Music (MUS)

The Music Department offers BA degrees Music Performance and Music in Liberal Arts.

Educational Goal

Within the liberal arts context, the Department seeks to provide for each student—in the classroom, in the studio, and on stage—musical experiences that are both profound and comprehensive, inclusive of the Western tradition and a variety of cultures.

Entry into the BA degree in Music Performance. Majors in Music Performance must pass a major audition before they are officially considered music majors. The major audition customarily is taken in the spring semester or at the end of the sophomore year. A few students elect to delay the audition beyond the sophomore year, and some who take it fail all or part of it and have to re-take it during their junior year. The major audition is attended by the entire music faculty and is judged on a pass/fail basis, according to criteria established by the faculty, including length, level of difficulty of repertoire, and memorization.

Learning Outcomes all Students earning either BA Degree in Music.

  1. Demonstrate the ability to perform a specialization instrument or voice in small ensemble (not conducted) and large ensemble (conducted) with appropriate balance and blend.
  2. Identify and analyze the elements of music in a variety of musical styles and demonstrate an understanding of compositional processes; aesthetic properties; and artistic, social, and historical contexts.
  3. Identify significant composers, works, and styles in six or more of these areas: the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Baroque Era, the Classical Era, the Romantic Era, Music Since 1900, select world music cultures, American music, and jazz.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to hear, notate, analyze, and perform music through written, aural, sight-singing, and keyboard skills.
  5. Attend a set number of musical performances for at least four semesters.

Additional Learning Outcomes Students earning a BA Degree in Music Performance

  1. Demonstrate the ability to perform a specialization instrument or voice at the level of an advanced undergraduate student, or young professional, including a high level of technical and artistic competence.
  2. Demonstrate growing maturity in musical performance, using performance and liberal-arts tools and insights to create an artistic product.
  3. Demonstrate growing maturity as an ensemble performer through work in orchestra, wind ensemble, choir, jazz ensemble, and/or chamber ensemble.
  4. Demonstrate an ability to work independently and with peers through unsupervised rehearsals.
  5. Work in collaboration with faculty and staff to carry out the elements of a solo recital, including scheduling all activities, publicity, and people related to the recital; creating a written program that includes program notes; and assembling the various elements of the performance.
  6. Publicly perform an artistically convincing and compelling solo-recital program of quality and difficulty representative of a B.A. in Music Performance.

Additional Learning Outcomes Students earning a BA Degree in Music in Liberal Arts

  1. Demonstrate the ability to perform a specialization instrument or voice including a medium level of technical and artistic competence.
  2. Demonstrate growing musical maturity in creativity, research, and/or conducting, using music and liberal-arts insights to express ideas about music at the level of an advanced undergraduate or young professional musician.
  3. Demonstrate growing maturity as an ensemble performer through work in orchestra, wind ensemble, choir, jazz ensemble, and/or chamber ensemble.
  4. Demonstrate an ability to conduct research or music, or to create original compositions, independent of direct and present supervision.
  5. Demonstrate one:
    1. Publicly present a paper in music history, music analysis, ethnomusicology, interdisciplinary arts, or arts management that is musically convincing and compelling and of quality and difficulty representative of a B.A. in Music in Liberal Arts. Work in collaboration with faculty and staff to carry out the elements of a scholarly presentation and of the scholarly paper on which it is based including conducting the research, writing and editing the paper and its bibliography, reediting a portion of the paper to be used as the public presentation, and preparing all audio-visual materials for both the paper and the presentation
    2. Supervise a public performance and recording of a substantial original composition, ideally a chamber or solo composition of 8-12 minutes, that is musically convincing and compelling and of quality and difficulty representative of a B.A. in Music in Liberal Arts. Work in collaboration with faculty and staff to carry out the elements of a substantial original composition and its performance and recording.
    3. Organize and conduct approximately 15 minutes of music performed by student ensemble(s) and write a research paper of 10 or more pages that provides a biographical and cultural context for the genesis and style traits of the composition(s) conducted, ensuring that both are musically convincing and compelling and of quality and difficulty representative of a B.A. in Music in Liberal Arts. Work in collaboration with faculty and staff to carry out conducting 15 minutes of music and developing and writing the research paper that probes the genesis and style traits of the work(s) conducted.

Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes

Currently, learning outcomes are assessed individually in each class, through appropriate measures stated in the course syllabi. Both Performance and Liberal Arts majors must complete four semesters of Mus 100, a zero-credit class offered on a pass/fail basis. A grade of “pass” requires attendance at twelve concerts during the semester; a grade of “pass” indicates achievement of Music Learning Outcome 5.

Performance majors are required to participate in ensembles that give public performances. They receive a grade for each performance class they take, but they are not specifically graded on public performances, since in many cases they are on stage with 50 or so other musicians. This activity demonstrates achievement of Music Performance Learning Outcomes 2 and 5. In addition, all Performance majors are expected to play on one Repertory Hour (afternoon recital) each semester; no grade is assigned. They are also expected to take a performance “jury” at the end of each semester. The jury is not a public performance, but is attended by all faculty in the Department of Music. No grade is assigned for these juries, but all faculty submit written comments, which are then given to the student’s major instructor, who passes the comments along at his/her discretion. These regular repertory hours and juries with written feedback demonstrate ability to perform and growing maturity (Music Learning Outcome 1 and Music Performance Learning Outcome 2).

A major in Music Performance must present a solo recital as a capstone to the major. These recitals are graded on a pass-fail basis, by a faculty committee consisting of the student’s “major instructor”, plus two other faculty members, chosen by student with the approval of the major instructor. The faculty committee reports “pass” or “fail” to the Chair. The Department has written guidelines for these recitals, with criteria for length, level of difficulty of repertoire, memorization, etc. There is a second document for an Honors Recital, requiring greater length, more memorization of repertoire, etc. A faculty committee, established along the same lines as the “regular” recital, rates the Honors Recital on a pass/fail basis. Occasionally the faculty committee has voted to pass the recital but deny honors, on the basis of the criteria. These capstone performances demonstrate achievement of Music Learning Outcomes 1 and 4 and Music Performance Outcomes 1, 4, and 6.

Majors in Music in Liberal Arts have less rigorous requirements for performance. No audition is required for entry to the major, though they must pass a “performance examination” on their major instrument prior to graduation. Liberal Arts music majors must perform in an ensemble for two semesters and must earn two hours in Individual Instruction to demonstrate achievement of the Music Learning Outcomes.