Department Chair: Dr. Theodore A. Conner
Assistant Professors: Ardizzoia, Hartford, Jackson
The music department approaches the study of music as a process that is creative, analytical, intellectual, and experiential. Our interdisciplinary curriculum is designed to encourage fluid movement between the sub-disciplines of music—composition, ethnomusicology, history, performance, and theory—to provide students with the skills to think critically about the ways in which music is historically and culturally situated and the implications that has for studying and making music. More specifically, students engage with aesthetic and ethical values of cultures across the globe through thoughtful performance, informed scholarship, and diverse approaches to composition, preparing students for the music-making and music scholarship of the 21st century.
The interdisciplinary nature of musical training makes it excellent preparation for a number of careers. Students learn broadly transferable skills—critical and analytical thinking, close reading, strong writing and oral communication skills—that prepare them for post-graduate careers in a number of fields. Recent graduates have gone on in performance, musicology, composition, music education, and music therapy, but also in higher education administration, medicine, law school, and the business sector.
Muhlenberg’s music department is an unusually large and active one for a liberal arts college. There are twelve performing ensembles, and the department presents over eighty concerts each year. We engage with a range of repertory from our early music ensemble, Collegium musicum, to our annual Contemporary Music Festival. Recent guest artists who have performed concerts and led student masterclasses include Dr. Marcía Porter, the keynote speaker and singer in our Festival of African-American Poets and Composers, and the new-music percussion ensemble Clocks in Motion featured in our Contemporary Music Festival. We also hosted Baroque violinist Beth Wenstrom, harpsichordist Stephen Gamboa-Diaz, Brazilian percussion specialist Scott Kettner, and Hindustani sarod master Ken Zuckerman for performances and masterclasses. The diversity of our course offerings, our ensembles, and our guest artists empowers students to pursue a broad range of interests during their study at Muhlenberg.
An Honors Thesis is a substantial undertaking, an in-depth scholarly examination of a narrowly defined research area through close work with a faculty member that leads to original scholarly work. An Honors Thesis is scholarly work rather than performance, although performers and composers may choose to undertake a thesis. Students may choose to do their research in ethnomusicology, music history, or music theory. The thesis should be the length of a substantial journal article in the field, from thirty-five to seventy pages in length, and they should pursue a subject of the student’s own interest in consultation with the advising faculty member. Honors Theses are strongly recommended for students who are considering graduate school in ethnomusicology, musicology, and music theory.
Students accepted into the Honors Program will present their work in a thesis conversation before three faculty members who will constitute a thesis committee. Two of these faculty must be in music. For more information on the Honors Program in Music, students should refer to the Student Handbook.
There are currently a limited number of music majors who are also participating in the teacher certification program at Moravian College. The requirements for teacher certification are available upon request from the Department of Music. Students intending to enter the music education certification program in collaboration with Moravian College must register for MUS 150 Engaging with Music I during their first semester. It is extremely unlikely any student will be able to complete their studies in four years if they do not follow this advice.
Study in voice, piano, organ, and the various string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. Departmental permission is required for enrollment. Depending on the instructor, students take either thirteen 45-minute lessons or ten 60-minute lessons per semester. A minimum of five hours individual practice time per week is expected from each student. Attendance at recitals, concerts, and/or studio classes may be required. An additional fee is charged for this instruction which is not refundable after the drop deadline. Applied Music may not be taken on a pass/fail basis and may only be taken as an audit when it constitutes an overload and when it does not constitute the initial semester of a student’s applied music study; permission from both the instructor and department chair is required in this exceptional case. Two semesters of Applied Music may be used to complete the general academic requirement in the Arts (AR).
Ensembles are offered only as zero course unit experiences graded on a satisfactory (S) or unsatisfactory (U) basis.