Major Program

Undergraduate Student Learning Goals for the Music Major

    Berkeley music majors are expected:

  1. To acquire knowledge and understanding of music in an integrated way—through historical and cultural studies, musicianship and theory, and performance.  These studies prepare students to pursue a career in some aspect of music or to maintain music as a central part of their lives.
  2. To cultivate musical competency, including literacy (the use of music notation in reading, performing, composing, analyzing, and hearing music). Areas of courses include:
    • Musicianship
    • Harmony
    • Piano proficiency
  3. To develop skills of critical thinking and writing about music by taking courses on past and present musical cultures in European and other heritages. Areas of courses include:
    • Introduction to selected musics of the world
    • Western music history
    • Upper division electives
  4. To create music by performing, composing, and improvising. Areas of courses include:
    • Musicianship
    • Harmony
    • Performance ensembles
    • Upper division electives in historical and cultural studies, music and technology, theory, conducting, and improvisation
  5. To pursue personal interests by selecting upper-division courses, including independent studies and honors projects.

How Music Majors Are Assessed

  1. Placement exams at the outset of studies assess students’ musical competence, and determine their place in the required lower-division theory and harmony courses.
  2. Admission to performance ensembles (upper-division performance courses) is by audition.  Assessment is based on successful public performances.
  3. An audition is required to enroll in Music 150—the performance courses that offer private instruction to the most skilled majors, as well as large and small ensemble experience. Assessment is based on successful public performances.
  4. Students who show exceptional ability in musicianship can be selected to participate in a peer tutoring program for credit.  This provides a capstone experience for students interested in teaching, as well as providing yet more support for other music students.
  5. In required and elective seminars, critical thinking and writing is assessed when students present a major independent project at the end of term.
  6. Compositional skills are assessed through the rehearsal and public performance of student works.