Majoring in Music

Majoring in Music at Occidental

All Music majors must take the same six required courses, in music theory, history, and culture. In addition to these courses, majors must take the courses required of their concentration: Music Production, Music Composition, Instrumental Performance, Vocal Performance, Ethnomusicology/Popular Music, Musicology, or Music Theory & Analysis. To plan accurately, pay attention to those courses that have prerequisites. Go to Courses & Requirements for further information. Because the catalog changes year to year, please note that your major requirements are determined by the catalog of the academic year in which you declare the major. This is referred to as your “catalog year.” For example, if you declare the major in 2020-2021, that is your catalog year, and the Music major requirements for that academic year's catalog are the requirements you must fulfill in order to graduate. In order to declare the Music major, you must take MUSC 151 Music Theory II no later than the spring semester of your sophomore year and ideally the spring semester of your first year.  Students must declare their Major concentration when they declare the Music major. Students must receive a grade of C or above in each of MUSC 151, MUSC 251, and, if required of the concentration, MUSC 148 in order to graduate with a Music major. 

To declare the Music major, you must do the following, in this order:

  1. Receive a grade of C or above in MUSC 151 and, if you are pursuing a production concentration, MUSC 148 by the end of your sophomore year. 
  2. Submit the Declaring the Music Major questionnaire.
  3. Meet with your intended Music major advisor to discuss your responses to the questionnaire and to further plot your path through the major.
  4. Submit the Major Declaration Form to the Registrar's Office.

NOTE: Students wanting to study abroad in the fall semester of their junior year must have declared the Music major prior to submitting their study abroad application, which is due in February of their sophomore year. Prior to submitting that application, they must determine with their Music advisor whether they can fulfill the major requirements in their proposed study abroad program. Students pursuing the Performance concentration who wish to study abroad in the spring semester of their junior year must give their Junior Recital at the end of the fall semester of their junior year.

Music Major Concentrations

To help guide you through your degree progress, please look at the following flow charts. Be sure to click on the catalog year that applies to you; that would be the year you declared or intend to declare your major. These are recommended pathways. Always verify your concentration’s pathway by consulting the official catalog copy for your catalog year:

Music theory placement: Placement in Music Theory II (MUSC 151) is determined in one of two ways: by satisfactory performance on the Music Theory Placement Exam or by completing Materials of Music (MUSC 101) with a grade of "C" or higher. Students who do not place into Music Theory II (MUSC 151) will begin the course sequence with Materials of Music (MUSC 101).