The music major places music at the center of the liberal arts experience as an integration of musical practice with scholarship. Our curriculum is built around five core ways of knowing music: through performance, creation, analysis, ethnography, and history.

We provide paths for students of any level of musical experience (or none at all) to pursue high-level work in these areas. Whether you are just beginning your music study with one of our introductory courses, or you are coming to the major with lots of prior experience, our rich and diverse course offerings provide many options. 

The major is not just for a career as a performer, but it is designed to flexibly support your intellectual growth. While some of our graduates go on to follow careers in music, they just as often pursue careers in healthcare, public service, law, business, or education. 

We provide paths for students of any level of musical experience to pursue high-level work. 

We encourage students to speak with department faculty as early as possible to develop their personal path through the major. Application to the major normally takes place in the second semester of sophomore year. At the time of acceptance into the major, students discuss with their department advisor a plan for exploring each of the five ways of knowing music, with a focus on one or more that may involve preparation for an honors thesis. 


A video introduction to the Music Department by Professor Jason Robinson

Major Explorations: Music

Whether singing is your passion, or composing, or playing the violin or saxophone, or producing beats and rapping, or writing about music, Amherst is home to many musical opportunities. If you can imagine it, then you can do it.