Music Major

Music allows for analytic, critical, and speculative humanistic inquiry, but is built on a foundation of mathematics and science. It allows creativity and personal interpretation and requires a rigorous understanding of syntax and abstract reasoning; it provides insight into culture and history and relates to and illuminates what is happening here and now; it is a language by which we can communicate with one another and is an art that expresses what words cannot.

As one of the original seven liberal arts, music maintains a place in the university as a subject of broad and passionate interest to educators, historians, performers, composers, and theorists, as well as those interested in arts management, recording, music industry, and the interaction of music with other arts such as film and theatre. At Fairfield, all of these form a community dedicated to furthering a knowledge and love of music. We not only want students to understand, evaluate, and analyze music, but also want to make music a meaningful part of their life. We want students to find the passion in music and to actively engage with the issues and the contexts surrounding, impacting, and influencing music.

The study of music is not just about preserving knowledge of the past; it is a field of study that provides forums for debate and action, and also delivers content that gives context to learning.

The Music program's goals are to:

  • Offer students a variety of opportunities to develop musical skills and knowledge.
  • Acquaint students with the growing scope and substance of musical thought and practice.
  • Advance the historical, theoretical, and critical study of music.
  • Equip students with technical, cognitive, and creative skills that will enable them to use their knowledge effectively in any field or discipline.
  • Foster students' understanding of both the creative process in music and the products of musical creation.
  • Develop the ability to write critically and analytically, and express a well-developed opinion both orally and in writing.
  • Provide students the knowledge and modes of inquiry characteristic of other disciplines.
  • Cultivate in students the desire for continued musical and intellectual growth throughout their lives.

The learning outcomes of the Music program are for students to:

  • Demonstrate deep understanding of the historical, theoretical, and critical constructs of music.

  • Demonstrate factual knowledge about music and ability to identify it in terms of discipline-specific concepts and language, as well as style, genre, and historical context.

  • Apply course material by analyzing and evaluating music, both in speaking and in writing.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of musical traditions, as well as the fundamental principles, generalizations, and theories behind those traditions.

Applied Music Lessons

The department provides private lesson instruction for all interested students and University members in most areas of music performance. Instruction carries an extra charge beyond tuition and includes 10 private lessons per semester. Lessons are for one hour and earn two credits. Lesson times are arranged individually with the instructor.

These credits do not count towards the 38 three-credit courses required for graduation, but six may be counted towards the music major or minor. Students interested in registering for lessons may do so via online registration as they would any other course, and must do so before the end of the add/drop period as identified on the University Academic Calendar. For more information, please contact the department coordinator, Melissa Roberto, or Dr. Laura Nash.

Music lessons carry an additional fee. See the Tuition and Fees page for details.

Performing Ensembles

For information about performance ensembles, students are encouraged to contact Dr. Nash or Prof. Torff.