The music department’s courses are divided into three groups: theory, history, and performance. The theory sequence teaches the language of music: how music is put together and how to write it. The history courses are designed to give students a deeper understanding of music through a study of composers, historical periods, stylistic performance practice and various cultures. The performance courses offer opportunities for students to engage in the joy and art of performance and if so desired, to gain credit in department-sponsored ensembles and private instruction. The music department is dedicated to many different learning opportunities: for students who want to be music concentrators, for students who are interested in an elective or two as part of their liberal arts curriculum, for students who choose only to perform, or for students who want to learn an instrument or voice.
Students considering a major or minor should elect MUSI 203, Harmony I in their first semester at Colgate. This course prepares students for superior achievement in all other upper-level music courses. Alternative courses to begin a concentration are MUSI 215, Music History I (fall term) or MUSI 216, Music History II (spring term).
It is useful to add that many of our music students are double majors and music majors have gone on to graduate study in every area of music or have entered careers in law, medicine, business, sound engineering, music production, arts management, mathematics, and many other fields.
First-year students are warmly encouraged to perform and to have a short audition for the University Orchestra (MUSI 230), University Chorus (MUSI 234), Colgate Chamber Players (MUSI 217), and the Concert Jazz Ensemble (MUSI 232), although they cannot register for course credit in the first semester. (Normally, two consecutive terms are required for a student to receive a single course credit.) All Colgate students may perform in these organizations; a student does not need to be a concentrator in order to participate. For auditions, see the music department administrative assistant as soon as possible during the first week of classes. Students can also sign up for half-hour or one-hour private lessons each week, in most instruments and in voice. These lessons are provided at all levels. See the music department administrative assistant during the first week of classes for details.
Colgate course credit for MUSI 203 is awarded to students receiving a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Music Theory exam.