves as an advocate for the study, appreciation, and support of vernacular musics within academics and the community at large. We also sponsor a calendar of annual arts and cultural events (most notably the TTU Caprock Celtic Christmas and the Spring Dance Festival), which are open to students and public alike.