Majoring/Minoring in Music at Swarthmore

Academic Program

The music faculty encourage students to explore majoring or minoring in music. Many of our students double major in music and another discipline, or consult with us to craft a special major tailored to a specific interest. Most important, we encourage students to talk with the music faculty to explore possible paths to majoring or minoring in music.

Our teaching philosophy is that the study of music in the liberal arts requires an integrated approach to theory, history, and performance. We believe that experience in all three of these fields is essential to the understanding of music as an artistic and intellectual pursuit.

Theory courses train students to understand and hear how compositions are organized. History courses introduce students to the development of musical styles and genres within the context of society and culture and explore the relationship of music to other areas of thought. Ethnomusicology courses deepen students' understanding of music as a social process and explore what music means to its practitioners and audiences, and how those meanings are communicated.

The department encourages students to develop performing skills through private study and through participation in our ensembles (chorus, gamelan, jazz ensemble, orchestra, wind ensemble, and Taiko dance and drumming), and the Fetter Chamber Music Program, which it staffs and administers. The department also assists instrumentalists and singers to finance the cost of private instruction.