Exciting Changes to Our Major and Minor Requirements

Dear Music faculty, staff, and students,

I am pleased to announce some significant changes to the department's Major and Minor requirements. Beginning AY 2021-22, we will offer an open course count model for our concentrations: MUS 99 (Proseminar) plus 10 courses for the Major; or 7 courses for the Minor. A student who wishes to pursue a Music Major or Minor will be matched with a faculty advisor with similar interests. In close consultation with this advisor, the student will craft a curricular plan that draws on three key areas of study: 1) critical engagement with the roots and lineages of multiple music traditions, 2) creative practice with the tools and techniques that structure sounds into forms, and 3) performance via individual instruction and/or ensemble participation. This framework centers student agency, maximizes curricular flexibility, and offers pathways as vibrant and varied as the students we serve.

Our new Major and Minor requirements were drafted, proposed, and approved over the course of this past academic year. In Fall 2020, the Music Department's Anti-Racist Commons hosted multiple listening sessions with faculty, staff, students, and alumni to better understand what has – and hasn't – been working for our community. Subsequently, faculty members participated in numerous meetings and intensive retreats to revise our curricular models. We read and discussed  a dozen academic articles that critically address important issues around 21st-century music pedagogy in higher education: anti-racism, accessibility, equity, canons, decoloniality, literacies, theories, centers versus peripheries, and more. I would especially like to thank Professors Ash Fure, César Alvarez, Richard Beaudoin, and Steve Swayne for all of their hard work on the Music Curriculum Committee this year.

Although the Class of 2025 and beyond will automatically be eligible for these new requirements, any current student (e.g., a '22 nearing completion of their Music Major) may petition to fulfill their requirements under these new guidelines. Petitions will be considered by the Music faculty and granted on a case-by-case basis. Please email me or Department Administrator Sam Candon for more information.

Whether you're thinking of taking Beginning Music Theory (MUS 1) or a more advanced music course next year, please remember that everyone – regardless of musical background, inclinations, proficiency, goals – is welcome in the Music Department. My colleagues and I look forward to teaching, mentoring, and learning from you. Feel free to reach out with any questions.

Below is a flyer. It includes a (by no means exhaustive!) list of potential pathways and a helpful categorization of key areas.

Best wishes,

Will Cheng

Chair, Department of Music

New Major and Minor Flyer (PDF)

Key Areas of Study Guide (PDF)