The music major engages students in musical practices (e.g. performance, improvisation, and composition) and intellectual explorations surrounding those practices (e.g. the anthropology, history, and theory of music). Depending on past musical experience, students may enter the music major from a number of different angles.

Students with little or no background in music should consider beginning in a class with no prerequisites, a sample of which includes:

  • MUSI-101, 105, 109, 110, 111, 123, 126, 127, 128, 225, 226, 227, 232, and 238.

Students with some background may be qualified to begin in classes with a pre-requisite of MUSI-111:

  • MUSI-112 and 113. Those with more substantial backgrounds may choose to begin in: MUSI-220, 221, 222, 223, 241, 243, 244, 265, 266, 267, and 269.

Since students’ backgrounds in music tend to vary widely, we strongly recommend consultation with a member of the music department at the music orientation meeting taking place at 6pm on Sunday, September 2 in Room 3, Arms Music Center.

Music Theory Placement Exam:

For students wishing to improve their music theory or music reading skills, we strongly encourage you to complete the online music theory placement exam. This will help provide members of the department with a useful starting point in discussing appropriate courses with you. Completing the exam should take less than 30 minutes. Professor Amy Coddington will evaluate placement exams and consult with students. Questions may be directed to Professor Coddington (acoddington@amherst.edu) or Bruce Diehl (for jazz, bpdiehl@amherst.edu).