Undergraduate Program Updates
The Brandeis Music Department is excited to announce major curricular revisions to the requirements for the music major and minor, in both content and requirements. These are the first such revisions to our curriculum in many years. These revised requirements for the music major provide access to faculty-mentored research or creative work in music to all undergraduate students at Brandeis.
We want to increase the “vertical connectivity” aspect (student to faculty connections) that is a key feature of a Brandeis education: our performance program already has a high “vertical connectivity” for students specializing in western art music and Jazz and our advanced undergraduate composition students already have several opportunities for advanced work with faculty.
These revisions will increase the options for students—majors, minors, or non-majors— who are interested in the study of music, but who do not have a background in advanced instrumental performance, or whose instrumental or music performance background is outside the euro-American classical tradition (American or Global folk or popular music traditions, or Global classical music traditions, etc.).
Our new requirements create cohesion within the music cohort by requiring a core set of six required courses to be taken by every music major before specializing in the final year on their capstone course, and granting students the flexibility to pursue their own interests through an increased number of allowed electives. Our vision for the Brandeis music department sees it as a place for all musicians, regardless of their particular musical languages, to pursue the advanced study of music with excellence and rigor.
The new curriculum will be implemented gradually:
- Members of the Class of 2023 may elect to fulfill either the old or new requirements, however, since we will not begin to offer the new required course Critical Listening until the Fall of 2023, students may substitute either MUS 131, 133 or 135 for the Critical Listening course.
- Members of the Class of 2024-5 are strongly encouraged to complete the new curriculum, but may also choose to follow the old requirements that were in place when they entered Brandeis.
- Members of the Class of 2026 and beyond will follow the new curriculum.
- The current five tracks have been condensed into three tracks, and every music major is required to choose a track:
- Composition & Theory;
- History & Culture;
- The number of courses taken for major credit is reduced from 12 to 11.
- 9 of the 11 courses should be MUS courses, the remaining 2 may be cross-listed courses.
- All music majors take the same required courses (the equivalent of six four-credit courses).
- The western music history sequence is replaced with Global Soundscapes, Critical Listening & Advanced Seminar.
- All majors must take a required Capstone course appropriate to their track.
- One fewer year of theory required.
- Passing an examination in keyboard skills is no longer a requirement. Free keyboard skills classes will still be offered to all music majors.