For a complete listing of Music courses and requirements, please see the Course Catalog located at the Office of the Registrar.

Music courses are designed to develop an understanding and appreciation of music as an art, and to prepare the student for composing, teaching, performing, and advanced work in music. Students majoring in music may specialize their studies in curricular tracks including Composition, History, Jazz, Performance, and Theory, or pursue studies that balance these areas with the Standard track. A student who enters Whitman without any prior college-level preparation in music will have to complete 36 credits to fulfill the requirements for each of the tracks.

Proficiency in piano is required of all students majoring in music. On declaration of a music major, a student has two options. If the student has previous piano experience and is not a piano major, they may take the piano proficiency exam. The details of this exam are available from the head of the piano area at the request of the student. If the student is not able to pass or opts not to take the exam, they must take piano until able to pass the exam.

Learning Goals: Upon graduation, a student will be able to:

  • demonstrate through foundation in theoretical constructs and analysis of music.
  • identify central stylistic hallmarks and societal contexts of a history of Western music.
  • demonstrate technical proficiency and artistry with primary instrument or voice, as appropriate for the declared track.
  • demonstrate piano proficiency.
  • speak and write critically about an aesthetic and analytic understanding of music in a way that responds to diverse perspectives and viewpoints.

Distribution: Courses in music apply to the fine arts distribution area, with the following exceptions:

    Cultural pluralism or fine arts: Music 115, 129, 160, 258, 354, 360.
    Humanities or fine arts: Music 297, 298, 299.
    Quantitative analysis and fine arts: Music 426

Total credit requirements for a Music major: 36

The Music Major:

  • 36 Credits
  • Required Courses for all tracks
    • All tracks require piano proficiency
    • Music 126, 127, 226, 227, 297, 298, 299, 326
      • A minimum grade of C (2.0) is required in Music 227
    • Three credits of ensembles from:
      • Music 211, 212, 231, 232, 241, 242, 245, 246, 253, 254, 261, 262
  • Other major requirements depending on track declared
    • History
      • Music 497 or 498
      • Two academic electives in music
        • Excluding applied music
      • Four credits of applied music
        • No more than two credits at the 100 level
    • Theory
      • Two academic electives in music
        • Excluding applied music
      • Four credits of applied music
        • No more than two credits at the 100-level
      • Music 497 or 498
    • Composition
      • One academic elective in music
        • Excluding applied music
      • Six credits of 480
      • Three credits of applied music
        • No more than two credits at the 100-level
      • Music 497 or 498
    • Performance
      • Two academic electives in music
        • Excluding applied music
      • Five credits of applied music
        • two credits at the 400-level on the primary instrument
      • Two credits from:
        • 473, 474, 475, or 476
    • Standard
      • Two academic electives in music
        • Excluding applied music
      • Four credits of applied music
      • Two credits at the 300-level on the primary instrument
      • Two credits from:
        • 373, 374, 375, or 376
      • Music 497 or 498
    • Jazz
      • Music 260 and 360
      • One academic elective in music
        • Excluding applied music
      • Two credits of applied music at the 300 or 400-level on the primary instrument
      • Two credits from:
        • 473, 474, 475, or 476.
    • Technology and Production
      • Music 271; either Music 371 or 372
      • One academic elective in music, excluding applied music
      • Three credits of applied music; no more than two credits at the 100-level.
      • Music 497 or 498
  • Other notes
    • No courses may be taken PDF
  • Senior requirements
    • A thesis, project, and/or recital
    • Interrogative oral examination based on the thesis, project, and/or recital
  • Honors
    • Students submit a Honors in Major Study Application to their department
    • Students must submit a proposal for their thesis or project
      • Must be submitted within the first six weeks of the two-semester period in which student is eligible
    • Accumlated at least 87 credits
    • Completed two semesters of residency at Whitman
    • Cumulative GPA of at least 3.300 on all credits earned at Whitman College
    • Major GPA of at least 3.500
    • Complete a written thesis or research project prepared exclusively for the satisfaction of this program
    • Earn a grade of at least A- on the honors thesis or project and the honors thesis course.
    • Pass their senior assessment with distinction
    • The department will submit the Honors applications to the Registrar's Office of students pursuing Honors by the specified deadline
    • The department submit “Senior Assessment/Major Study Certificate” to the Registrar's office no later than Reading Day
    • An acceptable digital copy of the Honors Thesis must be submitted to Penrose Library no later than Reading Day

The Music Minor

  • 18 credits
  • Required Courses
    • Music 126 and 127
    • One course from
      • 150, 297, 298, 299
    • One academic elective excluding applied music
    • Four credits from ensembles
      • 211, 212, 231, 232, 241, 242, 245, 246, 253, 254, 261, 262
    • Two credits of applied music at 200 or 300 level
    • Two credits of electives
  • Other notes
    • No courses may be taken PDF

Recitals

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.

Advisory Information

Potential Music Majors: It is strongly recommended that potential music majors enroll in Music 126, 127, and applied music in their first year.
Applied Lessons: Instruction is offered in piano, voice, organ, harpsichord, strings, harp, woodwinds, and brass at all levels; and guitarand 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. Applied lessons may not be taken P-D-F.
Scholarships for Applied Lessons: A limited number of scholarships are available to offset the fee for lessons. Students receiving scholarships are required to participate in the appropriate major ensemble (Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble I or II, Orchestra, or Chorale) or Collaborative Piano 253, 254.
Non-majors: The following courses are recommended as an introduction to music for liberal arts students (some courses require auditions and/or consent of instructor).

  • Music 101 Fundamentals of Music
  • Music 115 Introduction to World Music
  • Music 126 Music Theory I
  • Music 129 Deconstructing Popular Music
  • Music 150 Music in Society
  • Music 160 Study of Jazz
  • Ensembles — Music 211, 212, 231, 232, 241, 242, 245, 246, 251, 252, 253, 254, 261, 262
  • Applied Lessons — Music 163, 164, 263, 264

Grading and Credit limitations: All ensembles (211, 212, 231, 232, 241, 242, 251, 252, 253, 254, 261, 262) are graded on a regular basis; a maximum of 12 credits may be applied toward degree requirements. Applied music lessons are graded on a regular basis and may not be taken P-D-F. A maximum of 16 credits in applied music will be allowed toward the minimum of 124 credits required for graduation

This page updated August 23, 2022