Department Information


Professors L. Hepler (Chair), Dearden, J. Hepler, Jurs, Niblock

Music is a creative art form in which sounds are selected and combined to be heard over time. It is also a means of communication and expression. The study of music enables consumers (listeners), re-creators (performers), and creators (composers) to increase their understanding of both the sounded and written aspects of musical language. Departmental courses accommodate a wide variety of musical backgrounds so that students can either begin or continue their musical development in three different areas:

  • Courses that concern the sound materials that are used to construct musical works, their organization into systems, and their interrelationships, which give rise to musical significance. Students learn to recognize and reproduce the basic elements both in sound and in notation, both in isolation and in complete musical contexts.
  • Courses that concern musical style; its historic progression through different times, places, and cultures; and specific composers and works which contributed to that progression. Students learn to recognize by sound and sight the ways in which musical elements are combined as compositional conventions: within a particular work, within the output of a composer, and by different composers in a particular time or place.
  • Courses that focus on performance, the actual production of music in sound. As the physical requirements of playing different instruments are applied to the elements of the score and to interpretative decisions, the potential of notation becomes the reality of sounded music. Repertoire for soloists is studied individually in applied lessons; repertoire for groups of performers is studied in ensembles.

Students wishing to declare a major or minor in Music must first perform an evaluation on their primary instrument or voice for a panel of three music faculty. Students are encouraged to enroll as early as possible in non-juried applied lessons for at least one semester prior to requesting approval for a declaration of major/minor. Interested students should contact the Music Department chair for further information.

Music Learning Outcomes

Successful Music students are expected to:

  • Understand tools and methods used in musical research and be able to analyze sources accurately and critically;
  • Demonstrate a broad understanding of musical materials and styles both as categories of musical significance and with regard to specific works and composers;
  • Demonstrate competence as a performer on the chosen instrument both in solo and ensemble repertoire.