Music

Overview

The Occidental Music Department is a community that values and cultivates the creation, performance, and critical study of the world's music. Students majoring in music develop an integrated understanding of music as creative work, as cultural and historical expression, and as performance. Through its curriculum, recitals, lectures, master classes, residencies, and other public events, the Music department leads the musical discourse that enriches College and community life.

Music majors and minors develop their craft in a rigorous analytical study of music from the world's musical traditions, which they apply to their own artistic expression as they engage in specific studies in composition, performance, conducting, music theory, musicianship, and music history. In addition to upper-division courses requiring a reading knowledge of standard music notation, the Music department also offers a wide array of special topics courses in subjects ranging from popular music and jazz to opera, choral music and art song, instrumental music, music for film, and music in world cultures. Classroom and private studies are coordinated with opportunities to attend live concerts by the world-class musical artists who perform on campus and elsewhere in the Los Angeles area. Students study, practice, and perform in Booth Music Hall and Thorne Hall, with ready access to practice rooms, large and small performance halls, an electronic music studio, and a music library of scores, recordings, and computers with musicianship and notation programs.

The music major is designed to enable students to enter into music-related professions. Alumni have become successful in opera, musical theater, professional choruses and orchestras, in careers as concert artists, and as composers and arrangers for films, television, and theater. Many have become music teachers in private studios or at the elementary, middle and high school, or college and university level. Still others have become involved in related professions such as arts management, sound engineering, music editing, and publishing. Because of the quality, breadth and depth of Occidental College's liberal arts curriculum, alumni who majored in music are prepared to enter graduate school with a wide variety of professional goals.

The music curriculum is structured so that students who are undecided about majoring in music may begin their music studies in their second year at Occidental and complete the major by the end of their fourth year. However, the development of musical craft and artistry requires time as well as effort, and students considering a major or minor in music are urged to begin taking music theory courses and applied music studies in their first year at the college. Students who plan to study abroad in their third year at the college must begin their music theory studies in their first year.

Major Requirements

COURSEWORK

Music Theory and Musicianship:

MUSC 151Theory and Practice of Music I

4

MUSC 250Theory and Practice of Music II

4

MUSC 351Theory and Practice of Music III

4

Music History and Culture:

MUSC 261Western Music and Culture: 1600-1789

4

MUSC 263Western Music and Culture in the 20th Century

4

One 200- or 300-level non-Western or popular music course:

Students must select one course from the list below:

MUSC 280Introduction to Ethnomusicology

4

MUSC 285Topics in the Critical Study of Music

4

MUSC 385Advanced Topics in the Critical Study of Music

4

MUSC 386Performance and Politics of the United States-Mexico Border

4

One additional course numbered 200 or higher


One 300- level writing intensive course

Senior Seminar:

MUSC 490Senior Seminar

4

Electives:

Students must select two 4-unit courses numbered 200 or higher.

Applied Study:

Students must complete a total of two units from:

MUSA 100-105

MUSA 201-206

Ensemble:

Students must complete a total of two units from:

MUSC 120-129

The following course clusters are intended as guides for students interested in pursuing an emphasis in performance or in composition in their last two years at the College. Students interested in music history, ethnomusicology, theory and analysis, or critical studies in music and culture will consult with their departmental advisor to craft and execute an appropriate plan of study.

Students interested in vocal performance:

Private applied study each semester in residence

Ensemble participation each semester in residence

Two years of French, Spanish, or German

MUSC 115Topics in Opera

4

MUSC 257Composition and Orchestration I

4

MUSC 262Western Music and Culture in the 19th Century

4

MUSC 285Topics in the Critical Study of Music

4

MUSC 385Advanced Topics in the Critical Study of Music

4

Students interested in instrumental performance:

Private applied study each semester in residence

Ensemble participation each semester in residence

MUSC 257Composition and Orchestration I

4

MUSC 262Western Music and Culture in the 19th Century

4

MUSC 272Instrumental Conducting

2

MUSC 285Topics in the Critical Study of Music

4

MUSC 385Advanced Topics in the Critical Study of Music

4

Students interested in composition:

