The Earlham College Music Department recognizes all types of musical expression as worthy of practice and study. While we honor the canon of European art music and its values that have long constituted the core of music education in American colleges and universities, we are not bound by it. We are continually exploring new and unfamiliar musics through and alongside our students. Our courses and ensembles reflect our faculty’s many areas of interest and expertise, which include Arabic choral music, Javanese gamelan, American rock ‘n’ roll, Latin jazz, world percussion, Indian-jazz fusion, and interactive computer music in addition to the European art music tradition within which the faculty themselves have been trained.
Along with our faculty-led music-making groups (the symphony orchestra, the four choral ensembles, jazz ensemble and Latin jazz combo, percussion ensembles, chamber groups, and Javanese gamelan ensemble), we support and encourage student-directed music making. A recent example of the latter is “Muthafunks,” a student-founded feminist funk band.
Music majors engage in studies that embrace Western classical music, popular music and musics from non-Eurogenic sources equally. Our music theory courses teach popular and jazz harmonies alongside the traditional approach of classical harmony and counterpoint. Computer music literacy is incorporated into the program for all participants.
Special Learning Opportunities
Opportunities for student-faculty collaboration abound. Majors interested in music education work closely with faculty members to find public school teaching experiences and design topic-related coursework. Students interested in ethnomusicology receive an unusual degree of early training in this field (unique for undergraduate programs). Computer musicians get significant hands-on experience with many technologies; we place a special emphasis on creating new works for interactive live performance. Our popular music specialist engages with students across the campus in ways that deeply enrich and broaden the student’s understanding of music in relationship to modern society. Instrumentalists and singers can expect expert instruction on their instrument or voice.
In addition, the Earlham music program aligns itself with the College's Principles and Practices. We seek to develop musicians who are socially conscious and emotionally aware, able to play and think about music from a standpoint of both inner stillness and outward concern for the planet and its people.
All of this is taking place in our new state-of-the-art Center for the Visual and Performing Arts. We boast a suite of practice and rehearsal rooms, all with Steinway pianos. The new Lingle Recital Hall is a beautiful space for ensemble rehearsal and live performance. Attached to the recital hall is a recording facility that doubles as a space for engaging in experimental computer music.
Possibilities for internships include working in areas of music technology, arts management, music education, and more. Students work actively with faculty to engage in such internships. A current music major received a prestigious internship with the Joffrey Ballet in New York City for the summer of 2015, to take just one example.
Earlham’s College’s music program places a high emphasis on customized learning and individualized attention. We prepare students to become fully engaged musicians ready to take on the broad and exciting challenges of our time.
Post-graduate opportunities include careers in arts management, music education, music therapy, ethnomusicology, and music technology, as well as graduate study in our many areas of specialization within the major.
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