BS in Contemporary Music Studies

The Contemporary Music Studies (CMS) concentration is designed as a Liberal Arts degree in Music, offering a core curriculum of basic musicianship and the opportunity for specialization in one of several sub-fields. Courses relevant to today's music world help students to develop the skills necessary to analyze, research, and function well in the current music scene.

The CMS program is broader and more flexible than the Classical Performance and Jazz Performance concentrations, and is easier to combine with a major or minor program in another discipline. In some cases, the degree can be completed in less than the traditional four years. Within the concentration, several options (or emphases) are available.

  • The Theory-Composition emphasis allows students to compose in a wide range of styles and to work with advanced notation and sampling software. Students in this emphasis receive individual composition lessons as part of their Applied Music instruction. There are frequent opportunities for performances of student works, including an annual Student Composition Recital.
  • The Recording emphasis allows students to develop skills in digital recording techniques from the perspective of both performer and recording technician. The department's facilities include a fully equipped recording studio and computer lab, with a second recording studio in the process of design. The program provides extensive hands-on experience, including opportunities to record performances on and off campus.
  • The pre-Music Therapy emphasis prepares the student for entrance into the graduate Music Therapy program. Students develop their skills in voice, guitar, and piano and work with music therapy clients in a supervised practicum setting.
  • Students also have the option of pursuing a general CMS degree without a particular emphasis. The focus of this option is to guide students in combining musicianship skills with other academic skills such as research and writing. The Senior Project Seminar (MUS 490) promotes exchanges of ideas and influences among students with widely varying musical interests.


Contemporary Music Studies Major Plan (PDF)