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Skidmore College

BA in Music

  1. Majors are required to complete the following by the end of their sophomore year: MU 241: Materials and Structures I; MU 242: Materials and Structures II; and MU 243: Materials and Structures III.
  2. Plus, one 300-level topics seminar/survey in the Western classical tradition; one 300-level topics seminar/survey in a non-Western or popular music tradition; one additional topics seminar (MU 344 or MU 345); one 300-level MU course; and MU 363: Senior Seminar.
  3. In addition, majors must take three semesters of private musical instruction in one area of performance; and three semesters of ensemble performance selected from course offerings under Skidmore Ensembles.

For complete details on requirements for the major, please go here.

Contact Information

Music Department

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About Music

A music program, the depth and breadth of which rivals conservatories, yet allows music majors and non-music majors to delve into other disciplines, Skidmore's Music Department offers courses in musicology / ethnomusicology, music theory, music technology, individual musical performance, and ensemble performance. Classes and performances all take place in the striking 54,000-square-foot Arthur Zankel Music Center, which features a 600-seat acoustically tuned concert hall. (See video on Zankel.)

Each year, six first-year students earn scholarships through the Filene Music Competition, which supports the orchestra, chorus, and numerous ensemble groups. A number of our majors go on to advanced study and careers in music, while others use their broad liberal arts education, including their music major and perhaps a second major, to launch them into myriad fields including law, science, and business.

Interesting Classes I Might Take

  • 1960s British Rock and Pop
  • Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven
  • Miles Davis and John Coltrane
  • Composition
  • Materials and Structures of Music
  • Minimalism
  • Foundations of Musicianship
  • The Music of Africa
  • Music Technology

Full course list here

Beyond the Classroom

  • Private lessons on nearly 25 instruments and voice
  • Ensemble Opportunities: orchestra, chorus, jazz big-band, string ensemble, Klezmer, African ensemble, and more.
  • Jazz combos and chamber music coached by faculty artists
  • Popular study abroad programs: IES Vienna, Music (Austria) and Skidmore in London-Goldsmith’s University of London (England) 
  • Collaborative research and intensive senior project opportunities, including composition, music technology, recital, and thesis 
  • World-class guest artists in concert and residencies: In recent years, students have enjoyed private lessons and master classes with such resident greats as soprano Heidi Grant Murphy, sax player Joshua Redman, flutist Paula Robison, jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon, pianist Brad Mehldau, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw, and the Ying Quartet. 

VIDEO: The Arthur Zankel Music Center is a prime venue for students and guest artists alike.

VIDEO: Beatlemore Skidmania is an iconic Skidmore event. Here is a recent version.

Success After Skidmore

Our alumni have gone on to music careers in performance and performance teaching, in the recording and film industries, in concert and orchestra management, as professors of music theory or musicology, in music publishing, and as music librarians. Those who have not pursued careers in music are working as doctors, lawyers, teachers, financial analysts, psychologists, and in many more professions.

VIDEO: All about the Arthur Zankel Music Center.

Careers: A sampler of what our alumni do

  • President/owner, 6/8 Records, NYC
  • Producer, Aon Risk Solutions, Los Angeles, Calif.
  • VP of equity trading, Aufhauser Securities, NYC
  • Musician, Ball in the House, Boston, Mass.
  • Bass teacher, Bennington College, Bennington, Vt.
  • Music teacher:
    • Berkshire Hills Regional, Stockbridge, Mass.
    • Canajoharie Central Schools, Canajoharie, N.Y.
    • Detroit Country Day School, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
    • Kingswood-Oxford School, West Hartford, Conn.
    • P.S. 36, NYC
  • Director of marketing,, Los Altos, Calif.
  • Entrepreneur,, Palo Alto, Calif.
  • Music therapist, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Adjunct professor of horn, musician, Colgate University/SUNY College at Oneonta, Oneonta, N.Y.
  • Attorney/partner, Day & Koch, Portland, Ore.
  • Director of chamber music programming/lecturer, Deptartment of Music, University of Chicago, Chicago, Ill.
  • Director/Ellis Island Project, Ellis Island Immigrant Museum, NYC
  • Chief investment officer, EPIQ Partners, Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Family/marriage counselor, Family Therapy Associates, Woodbury, N.J.
  • Promotions manager, Fast Company magazine, NYC
  • Recording engineer, Foxy Studios, Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Research analyst, General Accounting Office, Seattle, Wash.
  • Organist/music teacher, Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Richmond, Va.
  • Architect, Hellmuth Obata & Kassabaum, NYC
  • Professor of music, Holyoke Community College, Holyoke, Mass.
  • Operations manager, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • TV/film location sound mixer/designer, JFASound, NYC
  • Record production/VP of A&R, Maze Studios, NYC
  • Assistant music librarian, Nashville Symphony, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Lead lighting artist, Pixar Animation Studios, Emeryville, Calif.
  • CEO/president of children's media, Ruckus Media Group, Wilton, Conn.
  • Senior artist-in-residence, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
  • Audio engineer, SONY of America, NYC
  • Head librarian, University of Washington Music Library, Seattle, Wash.
  • Director of music and media licensing, Viacom, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Winds department head, Westminster Conservatory, Princeton, N.J.

Graduate Schools:A sampler of where our alumni go

  • Eastman School of Music
  • Manhattan School of Music, M.M.
  • New England Conservatory of Music, M.M.
  • New York University, Tisch School
  • Stanford University
  • University of Texas School of Music
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Missouri-Kansas City, M.M. in opera performance
  • Yale University, Ph.D in music theory


Meet the Music faculty members.