The Earlham College Music Department offers a wide range of courses in music within the context of the liberal arts tradition. Our music majors study both Western and non-Western musics, and students from all disciplines participate in our many classes and performing ensembles.
The range of our ensembles is impressive at a school this size: Concert Choir, Madrigals, Women’s Choir, two student-led a cappella ensembles, Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, Latin Jazz Combo, Hand Drum Ensemble, Rhythm Project, classical chamber groups (such as brass choir and flute choir) and Javanese Gamelan. (We own full gamelan sets in both slendro and pelog tunings). Please visit the choral and instrumental links to the left. We also boast a state-of-the-art computer music studio and expert instruction in music technology, with many opportunities for the realization of personal projects.
We are especially proud of our innovative approach to teaching Western music history and music theory, where questions of musical meaning are included as an aspect of inquiry. We also offer a full range of courses in ethnomusicology (the anthropology of the world’s musics) that reflect our commitment to students gaining an understanding of music from a global perspective.
Everything we do is open to majors and non-majors alike — there are countless opportunities for everyone on campus to participate in music making and music study. It is one of the delights of our Department that talented students from all disciplines perform alongside music majors in a spirit of cooperation and a shared love of music.
Our curriculum reflects Earlham’s international focus. The Department offers a May Term arts program in Italy with coaching and performance opportunities for singers and instrumentalists, and has run a semester-abroad choral program in Vienna in which students have the opportunity to sing in the very venues where many great choral works were originally performed. Our new international studies program in India has had a strong focus on Indian music and the arts. Moreover, we frequently bring to campus performers from varied cultural backgrounds (Cameroonian, Gambian, Andean, Afro-Peruvian, Tibetan, Indonesian, Russian, Dutch, and North Indian, to name some recent ones), many of whom give workshops for students.
We host musicians of international caliber: a performance/workshop with the Tallis Scholars (2006), a celebration of the music of George Crumb, with the composer on campus for a series of coached performances and seminars (2005), and a joint performance by the Ahn Trio with the Earlham College Orchestra (2008).