The music major at Calvin allows you to focus your studies in one of five programs: music education, music history, music performace, music theory/composition, and music in worship. You may also opt for a general music degree, or pair your major with a number of other majors and programs offered at Calvin.
Should you become a music teacher? God often speaks through gifts that he has given you. If you love music and people, and have some skill and understanding of music, you should consider this option.
The study of history opens our minds by bringing us into contact with different cultures. It opens our minds to things that we should never encounter if we were cut off from our past. In a reciprocal way, music and culture aid the understanding of each other. Knowing a culture's music helps us to understand the culture; knowing the culture helps us to understand the music.
Performance breathes life into the music we cherish, and solo performers at Calvin who are highly proficient on their instrument are encouraged to become performance concentrates. Performance concentrates follow a course of music study designed to qualify students for graduate school.
Thinking deeply about what makes musical expression possible is as essential to the performer and listener as it is to the composer because it expands and strengthens one's musical imagination. In theory, we discover ways that the most fundamental nuts and bolts elements of harmony, rhythm, and melody can be combined to create all kinds of musical effects.
(38-40 semester hours)
(44-46 semester hours)
(50-55 semester hours)
(49-57 semester hours)
(20 semester hours)
The Music Department does not require a music major audition prior to admission to Calvin. The auditions held in February are for music scholarships. Students who are interested in majoring or minoring in music will be required to take an Assessment Test in Theory either during Passport (for incoming first year or transfer students) or during the spring semester before taking MUSC 108 (for current Calvin students.)
Approval to be a music major in either the BA or BMEd program is granted upon completion of the following requirements (usually accomplished by the end of the first year):
Please note: some programs have additional requirements that must be met to complete the major; please see individual program pages for information.
The department insists on a certain level of skill in keyboard and aural comprehension for all its graduates. While a student may already possess fine keyboard skills and a keen ear, and while keyboard and aural skill development are aspects of all theory courses—Music 108, 207, 208, and 213—the department also requires of all BA and BMEd majors the successful completion of the Piano Proficiency test.
- This may be one movement of a Clementi sonata, a Bach two-part invention, or another piece of comparable difficulty. (Check with Dr. Kim if in doubt about the suitability of a piece.)
- The level is required of all music majors and should be taken as early as possibly. Students who are unable to fulfill this requirement should sign up for remedial piano lessons.
- this consists of three parts:
1. Harmonizing a given melody using diatonic chords plus at least one of the following: an altered chord, a secondary function chord, or a modulation. This may be prepared in advance but during the exam the student will only have the melody.
2. Playing two short harmonic progressions, one major and one minor, from Roman numerals. These will consist of diatonic chords only and will be in keys not exceeding three sharps or flats. These will not be prepared in advance.
3. Playing one longer harmonic progression from Roman numerals. In addition to diatonic chords, this progression will include some chromatic harmony. This progression may be prepared in advance.
This level is required of all Bachelor or Music Education students and should be taken as soon after Level 2 as possible.
1. Playing an accompaniment to a simple art song or choral piece. This will be assigned and may be prepared in advance.
2. Harmonizing two or three short melodies, one of which will be in minor. These melodies will be in keys not exceeding three sharps or flats and can be harmonized entirely with diatonic chords. There will not be prepared in advance.
3. Playing two or three short melodies in c-clef or written for transposing instruments. These melodies will be in keys not exceeding three sharps or flats. These will not be prepared in advance.
4. Playing from an open score. Instrumentalists: 3-parts with one part transposing or in c-clef; vocalists: 4-part vocal score in G and F clefs. This will be assigned and may be prepared in advance.
Keyboard Requirements (printable version)
Our regular music theory sequence begins with Music 108 (Music Theory I), offered in the spring semester of the freshmen year. This course assumes that students are familiar with the rudiments of music theory, including such concepts as scales, keys, intervals, triads and seventh chords. Before any student can enroll in Music 108 they need to demonstrate their proficiency in music fundamentals by taking a music theory placement test. This test is administered either during Passport (for incoming first year or transfer students) or during the spring semester before taking 108 (for current Calvin students.) Students who do not achieve a high enough score on the placement test should enroll in Music Theory Fundamentals (MUSC 100, a 2-credit course) in the fall semester, which will prepare them to take Music 108 in the spring semester of that same year. A complete list of topics covered on the music theory placement test and required for admittance into Music 108 can be found here. Questions about the Theory Placement test , please contact Dr. Benita Wolters-Fredlund.