There will be multiple opportunities to develop your performance skills. The music program provides a range of performance opportunities on and off campus. You will have eight ensembles to choose from  – plus student groups and a chance for solo work. In your coursework you’ll build proficiency in the many dimensions of the musical experience by studying historical and theoretical concepts.

About the Major

The curriculum includes courses in music theory, history, solo and group performance, world music, jazz history, jazz arranging, contemporary music technology, women in music, the psychology of music and conducting.

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 ’09 — 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.

Careers After Hamilton

  • Sound Design, WHYY-FM, Philadelphia
  • Director of Finance, American Composers Forum
  • Professor of Music and Music Technology, California State University San Marcos
  • Conductor/Artistic Director, Indianapolis Opera
  • Pediatric Dentist
  • Violinist, American Ballet Theatre
  • Senior Manager Digital Products, Los Angeles Times
  • Executive Director, New Hampshire Humanities Council
  • Assistant Professor of Music-Voice, Crane School of Music
  • Senior Vice President, Bank of America

Contact Information

Music Department

198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323
315-859-4261 315-859-4464 gkolb@hamilton.edu Music Website

Meet Our Faculty

A Sampling of Courses

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The Art of Active Listening 100FS

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.

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The Physics of Musical Sound 175

An exploration of the physics that underlies the production of musical sounds. Covers issues ranging from the nature of musical sound, units, some physical principles, theory of wave propagation and mode formation, physical mechanisms of how instrument families work and their implications for musical use of those families, acoustics of halls, digital simulations of musical instruments and performance spaces. Algebra will be used. Four hours of class/laboratory per week. May count toward a concentration in physics.

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Basic Aural Skills 180F

Introduction to aural understanding through sight-singing, dictation and the rudiments of music notation. Diatonic major scales and keys, diatonic intervals, diatonic melodies, tonic and dominant arpeggiation, an introduction to minor scales and keys, cadences, rhythms in simple and compound meters. One-quarter course credit. May be repeated for credit with consent of instructor.

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Music in Europe and America Since 1800 202S

A study and analysis of major stylistic developments in Western music since 1800, including the rise of program music and nationalism, the dissolution of tonality, and the proliferation of styles in the last two centuries. Composers studied include Schubert, Wagner, Brahms, Debussy, Stravinsky, Bartók, Varèse, and Adams. Consideration of the influence of political, economic, technological, and cultural environments upon musical styles.

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Jazz Arranging 213S

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.

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Solo Performance 226FS

The study of music through lessons and performance in voice, flute, oboe, English horn, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, horn, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, tuba, piano, organ, harp, percussion, acoustic guitar, jazz guitar, violin, viola, 'cello and contrabass. Hour tutorial for one-half credit. Students must participate in at least one public performance per semester as specified in the Music Department Handbook.

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