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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.

I think we have incredibly passionate music faculty at Hamilton. They love to challenge us to the best of our abilities and maintain a close relationship. The music faculty is also very diverse in the different fields of music but equally dedicated.

Sungmin Kim ’18 — music major

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 hbuchman@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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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 and Resistance 206S


Exploration of the ways that music is used as a framework for resistance and liberation in the U.S. The course draws on case studies of the Indigenous struggles of Native Americans and Native Hawaiians, the contemporary anti-prison movement, Black and Latino Power movements, the resistance of Japanese internment camps, LGBTQIA activism, and the women’s rights movement. Materials include readings, guest lectures, discussions, music-making, and guest performances with visiting scholars, artists, and activists. No musical background is required.

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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. A fee is charged.

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History of Jazz Since the 1950s 259S


A study of the life, times and music of selected jazz musicians from 1950 to the present. Emphasis on the range of jazz styles from that era including funky, fusion and free jazz.

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