Bard College at Simon's Rock: the Early College
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Develop your passion for music—as craft and field of intellectual inquiry—through intensive experiences in the classroom and concert hall.

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

Whether you’re repeating scales in a Kellogg Music Center rehearsal room, attending the annual Spring Berkshire Concerts, 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, Madrigal Group, Chamber Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, and Collegium.

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 enter into fields such as arts management, music publishing, production, writing, and education.


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 in the form of suspension, 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 two semesters of private lessons and two semesters with one of the college’s performing organizations (Chorus, Jazz Ensemble, Chamber Ensemble, Madrigal Group, Collegium).

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 business, 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