Offerings in Music are given in four related areas: composition, history, performance and theory. Students have also created subspecialties in related areas such as conducting and ethnomusicology, with approval by overseeing faculty.
The department frequently offers courses dealing with such topics as ethnomusicology, music in the United States, music in film, music and politics, and the life and works of composers such as J.S. Bach.
Department Ensembles (MUEN)
All music department ensembles at Dickinson (choir, collegium, jazz band, orchestra, Dickinson Improvisation and Collaboration Ensemble) as well as the chamber music program are open to all students by audition. Auditions on all instruments (including voice) comprise sight-reading and the performance of one work (a movement or song) that demonstrates the student's best musical abilities. Instrumentalists may also be asked to play specific scales. Auditions for all music programs (private lessons, ensembles, and chamber music) take place on the first Tuesday of classes. Music Audition Night, which begins with a thorough introduction to all the programs of the department, is held that evening at 5:30 p.m. in Rubendall Recital Hall.
Instrumental ensembles rehearse once a week; vocal ensembles rehearse twice a week. It is possible to be in more than one ensemble at a time, as no rehearsals overlap. Music ensembles do not bear GPA credit, but successful participation in two or more semesters in one or more ensembles may be registered on students' final transcripts as "Music Ensemble Participation Fulfilled." This fulfillment is required for Music majors and minors. To receive this credit, students must register through Banner (after being accepted via audition) under the appropriate ensemble rubric (MUEN).
Lockers for instrument storage are available only to students participating in ensembles and/or taking lessons in the department.
Performance Studies (MUPS)
Private lessons are offered in voice and instruments, either as half-hour lessons or full-hour lessons in the Performance Studies program. Performance Studies lessons are taken for credit (one half-credit for a semester of half-hour lessons, one full-credit for a semester of full-hour lessons). Only full-hour/one-credit private lessons satisfy the Division Ic distribution requirement and count towards the minor, and students must have the instructor's permission to enroll for full-hour/one-credit private lessons. Degree requirements may not be fulfilled by combinations of half-credit courses (i.e., two half-hour/.50 credit lessons cannot be combined to satisfy the Division IC distribution requirement or the minor). Please note that MUPS 111-02, Vocal Technique class, is a pre-requisite for singers wishing to enroll in private studio lessons.
To register for Performance Studies lessons,
- Contact the instructor with whom you wish to study. (Email is best.)
- The instructor may ask to meet with you. (Music Audition Night is an excellent opportunity if you are beginning lessons in the fall.)
- If the instructor agrees to take you on as a new student, s/he will place the appropriate override code on your Banner account.
- Once the override is recorded, you must still log in to Banner and register for lessons as you would any other class.
If you need an overload, twice during your studies you can simply use the Overload form (downloadable from the Registrar’s Office) and in a third and subsequent semesters you will need to submit a petition for overload to the Subcommittee on Academic Standards, with copy to your studio teacher, chair and your Advisor. When your registration is confirmed, you and the instructor will arrange for a mutually convenient weekly lesson time.
PLEASE NOTE: A fee is assessed for all Performance Studies lessons (with the exception of lessons for music majors meeting certain criteria). These fees are added to the student's tuition when registration is confirmed at the end of the Add/Drop Period. (See the Financial Operations website for current fee amounts.) Performance Studies fees are non-refundable.
Scholarships are available from the Department of Music to offset the cost of lessons. To apply for a scholarship, a student must have the approval of the Performance Studies instructor with whom the student intends to study. The student must submit a brief letter of application (explaining any financial need as well as why the student wishes to study) in an email to the Director of Performance Studies, Lynn Helding, with copy to the student's intended instructor. Information about Music scholarships can be found online on the Department of Music’s webpage.
Music theory placement
For students who have had extensive, substantial studies in music, it may be possible to test for credit for one or more semesters of Music Theory (125, 126, 245, 246). The exam is offered online, on Music Audition Night (second night of classes), and at the same time as the language placement exams. No AP Music Theory score alone qualifies a student for Music Theory credit.