Private applied study each semester in residence

Ensemble participation each semester in residence

MUSC 257Composition and Orchestration I

4

MUSC 230Topics in Electronic Music

2

MUSC 262Western Music and Culture in the 19th Century

4

MUSC 272Instrumental Conducting

2

MUSC 273Choral Conducting

2

MUSC 285Topics in the Critical Study of Music

4

MUSC 385Advanced Topics in the Critical Study of Music

4

WRITING REQUIREMENT

Students majoring in Music will satisfy the final component of Occidental College's college-wide writing requirement by successfully completing a writing-intensive 300 level course in the junior year with a grade of B- or better and receiving a notation of "Satisfactory" for its writing component. Students not achieving a "satisfactory" notation by either of these means will be required to undertake additional coursework in academic writing during the final two semesters of study. Students should familiarize themselves with the departmental requirement at the time of declaring the major. See the Writing Program for additional information.

COMPREHENSIVE REQUIREMENT

Senior music majors complete a senior project related to the student's area of interest. All senior projects involve both a written and an oral component. Each component is graded High Pass (HP), Pass (P), or Fail (F). A final grade of Pass with Distinction (PD) on the senior comprehensive will be awarded if all components (written, aural, and performance, if applicable) are graded High Pass.

In the Fall semester of their junior year, students submit a proposal for their senior project to the Music Department faculty for approval. Students with a particular interest in music history, ethnomusicology, theory and analysis, or critical studies in music and culture will propose a senior thesis of 25 or more pages in length. Students with a particular interest in composition will prepare a portfolio of original compositions, including both acoustic and electro-acoustic music, some of which will be presented in a composition recital during the senior year. Composers will write an argument-driven analytic paper of 10 pages or more in length, focusing on the work of a composer whose work has influenced their styles. Students with a demonstrated ability in performance or conducting will propose a junior and a senior recital, and will write an argument-driven analytic paper of 10 pages or more in length on a piece or pieces of music on the senior recital. Students with other specific musical interests will complete a project designed with their advisor.

All seniors will present their work in a public forum during the spring semester. If, one month in advance of a scheduled senior recital date or thesis presentation/submission, the Music faculty determines that the senior has not sufficiently prepared to complete the project in time, the senior must take a written examination in lieu of the recital or thesis submission/presentation in order to fulfill the senior comprehensive requirement. The faculty will supply questions drawn from the material of that senior’s course of music study at Occidental. The examination must be completed by the end of the final examinations week of that semester and receive a grade of B-minus or better in order to fulfill the requirement. The examination may be retaken up to two times and after that semester, at a mutually agreed-upon date and time. No two examinations will be alike.

HONORS

Students who have achieved at least a 3.25 average in their music courses and have demonstrated exceptional potential in performance, composition, music history or theory may apply for the Honors Program at the beginning of their junior year. For information about the Honors Program, students should consult with their Music Department faculty advisor. See the Honors Program for additional information.

Minor Requirements

COURSEWORK

Emphasis in Performance:

Students must complete a total of 20 units as detailed below:

MUSC 151Theory and Practice of Music I

4

MUSC 250Theory and Practice of Music II

4

 

MUSC 261Western Music and Culture: 1600-1789

4

Or

MUSC 262Western Music and Culture in the 19th Century

4

 

And

Four semesters each of applied music study and ensemble participation

8

Emphasis in Ethnomusicology:

Students must complete a total of 20 units.

Choose one from:
MUSC 102Music of Latin America

4

MUSC 103Music of Asia and the Pacific Islands

4

MUSC 104Music of Africa and the Middle East

4

MUSC 105Topics in American Music

4

MUSC 111Topics in Jazz History

4

One 200- or 300-level non-Western or popular music course:
MUSC 280Introduction to Ethnomusicology

4

MUSC 285Topics in the Critical Study of Music

4

MUSC 385Advanced Topics in the Critical Study of Music

4

MUSC 386Performance and Politics of the United States-Mexico Border

4

Two additional courses at or above the 200-level

These two courses are chosen in consultation with the student's advisor and must be related to ethnomusicological approaches and methodologies – courses in sociology, cognitive science, psychology, and linguistics, for example, may be appropriate.

Emphasis in Music History:

Students must complete a total of 20 units. Required coursework includes:

MUSC 151Theory and Practice of Music I

4

MUSC 250Theory and Practice of Music II

4

MUSC 261Western Music and Culture: 1600-1789

4

Additional Electives

Students must select two additional courses from the list below. One must be MUSC 262 or MUSC 263.

