Classical Instrumental Performance

Performance has been a longstanding emphasis of the BA music major at Bard College. Students who wish to concentrate their musical studies in performance areas of piano, strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion receive world-class guidance and teaching within the context of a liberal arts education. Additionally, while students may pursue training in solo, orchestral, and chamber music skills, the program is home to musicians who engage in a broad spectrum of styles, from the Baroque to the contemporary — including notated, aural, and improvisatory, together with the genres of jazz, rock, experimental, and electronic music.


The requirements for classical instrumental performance majors are:

  • Lessons: a minimum of two semesters prior to Moderation, and each semester through completion of the Senior Project
  • Workshops and Ensembles: two semesters prior to Moderation, and each semester thereafter—to include orchestra, as well as chamber music where applicable to the instrument
  • Performances: Moderation and Senior Project

Moderation should consist of a 25-to-40-minute concert that presents a variety of the student’s musical strengths, together with program notes and an explanation of the student’s proposed plan for further study. The Senior Project should consist of two parts: two substantial concert programs (60 minutes of music), supported by program notes and brief introductions from the stage; or one such concert and one lecture recital. Additionally, a substantial (60–80 pages) research or analytical paper on an approved topic, overseen by an adviser, may be substituted for one of the two concerts.

Course work: By the time of graduation, all music majors are expected to have successfully completed three semesters of music theory and three semesters of music history, including at least one course at the 300 level or above. In addition, music majors are required to complete one class in composition or, with the approval of the Music Program director, 4 credits in an equivalent course involving musical creativity.

student playing violin
students rehearsing on trombones