Music (BA)


Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts/Music Department

Program Description

The bachelor of arts (BA) degree with a major in music is designed for a broad understanding of the music discipline through the study of performance, music theory, and music literature. The BA program allows a student to investigate diverse areas of music within a flexible curricular framework.

All students In the BA music degree program must complete a senior thesis. Through a successful Pre-Recital Hearing for the music faculty, BA students may present a non-degree recital. Such a recital does not replace the senior thesis requirement. However, the recital may include material from the thesis project.

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Admission and Audition Requirements

To be admitted as an undergraduate music major or music minor, applicants must complete an in-person audition/interview with the music faculty and complete various diagnostic examinations. Auditions are arranged through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Specific information on the audition requirements for each music degree program is available from the department’s website. Priority consideration for performance scholarships is given to students who complete all admission requirements before March 30 of the application year.

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Ensemble Requirements

Each of the undergraduate degree programs in music includes multiple semesters of participation in a major ensemble. De-pending upon specific degree requirements, the major ensembles include Chamber Singers, Concert Choir, Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble (combo), Jazz Singers, Big Band, and New Music Ensemble.

Music scholarship students are expected to participate in performing ensembles in addition to those for which they receive credit. In general, music majors are expected to participate in at least two ensembles per semester.

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Candidacy Examination

Each undergraduate music major must take a Candidacy Examination in spring of the sophomore year or upon completion of 45 or more credit hours as music majors (whichever comes first). The Candidacy Examination assesses a student's success in the first two years of music study. The examination helps the music faculty determine a student's potential for graduation within a given degree program.

The examination includes the performance of one or more works and an interview with the faculty. While most students declare their intention from their first semester (BM in performance, BA in music, and so on), no student is actually accepted into the department as a major until the Candidacy Examination is completed successfully.

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Piano Proficiency

Each undergraduate music major must demonstrate proficiency on the piano keyboard.  Proficiency is demonstrated through at least two semesters of piano lessons or classes. Piano Proficiency content is described in the Department of Music Handbook.  Music Education majors take a separate proficiency exam no later than the junior year, the contents of which are described in the Department of Music Handbook.

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Performance Requirements

Much of the music that we make is collaborative in nature, with a mix of keyboard, wind, brass, string, and percussion instruments, and voices. So that performance majors develop an ability to work with others beyond an accompanist, all performance majors presenting junior and senior recitals will include on each recital or in a Thursday student recital at least one 3-minute work that includes collaboration with a performer other than or in addition to piano. Works longer than 3 minutes are encouraged.

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Degree Requirements

  • 128 credit hours

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Required Courses

Core Music Courses

  • MUSC 1010, 1020, 2010, 2020 Music Theory I-IV (12 hours)
  • MUSC 1810, 1820 2810 Musicianship I-III (6 hours)
  • MUSC 2030, 2040 Survey of Music History I, II (6 hours)
  • MUSC 4700 Advanced Variable Topic (2-3 hours)
    (taken in junior or senior year only)

Performance Courses

  • MUSC 0890 Recital Attendance (six semesters required) (0 hours)
  • MUSC 4001-4005 Applied Music (12 hours)
  • MUSC 1080, 1085, 2001, 2501  Class or Applied Piano (2-4 hours)
    (minimum two semesters required)  
  • Major Ensemble
    6 hours over eight semesters to be selected from:
    • MUSC 4900 Webster University Concert Choir (1 hour per semester)
    • MUSC 4910 Webster University Chamber Singers (1 hour per semester)
    • MUSC 4940 Webster University Orchestra (1 hour per semester)
    • MUSC 4950 Webster University Jazz Singers (1 hour per semester)
    • MUSC 4960 Webster University Jazz Ensemble (combo) (1 hour per semester)
    • MUSC 4980 Webster University Wind Ensemble (1 hour per semester)

Supportive Courses

  • MUSC 4040 Music of the Twentieth Century (3 hours)
  • MUSC 4611, 4612, 4613, 4614 Thesis sequence (4 hours)

A minimum of 6 credit hours selected from:

  • MUSC 2820 Musicianship IV (2 hours)
  • MUSC 4001-4005 Applied Music (2 hours)
  • MUSC 3010 Composition (3 hours)
  • MUSC 3070 Orchestration I (3 hours)
  • MUSC 3170 Jazz History I (3 hours)
  • MUSC 3180 Jazz History II (3 hours)
  • MUSC 3410 Conducting I (3 hours)
  • MUSC 4140 Lyric Diction (2 hours)
  • MUSC 4150 The Art Song (3 hours)
  • MUSC 4160 Operatic Literature (3 hours)
  • MUSC 4170 Piano Literature (2 hours)
  • MUSC 4190 Orchestral Literature (3 hours)
  • MUSC 4250 Voice Pedagogy I (2 hours)
  • MUSC 4260 Piano Pedagogy I (2 hours)
  • MUSC 4360 Survey of Music Business (3 hours)

Students pursuing the B.A. in voice must fulfill a foreign language requirement by studying French, German, or Italian.  Students can fulfill the requirement by successfully completing 9 credit hours, by passing one appropriate 2000-level language course, or by passing an intermediate level language competency examination.  All courses must be in the 16-week format.  Students would typically focus on a single foreign language; no more than two foreign languages may be applied to this requirement. A student may substitute another foreign language, subject to the approval of the chair of the Department of Music, if the student successfully completes a competency examination in that language.

Students pursuing the B.A. in voice must enroll in MUSC 0990.

All students in the B.A. music degree program must complete a senior thesis.  Through a successful Pre-Recital Hearing for the music faculty, B.A. students are allowed to present a non-required recital.  This recital does not replace the senior thesis requirement, but the recital may include material from the thesis project.

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