Student Music Society
The Student Music Society at Dickinson is open to all students interested in participating in and enriching campus musical culture. The Society sponsors many activities, including an informal concert series, performances of student compositions, regular meetings with guest artists or lecturers, and trips to off-campus concerts and lectures. Recent Society-sponsored events have included trips to Pittsburgh to hear a performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute and to the Metropolitan Opera in NYC to hear Don Giovanni.
Courses appropriate for prospective majors
MUAC 101 & 102, Introduction to Music History
MUAC 125 & 126, Music Theory I
*First-year students intending to major in music are strongly encouraged to complete MUAC 125 and 126 in the first year. MUAC 101 and 102 can be taken out of sequence.
*Performance Studies: Prospective majors in Performance Studies with a vocal emphasis should note that MUPS 111-02 (Vocal Technique Class) is a pre-requisite for private studio lessons. For all other prospective Performance Studies majors, private studio instruction should begin as soon as possible. NB: A fee is assessed for all Performance Studies lessons (with the exception of the MUPS 111 classes, and declared Music majors who meet certain criteria). These fees are added to the student’s tuition when registration is confirmed at the end of the Add/Drop period (see the Financial Operations website for current fee amounts). Performance Studies fees are non-refundable.
For course descriptions and requirements for the major, refer to the Academic Bulletin: Music.
Courses that fulfill distribution requirements
All 100-level courses, EXCEPT: MUPS 111 (Guitar, Piano and Voice classes), MUAC 115 (Fundamentals) and half-hour lessons (MUPS 113-114)
MUAC 206, Music in the United States
MUAC 209, Ethnomusicology
MUAC 221, Music in Film
MUAC 125, Music Theory
MUAC 209, Ethnomusicology
MUAC 206, Music in the United States
MUAC 221, Music in Film
In addition, the departments of Music and Theatre & Dance offer an interdisciplinary major in Dance and Music. See the Academic Bulletin for information on the major.
Suggested curricular flow through the major
MUAC 125 (fall only), MUAC 126 (spring only)
MUAC 101 and/or MUAC 102 (these latter two may be taken out of sequence)
Performance Studies majors should begin enrolling in studio lessons (Voice majors begin their study with Vocal Technique Class, MUPS 111-02)
MUAC 245 (fall only), MUAC 246 (spring only)
MUAC 101 and/or 102 (if not taken earlier)
Possibly MUAC 255 for composition or theory emphasis if simultaneous with 245
Remaining 200-level courses
MUAC 351-354 seminars
Performance majors should be enrolled in MUPS 323/324 (junior recital), rather than 313/314 (for non-majors)
All 400-level courses (senior projects in history, theory, composition or performance)
Any remaining 300-level seminars
Music majors are strongly advised:
- to begin the theory sequence (125/126/245/246) as soon as possible, ideally enrolling in MUAC 125 during the first semester of the first year.
- to complete the core requirements (101-102, 125-126, 245-246) by the end of the sophomore year, in preparation for the more advanced research and analysis undertaken in courses numbered above 250.
- to carefully plan any study abroad activity if they intend to pursue the performance emphasis. The required junior recital (MUPS 324/325) can be difficult to achieve for the student planning to go abroad for the entire junior year, and may require a student to undertake a semester abroad only.
- enroll as early as possible in Vocal Technique class (MUPS 111-02) if they intend to pursue a vocal performance emphasis.
The distinction of Honors in Music--the highest distinction that the Department can bestow--is awarded to a graduating senior or seniors who have met the requisite academic standards:
1) Maintenance of a minimum GPA of 3.5 in the core courses of the music major (7 courses: MUAC 101, 102, 125, 126, 245, 246, one 350-level seminar)and the courses specific to the major's concentration:
History: 35x, 35x
Theory: 35x, 345
Performance: 35x, 323, 324
Composition: 255, 256
2) An "A" grade in the capstone course and capstone project according to the major's concentration, and a successful public presentation at the majors' colloquium for a full-time faculty panel:
History: 495 OR 496
Theory: 493 OR 494
Performance: 423 AND 424
Composition: 491/492 (must take both - 0.5 credit each)
3) Satisfactory fulfillment of the ensemble participation requirement in every semester the student enrolls in an ensemble.
The student's final GPA will be certified at the end of the senior year just prior to graduation.