Music

Requirements & Courses

  • The Music Department at Alma provides a curriculum designed to meet the needs of a broad range of students. The faculty and resources of the Department are committed equally to the following: 1) providing courses and curricula for music majors so that they will acquire the necessary foundation to pursue graduate study, teaching, performing or music-related fields; 2) strengthening students’ musical skills by expanding proficiency in technique, heightening interpretive insight, and facilitating the understanding of pedagogical tools and methods; 3) providing courses designed to introduce non-music majors to a range of musical topics; 4) being an artistic presence within the Alma College community and beyond by providing opportunities for students, faculty, and community to share the experience of musical performance. Alma’s Music Department, accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music, offers three degree options: Bachelor of Music in Performance, Bachelor of Music in Music Education and Bachelor of Arts with a major in Music.

  • Bachelor of Arts in Music

    Forty credits which must include MUS 111, 111a, 112, 112a, 211, 212, 214, 443, 444, 445, 500, two credits of Ensembles and two credits of Applied Lessons. MUS 500 is a senior project and may take the form of a recital, research paper or other Department-approved project. Requests for MUS 500 projects must be received by the end of the year preceding graduation. Students are strongly advised to continue their study of voice or an instrument through studio lessons and ensembles.

  • Bachelor of Music in Music Education

    Seventy-six credits including MUS 111, 111a, 112, 112a, 116, 211, 212, 214, 215, 237, 337, 344, 431, 443, 444, 445; seven credits of Ensembles, one of which must be MUS 155 or 159; and 14 credits of Applied Lessons on one instrument. Students with a vocal emphasis must complete MUS 132, 138, and one term of an instrumental ensemble or instrumental pedagogy course. Students with an instrumental emphasis must complete MUS 134, 135, 136, 137 and either MUS 138 or one term of a vocal ensemble. All candidates must complete MUS 116 (piano proficiency) by the end of the fall term of the junior year.

    Education courses required: EDC 130/103, 230/203, 240, 303, 311, 312, 346, 370, 373, 430, and 490/491.

  • Bachelor of Music in Performance

    Eighty-eight credits including MUS 111, 111a, 112, 112a, 116, 211, 212, 214, 215, 237, 443, 444, 445, 500; eight credits of Ensembles, one of which must be MUS 155 or 159; 28 credits of Applied Lessons on one instrument or voice and 9 credits of elective coursework subject to Department approval. All students must also complete one pedagogy course (from MUS 131-138 courses) in the area of their major instrument. MUS 500 must be a recital.

  • Minor Requirements

    Twenty-four credits including MUS 111, 111a, 112, 112a, and 120; two credits from MUS 140, 211, 214, 215, 237, 443, 444 or 445; and six credits of applied lessons on one instrument or voice.

  • Performance Courses

    Applies to: MUS 191/*391, 192/*392, 193/*393, 194/*394, 195/*395, 196/*396, 197/*397, and 198/*398. (Offered every term)

    Private lesson offerings are open to both majors and non-majors who complete an audition and receive permission to register.

    The 300-level (391-398) represents upper level performance skill and experience and requires Departmental approval. Candidates for the Bachelor of Music in Performance are advised to enroll at the 300-level by the second semester of the first year. Only 300-level students may elect four hours of credit. The Department will consider all candidates for the Bachelor of Music in Performance for 300-level suitability at the end of the first term of study.

    Private instruction fee is $160 per term for all levels (191-198, 391-398).

  • Ensembles

    Applies to: MUS 150-159 and 351.

    Ensembles are open to all students who audition and receive permission from the instructor prior to registration. No more than eight credits of participation in all ensembles combined may be applied toward degree requirements. All ensembles are offered every year.

  • Four credits from MUS, with the exception of practicum or independent study courses, count towards the Distributive Requirements in the Humanities.

