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Music Department


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Students majoring in music receive a bachelor of arts degree. Students contemplating a major should consult as early as possible with the department chair and with an instructor in the musical area of greatest interest to formulate a course of study.

Students majoring in music are required to complete the following:

  1. MU 241, MU 242, and MU 243, normally to be completed by the end of the sophomore year;

  2. one 300-level topics seminar/survey in the Western classical tradition (MU 314, MU 315, MU 316, MU 317, or an appropriate topics seminar);

  3. one 300-level topics seminar/survey in a non-Western or popular music tradition (MU 304, MU 306, MU 307, MU 309MU 310, MU 320, MU 343, or an appropriate topics seminar);

  4. one additional topics seminar (MU 344 or MU 345);

  5. one 300-level MU course (chosen from any of the above mentioned courses plus MU 319, MU 352, MU 353, MU 354, MU 355, MU 356, MU 357, MU 358, MU 359, MU 360MU 361MU 362, or MU 385);
  6. MU 363 Senior Seminar;

  7. three semesters of private musical instruction in one area of performance; and

  8. three semesters of ensemble performance selected from course offerings under Skidmore Ensembles.

  9. Writing in the Major Requirement: Students majoring in music learn to communicate in several mediums: vocal or instrumental performance, the languages of music (some expressed in music notation), oral communication,  and prose writing. By taking courses in ethnomusicology, music history, and music theory, students learn humanistic, social scientific, and technical modes of writing about music. Students learn how to convey ideas, interpret facts, and construct arguments about music by undertaking written assignments of varying length. Students fulfill the Writing Requirement in music by completing one 300-level seminar or survey course dealing with the Western classical tradition; one 300-level seminar or survey course dealing with a non-Western or popular music tradition; one additional 300-level seminar; and the department's senior seminar.


To enroll in MU 241, students must pass a diagnostic exam administered during the first week of the fall semester. The department strongly urges majors to acquire keyboard skills as early as possible in their musical studies. Before enrolling in MU 242, students must demonstrate keyboard proficiency by passing a departmental exam or by successfully completing MP 197. Students lacking the required proficiency must enroll in MP 197 concurrently with MU 242.

Private Musical Instruction

MP 281MP 281X: Private instruction in instrumental or vocal performance is available to all students on an audition/interview basis and as studio space permits. The fee for private instruction is $660 per semester for 45-minute lessons, $880 per semester for one-hour lessons. Students majoring in music are exempt from these fees during four semesters of private instruction. Scholarship aid is available for all students; see the department chair for details.

See Music