Bard College at Simon's Rock: the Early College
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The concentration in music is designed to encourage students to expand their abilities in all dimensions of music, allowing them to intensify their involvement in performance, composition, or musicology, while introducing them to a wider musical and cultural context.

The student concentrating in music is expected to attain a level of proficiency in score reading and a basic understanding of theoretical concepts, as well as to develop a concrete grasp of a performance tradition through active participation on a musical instrument or voice. From this platform, the students explore their particular musical interests—intensively through a series of activities or courses that require increasingly sophisticated musical skill or intellectual insight, and extensively through exposure to varied repertory, materials, and approaches. Students are expected to choose a group of courses that broaden and diversify their concept of the field and that connect to related disciplines. Each student’s creativity and point of view is considered integral to endeavors in this concentration.

Related career paths

Students with a concentration in music may enter into fields such as arts management, music publishing, production, writing, and education.


Students who concentrate in music may choose to focus in one of these five areas: Cultural and Historical Studies; Composition and Theory; Jazz Performance and Literature; Electronic Music; Performance and Theory. Other theoretically coherent groupings of courses may be designed by the student in consultation with the Moderation Committee. The minimum needed to fulfill the concentration requirements is 18 credits.

Minimum Requirements

Students intending to concentrate in music must complete the following: six credits for Theory I and Theory II (required of all concentrations), four credits for Theory III (required of all concentrations), Four credits (semesters) of performing activity consisting of two semesters of private lessons and two semesters of performing organization (Chorus, Jazz Ensemble, Chamber Ensemble, Madrigal Group, Collegium), and 10 credits from a core area (see below).

Credit Totals: 24
  • Cultural and Historical Studies
    Equivalent of two semesters of musicology courses (minimum six credits); an additional semester of a musicology course at the 300-level; strongly recommended: non music courses in history or cultural studies
  • Composition and Theory
    Composition at the 200-level or Jazz Composing and Arranging ; composition at the 300-level; Music Since World War I or Jazz: An American Encounter ; strongly recommended: Theory IV and V
  • Jazz Performance and Literature
    Jazz Improvisation Workshop I ; Jazz Improvisation Workshop II ; Jazz: an American Encounter
  • Electronic Music
    Intro to Electronic Music ; Composition ; Music since World War I ; strongly recommended: Interactive Arts Workshop and Analog and Digital Electronics
  • Performance and Theory
    Theory IV ; Small Chamber Ensembles or Jazz Improvisation Workshop or Vocal Performance: Opera and Musical Theater or three semesters of performing activity beyond the basic four; one semester of a musicology course; strongly recommended: Independent Music Project
  • Student-designed Core
    Two classes at 200-level; one at 300-level (excluding Theory I and II ) to be determined at Moderation; recommended additional courses to be determined at Moderation

Course Spotlight

A female students attends jazz ensemble practice.

Music 218/318: Jazz: an American Encounter

This course explores the historical development, artistic traditions, and cultural meanings of jazz. Jazz is studied both as a musical phenomenon and as a vehicle for an ongoing cultural dialogue that continues to have a profound impact upon many dimensions of American life.

Related Special Programs