Courses

  • MUS
    101
    .
    Fundamentals of Music
    2 credits
    Placement
    Music fundamentals including notation of pitch, clefs, and staff; chromatic alteration and enharmonic equivalents; accidentals; identification and notation of rhythm, meter, tempo, dynamics, and articulation; and concepts of scales and key signatures. Does not count toward any major or minor. (Offered every year)
  • MUS
    106
    .
    Piano for the Non-Major I
    2 credits
    Introductory piano course for non-majors and students without prior piano instruction. Basics of music notation and vocabulary of music, scales, technique, repertoire and performance skills including simple pieces in various keys.
  • MUS
    107
    .
    Piano for the Non-Major II
    2 credits
    MUS 106 or Audition
    Second semester introductory piano for non-majors. Continuation of study involving more advanced technique, expanded repertoire, and basic improvisational skills.
  • MUS
    111
    .
    Comprehensive Musicianship I
    4 credits
    MUS 101 or Placement
    Study of the structure and use of intervals and chords in a basic harmonic vocabulary including diatonic triads and their inversions in major and minor keys, functional tonal principles, harmonic cadences, embellishing tones, principles of harmonization, part-writing chords, melodic relationships and periodicity, and dominant seventh chords. (Offered every year)
  • MUS
    111a
    .
    Aural Skills I
    2 credits
    Develops aural skills through a range of melodic, harmonic and rhythmic exercises. Introduces solfege syllables. Should be taken concurrently with MUS 111. (Offered every year)
  • MUS
    112
    .
    Comprehensive Musicianship II
    4 credits
    MUS 111
    Continuation of MUS 111. Study of non-dominant seventh chords, secondary functions, modulation, form and dramatic shapes including binary, rounded binary, ternary, fugue, and variation. (Offered every year)
  • MUS
    112a
    .
    Aural Skills II
    2 credits
    MUS 111a
    Continuation of Aural Skills I. Should be taken concurrently with MUS 112. (Offered every year)
  • MUS
    114
    .
    Piano Proficiency I
    2 credits
    MUS Major
    Preparation for piano proficiency required of Performance and Music Education majors. Fundamental skills, technique and repertoire development. Scales, simple accompaniment patterns, harmonization and improvisation. (Offered every year)
  • MUS
    115
    .
    Piano Proficiency II
    2 credits
    MUS 114 or Audition, MUS Major
    Level II piano proficiency. Continuations of scale and arpeggio technique, chord progressions, solo and ensemble repertoire. (Offered every year)
  • MUS
    116
    .
    Piano Proficiency III
    2 credits
    MUS 115 or Audition, MUS Major
    Level III piano proficiency. Technique includes both black and white major and minor scales, arpeggios, chromatic scales, seventh chords, accompany a piece from the major instrument or voice; intermediate repertoire levels. (Offered every year)
  • MUS
    117-118
    .
    Class Voice
    2 credits each
    Permission for 118
    Basic principles of singing for the student with little or no previous training. (Offered every year)
  • MUS
    119
    .
    Guitar
    2 credits
    Basic fundamentals for the beginning guitar player.
  • MUS
    120
    .
    Survey of Music Literature
    4 credits
    Introductory survey of major musical works representative of the styles and genres of the important periods of musical development. Extensive listening. (Offered every other year)
  • MUS
    131
    .
    Piano Pedagogy
    1 credit
    8 credits of MUS 196 or 396
    Principles of musicianship on the piano. Designed for Music Education majors. Emphasis on pedagogical methods and material used in teaching piano to beginning and intermediate students. (Offered as needed)
  • MUS
    132
    .
    Vocal Pedagogy
    2 credits
    Introduction to the physiology of the vocal mechanism. Development of fundamental techniques used in private and group voice instruction. Introduction to voice classification and the changing adolescent voice. (Offered every other year)
  • MUS
    134
    .
    Woodwind Pedagogy
    1 credit
    Principles of tone production, fingering and embouchure for flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon (or saxophone). (Offered every other year)
  • MUS
    135
    .
    Brass Pedagogy
    1 credit
    Principles of tone production, fingering and embouchure for trumpet, French horn, trombone and tuba. (Offered every other year)
  • MUS
    136
    .
    String Pedagogy
    1 credit
