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The Music Department at Whitman College emphasizes the understanding and appreciation of music as an art, preparing students for advanced work in composition, research and performance. By providing high-quality music education and performance opportunities for majors and nonmajors alike, the department supports the college's liberal arts mission.
We encourage our students to pursue creative, analytical, and scholarly activities through a balanced list of course offerings. As a music major, you may select from five options within the program: the Standard Degree, the Performance Track, the Music History Track, the Jazz Track, and the Theory/Composition Track. To complete the music program, students in the Performance Track, Jazz Track or Standard Degree will be expected to give a recital in their senior year. Those in the Music History Track will write a Senior Thesis, and those in the Theory/Composition Track will produce a Senior Project related to their original compositions. In addition, all music majors must pass a piano proficiency exam as well as an aural proficiency exam.
Music majors and nonmajors alike will find that Whitman's Hall of Music is an excellent facility. It features a 300-seat recital hall, a listening center, electronic music studio, 14 teaching studios, and 25 practice rooms. The Whitman Chorale, Chamber Singers, Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and Jazz Ensembles I and II are open to all students by audition. There are a number of special ensembles, including piano trio, woodwind quintet, and the string quartet. Additionally, student-initiated groups include jazz combos, the Testostertones, the Sirens of Swank, and Schwa. Various ensembles travel the West Coast to perform each year, and the department collaborates with the Theatre Department annually to produce a full opera or major musical.
One of our strengths is our collaborative work within the department. You may see such efforts in shared performances between students and professors in recitals and ensemble concerts, independent study projects, guest lecturing and performing in courses, and team efforts in the coaching of small ensembles. Our success as a music program is reflected in the excellent enrollment in music courses, strong attendance at concerts, and the academic successes of our graduates.
As a music student, you may choose to audition for the prestigious Higley and Campbell Music scholarships. The Higley Scholarship, an award up to $10,000 per year, is given to students who intend to major or double major in music. The Campbell Music Scholarships, which range in value from $500 to $2,000 plus a stipend to cover the cost of private instruction, are given to both majors and nonmajors who have exhibited exceptional musical talent. Additional scholarships include the Schilling Scholarship in voice and the Richardson Scholarship in piano.
Routinely, our graduates have been placed in top graduate programs around the country, such as Eastman School of Music, Boston Conservatory, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Indiana University and Peabody Conservatory.