Department Facts

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Key Allegheny Benefits

  • An important part of preparation for graduate study.
  • A balanced background in performance, theory and history.
  • An appreciation of the creative and recreative processes of music.
  • Experience in using research and source materials to independently approach music study.
  • An enhanced appreciation of the importance of the arts in general and in  relationship to other disciplines and unusual combinations.


  • Approximately 15-20% of the entire student body is involved in music department programs.
  • “Despite pursuing a career outside of music, I have found that the discipline of music theory is applicable in many areas, and that I am more well-rounded in my knowledge than the engineering majors I work with. The most important part of the department is the professors: my music advisor became my mentor, a friend, and taught me things beyond music, things that I use in my everyday life.” – Barbara Anderson Werner ’91, math and music major, now a programmer analyst/software engineer with Logicon Geodynamics, Inc.
  • “During my years at Allegheny, I had the chance to perform as a soloist for the Civic Symphony on two occasions. Through the support and instruction I received from the music department, I was able to do something I had never believed I could do. Through the hours and months of rehearsals, practice and preparation, I discovered that, if I put my mind to it, I could accomplish anything.” – Jennifer Story ’92, psychology major.
  • ” Allegheny provided a nurturing environment that allowed me to examine my areas of interest with outstanding, caring instructors, which eventually led to my changing my major to music and drama. One of my advisors for my two majors was honest about my skills and limitations. Not only did he instruct and motivate me, but he challenged me always to be the best I could be. ” – Steve Sheftz ’83, music and drama major
  • “We were not merely instructed to open our ears to a type of music that we had dismissed, but instead we were shown by example how to appreciate and embrace its universal and sweeping beauty. Rather than memorizing history, biography and theory, we were taught a far greater and more important skill: the art of listening and understanding.” – Reid Ockerman ’95, English major
  • Jonathan Hamilton, ’07 Worship and Creative Arts Director, Erie First Assembly Church

Facilities Strengths

  • Electronic music voice lab providing synthesized and sampled sounds, as well as digitized graphing of vocal sounds
  • Technology lab integrated with music curriculum
  • Music lab with computers, synthesizers, and student tutors
  • Department housed in Arnold Hall in the Henderson Campus Center, with classrooms, rehearsal and practice rooms
  • Performance space includes 1,700-seat Shafer Auditorium and 450-seat Ford Memorial Chapel
  • Steinway pianos in concert venues on campus

Student Research and Special Projects

Every Alleghenian completes a Senior Project in his or her major field-a significant piece of original work, designed by each student and a faculty advisor, that demonstrates to employers and graduate schools the ability to work independently, to analyze and synthesize information, to write and speak persuasively and to complete a major assignment.

Recent Senior Projects

  • The Healing Power of Music
  • Analytical Studies of Schoenberg’s Op. 11, 12 and 25
  • A Study of the Genre ‘Suite’
  • Exploring the Uses of Electronic Synthesizers in the Creation of Sound
  • Tone Clusters (history and analysis of three works by Ives, Cowell, Bartok)
  • Fantasia (composition for Chamber Choir and survey of contemporary musical notation systems)
  • Chryses Awakening (an original opera)
  • Use of Biofeedback in the Study of Singing
  • Comparison of the Sound Production Mechanism of the Trumpet and the Light Amplification System of the Laser
  • The Effects of Musical Key Changes on the Frontal Lobes in Musicians and Non-Musicians Using Electroencephalogram Alpha Desynchronization
  • The Utilization of MIDI Technology as a Learning, Performing and Composing Tool
  • Vocal Pedagogy Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: An Overview of Vocal Pedagogy
  • An Overview of the History of Music Education in the U.S.
  • A Study of Baroque and Classical Composition with an Emphasis on J.S. Bach and W.A. Mozart
  • The Guitar in the 20th Century
  • The Interrelation of Chopin’s Life and Works: A Case Study of Chopin’s Preludes op. 20
  • The Making of ‘Deforestation’: The Effectiveness of Music as an Interdisciplinary Approach to Environmental Education (included original piano composition)

Selected Student Achievements

  • Six students have recently been featured as soloists with the Civic Symphony. Three others have been guest conductors for Choir and Band concerts.
  • Student was the musical director of three major musicals performed on campus as well as a community Christmas show; also conducted a major concert of the music of St. Saëns, featuring a combined Allegheny orchestra plus professional musicians.
  • Students have been selected to participate the Small College Intercollegiate Band as part College Band Directors National Association Conference at the University of Minnesota, the University of Texas at Denton, the University of Texas at Austin and at Alice Tully Hall, New York City