    Principles of musicianship on the violin, viola, cello and double bass. Designed for music education students. Emphasis on elementary string teaching methods and large group ensemble techniques necessary for school orchestral directing. (Offered every other year)
  • MUS
    137
    .
    Percussion Pedagogy
    1 credit
    Principles of playing percussion instruments with emphasis on snare drum, mallet keyboard instruments and timpani. (Offered every other year)
  • MUS
    138
    .
    Choral Pedagogy
    2 credits
    2 terms MUS 151, 157 or 158
    Principles of voice production, sight reading and singing. Emphasis on the selection of choral literature particularly with regard to developing voice. (Offered every other year)
  • MUS
    140
    .
    Introduction to Non-Western Music
    4 credits
    An introductory survey of the traditional music of non-Western countries. Examines the role of music as ritual, aesthetic experience, and mode of communication in diverse cultures. No music background necessary.
  • MUS
    150
    .
    Accompanying
    1 credit
  • MUS
    151
    .
    College Chorale
    1 credit
  • MUS
    152
    .
    Alma Symphony Orchestra
    1 credit
  • MUS
    153
    .
    Kiltie Band
    1 credit
  • MUS
    154
    .
    Scottish Arts
    1 credit
  • MUS
    155
    .
    Percussion Ensemble
    1 credit
  • MUS
    156
    .
    Jazz Ensemble
    1 credit
  • MUS
    157
    .
    Women’s Glee Club
    1 credit
  • MUS
    158
    .
    Handbell Choir
    1 credit
  • MUS
    159
    .
    Chamber Music
    1 credit
  • MUS
    180
    .
    Topics in Music
    2-4 credits
    Selected topics in music. May be taken more than once if topics differ. Only two registrations count toward Music Major.
  • MUS
    191-*391
    .
    Strings
    2-4 credits each term
    A-Violin; B-Viola; C-Violoncello; D-Double Bass; Y-Guitar
  • MUS
    192-*392
    .
    Woodwinds
    2-4 credits each term
    E-Flute; F-Oboe; G-Clarinet; H-Bassoon; I-Saxophone; P-Bagpipes
  • MUS
    193-*393
    .
    Brass
    2-4 credits each term
    J-Trumpet; K-Horn; L-Trombone; M-Euphonium; N-Tuba
  • MUS
    194-*394
    .
    Percussion
    2-4 credits each term
  • MUS
    195-*395
    .
    Voice
    2-4 credits each term
  • MUS
    196-*396
    .
    Piano
    2-4 credits each term
  • MUS
    197A-*397A
    .
    Organ
    2-4 credits each term
  • MUS
    197B-*397B
    .
    Harpsichord
    2-4 credits each term
  • MUS
    198-*398
    .
    Composition
    2-4 credits each term
    MUS 111 and Permission
    Applied composition provides individual lessons in both the craft and creative process of composing for acoustic instruments. Completed projects that develop original musical ideas for various instrumental and vocal ensembles will be required.
  • MUS
    *
    201
    .
    Music and Sound for Digital Media
    4 credits
    Examines theoretical and technical elements of digital sound and music, including sound design and synthesis, sound editing, Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) sequencing, studio recording techniques, digital signal processing, computer-based music publishing, sound effect and narration tracks for video and the role of sound in interactive development. Emphasis on sound in digital media projects. (Offered every year) (Cross listed with NMS 204.)
  • MUS
    *
    211
    .
    Comprehensive Musicianship III
    4 credits
    MUS 112
    Continuation of MUS 112. Study of advanced harmonic techniques including chromatically altered chords, mode mixture and chromatic relationships, and remote modulations. Advanced study of form including sonata, rondo, and related types. Enharmonic use of chords, expanded tonicization and harmonic sequence, and linear harmonies. (Offered every year)
  • MUS
    *
    212
    .
    Comprehensive Musicianship IV
    4 credits
    MUS 211
    Continuation of Music 211. Study of new musical resources and techniques in the 20th and 21st centuries: new pitch bases, harmonic structures and methods, approaches to rhythm and meter, atonality, serial procedures, indeterminacy, sounds and textures (both acoustic and electronic), and related techniques and idioms. (Offered every year)
  • MUS
    *
    214
    .
    MIDI Composition and Arranging
    2 credits
    MUS Major or Permission
    Examines Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) techniques and applications for recording, scoring and musical production. Covers MIDI configurations, sequencing, multi-track recording, mixing and composing/arranging techniques. Approximately half of the course is used to train students in Finale, an industry standard application for music notation. (Offered every year)
