At the heart of the music major is a core of courses in tonal theory and music history. Additionally, the major will elect two courses from music in the U.S. and world music, two additional electives at the 200 level or above, and Senior Seminar. Students can also achieve Honors in Music.
Music majors participate in both large and small ensembles, benefit from an active Concert Series, and have the opportunity to receive private instrumental or voice instruction from the best teachers in the Charlotte region.
For a complete detailed listing, please see the online course catalog.
Concert and Lecture Attendance
Music majors are expected to attend regularly the concerts, recitals, and lectures presented by the Music Department.
Music majors are required to take the following courses:
1. Music 110: Exploring Music
A general introduction to musical study, covering the vocabulary and methods essential to the scholarly study of music. Six core modules, covered in rotation by the six department faculty members, will equip students for future courses in music. Music to be studied will come from a wide span of history, cultures, and geography. No prerequisite. Students planning on majoring in music need to complete this course by the end of their sophomore year.
2. Two courses in music theory
i) Theory II: Advanced Harmony (MUS 202). Prospective music majors should plan to take Theory I, the pre-requisite for Theory II, by the Fall of their sophomore year, particularly if they plan to go abroad in their junior year.
ii) Form and Analysis (MUS 302)
3. Two courses in music history and literature:
i) Music History I: Europe to 1800 (MUS 325)
ii) Music History II: Europe and the U. S. After 1800 (MUS 328)
4. One course elected from each category of music of the U.S. and world music:
i) U.S. Music
- Music of the United States (MUS 122)
- Jazz (MUS 232)
- American Music in Theatre (MUS 233)
- Film Music (MUS 228)
- American Culture of the 1950s (MUS 229)
- Modernism/Postmodernism (MUS 271)
ii) World Music
- World Musics (MUS 141)
- Music of Latin America (MUS 241)
- Music of Asia (MUS 242)
- Music in World Religions (MUS 245)
- Music of Brazil (MUS 246)
- Composition in Non-Western Styles (MUS 263)
5. Two additional courses at the 200 level or above. (Note: MUS 255, 256, or 355 do not count toward the major.)
6. MUS 401 Senior Seminar
Senior Seminar is a capstone seminar synthesizing historical inquiry, analytical methods, and performance practice along with techniques of music research, writing, and close listening. Topics chosen by the course instructor(s).
7. Applied Lessons
i) Music majors are required to be enrolled in Vocal or Instrumental Study (MUS 55) or Applied Music (MUS 155–355) continuously while a declared major and in residence at Davidson College. The level of study will depend upon the student’s focus within the major and will be determined in consultation with the student’s major advisor and applied music instructor.
ii) Students may not change their choice of instrument mid-year.
ii) The fee for applied music lessons will be waived for music majors at the sophomore level or above.
iii) Music majors who have been awarded a scholarship may have specific applied lesson requirements; scholarship recipients should consult their award letter.
8. Keyboard Proficiency
i) Music majors are required to pass a keyboard proficiency exam by the end of Fall semester of their senior year. . The department recommends that the test be taken as soon as possible after declaring the major.
ii) Students will be expected to demonstrate the following basic keyboard skills:
(1) Play any major or minor scale (all forms) in any key, at any steady tempo (2 octaves, 2 hands, simultaneous parallel motion).
(2) Play a I–IV–V–I progression in any major or minor key, with correct voice leading, at any steady tempo.
(3) Read at sight a simple four-part chorale at any steady tempo (key signature limited to three sharps or flats).
(4) Transpose at sight a single melody one whole step (i.e., a major second) in either direction and at any steady tempo (key signature limited to three sharps or flats).
iii) Students who do not possess keyboard skills or who have not had previous keyboard studies are strongly encouraged to enroll in Keyboard Proficiency (MUS 03; non-credit, pass-fail grade, no fee). While this class will not in and of itself guarantee passing the proficiency test, it is designed to aid in that process.
9. Transfer of Credit for the Music Major
i) Students who wish to apply courses taken at an accredited college or university (summer study, year abroad, leave of absence, etc.) toward major credit should first secure approval from the Registrar that Davidson College accepts transfer credits from their intended insitution. If the Registrar approves the institution, then the student should consult and seek preliminary approval for major credit from the Chair prior to embarking upon such study. Final approval of credit transfer lies with the Registrar.
ii) No more than two courses taken outside of Davidson College will be permitted to count toward major credit. (Applied music lessons taken away from Davidson do not count toward major but may count toward academic credit).