The Earlham Department of Music models the belief that all musics are worthy of study. This is reflected not only in the impressive range of our ensembles, it is also woven into the entire music curriculum.
Around our core curriculum are many options that allow students to individualize their study of music within the department. Whereas the music studies program provides you with a solid liberal arts grounding in music, the music major—with its various concentrations—gives more focused preparation for graduate schools or other pursuits.
The top job industry for music majors is education/teaching.
Nathaniel received a fellowship with Mountain Gardens in Burnsville, North Carolina.
Nathaniel McCrickard ’19
Music studies major
Nora was accepted to the JET program as a coordinator for International Relations in Japan.
Nora Tisel Farley ’19
Chloe was accepted to the Peace Corps to work as an agriculture extension agent in Senegal.
Chloe Halsted ’19
Music studies major
Global perspectives through music
Opportunities for student-faculty collaboration abound. If you’re interested in ethnomusicology, you’ll receive an unusual degree of early training in this field (unique for undergraduate programs). Computer musicians get significant hands-on experience with many technologies; we place a special emphasis on creating new works for interactive live performance and are in the process of building a Eurorack system for analog electronic music exploration. Our popular music specialist engages with you across the campus in ways that deeply enrich and will broaden your understanding of music in relationship to modern society. Instrumentalists and singers can expect expert instruction on their instrument or voice.
In addition, the Earlham music program aligns itself with the College’s Principles and Practices. We seek to develop musicians who are socially conscious and emotionally aware, able to play and think about music from a standpoint of both inner stillness and outward concern for the planet and its people.
Students interested in music education have the unique opportunity to join our 3+1 program and earn a master’s in music education in four years! The first three years are dedicated to intensive study in music theory, conducting, musicology, computer music and arranging, as well as deep training in the applied areas of instrumental or choral music. They then join the Earlham Master of Arts in Teaching program for their senior year.
If interested in playing an instrument, you can join Earlham’s Symphony Orchestra, Javanese Gamelan Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble and Latin Jazz, Hand Drum Ensemble, Rhythm Project, Afro-Cuban Drumming, String Quartet, Flute Choir and Brass Ensemble.
If you have an interest in singing, you can have the opportunity to participate in Concert Choir, Alta Voce, Chamber Singers, Gentlemen’s Ensemble, Gospel Revelations and Richmond Chorale.
Performing in community
Earlham's music program offers numerous ways for students, faculty, staff and community members to come together in the creation of music and sound. Watch one of our recent performances below:
Our faculty’s areas of specialty include Javanese gamelan, ethnomusicology, music technology and more.
Our music program is particularly strong in the areas of computer-generated music, Latin jazz, percussion, ethnomusicology, the musics of Indonesia and Eastern Europe and non-canonic choral music. Our offerings in musicology are as broad-ranging as are our ensembles, and challenge students to think about music from multiple perspectives.
As a liberal arts college, Earlham offers multiple disciplinary and interdisciplinary majors and minors in which you will cultivate deep and specific knowledge and experience. Equally important, the College expects you to develop broad, general skills and proficiencies across the curriculum.
As part of your general education, you will complete six credits in each academic division of the College: humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and visual and performing arts. In addition, you will meet requirements for first-year courses, analytical reasoning, perspectives on diversity and wellness.
All courses satisfy the Arts Requirement. One course meets the International component of the Perspectives on Diversity Requirement, MUS 161. One course meets the Domestic component of the Perspectives on Diversity Requirement, MUS 353. One course meets the Analytical Reasoning Requirement, MUS 371. Three courses meet the Wellness Requirement, MUS 121, 124 and 229. The Department also offers Earlham Seminars.
The Earlham Music Department offers three majors and five tracks:
- Music studies major: for students looking for foundational training in music (often done in combination with another major).
- Music education major: offered in conjunction with Earlham’s M.A.T. Program, this provides you with the opportunity to complete a masters degree in music education in four years.
- Music major: for students expecting to go on to advanced study in the field of music. These include the following tracks:
- Composition track (must be declared by the sophomore year)
- Computer music track
- Conducting track
- Ethnomusicology track
- Performance track (must be declared by the sophomore year)
To earn a Bachelor of Arts in music studies, you must successfully complete the following:
Theory and Musicianship
- MUS 271 Music Theory and Musicianship 2: Modes, Harmony and Counterpoint
- MUS 371 Music Theory and Musicianship 3: Analysis and Composition
- MUS 372 Making Music with Computers
- MUS 201 Writing About Music: Issues of Representation
- MUS 460 Ethnomusicology: Methods and Issues
- Three additional musicology courses — each course will be designated as emphasizing one or two of the following:
- Western classical music (WC)
- Traditional music that has developed outside the Western tradition (non-Eurogenic music) (NE)
- Mass-mediated music (MM)
- At least one course emphasizing each of these three broad repertoires is required of all music majors. In some cases a single course will count for two of these.
- Eight additional credits of applied music, with a minimum of four being ensemble credits and two being applied lesson credits (up to 1 credit of MUS 481 – Internship may be used as one of the eight applied credits).
