The music curriculum is designed to deepen students’ understanding of musical form and expression through the development of skill in composition and performance joined with analysis of musical works and their place in various cultures. A major in music provides a foundation for further study leading to a career in music.
Music Department faculty members are committed to the education of the whole musician. This entails the study of performance, theory, and history, as we believe these disciplines support each other in a comprehensive understanding of music. Depending on the level of the individual course, we aim for students to:
- gain command of chosen instrument or voice, showing understanding of technical skills of musicianship.
- understand how to apply appropriate interpretive choices to a given musical work.
- analyze important aspects of musical style and structure, both in score and aurally.
- demonstrate ability to deploy elements of melody, harmony, and structure in original creations.
- develop rhetorical skills to speak and write about music with conviction, and the bibliographical skills required to find works and critical perspectives that inform these judgements.
The composition/theory program stresses proficiency in aural, keyboard, and vocal skills, and written harmony and counterpoint. Composition following important historical models and experimentation with contemporary styles are emphasized.
The musicology program, which emphasizes European, North American, and Asian traditions, considers music in the rich context of its social, religious, and aesthetic surroundings.
Haverford’s music performance program offers opportunities to participate in the Haverford-Bryn Mawr Chamber Singers, Chorale, Orchestra, and chamber ensembles. Students can receive academic credit for their participation (MUSC 102, 214, 215, and 216), and can receive credit for Private Study (MUSC 208 for Instrumental Study, MUSC 209 for Voice Study, and MUSC 210 for Keyboard Study). Student chamber ensembles, solo instrumentalists, and vocalists also give informal recitals during the year. Courses such as Art Song and Topics in Piano have a built-in performance component.
Students can arrange private music lessons through the department or independently. We have a referral list of many fine teachers in the Philadelphia area with whom we are affiliated. The department helps to subsidize the cost of lessons for students with financial need who are studying for academic credit.
- Composition/Theory: MUSC 203, 204, and 303.
- Musicology: Three courses, MUSC 229, plus any two of MUSC 220, 221, 222, 223, 224, or 225.
- Two electives in Music, from: MUSC 149, 207, 220, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 227, 250, 254, 265, 266, 270, 304, and 325.
- Participation in a department-sponsored performance group for at least a year.
- MUSC 208, 209, or 210 instrumental or vocal private study for one year.
- We strongly urge continuing ensemble participation and instrumental or vocal private study.
- A Senior Project (as detailed below)
- We expect majors to attend the majority of department-sponsored concerts, lectures, and colloquia.
- Composition/Theory: MUSC 203 and 204.
- Musicology: MUSC 229; plus any one of 220, 221, 222, 223, 224, or 225.
- One elective from the following: MUSC 149, 207, 220, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 227, 250, 254, 265, 266, 270, 303, 304, and 325.
- MUSC 208, 209, 210 instrumental/vocal private study or department ensemble participation for one year.
- We expect minors to attend the majority of department-sponsored concerts, lectures, and colloquia.
Music students should demonstrate focused achievement in one or more of the three principal areas of the music curriculum:
Majors fulfill this requirement in one of two ways:
- taking a regular full-credit music course, additional work for which will challenge the student’s knowledge and skills acquired in previous studies; or
- pursuing an independent project, usually a solo recital, a research project, or an original composition in the context of Music 480 (Independent Study), culminating in a public presentation in the spring semester of senior year.
A detailed description of the format, goals, and assessment criteria for the senior experience can be found in the complete departmental statement in the Catalog (PDF).
Requirements for Honors
- Minimum GPA in music courses of 3.7 AND grade on senior project of 4.0.
- Outstanding, standard-setting contribution to the department in the context of courses and/or ensembles.
- Exceptional level of originality, depth, and synthesis in the senior project as compared to undergraduate work generally, outside Haverford (i.e., a level of work that should be sufficient to gain admission to top graduate programs in the field).
Special Programs and Funds
The Music Department Concert Artist Series presents distinguished and emerging performers in public concerts, master classes, lecture-demonstrations, reading sessions, and informal encounters. Among artists recently featured have been pianist Peter Serkin, violinist Miranda Cuckson, the Orlando Consort, the Borromeo String Quartet, the Renee Rosnes Jazz Quartet, and the Borealis Wind Quintet with pianist Leon Bates.
The Network for New Music Residency features Philadelphia’s distinguished contemporary music ensemble in reading and recording sessions for student composers, performances of contemporary music with students in the Chamber Music program, and a concert series highlighting the work of prominent living composers.
The William Heartt Reese Music Fund was established in 1977 to honor William Heartt Reese, Professor of Music and conductor of the Glee Club and Orchestra at Haverford from 1947 to 1975. The fund supports applied music lessons for students enrolled in the department’s private study program.
The John H. Davison ‘51 Fund for Student Composers supports the performance of new works by student composers. This fund recognizes John’s 40 years of teaching and musical creativity at Haverford.
The Orpheus Prize is awarded for exceptional achievement in the practice of tonal harmony.
The Kessinger Family Fund for Asian Performing Arts sponsors musical performances and lecture-demonstrations that enrich Haverford’s cross-cultural programs. Since its inception in 1997, the fund has supported visits by artists representing traditions of South, Central, and East Asia, and Indonesia.