Program Overview

Music History

Study of music history provides a basic understanding of Western music from the Middle Ages to modern day, primarily the classical traditions as well as jazz, contemporary, and world music. The program draws on historical investigation and various methods of criticism and analysis while considering music as both a liberal and a performance art. Coursework includes historical instruments, aural skills, music theory, along with workshops and lecture demonstrations.

a book about the principles of the transverse flute
The book on the transverse flute with an engraving by the author Bernard Picart is part of the conservatory’s Frederick R. Selch Collection of American Music History.
Photo credit: Elliott Kaufman

Program Facts

Program Director

Charles McGuire,
Professor of Musicology


Jeanne Rosecrans, Administrative Assistant
historical instrument group
Student ensembles, small and large, are essential to the conservatory’s music scene.
Photo credit: Roger Mastroianni

Performance Ensemble

Oberlin sponsors approximately 500 concerts on campus each year, including recitals and concerts by the more than 25 student ensembles. From jazz to contemporary guitar, classical to popular, computer-generated to acoustic, and from time-tested compositions to newer works, the college and conservatory present performances to satisfy any musical interest.

Performance Ensembles

Music History Faculty

Conservatory faculty maintain active performance schedules while remaining accessible and committed to their students. Individual instruction is paramount to helping students develop their mechanical, technical, stylistic, psychological, and musical skills.

Music history is one of the portals at Oberlin where you learn how to communicate about music with other individuals besides musicians and besides yourself.

Charles McGuire, Professor of Musicology