The Music Major
The music major at Bowdoin can take a number of possible tracks, outlined in the College Catalogue. Students can do a general music major, or specialize in composition, music and culture, or Western classical music. In all cases, students will do some combination of music theory, performance, and the study of music in historical or cultural context. The fee for lessons for credit is waived for majors for one year. Honors work consists of a full year of independent study in a specialized area such as composition or history. Double majors are common, and self-designed majors that combine courses in two or more departments are also possible.
Requirements for the Major in Music
The music major consists of twelve credits that include courses from three areas: social
and historical context (x1xx–x3xx), theory and composition (x4xx–x5xx), and performance
(x6xx–x8xx). Majors can choose either to pursue a broader curriculum with some balance
among these areas or to concentrate in one of them, as indicated in the specific courses listed
below. All majors are also required in their final semester to take an independent study that
includes a seminar component. Honors work normally adds one extra course credit, and its
second semester counts as the senior independent study. Only one academic course in which
the grade of CR (Credit) is received may count toward the major.
The process for declaring the major is as follows: (1) the student consults with a member of
the music faculty as early in the individual’s college career as possible; (2) before declaring
a major, the student proposes to the faculty member a list of courses that fulfill the major
according to the guidelines below; (3) upon departmental approval of the list, the major
declaration is signed by the department chair. Subsequent alterations to this list of courses
are possible only in consultation with the chair of the department or another member of the
Sequence of Courses for the Music Major
Theory and Composition: Music 1401, and at least two electives in this area.
Social and Historical Context: Music 1101 or 2101, and at least two electives in this area.
Performance: Two consecutive semesters in a single ensemble (from Music 2700s), and two
consecutive semesters in Individual Performance Studies (Music 2800s).
Capstone, any area: Music 4040.
In addition: three electives in any area, with the exception of 2700s and 2800s.
At least four elective courses must be at the 2000 level or above, and at least one at the 3000
Music in Social and Historical Context
Theory and Composition: Music 1051 or 1401, and at least one elective in this area.
Social and Historical Context: Music 1101, 2101, one course from 3100–3399, and four electives in
this area, of which three must be at the 2000 level or above. On department approval, two of
these may be in a related field outside the department.
Performance: Two consecutive semesters in each of two different ensembles (Music 2700s);
or two consecutive semesters of ensembles, and two consecutive semesters in Individual
Performance Studies (Music 2800s).
Capstone, Social and Historical Context: Music 4040.
Theory and Composition
Theory and Composition: Music 1401, or 2403, 2501; also four more courses, one each from the
following pairs: Music 1451 or 2551, 2401 or 2602, 3401 or 3403, 3501 or 3551.
Social and Historical Context: Music 1101 or 2101, and any course in this area at the 2000 level
Performance: Two consecutive semesters of ensembles (from Music 2700s), and two consecutive
semesters in Individual Performance Studies (Music 2800s).
Capstone, Theory and Composition: Music 4040.
Theory and Composition: Music 1401, 2401, or 2403.
Social and Historical Context: Music 1101 or 2101, and a course relevant to student’s area of
Performance: 2601 or 2603, 2602, one consecutive year in two different ensembles (from Music
2700s), one consecutive year in Individual Performance Studies (Music 2800s and 3805).
Capstone, Performance: Music 4040.
Requirements for the Minor in Music
The minor in music consists of six credits (five academic courses and two consecutive
semesters of lessons for credit or two consecutive semesters of participation for credit in a
single ensemble). The five academic courses include 1401 and any four others including at
least two at the intermediate (2xxx) level or higher. Only one academic course for which the
grade of CR (Credit) is earned may count toward the minor.
Up to six credits of individual performance and ensemble courses together may be taken
for graduation credit. Music courses numbered 3805–3807 count for academic credit and
are thus not included in this limitation. Students may participate on a non-credit basis in
lessons, some large ensembles, chamber ensembles, and jazz ensembles upon instructor or
departmental approval only. Please see the Course Guide or Polaris for additional provisions
and information on individual performance and ensemble courses.
Instructors for 2015-2016 include: Christina Astrachan (voice), Naydene Bowder (piano and
harpsichord), Christina Chute (cello), Ray Cornils (organ), Duane Edwards (jazz bass), Matt
Fogg (jazz piano), Steve Grover (percussion), Anita Jerosch (low brass), John Johnstone
(classical guitar), David Joseph (bassoon), George Lopez (piano), Kathleen McNerney (oboe),
Kirsten Monke (viola), Joyce Moulton (piano), Tim O’Dell (sax), Taylor O’Donnell (pop/jazz
voice), Dean Stein (violin), Mark Tipton (trumpet), Krysia Tripp (flute), Scott Vaillancourt
(tuba), Yasmin Vitalius (violin), and Gary Wittner (jazz guitar).
Music Ensembles: Every semester
The following provisions govern ensembles:
1. Most ensembles are auditioned. (No auditions required for Music 2769, 2775, and 2781.)
May be repeated for credit; returning students need not normally re-audition.
2. One-half credit may be granted for each semester of study. To receive credit, the student
must register for the course in Polaris at the beginning of each semester.
3. Grading is Credit/D/Fail. Members of ensembles must attend rehearsals regularly and
participate in all dress rehearsals and performances, or they receive a grade of D or F for the
4. Ensembles meet regularly for a minimum of three hours weekly, inclusive of time without
the ensemble director; ensemble directors establish appropriate attendance policies.