The Benjamin T. Rome School of Music offers a wide variety of courses, allowing students to pursue various professional and intellectual goals. We welcome students from throughout the University community to join our ensembles, take private lessons, enroll in music history and theory courses, and attend our performances. The study of music is both a way of thought and way of being which inform one another and further support a student’s development as a liberally educated individual. Toward these ends, we offer Bachelor of Arts degree programs, including general studies in music and the liberal arts as well as specific majors in performance and music history and literature. These programs are recommended for students who desire basic music training within a broad liberal arts education, as opposed to the more specialized preparation provided by the Bachelor of Music degree.
Analogous to an English major who writes, the study of music requires playing and singing, and, while performance may not be the goal, it is an essential part of the learning process. The applied skills acquired during private instruction, ensemble practice, and Class Piano illuminate and vivify the underlying musical principles and precepts. We do not expect all of the Bachelor of Arts majors to become proficient performers; rather, we want them to be able to fully participate in the musical and scholarly conversation.
Entrance into the Bachelor of Arts programs does not require an audition, but students are invited to audition if they would like to be considered for a music scholarship. All applicants for the Bachelor of Arts in Music must include in the application their musical activities and reasons for wanting to study music, as these are important criteria for admission into the School of Music.
Students may not choose a specific major within music until the end of the first year of study. During the first year, all students follow the same program of general musical and liberal arts studies. At the end of the second semester of study, students, in consultation with the School of Music adviser, decide whether to pursue a specific major or stay within the music and liberal arts track. Those opting to pursue a specific major must then be accepted into the major; those wishing to major in performance must audition for the appropriate applied faculty, and those wishing to major in music history and literature must submit a formal paper to the musicology faculty. No additional action is required for those who choose to major in music and liberal arts. Students may choose to apply and audition for Bachelor of Music programs at any time before the end of the sophomore year; however, because of the large number of specialized courses required in those programs, students should be aware that switching programs will likely lengthen the amount of time for them to complete the degree.
All Bachelor of Arts students must complete a minimum of four semesters of private instruction in a performance area at either one or three semester hours of credit per semester, depending on the student’s interest and qualifications. Before registering for private instruction, students must perform a hearing for the appropriate applied faculty; the hearing will determine teacher placement as well as whether the student is qualified for three-credit lessons (MUPI 169). All students must also complete a minimum of four semesters of any School of Music performing organization, such as University Symphony Orchestra, CUA Chamber Choir, University Singers, University Chorus, CUA Town & Gown Community Chorus, CUA Women’s Chorus, and Wind Ensemble. Students will select the appropriate ensemble in consultation with the School of Music adviser. All ensembles except the Town & Gown Community Chorus require the student to pass an audition before being permitted to register.
All students are required to study piano, as keyboard skills are crucial for gaining a full understanding of musical concepts. Beginners will normally take Class Piano I and II, though more advanced students may audition for private instruction; in this case, the piano lessons may count toward both private instruction and piano requirements, and the two prerequisite credit hours of Class Piano will be waived.
All incoming freshmen take a Theory Evaluation Test before the start of the first year; a student whose exam indicates deficiencies must successfully complete Fundamentals of Music Theory I, II (MUS 023, 024) before being permitted to take Harmony I (MUS 123) and Ear Training and Sight Singing I (MUS 121). Students may test out of theory courses; free elective credits are used for those courses that are not tested out of. Transfer students take the Theory Placement Exam and should consult with the music school office for particulars. Students are required to take History of Music I, II, and III (MUS 325, 326, 327) in the sequence listed.
As part of the First Year Experience, all students are members of a learning community the first year, which includes ENG 101, PHIL 201, PHIL 202, and TRS 201. The humanities requirements in the General Studies component are intended to complement musical study and should be chosen carefully in consultation with the adviser according to the student’s interests both within and outside of music.
Music elective credits, when used as substitutes for music course credits, may be satisfied by either MUS or MUPI. In order for MUPI credits to count toward the degree, a jury is required. Students who take private piano instruction in lieu of Class Piano are not required to perform a jury.