Information and Departmental Plan of Study
The Department of Music encourages students to explore music according to their individual needs, interests, and aspirations. Students may pursue work in composition, music history, theory, analysis and interpretation, non-Western music, music technology, performance, and improvisation. Courses offered through the department cover this wide range of activities. Many courses are geared not only to majors but also to students involved with music and music making.
The Department of Music does not grant advanced placement exam credit. Freshmen who wish to enroll in a course where “any music course” is listed as a prerequisite must obtain the permission of the departmental representative or the course instructor.
Preparation for the Major
Students are expected to attain a certain competence in music theory before entering the department. This general prerequisite may be satisfied by the completion of 105, 106 or 205, 206. Because certain upper-level courses have as a prerequisite a year of music theory, students who are considering majoring in music are advised to take 105, 106 their freshman year.
Qualified students who have completed the departmental prerequisites early may be allowed to begin departmental concentration in the sophomore year.
Departmental Plan of Study
Students majoring in music design their program in close consultation with the departmental representative. In addition to the two prerequisite courses (105, 106 or 205, 206), music majors are required to take a minimum of nine additional courses.
A second year of theory, 205, 206, is required. (In cases where 205, 206 has already been taken as a prerequisite, majors are expected to take two additional electives.) Also required are three courses chosen from those listed below under Group I (Western music history sequence), one course from Group II (non-Western and non-canonical musics), and three additional electives at the 300-level or higher (with a strong recommendation that one of these be another theory course). Music majors in the performance program may use 213, 214, or 215 as a departmental course.
Group I (Western music history): 230, 232, 234, 236, 238, 240, 242
Group II (non-Western and non-canonical musics): 250, 251, 254, 255, 257, 258, 259, 260, 262, 264, 265
Junior Year: Juniors participate in a junior seminar their first semester. This weekly seminar is led by the departmental representative. Students in the seminar are responsible for various writing assignments, including one substantial paper. In the second semester, students either (1) write a research paper that allows them to explore the theoretical, historical, and analytical literature on music as well as develop their own ideas; or (2) write a substantial musical composition.
Senior Year: The senior thesis may range from an extended essay on a musicology topic to a project in composition. The specific topic or project of the thesis is agreed upon in discussions with a faculty adviser. Departmental examinations are held after the submission of senior theses. The examination is broad in scope and covers a wide range of musical knowledge.
Some training in musicianship is a component in the undergraduate theory courses, but it is expected that students will also work on aural and practical skills on their own. At least a minimal competence at the keyboard is expected of all music concentrators as well.
Instrumental and Vocal Lessons
The Department of Music manages a noncredit extracurricular program for the private study of vocal and instrumental performance, including beginning piano. Students wishing to participate in this program must audition for the relevant teachers in the program. If accepted, they sign contracts for 10 weekly lessons each semester, for which the student will be billed by the University. Departmental concentrators are expected to be pursuing some kind of performance study, and therefore the department subsidizes the entire cost of weekly lessons with teachers under contract to the department. Partial subsidies are available to other students under certain conditions. Special arrangements for instruction at Westminster Choir College can be made for a limited number of students through an interinstitutional exchange agreement.
Performance for Departmental Concentrators
Serious students of music, whatever their particular interests or eventual orientation, need to have at least some experience in performing music. Music concentrators are expected to be pursuing some performance study by taking vocal or instrumental lessons. It is recommended that prospective concentrators without at least minimal keyboard skills study piano. Concentrators are also urged to participate in the ensembles conducted by department staff.
Students planning graduate study in music should achieve reading and speaking proficiency in at least one foreign language. German, French, and Italian are most germane to the study of Western music. Some experience with composition software may also be of use.