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Music Major Requirements

The Department of Music celebrates the diversity of musical experiences – from performance and education to music business and production! Music majors at Washington College develop an individualized program that sets them up for success as they work towards a BA.

The Major

The opportunity of a lifetime—that’s what a major in Music can mean for you.

You’ll learn history & theory, explore a myriad of performance opportunities in our 14 ensembles, exeripence musical theater on stage or in the pit, learn about the diversity of music around the work with our ethnomusciology offerings, and have the opportunity to take private lessons every semester with world-class performers and educators. 

As seniors you'll choose a senior capstone project that matches you talents and interests. Students are invited to do a solo recital, original research, original recording/production, and original compositions. We also support double majors, and encourage projects that span disciplines!

The Process

The MUSIC major consists of five components:

  1. Core Required Courses (20 credits)
  2. Electives (12 credits)
  3. World Music Elective (4 credits)
  4. Lessons & Performance (18 credits)
  5. Senior Capstone (4 credits)

1. Core Required Courses

Music Theory (3 required courses | 12 credits)

Plan ahead: It is ideal to start the Music Theory the semester you arrive at Washington College, but no later than fall of your sophomore year.

MUS 131* Music Theory 1
MUS 132*  Music Theory 2
MUS 232 Music Theory 3

* These courses can be used satisfy the College's "Quantitative" distribution requirement.

Music History (2 required courses | 8 credits)

Two courses selected from the following History of Western Music Sequence: 

MUS 203 Ancient to Baroque
MUS 204 Classical to Romantic
MUS 205 Music since 1900

2. Electives


Music Theory Elective (1 course | 4 credits)

One courses selected from the following theory offerings. Course must be taken after completion of the required Music Theory sequence.

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General Music Elective (2 course | 8 credits)

This requirment can be fullfulled by taking any two additional four-credit history or theory courses, besides MUS 100. 

3. World Music Electives


World Music Elective (1 course | 4 credits)

One courses selected from the following ethnomusciology and world music offerings. 

MUS 104 Intro to World Music & Ethnomusicology
MUS 313 Music of Latin America
MUS 314 Music of Asia
MUS 327 Music, Ritual, and Early Chritianity
MUS 329 Cuba Music & Culture
MUS 406 Theory & Method in Ethnomusciology

4. Performance Requirements

All Majors are required to declare a primary instrument/voice and complete 18 Performance Credits

  • Four semesters of two-credit applied music in their declared area (8 credits)
  • Two semesters of two-credit applied or class piano, or by passing a piano proficiency exam (4 credits)
  • Performance ensemble participation (6 credits)
    • Brass, Woodwind, and Percussion students must acquire at least 4 credits in MUS 277 Symphonic Band. The remaining 2 credits may come from any other ensemble offered by the Department of Music. 
    • String students must acquire at least 4 credits from MUS 291 String Orchestra. The remaining 2 credits may come from any other ensemble offered by the Department of Music.
    • Voice students must acquire at least 4 credits from MUS 283 College Chorus. The remaining 2 credits may come from any other ensemble offered by the Department of Music.



 

  • Four semesters of two-credit applied music in their declared area (8 credits)
  • Two semesters of two-credit applied or class piano, or by passing a piano proficiency exam (4 credits)
  • Six additional credits of additional applied music or ensemble participation, of which at least 4 credits must be in a large ensemble (MUS 277 Symphonic Band, MUS 281 Jazz Ensemble, MUS 283 College Chorus, or MUS 291 String Orchestra) (6 credits).



 

  • Four semesters of two-credit applied music in their declared area (8 credits)
  • Ten additional credits of additional applied music or ensemble participation, of which at least 4 credits must be in a large ensemble (MUS 277 Symphonic Band, MUS 281 Jazz Ensemble, MUS 283 College Chorus, or MUS 291 String Orchestra) (10 credits).



 

  

5. Senior Capstone Experience

The Senior Capstone Experience (SCE) in music may be fulfilled by writing an extensive research paper or an extended composition; by presenting a research paper in conjunction with a lecture recital; by performing an hour-long solo recital; or by combining a half recital with a research paper. Students may pursue an alternate SCE project with the approval of the department chair. Students who double major are encourage to explore a project that satisfies both majors. The SCE will be accorded Pass, Fail, or Honors, and, upon successfully completing it, the student will receive four credits. Click Here for more information.

 

 

The SCE Process

During the fall semester of your junior year, you’ll attend an SCE info session to find out more about the process. Capstones are most useful when they are aligned with your personal and professional career goals. Consult regularly with your professors and your advisor about your goals and ideas. 

Students are expected to declare their SCE by November 15 of their Junior Year, so we can begin more formal conversations. A more formal proposal is due by March 1 of their Junior Year. Students who are considering a Fall graduation date should advance these deadlines by 7 months.  

There are five SCE tracks available.

Research Paper

Your research paper is intended to give you the opportunity to demonstrate your capacity for independent research and thinking, your ability to conduct technical musical analysis and tie it to contextual data and conceptual conclusions, your knowledge of musicological, ethnomusicological, theorietical, and other relevant literature, your strengths in thinking conceptually about your data, and your skill in professional writing.

Full Rectial or Lecture Recital

Capstone recitals are normally given in February or March of the senior year, though exceptions can be made if the student has scheduling constraints (another major, student teaching, study abroad, etc.). Recitals are a very personal experience, and students should work closely with their professors and studio instructors to design a meaningful program. 

Half-Recital & Shorter Research Paper

This is a great choice for students who want the experience of a solo recital, are not ready to perform an hour's worth of material. The recital and paper can be related, but they are not expected to be. 

Extended Compostion

A completed composition includes: 1) the composition engraved using professional software, 2) a written analysis of the composition, and 3) a recording of the composition (MIDI realizations will be accepted if appropriate).

 The composition must be a substantial work of music. The definition of “substantial” will vary from student to student, depending on the length of work,  nstrumentation, and complexity of compositional process.

Alternate Capstone Project

Many of our students propose alternate capstones. Some of these arise from involvement in double majors. Others reflect an interest in various aspects of music production & recording. Porposals will be evaluated on an individual basis.

Students pursuing double majors are encouraged topursue an integrated Capstones that satisfies both majors. This requires planning beginning in the junior year. When faced with timelines from two departments, students should expect earlier ones to take precedence. Double majors can only earn four total SCE credits, even if they write two Capstones. 

 

While completing their capstone projects, seniors are enrolled in the 4-credit Senior Capstone Experience (MUS SCE) course, usually during the spring semester. The Capstone receives a mark of Pass, Fail, or Honors. Refer to the SCE Guidelines document for more specific information on grading/evaluation.

2019-2020 SCE Forms & Guidelines