Music

Requirements & Courses

  • 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:

    1. MUS-111, 111a, 112, 112a, 211, 212, 214, 443, 444, 445, 500,

    2. Two credits of Ensembles

    3. Two credits of Applied Lessons.

    4. 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.

    5. 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 which must include:

    1. MUS-111, 111a, 112, 112a, 116, 211, 212, 214, 215, 237, 337, 344, 431, 443, 444, 445

    2. Seven credits of Ensembles, one of which must be MUS-155 or 159

    3. Fourteen credits of Applied Lessons on one instrument or voice subject to Department approval.

    4. Students with a vocal emphasis must complete MUS-132, 138, and one term of an instrumental ensemble or instrumental pedagogy course.

    5. Students with an instrumental emphasis must complete MUS-134, 135, 136, 137 and either MUS-138 or one term of a vocal ensemble.

    6. 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. These courses are necessary towards completing a secondary education major.

  • Bachelor of Music in Performance

    Eighty-eight credits which must include:

    1. MUS-111, 111a, 112, 112a, 116, 211, 212, 214, 215, 237, 443, 444, 445, 500

    2. Eight credits of Ensembles, one of which must be MUS 155 or 159

    3. Twenty-eight credits of Applied Lessons on one instrument or voice

    4. Nine credits of elective coursework subject to Department approval.

    5. All students must also complete one pedagogy course (from MUS-131 through 138 courses) in the area of their major instrument.

    6. MUS 500 must be a recital.

  • Minor Requirements

    Twenty-four credits which must include:

    1. MUS-111, 111a, 112, 112a, and 120

    2. Two credits from MUS-140, 211, 214, 215, 237, 443, 444 or 445

    3. Six credits of applied lessons on one instrument or voice.

  • Applied Lessons

    Applies to: MUS-191-198, 291-298, 391-398, and 491-498.

    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) and 400-level (491-498) represent upper level performance skill and experience and require Departmental approval. Candidates for the Bachelor of Music in Performance are advised to enroll at the 400-level by the second semester of the first year. Only 400-level students may elect four hours of credits, which is open only to majors. The Department will consider all candidates for the Bachelor of Music in Performance for 400-level suitability at the end of the first term of study. 100-level lessons do not count toward the degree.


    There is a private lesson instruction fee of $165 per term for all levels (191-198, 291-298, 391-398, and 491-498). (Offered every term)

