Music Program Requirements

A student choosing to major in music can develop a course of study intended to cultivate specific musical interests and abilities. Areas of focus include performance or composition in classical, jazz, or electronic music genres; western music history; music theory and analysis; and ethnomusicology. Advisers in each field may suggest the best academic plan for the student. To fulfill requirements in a desired focus, it is suggested that students take no fewer than six 200/300 level theory and history courses by the time of graduation. Additional requirements may include regular enrollment in one or more of the performance workshops, private lessons, composition workshops, or ensembles that are offered each semester. By time of moderation, a student should ideally have completed half of their suggested course requirements.

 Students’ Moderation and Senior Projects should ideally reflect their expressed musical interests and goals, whether they are based in performance, composition, research, analysis, or some combination of these. The Moderation Project for a student focused on composition or performance usually consists of a 25-40 minute recital, highlighting original work and/or other repertoire. For students interested in music scholarship or analysis, a substantial music history or theory paper serves as an appropriate moderation project.

 A Senior Project in music can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Performers and composers usually present two concerts from 30 to 60 minutes each. For some composers, one concert can be replaced by an orchestra work written for performance by the American Symphony Orchestra. In certain circumstances, a finished, sophisticatedly produced recording or multimedia project serves in place of a live performance. Music History and Theory students typically present an advanced, scholarly research or analytic paper as the main component of a Senior Project.


Moderation Requirements

For a Moderation Project, students must give a concert of 25-40 minutes of their own music and/or other composers’ music.  Occasionally, a substantial music history or theory paper can be accepted as a moderation project.

Pathways to Graduation

Single major with a concentration - Students moderate in both a program and a concentration, complete the course requirements for both, and complete one Senior Project that combines the interdisciplinary theories and methods of both the program and the concentration

  • Single major - Students moderate in one program, complete the course requirements, and complete one Senior Project.
  • Double major - Students moderate in two separate programs, complete the course requirements for both programs, and complete two Senior Projects.
  • Joint major - A joint major allows students to achieve depth in two related fields of study without requiring two separate Senior Projects (as with a double major).  Students complete the course requirements for two programs of study and produce one unified, integrated Senior Project involving ideas from both disciplines.  Students moderate into two programs, ideally in a joint moderation, with members from each program on the moderation board and on the Senior Project board.  This option requires a grade point average of 3.0 or higher and approval by the Executive Committee.        
  • Multidisciplinary Studies major - The Multidisciplinary Studies Program allows a student to select an area of study or develop an individual approach to an area and then design a program that integrates material from different programs and divisions in order to pursue that study.  In order to major in the Multidisciplinary Studies Program, a student must submit a proposal to the Executive Committee requesting approval for such a program.  The ideal time for the proposal is in the second semester of the sophomore year, as a substitute for moderation into an existing program during that semester.  For a proposal to be approved, the student must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher, the proposed list of courses must include in-depth study in two or more disciplines, and the proposed adviser and moderation board members must have the expertise to supervise the proposed plan of study.

Course Requirements

  1. Music Theory course
  2. Music Theory course
  3. Music Theory course at the 300 level or above.
  4. Music History course
  5. Music History course
  6. Music History course at the 300 level or above.
  7. Composition course, or another course involving personal musical creativity
  8. Performance course, or another class involving regular public performance 
  9. Private performance lessons
  10. Senior Project I
  11. Senior Project II

It is expected that half of these requirements will be completed by the time of Moderation.  For a Moderation Project, students must give a concert of about 25-40 minutes of their own music and/or other composers’ music.

Senior Project

The Senior Project consists of two concerts of approximately 60 minutes each.  In the case of composers, one concert can be replaced by an orchestra work written for performance by the American Symphony Orchestra.  In certain cases involving expertise in music technology, and at the discretion of the appropriate faculty, it is possible to submit finished, sophisticatedly produced recordings of music rather than live performances.  An advanced research project in music history or theory can also be considered as a senior project.

Recent Senior Projects include:
  • “Canciones y tonadillas: A Senior Concert of Spanish Song and Spring Menagerie”
  • “Something from Nothing: Cage’s 4’33” and the Proliferation of Noise”
  • “Recordi in Italia and Vier Letzte Lieder"

Graduation Requirements

  1. Beginning with the class entering fall 2011, a minimum of 128 credits; at least 64 of which must be taken at Bard. (Classes entering prior to fall 2011, a minimum of 124 credits, at least 64 of which must be taken at Bard.)
  2. A minimum of 40 credits outside the division of major. FYSEM counts for 8 of these 40 credits.
  3. Completion of two semesters of First-Year Seminar. Transfer students may be exempt.
  4. Promotion to the Upper College by passing moderation.
  5. Completion of the requirements of the program into which the student moderates.
  6. Completion of an acceptable senior project.
  7. Distribution requirement: 4 credits from each of the distribution areas.

Distribution Requirements

Each student is required to take four-credits in each of the nine categories listed below.  No more than two requirements may be fulfilled within a single disciplinary program.  Non-native speakers of English may be exempted from the Foreign Language, Literature, and Culture requirement.  A course may be cross-listed in different programs, but can fulfill only one of the nine distribution areas.

All students must fulfill a Rethinking Differencerequirement.  The requirement may be satisfied by any course that is primarily focused on the study of difference in the context of larger social dynamics.  The course may address, but is not limited to addressing, differences of race, religion, ethnicity, class, gender, and/or sexuality.  It may consider, but is not limited to considering, the contexts of globalization, nationalism, and social justice.  A single course may simultaneously fulfill both the “Rethinking Difference” requirement and one of the distribution requirements below.

Distribution Areas

  • AART - Analysis of Arts (A course in the analysis of non-verbal art)
  • FLLC - Foreign Language, Literature, and Culture (A course focused on language acquisition and/or the analysis of literature or culture via an engagement with a non-English language)
  • HIST - History (A course focused on historical analysis)
  • HUM - Humanities (A course focused on the analysis of primary texts in philosophy, religion, or social thought)
  • ELIT - Literature in English (A course focused on the literary analysis and explication of texts in English, either in the original or in translation)
  • SCI - Laboratory Science (A laboratory course in the physical or life sciences)
  • MATC - Mathematics and Computing (A course in mathematics, computing, statistics or logic; all courses require taking the Online Math Placement Diagnostic Test.)
  • PART - Practicing Arts (A studio course in the visual or performing arts, or creative writing)
  • SSCI - Social Science (A course in the empirical social sciences other than history)