Man playing xylophone in recital hall.

Music Major/Minor

A Saint Mary’s Bachelor of Arts in Music provides students the opportunity to study music in a liberal arts focused program.

Majoring in music gives students the flexibility to explore all aspects of music, from theory and performance to music business and arts administration. With a focus on small classes, expert faculty, and real-world experience, Saint Mary’s music majors graduate with a breadth of knowledge and multiple career paths to choose from.

Career Options

Students who possess a degree in music are prepared for careers as archivists, arts administrators, composers, elementary, middle, and high school teachers, and historians.

High School Preparation

High school coursework that will support a student in his or her pursuit of a degree in music includes experience in Band or Orchestra, Chorus, Music, Music History, and Music Theory.

Enhance Your Experience

Students who earn the general music degree will oftentimes pursue a double major or minor in music education—instrumental or music education—vocal, music industry, or history.

Music Minor

Students who love music but have career aspirations in a different arena find that a music minor allows them to incorporate their passion for the art in their everyday life. 

Degree Requirements

A. Basic musicianship courses

All of the following:

MU130 Music Fundamentals I (1 cr.)

This course is designed to be an introduction to music reading and understanding. The fundamentals of pitch and rhythm are covered along with ear training and score reading in this computer-assisted course.

MU131 Music Fundamentals II (1 cr.)

This is a continuation of Music Fundamentals I.

MU160 Music Theory I (3 cr.)

This course is designed for students interested in increasing their knowledge of the basic elements of music. Concepts covered include: keys, scales, simple and compound rhythms, intervals, triads, 7th chords, principles of voice leading, harmonic progression, cadences, phrases and periods.

MU170 Ear Training I (2 cr.)

The objective of this course is to develop aural skills involving melody, rhythm and harmony. Concepts covered include: identification of intervals, scales, triads, sight-singing and one voice melodic and rhythmic dictations.

B. The following course:

MU150 Experiencing Music (3 cr.)

This course is designed to stimulate interest in and enjoyment of music from its beginnings through medieval, renaissance, baroque, classical, romantic, and 20th century styles, including various styles of non-Western music. This course is required for music majors and minors and is also a general education aesthetics content area course open to all students with an interest in music.

C. Music history

One of the following:

MU255 Jazz History (3 cr.)

This course examines unique Western and non-Western aspects of jazz and its relationship to the Afro-American culture. It is intended to give students an introduction to various styles of jazz from its beginning in the early 1900s to the present. Students study the cultural context of jazz, what to listen for, and some basic aspects of how it is performed.

MU341 Music History I (3 cr.)

This course is a writing intensive study of music history covering ancient, medieval, renaissance, and baroque western art music. A basic understanding of the history of western civilization is expected.

MU342 Music History II (3 cr.)

This course is a continuation of MU341. It is a writing intensive study of music history continuing through the classical, romantic and contemporary periods.

D. Four semesters

Four semesters of applied lessons/private instruction taken for credit in major performing instrument (MUL)

E. Six semesters

Six semesters of ensembles (MUE) minimum.

Please Note:

MU130 Music Fundamentals I and MU131 Music Fundamentals II, or equivalent proficiency are prerequisites for MU160 Music Theory I. All students take an initial placement exam to determine theory proficiency.

Please Note:

MU130 Music Fundamentals I and MU131 Music Fundamentals II, or equivalent proficiency are prerequisites for MU160 Music Theory I. All students take an initial placement exam to determine theory proficiency.

A. Music Core:

MU130 Music Fundamentals I (1 cr.)

This course is designed to be an introduction to music reading and understanding. The fundamentals of pitch and rhythm are covered along with ear training and score reading in this computer-assisted course.

MU131 Music Fundamentals II (1 cr.)

This is a continuation of Music Fundamentals I.

MU150 Experiencing Music (3 cr.)

This course is designed to stimulate interest in and enjoyment of music from its beginnings through medieval, renaissance, baroque, classical, romantic, and 20th century styles, including various styles of non-Western music. This course is required for music majors and minors and is also a general education aesthetics content area course open to all students with an interest in music.

