What’s the difference between the Bard Music Program and the Bard Conservatory?

The Bard Music Program is a four-year program, and graduates earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. The Bard Conservatory is a five-year double major in which students pursue simultaneous dual degrees: a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Arts in a field other than music, such as math or science. The Bard Music Program is divided into several areas: Classical Vocal Performance, Classical Instrumental Performance, Composition, Jazz, Electronic Music, Musicology, and Ethnomusicology.

Can I study in more than one area?

Yes. We encourage students to study in all Music Program areas, although individual students usually concentrate their efforts in one. We also encourage students to study in other disciplines in addition to music.

Do I have to audition?

No audition is required for the Music Program. Bard College has an open enrollment policy, which means you may study multiple subjects the first two years as long as you fulfill certain requirements. At the end of sophomore year, students are expected to moderate into the program in which they decide to major. Auditions may be required for some private lessons; see below.

Do I have to audition to qualify for lessons?

Students may be required to audition for certain lessons—such as voice lessons, for which there are a limited number of slots. Those auditions are held during the first week of classes, and students must sign up in the Music Program office.

How do I apply to Bard?

Here’s information on Bard undergraduate admission, and how to apply.

How do I moderate into the Music Program?

The Music Program requires you to complete two theory courses, two music history courses, and a performance course before moderating. Students are required to give a 30-minute performance demonstrating the range of music they play. A short paper describing your past musical life and another describing your future plans are also required. The papers are submitted to the three faculty members of your Moderation board, who will also attend your concert and give you a one-hour board critique. See additional specific information on requirements for majors in classical vocal performance, classical instrumental performance, composition, jazz, electronic music, musicology, and ethnomusicology.

Do I have to be able to read music?

It is very helpful but not required for entering the program; however, students are expected to learn to read music, and there are plenty of opportunities to work on sight-reading skills.

Will I have the opportunity to perform a lot?

Yes. Many classes combine performance/theory/history. In addition, students perform in one another’s Moderation and senior concerts as well as in the many ensembles and bands that perform at Bard and in off-campus venues.

What do I have to do to graduate?

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 the 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 these are based in performance, composition, research, analysis, or some combination thereof. The Moderation project for a student focused on composition or performance usually consists of a 25- to 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 of 30–60 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 analytical paper as the main component of the Senior Project.

What are the facilities like?

We have a modern building with an excellent recording studio, several concert halls with recording capacity, amplifiers, multiple drum sets, pianos, electronic keyboards, vibes, marimbas, tympani, congas, Brazilian drums, upright bass, PAs, audiovisual equipment, classrooms, ensemble room, practice rooms (including a drum room with set), and a computer lab. More info.

How many students are in the Music Program?

Currently, there are roughly 120 music majors.

What are the class sizes?

A few classes may have up to 30 students. Most classes range between 5 and 15.

Can I store my instruments in the music building?

Bard provides music students with lockers free of charge for individual instruments. Students must provide their own locks and register with the Music Program office.

How do I book a practice room?

Practice rooms are located in several areas on campus. The majority of the practice rooms are in Blum and in the Music Practice Rooms building. There are also eight practice rooms in the basement of the New Robbins dorm.

Detailed instructions for reserving practice rooms.

How do I go about taking private music lessons?

All students are eligible for private music instruction. Instruction is available for piano, voice, guitar, trumpet, bass (both classical and jazz), cello, violin, viola, flute, saxophone, clarinet, oboe, and world percussion. Lessons are taught by adjunct professors.

Lessons can be taken for either one or two credits or audited (no credit). In order to receive credit, the student must be registered with the Registrar’s Office. Registration for private lessons must be completed by the end of the drop/add period.

It is best to contact the teacher first to secure a place since the number of slots is limited. After that you can register online during the registration period or pick up a drop/add slip from the Registrar, get your teacher to sign it, and return it to Registrar.

How do I find out about the teachers available for private lessons?

They are listed on the faculty page under private lessons. Contact information is available in the Music Program office.

What is the difference between taking private lessons for credit and not for credit?

If you take lessons for credit, you pay a $250 fee (per semester, for a total of 12 lessons). In order to receive credit for lessons you must be enrolled in an ensemble or performance-based workshop either for credit or audit. You do not pay the teacher; the College does. If you do not want credit for the lessons, you may make arrangements to pay the teacher directly. In that case, you do not have to take a performance ensemble or workshop.

How many hours do I get per lesson?

A normal lesson is one hour, once a week. It may be slightly shorter or longer by agreement with your teacher.

Is there an absence policy for lessons?

Teachers are required to reschedule lessons that they have to miss. You are required to give teachers advance notice of lessons you cannot make. They may reschedule at their discretion; they are not required to do so.

drums in a practice room
organs in the recording studio
faculty conversing
vocal performance rehearsal