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Undergraduate Program

General Information

About the Program

Students from all disciplines may participate in the pleasures of musical study and performance to acquire a deeper understanding of the many ways music (and related arts) reflects values of various cultures, influences lives, and enriches human existence. The Department of Music offers courses of study leading to the BA degree with a concentration in music and a minor in music (click here to access a PDF version of the music degree requirements). A wide variety of non-technical courses address non-concentrators who wish to study music on an introductory, interdisciplinary, or aesthetic basis. Degree programs, course offerings, and performance opportunities in music are diverse and invite choice and flexibility (click here to view a PDF of department course offerings; a list of current music department clusters is available here). Courses offered at the Eastman School of Music, normally open to any student presenting the proper prerequisites, augment the range and depth of musical experiences and courses available to students in the College.

Any undergraduate student may qualify to take applied music lessons at the Eastman School through a successful audition. The student must sign up for an audition during the summer or over winter break by filling out the web form available here. The auditions take place at the Eastman School during the first week of each semester.

There are many opportunities to participate in performing ensembles. Some 400 students play or sing in a dozen musical organizations. Auditions for all of these groups take place during the first week of school. For a complete list of performing ensembles and for audition information, click here.

BA with a Concentration in Music

The Department of Music, in cooperation with the Eastman School of Music, offers the Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in music. This degree program in music addresses students who can meet both the intellectual and musical challenges of a rigorous program that emphasizes the broad experience of a liberally educated person. The concentration comprises a balanced program of academic courses, private instruction, and ensemble experience that fosters understanding of musical languages, historical developments, and compositional styles while encouraging excellence in performance. The core curriculum in music theory and history provides the common foundation for advanced study of specialized subfields in music (musicology, theory, conducting, management, performance, composition, music education, etc.) whether this study occurs in the final years of undergraduate education or at the graduate or professional level.

Although the concentration in music is a demanding one, students often also explore, beyond the introductory level, one or more non-music disciplines. Some students pursue a double major. Such flexibility allows students to combine pre-law or pre-medicine preparation with a concentration or minor in music.

Freshman students who plan to major in music should take the music theory placement exam during summer orientation to learn whether they should enroll in MUR 110 or 111 for the fall semester. Prospective music majors should also request (during the summer) an application for applied music lessons and prepare to audition for an ensemble during the first week of classes.

Music majors may choose from a variety of tracks within the music concentration. The tracks comprise between 63 and 73 credits, depending upon background, pre-college preparation, and the particular track selected. Students may opt for specialization in composition, conducting, history/theory, music in world cultures, musical theater, performance, or popular music/jazz, or simply choose the basic track. Each track has a specific faculty advisor. Within each track, the concentration requirements fall into 6 areas. All music majors are required to take the "core courses" in music theory, music history, musicianship, and keyboard skills. Requirements for ensemble, private instruction, and electives vary with the track and are listed in the "Degree Requirements" page.

Advice for Freshmen

Every student at the University of Rochester should plan to take at least one music course at some time during his or her four years here. The music department offers a variety of interesting courses designed for all kinds of students, from those with no background in music at all to those interested in making music their livelihood. See "Courses" for a list of classes which freshmen may take.

Advanced Placement (AP)

Students who have taken the Advanced Placement examination in Music Theory and earned a score of 4 or 5 should enroll in MUR 111 (Theory I) in the fall of their freshman year.

How to Declare a Major in Music

If you are considering a major in music, contact Elaine Stroh in 1-316 Dewey Hall ( She will assign you to an advisor and help you set up a meeting. Once you're ready to declare the major, you should bring to your advisor the blue Approval Form for Concentrations and Minors, available in 312 Lattimore Hall. Fill out the form with your advisor and then bring it to the department chair for an authorized signature.