  • MUS
    *
    215
    .
    Music and Computers
    2 credits
    Overview of the impact of computers and technology in the music professions. Topics include design of recording studio and lab environments, MIDI technology, fundamentals of audio technology, multimedia applications and using sound/music on the Web. (Offered every year)
  • MUS
    225
    .
    Orchestration and Arranging
    2 credits
    MUS 112
    Provides a practical, in-depth examination of acoustic instruments, and explores methods of scoring, transcribing and arranging for a variety of instrumental ensembles. Includes a final orchestration project created using Finale or Sibelius software that will be played by the Alma College band or orchestra.
  • MUS
    *
    237
    .
    Conducting and Score Reading
    2 credits
    MUS 112
    Art of conducting, rehearsal techniques and procedures, score reading, problems of interpretation, organization and activities of choral and instrumental groups. (Offered every year)
  • MUS
    *
    250
    .
    Musical Theatre Techniques
    4 credits
    The staging of and participation in the performance of a work for the musical theatre — including acting, singing and movement — which is presented at the end of the term. Course may be repeated once for credit.
  • MUS
    *
    284
    .
    Music in Film
    4 credits
    ENG 101
    Examine the wide range of musical styles and aesthetic approaches used in narrative film. By analyzing examples from silent movies, Hollywood classics, foreign films and recent releases, the class explores the functional and dramatic roles of music. No formal music theory experience is required.
  • MUS
    *
    337
    .
    Advanced Conducting
    2 credits
    Continuation of MUS 237. Emphasis on advanced analytical, interpretive, and technical conducting skills, as well as practical aspects of successfully leading instrumental and choral ensembles. (Offered every year)
  • MUS
    *
    340
    .
    Piano and Chamber Music Literature
    4 credits
    Students attend the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival. A survey of keyboard and chamber music literature ranging from the classical to jazz repertoire. Analysis and study of works appropriate to class participants as well as critical listening, and theoretical-historical study. (Offered every other year)
  • MUS
    *
    344
    .
    Elementary School Music
    4 credits
    Music Major or Minor or Training
    Examination of methods and materials in music. Required of Music Majors who wish to be certified to teach music at elementary and secondary levels. Open also to Education students with music background. (Offered every other year)
  • MUS
    *
    350
    .
    Opera Workshop
    1 credit
    Basic techniques of operatic performance: role preparation, body movement related to music, acting, and techniques. May be repeated for up to a total of 4 credits.
  • MUS
    *
    351
    .
    Alma College Choir
    1 credit
    (Offered every year)
  • MUS
    *
    380
    .
    Topics in Music
    2-4 credits
    Selected topics in music. May be taken more than once if topics differ. Only two registrations count toward a Music Major. (Offered every year)
  • MUS
    *
    399
    .
    Independent Study
    2-4 credits
    Permission
  • MUS
    *
    431
    .
    General Methods of Music Education
    4 credits
    Permission
    Principles of group process teaching and classroom management. Accompaniment skills in piano and recorder, rehearsal techniques, teaching basic instrumental and vocal skills in grades 5-12 and a pedagogical overview of the human voice and standard band and orchestral instruments including tone production, practical ranges and related functions in an ensemble. (Offered every other year)
  • MUS
    *
    443
    .
    Music History I
    4 credits
    MUS 112
    Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. (Offered every other year)
  • MUS
    *
    444
    .
    Music History II
    4 credits
    MUS 112
    Baroque and classical music. (Offered every year)
  • MUS
    *
    445
    .
    Music History III
    4 credits
    MUS 112
    Music of the 19th and 20th centuries, including relationships between the popular, folk and art music traditions of the United States and other non-Western European cultures. (Offered every year)
  • MUS
    *
    499
    .
    Independent Study
    2-4 credits
    Permission
  • MUS
    *
    500
    .
    Graduation Recital or Senior Thesis
    2 credits
    Permission
    Satisfies the Department’s comprehensive evaluation requirement.