- One course in visual arts or theatre arts
Senior Seminar and Senior Capstone Project
To participate in the 3+1 program in music education, you must successfully complete the following in preparation for the Master of Arts in Teaching program:
Theory and Musicianship
- Mus 271 Western Music Theory and Musicianship 2: Modes, Harmony and Counterpoint
- Mus 371 Western Music theory and Musicianship 3: Analysis and Composition
- Mus 376 Conducting
- Mus 472 Orchestration and Arranging
- Mus 201 Writing about Music
- Mus 460 Ethnomusicology: Methods and Issues
- Three musicology courses:
- One course in Western Classical Music
- One in non-Eurogenic musics (Music that has developed outside of the Western tradition)
- One additional course as advised, based on the student’s areas of interest and need
Applied (12 credit hours)
For instrumental students:
- A minimum of four semesters in the study of 1) the string group, 2) the woodwind group, 3) the brass group, 4) the percussion group.
- Participation in Orchestra for a minimum of three semesters and Rhythm Project for a minimum of one. Adjustments possible depending on student background.
- Four semesters of study on a primary instrument.
For choral students:
- Four semesters of voice.
- A minimum of four semesters participating in choral ensembles.
- A minimum of 2 additional semesters of piano study, ideally 4.
To earn a Bachelor of Arts in music, you must successfully complete the following coursework. In addition to the requirements of the music studies major, above, the music major will require the following, based on area of concentration:
- Admission to the composition track is by audition. An initial sampling of works will be evaluated and an assessment of compositional ability will be determined by the faculty prior to admission.
- Six additional credits in applied composition lessons above the two stipulated in the basic track.
- An additional Western classical music seminar specifically in music after 1900 or an Independent Study survey of some aspect of contemporary composition.
- A portfolio evaluation of works produced during the student’s time at Earlham will be required before graduation.
- MUS 472 Orchestration and Film Scoring
- MUS 473 Programming Music for Computers
- One computer science course in programming for three or four credits OR ideally, a somputer science minor.
- A combination of Independent Studies and Teaching Assistantships in ensemble direction, designed in consultation with the appropriate ensemble director, for nine credit hours.
- Two additional courses in musicology for six credit hours. Note: at least two of the five total musicology courses should have a geographical focus.
- One course in sociology/anthropology for three or four credit hours OR ideally, a sociology/anthropology minor.
- Admission to the performance track is by audition in the primary performing medium.
- An additional six credits of applied lessons, above the two stipulated in the basic track.
- One elective for three credit hours in an area of musicology closely related to the student’s performance instrument.
- Performance evaluations (“juries”) will occur at the end of selected semesters.
Yes! To earn a minor in music, you must successfully complete the following:
- MUS 201 Thinking and Writing About Music
- MUS 271 Music Theory and Musicianship 2
- Two more 3-credit classes, one of which must be in musicology
- Four credits of applied courses, of which at least one credit must be an ensemble.
- Three additional credits of either applied or classroom courses.
Yes! Earlham students have access to the following instructors for applied studio instruction.
French Horn Instructor
Gospel Revelations Music Director
Guitar/Electric Guitar Instructor
Yes! Earlham offers a variety of off-campus study options.
Learn more about available programs via our Center for Global and Career Education.
Through our 3+1 Education Program, you can earn a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) and teaching license—all in just nine semesters.
You’ll leave Earlham with two degrees, licensed to teach grades 5-12 in Indiana. (And it’s easy to transfer your license to other states—many of our graduates do!)
The Center for Visual and Performing Arts, which was completed in 2014, provides state-of-the-art facilities, featuring separate rooms for rehearsing jazz, percussion and Javanese gamelan.
There’s also an acoustically superb recital hall, which doubles as rehearsal space for orchestra and choir, as well as sonically isolated practice rooms and teaching studios equipped with Steinway pianos.
Yes! The Rariden Scholarship is awarded annually to a student entering Earlham who is interested in pursuing an area within the visual and performing arts — art, music or theatre. Preference is given to a student from Wayne County, Indiana, although the selection committee will consider Indiana students from outside the county as well. The scholarship is $5,000 for each of a student’s four years at Earlham, totaling $20,000.
Earlham’s admissions counselors will screen applications from Wayne, Fayette, Randolph, Union and Franklin counties. The convener of the Visual and Performing Arts Division will send eligible applicants a letter and an information form in March. The form should be promptly returned to the Admissions Office.
Candidates will be contacted in April for interviews, and the winner will be notified by May 1.
In addition to this scholarship, there is financial assistance available through the Len Holvig and Anna Morrisett awards for singers and pianists, and numerous awards for private lessons.
If you hold a deep appreciation for the role music plays in life—for the individual, for society and globally and aspire to pursue graduate programs in ethnomusicology, music education, composition and performance, this program will be a great fit for you.
You might also find yourself among our graduates who have used their grounding in music to complement other majors and interests, like computer science and computer-generated music, languages and nonprofit work, and psychology and therapy.