Selecting Courses

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. 

Classroom courses in music theory or history may be eligible for transfer credit. Performance credits such as music lessons or ensemble participation are not eligible for transfer credit. 

Auditions and the Music 100 Exemption Exam 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 their first year so that they may enroll in 231 in the spring of their 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
  • 103 History of Jazz
  • 171RM Race in the American Musical
  • FYS-110-DV Adventures in Music (First-Year Seminar)
  • FYS-110-MM Music in Women's Communities (First-Year Seminar)
  • FYS-110-FN First Nights (First-Year Seminar)
  • 226 World Music
  • Individual Performance Study
  • 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.

Detailed course information can be found in the music chapter of the course catalog.