Jul 21, 2024  
College Catalog 2021-2022 
College Catalog 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Music Major

Major Requirements

A major in music will consist of a mix of courses, ensemble participation, studio lessons, keyboard skills instruction, and the completion of a senior capstone. Music majors whose primary advisor is not a music faculty member should establish a second advisor in music; the complexity of major requirements necessitates regular review of one’s progress toward the major.


8 courses, 2 performance units of ensemble with one of the units in a Group A ensemble, 2 performance units of lesson, Keyboard Skills up to 1 performance unit according to placement, Flex A or Flex B, and the senior capstone.  Details for each of these requirements follow below.

A performance unit is defined as two contiguous semesters of participation in the same ensemble or in lessons on the same instrument (usually fall-spring, but spring-fall is possible). 


8 courses are required, including MUSI 113  , 2 courses from each of three categories (see below), and 1 elective.  Two of these courses must be at the 300 level or higher. MUSI 113  is the gateway course to the major, and should be taken as early as possible. (Students who place out of MUSI 113   may take MUSI 214   instead; placements are determined by the department.) 

The three course categories, with their associated courses, are: 
Group 1 - Theory/Composition (MUSI 153 , MUSI 154 , MUSI 211 , MUSI 214 , MUSI 233 , MUSI 361  + approved topics)
Group 2 - History/Literature (MUSI 131 , MUSI 155 , MUSI 205  , MUSI 254 , MUSI 264 , MUSI 342 , MUSI 343 , MUSI 344  + approved topics)
Group 3 - Critical/Interdisciplinary (MUSI 180 , MUSI 220 , MUSI 225 , MUSI 354 , MUSI 370 , MUSI 405 , MUSI 425  + approved topics)

All music courses count towards the music major with the following exceptions:

1. MUSI 110   (Introduction to Western Classical Music) DOES NOT count towards the music major or minor

2. MUSI 111   (World Music), while not considered the most appropriate course for music majors/minors, may count towards the major/minor with approval of the Department Chair.


Majors must complete 2 performance units (4 semesters) of ensemble participation. These units represent two years’ participation, and should not overlap.  Majors are encouraged to participate in ensembles for their entire time in the department.  Majors must be in a Group A ensemble for at least one performance unit. Group A or B may be pursued for additional units. Group A includes Concert Choir, Chorale, Orchestra, African Music Ensemble, MacJazz.  Group B includes Asian Music, Wind Symphony, Pipe Band, Early Music, Combos, Chamber Music.  Credits will be awarded at the completion of each performance unit (every two semesters). Ensemble and lesson units may be taken simultaneously.


Majors must complete 2 performance units (4 semesters) of studio lesson instruction. These units represent two years’ participation, and should not overlap. Majors are encouraged to participate in lessons for their entire time in the department.  A Performance Review (juried final exam) shall take place each semester that lessons are taken.  Participation on one Thursday Noon shared recital per semester is required for each semester that lessons are taken. Credits will be awarded at the completion of each performance unit (every two semesters). Lesson and ensemble units may be taken simultaneously. 

Keyboard Skills

All majors are required to take one or two semesters of MUSI 98   (Keyboard Skills) depending on placement.  If both semesters are taken contiguously, then it counts as one performance unit. The first semester normally will be taken concurrently with MUSI 113  ; students with advanced standing may start at another approved time.


Majors will choose one of two Flex options.  Flex A requires one additional course (for a total of 9), and one additional performance unit (ensemble, lesson, or Keyboard Skills may be applied). Flex B requires three additional performance units (ensemble, lesson, or Keyboard Skills may be applied). The Flex performance units may overlap; for example, multiple ensembles may be taken simultaneously.


Majors have a choice of recital, thesis, recording or composition project for the senior capstone.  Majors will register for MUSI 488   (Senior Project) during their final semester. This will earn 2 credits and a letter grade. Details follow below.

Music Department Senior Capstone

The Capstone

The capstone for majors in music will consist of a choice of one of the following: (1) a recital, (2) a written thesis in theory or musicology, (3) a recording project such as an album, or (4) a composition project or portfolio. Details of these choices follow below. All capstones culminate in public presentation appropriate to their nature and scope.  All majors will register in MUSI 488   (Senior Project), in their final semester. This is a 2-credit course that will count towards the total credit load; please plan accordingly. 

Capstone Timeline

During the junior year, students will identify the type of capstone they intend to pursue, and a faculty “capstone advisor” will be assigned. This is not necessarily the student’s principal academic advisor. Once a preliminary planning meeting has taken place with the capstone advisor, the student will submit a formal, written proposal to the Chair. All proposals will be reviewed by the department. Revisions may be requested. Approvals will be made, normally within two weeks. A working timeline should be developed in consultation with the capstone advisor, and submitted by the end of junior spring. Students are encouraged to begin capstone work before the beginning of senior year. The student will meet periodically with the capstone advisor to ensure satisfactory progress according to their timeline. The completed capstones will be due in the final semester of residence, normally a few weeks before the end of classes. All relevant dates will be determined and announced by the department annually. For students planning a fall graduation, dates will be set accordingly.

Capstone Specifics


A recital program of 50-70 minutes will be developed in conjunction with the studio instructor and capstone advisor. Intermissions are not typical, but situation- and instrument-specific needs arise and may be granted by the studio instructor/department faculty. Recitals must be thoughtfully put together and cohesive, and students are expected to treat the recital as a formal event and present it with an attitude of professionalism. Recitals should showcase the student as the central performer, although many recitals are collaborations between the student and an accompanist or small ensemble, depending on the style of music the student performs.

Students must complete a recital hearing between one month and two weeks prior to the scheduled recital.  Specific dates will be determined annually. All participating musicians must be present, the typed program must be available, and the student must be prepared to present any portion of the recital selected by an assembled jury, to consist of the capstone advisor and at least one other faculty member. If the program and level of preparation are approved, the recital will go on as scheduled. If deficiencies are noted, the student will need to address them, or reschedule the recital, even if that means the following semester.


An original research question will be pursued that builds on existing literature in the field, and culminates in an essay of some 15-30 pages with proper bibliographic citations. The student will give a public presentation of the thesis at an agreed-upon date, before graduation.

Recording Project

This type of project is evaluated on both musical content and technical grounds. As such, it is intended for students with both compositional/songwriting experience and recording/studio/booth experience. The project will consist of an album of material, largely but not exclusively original in nature, performed by the student either solo or in collaboration with other musicians. The student must engineer and master the recording themselves and present a finished product of 30-60 minutes’ duration. The project will be shared formally with the wider department community.

Composition Project

The composition project may be either one composition in larger proportions (e.g. a substantial single- or multi-movement work of some 15-20 minutes’ duration), or a portfolio of shorter works totaling 15-20 minutes. Specific instrumentation is left to the student in consultation with the advisor. ”Large” proportion does not have to refer to large ensemble such as orchestra.  The music is not limited by genre or style. The work(s) submitted should be engraved using computer notation software at a high standard of quality.  While the composition(s) need not be recorded in a concert or studio situation, a companion recording should be submitted; MIDI playback is acceptable. The project will be shared formally with the wider department community.

Capstone evaluation

Since MUSI 488  is taken for credit, a grade will be assigned by the capstone advisor in consultation with other department faculty. The department as a body discusses the project’s relative quality and the consistency of effort, to aid the advisor in evaluation. An oral or written summary of the department’s collective appraisal of the student’s achievement will be provided to the student prior to graduation.