Requirements: Music

Fine Arts Division

The Department of Music offers several types of study. Each course, whether it results in a student's own performance or in heightened perception of others' performances, is designed to increase the student's sense of the richness and importance of music in the human experience.


The Curriculum

MUSC 101, 102, 105 and 107 are considered especially appropriate introductory courses for first-year students or upperclass students new to the department. As the foundation on which the other coursework in the department is built, these courses are recommended for students considering majors or minors in the department. To facilitate proper placement of entering students, the department administers a music theory exam through which students may be exempted from MUSC 101.

Those who do not take the exam or who wish to develop basic skills should take MUSC 101, which covers the rudiments of music theory and the aural skills needed by practicing musicians. MUSC 102, 105 and 107 are designed to provide both an overview of the subject and the requisite skills needed for active, informed listening. Students with Advanced Placement credit should consult the department chair.

The experience of creating or recreating music through musical performance is central to understanding the discipline of music. To this end, the applied music program is structured to allow any student at any level of experience to engage in this type of study. End-of-semester juries and timely advancement to established higher skill levels are two of the methods by which the department seeks to evaluate the progress of individual students. Lessons are offered as follows:

  • Levels I, II and III: 25 minutes (0.13 unit) or 50 minutes (0.25 unit)
  • Level IV: 50 minutes (0.25 unit) or 100 minutes (0.5 unit — must petition the department for consideration).

Students may earn a total of 0.63 units at Level I, at which point they are required to advance to Level II in order to continue to receive academic credit. Students may generally earn a total of 0.63 units at Level II, at which point they are required to advance to Level III in order to continue for credit. However, an additional quarter (0.25) unit may be earned at Level I or II, upon the recommendation of the applied instructor and consent of the tenured or tenure-track faculty members attending the relevant jury. There is no limit on the aggregate credit available for Levels III and IV.

Whether taken for credit or audit, the lessons involve an additional fee. When such instruction is required for the major or minor, the fee is waived. The department's music lesson coordinator can provide all pertinent information about the programs of studio instruction.

As a corollary to the music lesson program, the department offers ensemble work. The instrumental ensembles call for some degree of proficiency and are usually formed by audition.

  • The Chamber Singers — open only by competitive audition
  • The Kenyon Community Choir — open to all with a voice-placement audition
  • the Symphonic Wind Ensemble
  • the Kenyon Jazz Ensemble
  • the Opera and Music Theater Workshop
  • the Knox County Symphony
  • Asian Music Ensemble
  • the Early Music Ensemble
  • string, guitar, flute, woodwind, percussion, harp, brass, horn and saxophone ensembles
  • other groups as determined by student interest

As with lessons, it is best to plan to begin such an activity as early in one's academic career as possible.

Requirements for the Major

The minimum requirement of five and three quarter (5.75) units is distributed as follows:

  • Theory: MUSC 121Y–122Y and MUSC 222 
  • History: MUSC 102, 105 or 107 and two of MUSC 202-205 
  • Ethnomusicology: MUSC 206D 
  • Electives: MUSC 124, 214D, 302–331, 391, or additional from MUSC 202–205 and 221 
  • Applied Study/Performance: (3 semesters of 50-minute lessons) compiled from applied lessons at Level II or above 
  • Senior Capstone

Additional Requirements

For students whose major instrument is not piano, two semesters of 25-minute piano lessons. (Note: A GPA of 3.33 or higher must be earned each semester for these lessons to meet this requirement.)

Senior Capstone

The Senior Capstone in music consists of two major components: the comprehensive examination and the independent research/performance project. The Senior Capstone must be completed, in all respects, by May 1 of the senior year.

1. Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive examination evaluates student knowledge acquired in both required and elective courses. It is intended to address the major areas of study within the music major. The music department faculty will determine and announce the format and schedule of the comprehensive examination during the fall semester of the senior year.

2. Independent Research/Performance Project

Majors can choose from the following types of independent research/performance projects:

  • a music theory, music history or ethnography research project of substantial length, culminating in a public presentation;
  • a composition of at least 10 minutes in length, culminating in a public presentation;
  • a recital of 50 to 60 minutes in total duration on the major instrument; or
  • a lecture-recital of 50 to 60 minutes in total length, combining performance on the major instrument with a research presentation related to the instrument and/or the repertoire being performed.

A substantial written component is required in all independent research/performance projects. For research projects, the results must be presented in a paper of considerable length (approximately 40 pages). For composition projects, students are required to write a 20-page paper describing the compositional process employed and citing influences of other composers. Students performing a recital are required to complete a 10-page paper presenting research on the composers, the contexts of the pieces, any relevant issues pertaining to historical performance and/or other appropriate issues. Lecture-recitals must include a 20-page paper that will serve as a basis for the narrative employed in the performance.

Public presentation is a requirement of all independent research/performance projects. For research projects, this means a department-sponsored public presentation of findings (typically through delivering an abridged version of the full paper). Composition projects, recitals and lecture-recitals are presented through department-sponsored performances. For final approval, all students must perform/present and pass a preliminary hearing, as specified in the department guidelines, two weeks before the official presentation. A written component of the independent research/performance project is due three days before that hearing.

In all cases, the student must determine the type of project, decide on the topic/repertoire, obtain an advisor (in the case of recitals, the student's applied adjunct instructor will be one of two advisors), and submit to the department chair a written proposal by May 1 of the junior year. A final, formal written proposal is due October 1 of the senior year.


Music majors of particular merit and possessing an interest in focused, independent work may petition the department for permission to undertake a senior honors project. Each honors student works closely with a faculty member on a project of considerable scope. Honors projects in music require a substantial commitment of student and faculty time and effort. Projects are approved on the basis of their scope and depth, their viability and the likelihood of their successful completion, and the qualifications of the student applicant. Students applying for honors must have previous coursework in the proposed area(s) of study. For instance, students proposing an honors project in composition are considered qualified only if they have already taken relevant courses in music theory and composition. Senior honors is two semesters in duration, with the presentation at the end of the second semester. The completed project is subject to evaluation by the department faculty and an outside expert in the field.

The honors project comprises a second senior-year endeavor, one independent of the applicant's Senior Capstone (and any junior recital). To qualify for honors, applicants must possess (in addition to the minimum College GPA of 3.33 for honors) a departmental GPA of 3.5 or higher, and that standard must be maintained throughout the duration of the project.

To have projects considered for honors, music majors must submit a proposal to the chair of the Department of Music no later than May 1 of the junior year. In developing the proposal, students must consult with their advisor and the faculty member most likely to serve as project advisor. The proposal should outline the goals of the project, the steps involved in its production, and the nature of the resulting product as well as the form of its public presentation. Students should also note their qualifications to undertake the proposed project, listing courses completed in relevant areas and any other related projects completed.

Examples of recent honors projects are listed on the department website.

Requirements for the Minor

The minimum requirement of 2.89 units is distributed as follows:

  • Theory: MUSC 121Y-122Y
  • History: MUSC 102, 105 or 107 and one of MUSC 202–205
  • Electives: MUSC 124, 214D, 302-331, 391, or additional from MUSC 202–206D, 221 and 222
  • Music lessons/performance: Three (3) semesters of 25-minute lessons compiled from lessons at Level II or above.

Cross Listed Courses

Music courses are cross-listed in a number of departments and programs, such as anthropology, women's and gender studies, Asian and Middle East studies, and American studies. Please consult the course offerings of the departments/programs or consult the department chair.