2023-2024 Pomona College Catalog 
    Jul 21, 2024  
2023-2024 Pomona College Catalog

Music Major

Requirements for the Major in Music

Students majoring in music are expected to integrate their studies in performance, theory and musicianship, music history, and ethnomusicology. Through the music curriculum, students develop the knowledge, skills, concepts and sensitivities necessary to enter the real world as informed musicians who are able to make a personally expressive contribution to society. Students completing the music major should have acquired the necessary background to continue music studies at the graduate level or to apply their skills and perspectives to a wide variety of non-music related careers.

Students gain basic technical and conceptual competence on an instrument or with the voice, a condensed and selective knowledge of music and music literature, the ability to integrate musical knowledge and skills, sensitivity to Western and non-Western musical styles, and an insight into the role of music in intellectual and cultural life. By the end of their studies in our department, students:

  1. develop the ability to hear, identify and work conceptually with elements of music such as rhythm, melody, harmony, timbre, texture and form;
  2. develop an understanding of and the ability to read and realize musical notation;
  3. develop an understanding of compositional processes, aesthetic properties of style, and the ways these shape and are shaped by artistic and cultural forces;
  4. develop knowledge of a wide selection of musical literature and its associated eras, genres and cultural sources;
  5. refine the ability to develop and defend musical judgments; and
  6. learn to interpret, analyze and perform a variety of musical styles.

These goals are pursued through making, listening to and studying music. Instruction in a performing medium, participation in ensembles and public performance are vital to the music major’s experience in our program.

Requirements for the major consist of the following courses. Except for courses restricted to P/NP grading, the student must receive a grade of C or higher to count toward the major.

  1. Engaging Music (MUS 051 PO ), Music Theory courses (MUS 080 PO , MUS 081 PO , MUS 082 PO ), Music History seminars (MUS 121 PO , MUS 122 PO ) and 20th- Century Music History and Theory (MUS 184 PO ). 
  2. Two course credits earned over a minimum of four semesters in a Pomona College music ensemble, e.g., Choir (MUS 031 PO ), Orchestra (MUS 033 PO ), Balinese Gamelan (MUS 041 PO ), etc.; In general, the four semesters should be in the same ensemble; consult with the department chair for guidance on how to pursue exceptions.
  3. Four semesters in hour-long lessons (MUS 015 PO  and/or MUS 100 PO ) on the same instrument or voice. The Qualifying Exam should be passed in the first or sophomore year if at all possible.
  4. At least one elective in ethnomusicology (e.g. MUS 065 PO  or courses numbered in the 70s).
  5. Senior Colloquium (MUS 190 PO ) and Senior Project (MUS 192 PO ).

The requirements above (totaling 12 to 13.5 course credits) are sufficient to satisfy the Music Department’s major requirements. It is possible to combine this basic major with one from another department or program to create a double major. In any case, students are encouraged to take additional courses offered by the Music Department. It is possible to pursue an area of specialization by augmenting the core curriculum as detailed below under Concentrations. 

Concentrations. Students who intend to complete one of the following concentrations are required to meet with a member of the full-time Music faculty (Bandy, Cramer, Di Grazia, Flaherty, Givens, Lee, Lindholm, Rockwell, and Schreffler) before writing and submitting a proposal to the department. This conversation should take place no later than the end of the fall semester of the junior year. 

  1. Composition: At least two semesters of formal composition study for credit, usually through appropriately designed MUS 199 PO. Electronic Music Studio (MUS 096A PO ) Orchestration and Instrumentation (MUS 113 PO ), and Senior Project (MUS 192 PO  - full course) for the preparation of a senior composition.
  2. Performance: At least four semesters of MUS 100 PO  on a single instrument or voice are required. Ensemble participation increased to three course credits earned over a minimum of six semesters. One music elective with a course number above 100. At least four distinguished performances from: student recitals, chamber music recitals, senior compositions, senior recitals of colleagues, competition-winning appearances, or other venues approved by the department. MUS 192 PO  (half course) for the preparation and performance of a senior recital, with program notes and, as appropriate, texts/translations. MUS 192 PO  or MUS 100 PO  are normally taken together in the same semester as the senior recital is given. 
  3. History, Ethnomusicology, Theory or other specializations: At least one elective from the relevant field. MUS 192 PO  (full course) for the preparation of a senior project. These concentrations involve individually-designed music specializations and are done in consultation with students’ advisors.

Recitals. All students studying at Level II are encouraged to perform in public student recitals sponsored by the department, provided they obtain the approval of their instructors. Longer recitals also require submission of a formal proposal (after consultation with one’s principal instrument/voice teacher) and permission of the department.

Considerations. Students who expect to major in music should possess or develop the ability to read music at the keyboard, especially those who intend to pursue further study in graduate school or for many careers in music including K-12 teaching. They should take MUS 051 PO , at least one ethnomusicology course (for example, MUS 065 PO  or MUS 070 PO ), and the required theory and history courses (MUS 080 PO , MUS 081 PO , MUS 082 PO , MUS 121 PO , MUS 122 PO , and MUS 184 PO ) as soon as possible to allow time for exploring the field more deeply through electives or independent study courses. In rare cases, and with permission of the department, one of the required music theory courses may be satisfied by examination, without credit. Reading and/or pronunciation facility with languages other than English (German in particular) is often expected for graduate work, depending upon the area of specialization.

Students are encouraged to consult with the Music Department in advance to determine whether academic work completed on study abroad, at one of the other Claremont Colleges, or at another institution can fulfill the major requirements.