Welcome to the Oxy Music Department! We are thrilled to be a music department in Los Angeles, and strive to connect to the city's cultural riches, through our faculty, courses, concerts, and events. We encourage you to get to know the Department as soon as you arrive...if not before!
The majority of the many students who participate in Music at Oxy are non-majors. The tabs on the right are, therefore, for ALL students interested in studying music, whether in taking music lessons, participating in an ensemble, or taking a course. We, of course, sincerely hope that you will consider majoring or minoring in Music, and information on doing so is also provided through the tabs on the right. The Music Theory Placement Exam is the first tab under "For Students" because studying music theory is fundamental to all music-making. Music theory enables you to understand how and why the music you love sounds the way it does. So regardless of what kind of music interests you, we urge that one of the first courses you take at Oxy be a music theory course. The Music Theory Placement Exam will indicate which course to take.
The music department has established four primary goals for music students; each goal is associated with one or more learning outcomes:
Goal 1: Music students will be able to apply critical and analytic skills to the study of music in theoretical, historical, and cultural contexts.
Outcome 1.1: Students will be able to explain the theoretical, historical, and cultural contexts of specific genres and individual musical works, and relate them to genres and works from different stylistic, historical, and cultural contexts.
Outcome 1.2: Students will demonstrate proficiency in discipline-specific writing and research skills (library, Internet, etc.).
Outcome 1.3: Students will design and deliver oral presentations that communicate the results of analysis and/or research of theoretical, ethnomusicological, and musicological topics, including, where appropriate, audio and visual technologies.
Goal 2: Music students will demonstrate proficiency in aural and keyboard musicianship
Outcome 2.1: Students will be able to perform at the keyboard several specific and broadly applicable skills, including scales, harmonic progressions, transposition, harmonizing a melody, and reading a multi-stave score.
Outcome 2.2: Students will demonstrate their musicianship through fluency in reading and reproducing Western music notation.
Goal 3: Music students will be proficient in performance on an instrument, voice, or electronic media
Outcome 3.1: Students will demonstrate their progress toward proficiency in performance.
Outcome 3.2: Students will demonstrate their proficiency on an instrument, in voice, in composition or in electronic music by various types of public performance.
Goal 4: Music students will engage the community at large as scholars, performers, composers, and teachers
Outcome 4.1: Students will engage in focused studies in advanced performance, composition, conducting, or musicological/theoretical research--and will present their work in public forums such as recitals, ensemble concerts, and oral presentations.
Outcome 4.2: Students will partner with the local community in a reciprocal exchange of musical and cultural information through internships, partnerships with local schools, and other forms of community-based learning.
Music study at Occidental College involves three main areas: music courses, performing ensembles, and applied lessons.
The music major curriculum at Occidental entails courses in music theory and musicianship, music history and culture, electives, applied music lessons, and performing ensembles culminating in a senior project in the student’s final year of study. Since the first year of music theory and musicianship is required for most other courses pertaining to the major, students are strongly urged to begin this sequence in their freshman year. Students who are undecided about majoring in music (or who are unable to fit first-year theory into their freshman studies) can begin their music studies in the fall semester of their second year and still complete the major by the end of the fourth year. We do, however, strongly recommend that students begin the music major sequence in their freshman year to avoid taking required courses in their senior year while concurrently preparing a senior project.
Music majors should know that graduate work in music theory, music history (musicology), and classical voice requires a reading knowledge of French and German; a reading knowledge of Latin is also a very good idea.
Music majors receive complimentary tickets to many concerts and events sponsored by the Music Department, and are expected to attend all music major meetings, as well as student and faculty recitals and guest artist performances each semester.
Performing ensembles at Occidental are open to all students by audition regardless of major. The Occidental Glee Club, College Chorus, Occidental Sinfonia and Chamber Ensembles, Occidental Jazz Ensemble, and the Caltech-Occidental College Concert Band hold auditions at the beginning of the academic year, and some ensembles also hold auditions in the spring term. The Son Jarocho Ensemble and Afro-Cuban Drumming Ensemble do not require auditions. Ensembles are taken for one course unit each term.
Music majors are required to participate in ensembles while at Occidental.
Applied music lessons are open to all Occidental students. Students at Occidental have the benefit of the best professional teachers in the Los Angeles area. Private lessons are offered in voice and instruments. Class lessons are also offered in piano, voice, guitar, electronic music, and jazz improvisation. Lessons receive one course unit each term, and serve as partial fulfillment of the College’s fine arts requirement.
Music theory placement: Placement in music theory I (MUSC 151) is determined in one of two ways: satisfactory performance on the Occidental music theory placement test, given during Orientation week each fall, or by receiving a 4 or higher on the College Board Advanced Placement examination in music theory.
Piano proficiency is required of all music majors. Students satisfy this requirement by participation in all four required musicianship classes. Ideally, this requirement should be fulfilled by the end of the music major’s sophomore year.
Academic advising is essential to your successful career at Occidental. All music majors have an adviser from the music department. However, students who double major with another field listed as their primary major must speak to the music department chair to obtain an additional adviser in the music department. You are encouraged to meet regularly with your adviser, either during posted office hours or by making an appointment. You are also able to change advisers within the department, should you feel that another member of the faculty has similar academic or professional interests to yours. Even if you are not a music major, all music faculty are available to discuss possible music courses with you.
- Friends of Oxy Music:
- Jacquelyn Moon:
Senior Administrative Assistant
- Alyssa Cottle:
Concerts and Events Manager
- David Kasunic: