Majoring in Music Features Oxy’s Approach to Studying Music

Occidental’s Music Department was recently highlighted in Majoring In Music’s article about studying music at a liberal arts school.  As the only featured liberal arts college department of music, Oxy’s small class size, well-rounded education, and rigorous academics were cited as key factors in choosing a liberal arts education to study music. 

David Kasunic, Music Department Chair, explains, “students who study music at a liberal arts college will have direct, frequent contact with their professors who will challenge and nurture them, cultivating the students’ best selves. Moreover, the faculty work closely together to ensure that their curricula overlap and reinforce learning outcomes.” Oxy’s small class size allows students to engage with their professors in meaningful ways that help them in their life in college and after college.

Chris Kim, Choi Family Director of Instrumental Activities,

These sentiments were shared by music alumni Anoop D’Souza ‘19, agreeing that, “because of the small class size, I was able to establish great relationships with professors, and I consider them great friends today.”  Anoop, initially unsure of his major path, was motivated by these close relationships with his professors to pursue music.  “Once I embarked on that path,” Anoop explains, “they held me to the highest standard, continuously challenged me, and helped me up when I needed it.” 

After Alyssa Cottle ‘15 graduated from Oxy, she chose to continue her music education at a Ph.D. program in Historical Musicology at Harvard. She firmly believes, “the musical training that I received at Occidental sufficiently prepared me for graduate-level study in music. But beyond having developed my practical musical abilities and having profoundly deepened my knowledge of music, I emerged from the program at Occidental fully-equipped with invaluable critical-thinking and problem-solving skills that can be applied to any number of diverse careers in music.”  

This diversity of choice stems from the liberal arts academics model and is what initially enticed Alyssa to study at Oxy. She explains, “I held a wide array of academic interests outside of music that I wanted to be able to fully explore in college. The liberal arts model offered me a way to explore these interests, and, in doing so, to shape my own educational experience.” By studying at Oxy, students will be given the opportunity to engage their music studies within a well-rounded, liberal arts education that will challenge and nurture them, ultimately setting them up for success later in life.


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