MU160 Music Theory I (3 cr.)

This course is designed for students interested in increasing their knowledge of the basic elements of music. Concepts covered include: keys, scales, simple and compound rhythms, intervals, triads, 7th chords, principles of voice leading, harmonic progression, cadences, phrases and periods.

MU165 Music Theory II (3 cr.)

This course is a continuation of Music Theory I. Concepts covered are non-chord tones, use of triad inversions, secondary functions, modulation, binary and ternary forms, mode mixture.

MU170 Ear Training I (2 cr.)

The objective of this course is to develop aural skills involving melody, rhythm and harmony. Concepts covered include: identification of intervals, scales, triads, sight-singing and one voice melodic and rhythmic dictations.

MU175 Ear Training II (2 cr.)

This is a continuation of Ear Training I. The objective of this course is to continue to develop aural skills involving melody, rhythm and harmony. Concepts covered include: sight-singing, advanced one voice dictation, simple two voice dictation, identification of chord structures, error detection and simple harmonic dictation.

MU260 Music Theory III (3 cr.)

This course is a continuation of Music Theory II. Music Theory III, along with its predecessors, Music Theory I–II will enable the student to think critically about music of all periods and styles. Concepts to be covered will include: unconventional uses of augmented 6th chords, enharmonicism, altered dominants, sonata form, the breakdown of tonality, and post 20th century techniques including basic set theory, 12-tone composition and integral serialism.

MU270 Ear Training III (2 cr.)

This is a lab course and is a continuation of Ear Training II. The objective of this course is to continue to develop aural skills involving melody, rhythm and harmony. Concepts covered include: complex one voice dictation, two voice dictation, harmonic dictation and complex sight singing.

MU299 Sophomore Review (0 cr.)

A comprehensive review of transcripts, a portfolio of work, and a juried performance examination normally occurring during the second semester of the sophomore year. Required for all music majors in their fourth semester of study.

MU300 Introduction to Music Technology (2 cr.)

This lab course is intended to give students an overview of music technology by connecting today's hardware and software tools with the history of electronic music. Areas explored include Sound Synthesis, MIDI, Sequencing, Music Notation, Digital Audio Editing, and Computer Aided Music Instruction. The course is required for all music majors, but open to all students with an interest in music technology as an elective.

MU341 Music History I (3 cr.)

This course is a writing intensive study of music history covering ancient, medieval, renaissance, and baroque western art music. A basic understanding of the history of western civilization is expected.

MU342 Music History II (3 cr.)

This course is a continuation of MU341. It is a writing intensive study of music history continuing through the classical, romantic and contemporary periods.

MU382 Conducting (3 cr.)

This is an advanced course designed for students who plan to conduct instrumental and choral groups in private and public schools, churches, or communities.

MU383 Arranging (3 cr.)

This course presents a detailed study of the major instrument families and the human voice, and how to score and arrange for them.

B. Performance Studies:

Applied Lessons: minimum of seven semesters of private lessons taken for credit on a major instrument or voice.

Ensembles: minimum of seven semesters of participation in one or more vocal or instrumental ensembles.

C. Both of the following:

MU125 Keyboard Musicianship I (2 cr.)

This course is an introduction to the keyboard for music majors with limited keyboard background. Emphasis is on functional skills such as reading, transposing, harmonizing, improvising, and playing by ear; along with keyboard theory, technique, and repertoire. A grade of "C" or higher in both the final exam and course are required to fulfill the piano proficiency requirement.

MU126 Keyboard Musicianship II (2 cr.)

This course is a continuation of Keyboard Musicianship I with further development of keyboard skills focused on raising the level of technical proficiency and increasing the students' competence in keyboard improvisation, harmonization, sight reading, and scales. A grade of "C" or higher in both the final exam and course are required to fulfill the piano proficiency requirement.

D. Minimum of six music electives credits

May reflect individual interest and career goals.