Bard College at Simon's Rock: the Early College
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Develop your passion for music—as an art form and field of intellectual inquiry—through intensive experiences in the classroom and live venues.

The concentration in music prepares students to excel as composers, performers, and scholars by combining theory with technique, study with performance, and individual talent with meticulous teamwork.

Whether you’re repeating passages in a practice studio, attending the South Berkshire Concerts at the Kellogg Music Center, or settling in a seat at the Daniel Arts Center to experience The Orchestra Now, you’ll be immersed in musical experiences. As a performer, you’ll have opportunities to collaborate with peers and participate in several ensembles: Chorus, Chamber Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, and Madrigal Group.

In class, you’ll study the broad historical and cultural contexts that inform musical traditions and music’s relationship to other dimensions of human experience and expression. You’ll develop sophisticated insights and approaches to musical performance, and then apply them through active practice with an instrument or voice.

And whether you concentrate in music or not, the Applied Music Program provides access to private lessons with extraordinarily accomplished musicians.

Related career paths

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


The concentration in music encourages students to develop as practitioners and theorists. It provides a foundation in key musical concepts, forms, styles and methods that you’ll build on while acquiring proficiency in five areas: Performance, Composition, Electronic Music, Cultural and Historical Studies, and Theory.

Your core study includes three courses in Theory, where you’ll learn the language and methods of music analysis. With a profound understanding of the tonal system, you’ll scrutinize harmonic melodies, identify intervals, recognize the use of dissonance and resolution, and compose your own original polyphonic works.

Meanwhile, you’ll be honing your technical and performance skills—not only as a fun, fulfilling activity, but as an integral part of your education—through combinations of private lessons and the college’s performing organizations.

You’ll choose additional music electives that speak to you—anything from advanced theory to independent tutorials—and offer the opportunity to make your own intellectual contributions to music. As you chart an individual path based on your particular interests, you’ll also connect music with other areas of study by taking at least one related course outside the music department, whether it’s dance, history, or digital media, to name a few.

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