Making the Music of West Side Story
The Hamilton College Music Department is here to nourish, inform, and expand your love of music. Our courses blend the study of theoretical concepts and historical contexts of many styles of music, from classical to popular. Enjoy extensive opportunities for both private study and public performance. Join an ensemble. Explore our state-of-the-art digital music studio. Play in our Javanese gamelan. Come to a great concert in the Performing Arts Series.
In addition to courses in music theory, history, private lessons, and various ensembles, the curriculum includes courses in world music, music and film, folk and country music, opera, the history of jazz, jazz arranging, composition, conducting, and music technology.
The music concentration is very flexible, with students able to choose up to four full-credit courses as electives. Concentrators must pass proficiency exams in aural and keyboard skills, and demonstrate basic skills in music technology. They are also expected to participate in department ensembles in each semester.
My music classes were some of the most challenging coursework I encountered at Hamilton, not because I wasn’t prepared for the material, but because of the attention to detail professors demanded. The faculty is world-class—my advisor, Professor Robert Hopkins, ignited in me an interest in Brahms fugue analysis that I never would have thought existed.
Casey Gibson — music student
Music is a fundamental form of human art, communication and pleasure – celebratory, sacred, exploratory and communal. It inspires and informs a remarkable range of human movements and activities, from dance crazes to military marches, from medieval prayer to modern choreography. The music department maintains its own website with additional details about the concentration.
A study of how to listen to music and get the most out of it. Consideration of approaches to listening to Western art music, film music, jazz, popular music, and selected gamelan and African musics. Focus on strategies of active listening and learning a vocabulary for discussing musical perceptions in various kinds of music. Does not include study of musical notation.View All Courses
Intensive training in the elements of music, with an emphasis on the study of melody, intervals, chords, rhythm and meter, and basic musical forms. Special attention devoted to harmonic progressions and chromatic harmony. Regular written assignments, including computer assignments aimed to develop musicianship skills. Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.View All Courses
The theoretical designs used in combo, big band and third-stream writing. Coverage of jazz scales, chords, voicings, ranges and tonal properties. Students are expected to compose and copy the parts to three compositions, one of which will be read and recorded.View All Courses
The elements of conducting, including baton technique, aural perception, rehearsal techniques and score study (both instrumental and choral).View All Courses
This course will explore the techniques of audio production in the recording studio and the increasingly portable platforms for computer music that continue to be developed. Topics will include digital audio synthesis, digital signal processing, MIDI and other systems for controlling audio, mixing, and mastering. Students will work in digital audio workstations and music programming environments. Projects will include producing a professional-quality album of music.View All Courses
The Senior Seminar in American Studies represents a culminating intellectual experience for seniors in the American studies program. Its centerpiece is the senior project, in which each major plans, writes, and presents a self-directed, interdisciplinary course of study that balances critical skills and creativity. The senior project is carried out under the close supervision of at least one faculty member.View All Courses
Making the Music of West Side Story
Promoting Talent in NYC, a Music Lover Finds His Niche
Ben Barzilai ’16 landed a job at an entertainment marketing firm, a good gig for a musician. "I've been interested in music and entertainment all my life, and being able to work with artists and facilitate their creative goals is incredibly satisfying," he says.