MUSC 262Western Music and Culture in the 19th Century

4

MUSC 263Western Music and Culture in the 20th Century

4

One music-history elective 200-level or above

Emphasis in Music Theory:

Students must complete a total of 20 units, including:

MUSC 151Theory and Practice of Music I

4

MUSC 250Theory and Practice of Music II

4

MUSC 351Theory and Practice of Music III

4

MUSC 261Western Music and Culture: 1600-1789

4

In addition to the courses above, students must also complete one 200-level (or higher) elective from Composition, Conducting, Topics in Advanced Analysis, or other course agreed upon with your advisor.

Emphasis in Composition and Media:

Students must complete a total of 20 units, including:

MUSC 151Theory and Practice of Music I

4

MUSC 230Topics in Electronic Music

2

MUSC 250Theory and Practice of Music II

4

MUSC 257Composition and Orchestration I

4

One semester of applied music study or ensemble participation

Students must also complete one additional elective at or above the 200-level agreed upon with your Music advisor. Courses that may satisfy this requirement offered outside the Music department include THEA 248 or ARTM 240, for example. MUSC 117 would also be a good choice for an additional course.

Music Theory Placement

A Music Theory placement examination is given during Orientation each fall. All Music students will begin their Music Theory and Musicianship study in one of three ways: by taking MUSC 101 (no prior experience with music fundamentals), MUSC 150 (some experience with music fundamentals, and intent to continue with the Music Theory sequence), or MUSC 151 (an AP Music Theory score of 4 or 5 or significant prior work in Music Theory).

Awards

The Elinor Remick Warren Award is presented for the most outstanding student composition. 

The Peters Prize is awarded to the student who has done the most to promote music on the Occidental campus. 

The James F. English and Marie E. English Award is given to the most promising vocal student, and is used for one year of private vocal study at Occidental College. 

The Marcia Hannah Farmer Award is given to a vocal student and is applied toward private vocal study at Occidental College.

Courses

MUSC - Music Courses

MUSA-Music Applied Study

Faculty

Regular Faculty

David Kasunic, chair

Associate Professor, Music

B.A., Amherst College; M.F.A., Ph.D.; Princeton University

Irene Girton

Professor, Music

B. Music, Oberlin College Conservatory of Music; M.Phil., Ph.D., Yale University

Shanna Lorenz

Assistant Professor, Music

B.A., Reed College; M.A., Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh; Ph.D. New York University

Adam Schoenberg

Assistant Professor, Music

B.M., Oberlin Conservatory of Music; M.M., DMA, The Juilliard School

On Special Appointment

Joe Addington

Director of the Afro-Cuban Drumming Ensemble, Part-Time NTT Afro-Cuban Drumming Instructor

Dean Anderson

Director of Instrumental Activities

B.M., M.M., University of Missouri at Columbia; Ph.D., UCLA

William Bing

Director of the Caltech-Occidental College Concert Band

M.M., USC; B.M., University of Michigan

Cesar Castro

Director of the Son Jarocho Ensemble

Shawn Costantino

Director of the Occidental Jazz Ensemble, Part-Time NTT Assistant Instructor

B.Mus., Studio Music and Jazz, University of Miami; MM, Jazz Studies, De Paul University

Edmond Johnson

Director of Advising; Part-Time NTT Assistant Professor, Music and Cultural Studies

B.A., Lawrence University; M.A., Ph.D., UC Santa Barbara

Desiree La Vertu

Director of Choral and Vocal Activities, Full-Time NTT Associate Professor, Music

B.Mus., CSU Fullerton; M.M. University of Nevada, Reno

Jennifer Logan

Full-Time NTT Assistant Professor, Music

B.A., M.A., California State University, Fresno; Ph.D., UC Santa Barbara

Gloria Lum

Co-Director of Chamber Music, Part-Time NTT Cello Instructor

B.A., University of Southern California

Stephanie O’Keefe

Co-Director of Chamber Music, Part-Time NTT French Horn Instructor

Applied Music Major, University of Illinois; Applied Music Major, University of Arizona; Applied Music Major, University of Nevada

G. Simeon Pillich

Full-Time NTT Assistant Professor, Music

B.A., M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

David Trasoff

Part-Time NTT Assistant Professor, Music

M.F.A., California Institute of the Arts; Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara