Department of Music Revises Major and Minor Requirements

Music students
October 7, 2019

Beginning with the 2019-20 academic year, the Department of Music offers revised curriculum requirements for the undergraduate major and minor programs. The changes to the program offer a balance of academic and practice-based approaches to studying music, allowing a flexible path through the curriculum and a customized program of study. Students will still combine the rich liberal-arts education offered by the College with intensive study of the theory, history, and cultural context of music. But now, students can incorporate more of their performance interest into the program and design a major that aligns with their individual interests and aspirations.

The Department aims to bring more people into the scholarly study of music from the place they begin – often as performers – while also acknowledging the increased interest in digital media and in new ways of thinking about music. Students can customize their music study to support a range of interests, from hip-hop producer, a cappella arranger, and digital audio specialist, to opera singer, classical composer, and orchestral musician. The music major has always provided a critical foundation for graduate work in music studies, or careers in education, public humanities, or research. The new requirements allow freedom for students to study music in their own way, also making it easier to combine music with complementary study in other fields like science, economics, or history.

The revisions include a reduction in the overall amount of credits needed for the major, changes to the history and theory course requirement, more options for creative practice requirements, and the opportunity to earn credit for participating in a performance ensemble.

The music major requires 11 units of study. Six "foundation" courses are chosen from the following areas: Analysis and Techniques, Histories and Cultures, and Creative Practices; paired with five additional elective courses of the student’s own choosing. Students will no longer be required to follow the year-long music history and theory tracks that constrained the order that courses can be taken. Now they have the ability to schedule courses around other major requirements or the interest to study abroad.

The program for the minor still requires 7 units, including two Analysis courses, one History and Culture course, one Creative Practice course, and three electives in accord with the student's interests. The Director of Undergraduate Studies, Assistant Professor of Music Jennifer Iverson, will help identify options that align with students’ paths and round out their major/minor studies. Elective options include academic courses, participation in performance ensembles, and a BA thesis or composition.

Interested students can learn more about the newly revised major and minor curriculum at the Fall Fête Open House event on Friday, October 11 from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. in Fulton Recital Hall on the 4th floor of Goodspeed Hall. Faculty and staff members will be available to discuss programs and answer questions, and refreshments will be served.