The Music department at Whitman College emphasizes the understanding and appreciation of music as an art, perparing students for advanced work in composing, research and performance. By providing high-qualty music education and performance opportunities for majors and non-majors 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 many select from five options within the program: the Standard Degree, the Performance Track, the Music History Track, the Theory/Compsition Track, and the Jazz Track.
The Music Major
Students majoring in music may select from five options within the music major program:
- Standard Degree
- Performance Track
- Music History Track
- Theory/Composition Track
- Jazz Track
All music majors must complete a minimum of thirty-six credits in the following courses, ensemble credit and private lessons to satisfy a basic musicianship:
- Theory of Music 125, 126, 327, 328, 440 (the Theory/Composition Track requires an additional three credits in private composition study)
- History and Literature 397, 398, 399, 400 (the Music History Track requires an additional three credits in history courses)
- Large Ensemble, four credit hours selected from Music 211, 212, 231, 232, 241, 242, 251E, 252E
Applied Music Requirements
Requirements for the Applied Music credit hours differ according to the degree tracks as follows:
- Standard Degree: eight credit hours with no fewer than six on the student’s primary instrument, no more than two selected from Music 163, 164; and at least two at the advanced level of Music 363, 364.
- Performance Track: eight credit hours with six on the primary instrument, no more than two at the 163, 164 level, and at least four at the 463, 464 level.
- Music History and Music Theory/Composition Tracks: four credit hours with no more than two at the 163, 164 level.
Music majors in the Performance Track and Standard Degree must give a full (Performance Track) or half (Standard Degree) recital in their senior year. Any student desiring to perform a recital must present a pre-recital jury to the music faculty at least three weeks prior to the scheduled recital date. Majors in the Music History Track are required to write a Senior Thesis and those in the Theory/Composition Track are required to produce a Senior Project.
Private piano instruction or a piano proficiency exam and an aural proficiency examinations are required of all students majoring in music. It is recommended these examinations be taken by the end of the junior year.
The comprehensive examination for music majors consists of three segments: written, aural, and oral.
The Music Minor
A minimum of 18 credits selected to include:
- Music 125, 126
- two courses from 397, 398, 399, 400
- four credits in music ensembles from 211, 212, 231, 232, 241, 242, 253, 254 (with a maximum of 2 credits in 261, 262, Jazz Ensemble I)
- two credits in Applied Music 263, 264 and/or 363, 364
The P-D-F option is not allowed for anycourses applied to the music minor.
Potential Music Major
It is strongly recommended that potential music majors enroll in Music 125, 126 and applied music in their freshman year. Required music history courses are only offered in alternate years. Music majors intending to study abroad should complete most of the required courses before going abroad.
Instruction is offered in piano, voice, organ, harpsichord, violin, viola, cello, string bass, woodwinds, and brass at all levels; and guitar and percussion at the introductory and intermediate levels. All college students enrolled in applied music for credit must take a jury examination at the conclusion of each semester.
Scholarships for Applied Lessons
Scholarships are available to offset the fee for lessons. Students receiving scholarships are required to participate in the appropriate major ensemble (Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Symphony Orchestra, or Chorale) or Accompanying 251E/252E (a minimum of two half-hour lessons per week per semester).
The following courses are recommended as an introduction to music for liberal arts students (some courses require auditions and/or consent of the instructor):
- Study of Jazz - Music 160
- Reading of Music - Music 100
- Introduction to Music Theory - Music 125
- Introduction to Music Literature - Music 150
- Ensembles - Music 211, 212, 231, 232, 241, 242, 251, 252, 253, 254, 261, 262, 281, 282
- Applied Lessons - Music 163, 164, 263, 264, 271, 272
Grading and credit limitations
All ensembles (211, 212, 231, 232, 241, 242, 251, 252, 253, 254, 261, 262, 281, 282) are graded on a regular basis; a maximum of twelve credits is applicable toward degree requirements. Applied music courses are graded on a regular basis. Applied music courses cannot be taken P-D-F. A maximum of 16 credits in applied music is applicable toward degree requirements.