The Musical Studies Program provides college students with an opportunity to study music from a critical and intellectual perspective. Students devise an individual plan of study drawn from the college and the conservatory that give them the opportunity to gain academic and practical musical skills.

Majors:

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Faculty

A committee comprised of faculty from the college and conservatory oversees the Musical Studies Program. These teacher-scholars are committed to undergraduate education and teach everything from first-year seminars to advanced courses. The Music studies Program Committee includes Charles McGuire, Annemarie Sammaartino, Brian Alegant, and W. Patrick Day.

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Performance Ensembles

Students in this course of study are required to participate in at least two of the several Oberlin ensembles: the Oberlin Orchestra, Musical Union, Oberlin College Choir, Oberlin Singers, Oberlin Wind Ensemble, Javanese Gamelan, or the Contemporary Chamber Music Ensemble, among others. These groups represent the many student, faculty, and professional performance groups that offer more than 500 mostly free public concerts on campus each year.

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Program Overview

The Musical Studies Program major targets arts and sciences students with serious preparation for and interest in the study of music within a liberal arts context. We place a strong emphasis on critical thinking, writing, and communications skills, grounded in practical musical experience. Majors will build musical foundations in applied study, musicianship skills, and music history, and will continue more advanced work in the major with a selection of courses chosen to give shape to your consideration of music.

Previously called the College Music Major, musical studies is a partnership between the College of Arts and Sciences and Conservatory of Music, offering students an interdivisional approach to musical study. Majors take courses in both divisions and earn a Bachelor of Arts degree with a focus on music. Many of our graduates have careers in music education, conducting, ethnomusicology, music theory, performance, and other related disciplines.

Our courses permit interested students to double major and, with careful planning, many pair musical studies with other majors in the arts and sciences division— politics, cinema studies, or theater and dance, for example. You will design a concentration within the major that allows in-depth study of a specific musical topic. We advise students wishing to pursue graduate study in music to plan carefully so that enough advanced coursework is possible.

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Curriculum Overview

The Musical Studies Program is for arts and sciences students with serious preparation for and interest in the study of music within a liberal arts setting. You must apply for admission to the major. Students take courses in both divisions, which include musical foundations, music theory and aural skills, musicology, applied study, and private instruction. Each student also proposes a major concentration designed to support his or her individual interests. We require all majors to participate in the Musical Studies Senior Seminar and complete an appropriate capstone project.

In addition, you are required to participate in at least two of the several Oberlin ensembles: the Oberlin Orchestra, Musical Union, Oberlin College Choir, Oberlin Singers, Oberlin Wind Ensemble, Javanese Gamelan, or the Contemporary Chamber Music Ensemble, among others. These groups represent the many student, faculty, and professional performance groups that offer more than 500 mostly free public concerts on campus each year. Program majors also must complete at least four semesters of secondary private study on an instrument or voice for credit.

Students wishing more intense study or who plan to attend graduate school should consider the Musical Studies Honors Program. Consult with an advisor or a member of the Musical Studies Committee to ensure appropriate coursework for the major. The program does not offer a minor.

Musical Studies News

Learning the Secrets of Songwriting

February 17, 2016
This winter term, a small group of students participated in a songwriting workshop led by noted singer-songwriter Lucy Wainwright Roche ’03.