Requirements

Music Major

The music major consists of eleven 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 concentrations listed below. All majors are required to take an independent study in their final semester that includes a seminar component. Honors work normally adds one extra course credit, and its second semester counts for the senior independent study. 

General Concentration

The music major with a general concentration consists of eleven credits, distributed in the following way:

Required Courses
Social and Historical Context
MUS 1101Sound, Self, and Society: Music and Everyday Life1
or MUS 2101 Asking Questions about Music-Making: Musicological Methods
two elective courses (x1xx–x3xx) a2
Theory and Composition
MUS 1401Introduction to Music Theory1
Select two elective courses (x4xx–x5xx). a2
Performance
Select at least two credits:2
two consecutive semesters in a single ensemble (27xx) b
two consecutive semesters in intermediate individual performance studies (28xx) b
Select two additional electives from any area between x1xx–x6xx. a2
MUS 4040Senior Project in Music1

Music in Social and Historical Context Concentration

The music major with a concentration in social and historical context consists of eleven credits, distributed in the following way:

Required Courses
Social and Historical Context
MUS 1101Sound, Self, and Society: Music and Everyday Life1
MUS 2101Asking Questions about Music-Making: Musicological Methods1
Select five elective courses (x1xx–x3xx). c5
Theory and Composition
MUS 1051Fundamentals of Music1
or MUS 1401 Introduction to Music Theory
Select one elective course (x4xx–x5xx).1
Performance
Select one of the following:1
two consecutive semesters in a single ensemble (27xx) d
two consecutive semesters in intermediate individual performance studies (28xx) d
MUS 4040Senior Project in Music1

Theory and Composition Concentration

The music major with a concentration in theory and composition consists of eleven credits, distributed in the following way:

Required Courses
Social and Historical Context
MUS 1101Sound, Self, and Society: Music and Everyday Life1
or MUS 2101 Asking Questions about Music-Making: Musicological Methods
Select one elective at the 2000 level or above (x1xx–x3xx).1
Theory and Composition
MUS 1401Introduction to Music Theory1
MUS 2403Songwriting and Song Analysis1
MUS 2501Introduction to Composition1
MUS 1451Introduction to Audio Recording Techniques1
or MUS 2551 Introduction to Electronic Music
MUS 2401Tonal Analysis1
or MUS 2602 Improvisation
Select one advanced elective course (34xx–35xx).1
Performance
Select two consecutive semesters in a single ensemble (27xx). e1
Select two consecutive semesters in intermediate individual performance studies (28xx). e1
MUS 4040Senior Project in Music1

Performance Concentration

The music major with a concentration in performance consists of eleven credits, distributed in the following way:

Required Courses
Social and Historical Context
Select one elective course relevant to student’s area of performance.1
Theory and Composition
MUS 1401Introduction to Music Theory1
MUS 2401Tonal Analysis1
or MUS 2403 Songwriting and Song Analysis
Performance
Select one of the following:1
MUS 2601
The Performance of Classical Music
MUS 2603
Art of Singing
MUS 2604
The Performance of Music
MUS 2602Improvisation1
Select two consecutive semesters in a non-notation-centered ensemble (2701–2712).1
Select two consecutive semesters in a notation-centered ensemble (2721–2752).1
Select two consecutive semesters in intermediate individual performance studies (28xx).1
MUS 3805 Advanced Performance Studies1
Select one additional intermediate or higher elective from any area between 21xx–26xx or 31xx–36xx.1
MUS 4040Senior Project in Music1

Music Minor

The music minor consists of five credits that include both classroom-based and performance-based courses. Minors can choose either to pursue a broader curriculum or to minor in performance, as indicated below. 

General Music Minor

Required Courses
Select one course x1xx–x3xx f1
MUS 1051Fundamentals of Music (or one course x4xx–x5xx) f1
Select two other classroom electives (x1xx–x6xx). f2
Select either two consecutive semesters in a single ensemble (27xx), or two consecutive semesters in intermediate individual performance studies (28xx). g1

Music Performance Minor

Required Courses
MUS 1401Introduction to Music Theory1
or MUS 2403 Songwriting and Song Analysis
Select one other classroom elective (x1xx–x6xx).1
Select two consecutive semesters in a single ensemble (27xx).1
Select two consecutive semesters in intermediate individual performance studies (28xx).1
MUS 3805 Advanced Performance Studies

Additional Information and Department Policies

  • With departmental approval, students may count up to two courses taken at another college or university toward the major, and one such course toward the minor.
  • Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate (AP/IB): Students who received a minimum score of four on the Music Theory AP exam or an IB Music Theory score of six or higher should take the music theory placement exam. Placement in MUS 2403 Songwriting and Song Analysis results in one credit that is the equivalent of MUS 1401 Introduction to Music Theory. If a student earns a grade of C- or higher in Music 2403, this credit can count toward the major. Placement into MUS 1401 Introduction to Music Theory or MUS 1051 Fundamentals of Music results in no credit. In order to receive credit for advanced placement work, students must have their scores officially reported to the Office of the Registrar by the end of their sophomore year at Bowdoin.
  • First-year seminars do not count toward the major or minor.
  • Only one academic course in which the grade of CR (Credit) is received may count toward the major or minor, and only grades of C- or higher count toward the major or minor.

