Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives and Goals for Undergraduate Education in Music:
  • Undergraduate music majors should learn to engage knowledgeably with the many contemporary and historical strands that exist in music.
  • Music majors should develop the ability to describe and analyze a variety of musical texts or experiences, to locate them in a cultural and historical context, and to grasp the technique behind their creation.
  • Music majors should gain competence in at least one area of performance and in simple composition; in most cases they will be able to practice one of these skills at an advanced level, where artistic issues become the primary focus.

The distinct disciplines of theory, history, performance, composition, and ethnomusicology require multiple semesters of effort to achieve mastery or fluency. Music majors are encouraged to excel in as many of these areas as they can. Every music major will complete a sequence of courses encompassing Western music history and theory as well as applied study of an instrument or voice. By the time of graduation, the typical music major will have accomplished the goals outlined above through:

  • Appearing in solo and ensemble performances.
  • Composing original music in different historical styles.
  • Producing detailed theoretical analyses of musical scores.
  • Producing critical essays on music of various periods and styles.

As one of the most ancient of the liberal arts, music has long been seen as an essential component of culture. It has provided meaning and consolation to humanity through the ages, and it is the source of some of its greatest artistic and intellectual achievements. A thorough study of music reaches beyond the concrete skills of the discipline toward an understanding of the deep significance of the art to human life. The Department of Music wishes every music graduate to gain this understanding and to grasp clearly the human capabilities that create the universal language of music.