The department's introductory courses offer a solid foundation in musicianship, including music reading, sight singing, ear training, and critical listening. In addition, Mount Holyoke offers intermediate through advanced courses in music history, ethnomusicology, theory and analysis, performance, conducting, and composition. Advanced (300-level) courses are usually taken only in the senior year.

Auditions are required for official registration in all performance courses; a minimum intermediate level is required for registration in most instruments. Private instruction is offered at three levels.

First-Year Students

Introductory classes in fundamentals, music history and literature, and composition are offered for students with little or no experience; those with more experience may be able to exempt prerequisites and enter directly into the music theory or music history course sequence.

A first-year student interested in a music major or minor should take or exempt Music 100, Rudiments of Music, or Music 131, Basic Musicianship (Rudiments with a lab component), in the fall of her first year so that she may enroll in 231 in the spring of her first year. Spring entrants should exempt Music 100 when they arrive on campus so that they may enroll in 231.

First-year students may also take:

  • 102 Music and Technology
  • 136 Adventures in Music (First Year Seminar)
  • 226 World Music
  • Individual Performance Instruction
  • Ensembles

Music Exemption Exams

Students who demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the rudiments of music will be exempted from the Music 100 prerequisite for certain courses and from the Music 100 requirement associated with individual performance studies (see more details on music 100 exemption exam). For information on exemption from other courses, please contact the department.  The music exemption exam will be given on Wednesday Sept. 9 at 5 pm and Friday Sept. 11 at 4 pm in Pratt-109.

Teacher Licensure

Students interested in pursuing licensure in the field of music can combine their course work in music with a minor in education. In some instances course work in the major coincides with course work required for licensure; in other cases, it does not. Students wishing to pursue teacher licensure should consult the music department before the first semester. See Teacher Licensure for more information.

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