Music Ensembles

The following provisions govern ensembles:

  1. Ensembles (27xx) may be repeated for credit. The first semester of participation in an ensemble is designated with an odd number; the consecutive second and all subsequent semesters are designated with the even number immediately following.
  2. Two semesters of participation in an ensemble for credit fulfills the Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) distribution requirement.
  3. All ensembles count for one-half credit per semester and are graded on a Credit/D/Fail basis. Up to six credits of ensemble and individual performance courses together may be taken for graduation credit.
  4. Students may participate on a non-credit basis in some large ensembles, chamber ensembles, and jazz ensembles upon instructor or departmental approval only. Members of ensembles must attend rehearsals regularly and participate in all dress rehearsals and performances. For auditioned ensembles, returning students need not normally audition again.
  5. Ensembles meet regularly for a minimum of three hours weekly, and in the case of chamber ensembles and jazz combos, this is inclusive of time without the ensemble coach.
  6. Auditioned Ensembles
    • MUS 2711–2712, Jazz Combos
    • MUS 2721–2722, Chamber Ensembles
    • MUS 2731–2732, Orchestra
    • MUS 2741–2742, Chamber Choir
    • MUS 2745–2746, Chorus
  7. Non-auditioned Ensembles
    • MUS 2701–2702, West African Music Ensemble
    • MUS 2705–2706, Middle Eastern Ensemble
    • MUS 2751–2752, Concert Band

Note: Please see the Class Finder for additional provisions and information on music ensembles.

Individual Performance Studies

The following provisions govern applied music lessons for credit:

  1. Any student may take introductory-level performance studies (18xx) for credit. Intermediate-level performance studies (28xx) may be taken by students who have completed two semesters of study at the introductory level or have three-plus years of experience on the instrument and have basic technical facility. The second semester of intermediate-level individual performance courses may be repeated for credit. Only intermediate-level or higher performance studies courses count toward the major or minor.
  2. Students and instructors meet weekly for hour-long lessons; exact meeting times are determined based on the students’ and instructors’ schedules. Some instruction at the introductory level, e.g., guitar and piano, may take place in a small-group format.
  3. The deadline to add lessons is one week after the start of classes, and the deadline to drop lessons is two weeks from the start of classes.
  4. With the exception of Advanced Individual Performance Studies (38xx), all individual performance courses count for one-half credit per semester and are graded on a Credit/D/Fail basis. Advanced Individual Performance Studies (38xx) count for a full credit and are graded with a letter grade.
  5. Beginning with the second semester of intermediate-level lessons (28xx), students must attend and perform in an end-of-semester department recital.
  6. Up to six credits of ensemble and individual performance courses together may be taken for graduation credit. (Note: Advanced Individual Performance Studies (38xx) count for academic credit and are thus not included in this limitation.)
  7. Students taking lessons for credit pay a fee of $700 for twelve one-hour lessons per semester. Junior and senior music majors and minors may take two half-credits free of charge. Scholarships are available for students on financial aid to cover the cost of lessons for credit; students interested in applying should contact the music department coordinator by the second day of classes.

Note: Please see the Class Finder for additional provisions and information on individual performance courses.

Instructors for 2019–2020

Bass: Duane Edwards
Bassoon: David Joseph
Cello: Christina Chute
Clarinet: Titus Abbott
Classical Guitar: John Johnstone
Classical Piano: Naydene Bowder, George Lopez, Joyce Moulton
Classical Voice: Christina Astrachan, Jeff Christmas, Elizabeth Printy
Drums: R.J. Miller
Flute: Krysia Tripp
French Horn: John Boden
Harp: Suki Flanagan
Jazz Guitar: Gary Witner
Jazz Bass: Duane Edwards
Jazz Piano: Matthew Fogg
Oboe: Kathleen McNerney
Pop/Jazz Voice: Jeff Christmas, Stephanie Fogg
Saxophone: Titus Abbott
Trombone: Anita Jerosch
Trumpet: Allen Graffam
Viola: Kirsten Monke
Violin: Dean Stein, Yasmin Vitalius

This is an excerpt from the official Bowdoin College Catalogue and Academic Handbook. View the Catalogue