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:

  • Foster students' understanding of both the creative process in music and the products of musical creation.
  • Offer students a variety of opportunities to develop musical skills and knowledge.
  • Advance the historical, theoretical, and critical study of music.
  • Develop the ability to write critically and analytically, and express a well-developed opinion both orally and in writing.

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

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

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

Performing Ensembles

Fairfield University offers students various musical ensemble opportunities, including the University Jazz Ensemble, Instrumental Ensembles (Band and Orchestra), Pep Band, Glee Club, Chamber Singers, a cappella groups, and liturgical music in the Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius Loyola. These opportunities are offered through Student Affairs, Campus Ministry, Athletics, and the Music Program of the College of Arts and Sciences.

For information about music at Fairfield, including performance ensembles, students are encouraged to email to reach Dr. Ciavaglia or Prof. Torff

For a 30-credit major in music, students complete the following:

Select 8-10 courses in Music, including:24-30
At least two courses from each of the three categories: American, European, and Experiential music 1
At least one 3000-level course
At least one course emphasizing Pre-20th Century music
Performance credits (lessons or ensembles)0-6
Total Credits30

At least one of these must be at the 2000 level.

The remaining credits to complete the major may be fulfilled with a combination of:

  • internship
  • independent study
  • additional course(s) from any of the three areas
  • performance ensembles (Students may accumulate more than 6 credits, but no more than 6 performance credits may count toward the major.)