Letter from the Chair
Dear incoming students,
Thank you if you have taken the time to respond to our On-Line Music Interest Form. If you have not done so, please click on the link and do so now. This information is extremely helpful to us in planning for student interests.
Although you will not have to declare a major until late in your sophomore year, it is advisable to begin planning now. If you are considering the possibility of majoring in music, you will keep the most options open if you begin your core courses (theory in particular) as soon as possible. I would encourage you to register this fall for one of the theory courses, MU 241 (Materials and Structures of Western Music I, which counts toward the major) or MU 101 (Rudiments of Music) or MU 201 (Foundations of Theory & Musicianship), designed for students who do not have the theory background to jump directly into the major curriculum. For guidance regarding the question of What music theory course should I take? consult the linked page.
We give a diagnostic exam at the beginning of the semester to place students into the appropriate Music Theory class. There are two ways of looking at what is the best placement for you: placing into a more advanced course moves you more quickly into upper-level courses in musicology and composition; enrolling in a lower course allows you to consolidate your mastery of the fundamentals. If you have already studied theory, I would encourage you to brush up on the basic concepts before taking the test. Fluency with both bass & treble clefs is particularly essential to placing into MU 241. Some students will place directly in to MU 242. The link to the Sample Music Theory Diagnostic Exam will give you an idea of what sort of material found on the test.
Your success as a musician will be enhanced if you develop a range of fundamental musical abilities in listening, in singing, and on the keyboard. The Music Department offers courses designed to develop these skills: MU 107, MP 181, and MP 197, along with the chorus. We encourage you to take advantage of these courses as early in your time at Skidmore as you can.
There will be ensemble auditions scheduled during orientation period and during the first week of classes. Please check your orientation materials when you arrive for a schedule of these auditions.
If you are interested in private lessons, you will need to contact the teacher in your performance area (see the contact list of performance faculty) as soon as possible during the first week of classes. If you cannot directly talk to the teacher, leave a note in their mailbox (Zankel 111) with your name, telephone number, your schedule and some information about previous study. In some performance areas, there is an audition involved. Also, please note: there are additional fees for private instruction (check the course descriptions for MP281 & MP381 in the Music section of the College Catalog). Please be sure to discuss this with your parents because the fee for lessons will be billed separately from tuition and other fees.
The Music Department offers a rich array of courses designed for general liberal arts students as well as for music majors and minors. These courses cover Western classical music, non-Western musics, jazz, and popular music. I would encourage you to explore these numerous offerings. If you have any questions about the academic courses in the Music Department, please use this contact list of classroom faculty.
One of the most amazing things about music at Skidmore is the number of great concerts we offer each semester. We have four great series that feature guest musicians, the Filene, the Sterne, the Moore, and Carnegie Hall Premieres. Plus we have great faculty and student recitals, and performances by our many first-rate ensembles. Make time in your schedule to attend concerts in Zankel. You won't regret it.
I would be happy to discuss these possibilities with you, and I look forward to meeting you at the beginning of September.
Gordon Thompson, Chair