  • 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
    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. Credits do not count toward any music degree.
  • 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
    Prerequisite: 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
    .
    Musicianship I
    4 credits
    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
    .
    Musicianship II
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: 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
    Prerequisite: MUS-111A
    Continuation of Aural Skills I. Should be taken concurrently with MUS 112. (Offered every year)
  • MUS
    114
    .
    Piano Proficiency I
    2 credits
    Required of all music majors (Performance and Music Education). Fundamental skills, technique and repertoire development. Scales, simple accompaniment patterns, harmonization and improvisation. Music majors only.
  • MUS
    115
    .
    Piano Proficiency II
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: MUS-114 or Audition; Music Major
    Level II piano proficiency, continuations of scale and arpeggio technique, chord progressions, solo and ensemble repertoire.
  • MUS
    116
    .
    Piano Proficiency III
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: MUS-115 or Audition; Music 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
    119
    .
    Class Guitar
    2 credits
    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 Winter, Even numbered years)
  • MUS
    131
    .
    Piano Pedagogy
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: 8 credits from MUS-196 or MUS-396
    Principles of musicianship on the piano. Designed for B.M. students. Emphasis on pedagogical methods and materials used in teaching piano to beginning and intermediate students. (Offered/Considered upon request).
  • MUS
    132
    .
    Vocal Pedagogy
    2 credits
    Introduction to the physiology of the vocal mechanism. Development of fundamental techniques used in private voice instruction, including vocal exercises used to establish and promote vocal health, literature for young singers, and the teaching of voice lessons. (Offered Fall, Odd numbered years)
  • MUS
    134
    .
    Woodwind Pedagogy
    1 credit
    Principles of tone production, fingering and embouchure for flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon (or saxophone). Specialization on the instrument of the student’s choice. (Offered Fall, Odd numbered years)
  • MUS
    135
    .
    Brass Pedagogy
    1 credit
    Principles of tone production, fingering and embouchure for trumpet, French horn, trombone and tuba. Specialization on the instrument of the student’s choice. (Offered Fall, Even numbered years)
  • 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 Winter, Even numbered years)
  • MUS
    137
    .
    Percussion Pedagogy
    1 credit
    Principles of playing percussion instruments with emphasis on snare drum, mallet keyboard instruments and timpani. (Offered Winter, Odd numbered years)
  • MUS
    138
    .
    Choral Pedagogy
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: 2 terms of MUS-151 and/or 157 and/or 158
    Principles of voice production, sight reading and singing. Emphasis on the selection of choral literature particularly with regard to developing voice. (Offered Winter, Even numbered years)
  • MUS
    140
    .
    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
    153G
    .
    Winter Guard Ensemble
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: Permission
    Winter Guard Ensemble will provide students with experience or interest in the color guard arts a learning and performance oriented course during the winter term. Students will develop requisite and advanced skills using flags, rifles, sabres and body movement. The ensemble will perform for select athletic events and at select winter guard competitions.
  • 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
    159A
    .
    Chamber Music Strings
    1 credit
  • MUS
    159E
    .
    Chamber Music Flute
    1 credit
  • MUS
    159G
    .
    Chamber Music Clarinet
    1 credit
  • MUS
    159I
    .
    Chamber Music Saxophone
    1 credit
  • MUS
    159J
    .
    Chamber Music High Brass
    1 credit
  • MUS
    159K
    .
    Chamber Music Horn
    1 credit
  • MUS
    159L
    .
    Chamber Music Trombone
    1 credit
  • MUS
    159M
    .
    Musical THR Vocal Ensemble
    1 credit
  • MUS
    159N
    .
    Chamber Music Low Brass
    1 credit
  • MUS
    180
    .
    Topics in Music
    1 credit
    Selected topics in music. May be taken more than once if topics differ. Only two registrations count toward Music Major.
  • MUS
    191A
    .
    Violin
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: MUS-191A previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    191B
    .
    Viola
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: MUS-191B previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    191C
    .
    Violoncello
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: MUS-191C previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    191D
    .
    Double Bass
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: MUS-191D previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    191E
    .
    Jazz Guitar
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: MUS-191E previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    191K
    .
    Electric Bass Guitar
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: MUS-191K previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    191Y
    .
    Classical Guitar
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: MUS-191Y previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    192E
    .
    Flute
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: MUS-192E previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    192F
    .
    Oboe
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: MUS-192F previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    192G
    .
    Clarinet
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: MUS-192G previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    192H
    .
    Bassoon
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: MUS-192H previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    192I
    .
    Saxophone
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: MUS-192I previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    192P
    .
    Bagpipes
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: MUS-192P previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    193J
    .
    Trumpet
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: MUS-193J previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    193K
    .
    Horn
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: MUS-193K previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    193L
    .
    Trombone
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: MUS-193L previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    193M
    .
    Euphonium
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: MUS-193M previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    193N
    .
    Tuba
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: MUS-193N previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    194
    .
    Percussion
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: MUS-194 previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    195
    .
    Voice
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: MUS-195 previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    196
    .
    Piano
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: MUS-196 previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    197A
    .
    Organ
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: MUS-197A previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    197B
    .
    Harpsichord
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: MUS-197B previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    198
    .
    Composition
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: 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. Course fee.
  • MUS
    211
    .
    Comprehensive Musicianship III
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: 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
    Prerequisite: MUS-211
    Continuation of Music 211. Study of new musical resources and techniques in the twentieth and twenty-first 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 jazz and related techniques and idioms. (Offered every year)
  • MUS
    214
    .
    MIDI Composition & Arranging
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: Music Major or Permission
    Designed primarily for the music major, the course examines MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) techniques and applications for recording, scoring and musical production. Covers MIDI configurations, sequencing, multi-track recording, mixing and composing/arranging techniques. Students will also be trained in use of Finale, an industry standard application for music notation. (Offered every year)
  • MUS
    215
    .
    Audio Recording Workshop
    2 credits
    Students complete studio, field and stage recording projects. Topics and applications include digital audio recording systems and formats, sampling, critical listening, understanding acoustics, microphone techniques, EQ, compression as well as editing, final mixing and mastering. (Offered every year)
  • MUS
    225
    .
    Orchestration & Arranging
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: 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 & Score Reading
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: MUS-112
    Art of conducting, rehearsal techniques and procedures, score reading, problems of interpretation, organization and activities of choral and instrumental groups. (Offered Fall, Even numbered years)
  • 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
    Prerequisite: ENG-101
    This course examines 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
    291A
    .
    Violin
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: MUS-191A previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    291B
    .
    Viola
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: MUS-191B previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    291C
    .
    Violoncello
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: MUS-191C previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    291D
    .
    Double Bass
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: MUS-191D previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    291E
    .
    Jazz Guitar
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: MUS-191E previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    291K
    .
    Electric Bass Guitar
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: MUS-191K previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    291Y
    .
    Classical Guitar
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: MUS-191Y previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    292E
    .
    Flute
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: MUS-192E previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    292F
    .
    Oboe
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: MUS-192F previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    292G
    .
    Clarinet
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: MUS-192G previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    292H
    .
    Bassoon
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: MUS-192H previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    292I
    .
    Saxophone
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: MUS-192I previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    292P
    .
    Bagpipes
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: MUS-192P previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    293J
    .
    Trumpet
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: MUS-193J previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    293K
    .
    Horn
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: MUS-193K previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    293L
    .
    Trombone
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: MUS-193L previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    293M
    .
    Euphonium
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: MUS-193M previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    293N
    .
    Tuba
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: MUS-193N previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    294
    .
    Percussion
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: MUS-194 previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    295
    .
    Voice
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: MUS-195 previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    296
    .
    Piano
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: MUS-196 previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    297A
    .
    Organ
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: MUS-197A previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    297B
    .
    Harpsichord
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: MUS-197B previously or Permission
    Private lessons. Course fee.
  • MUS
    298
    .
    Composition
    2 credits
    Prerequisite: 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. Course fee.
  • 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 other year.)
  • MUS
    340M
    .
    Gilmore Festival
    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. Spring Term only.
  • MUS
    344
    .
    Elementary School Music
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: Music Education Major; Permission
    MUS 344 Elementary School Music 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 Fall, Odd numbered years)