The goal of the Music Department is to enable a broad range of students to explore a wide variety of musical experiences and practices. Supported by their development of musicianship and technical skills, concentrators will acquire a more sophisticated understanding of music in historical and cultural contexts, theory and composition, and performance, while pursuing one of these areas in greater depth.
About the Major
Hamilton’s music concentration is very flexible and the music community vibrant, with abundant opportunities for students to create and perform. In addition to courses in music theory and 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. Students can explore the state-of-the-art digital music studio, play in our Javanese gamelan, or hear legendary musicians share their experiences in our Fillius Jazz Archive.
Students Will Learn To:
- Demonstrate active listening skills from among a wide variety of musical experiences and practices
- Make links between various musical styles and their historical and cultural contexts
- Demonstrate proficiency in various theories of music
- Display skills in making music through performance, composition, recording, or production
A Sampling of Courses
The elements of conducting, including baton technique, aural perception, rehearsal techniques and score study (both instrumental and choral).
Explore these select courses:
This course explores the nature of silence in literature and music as a way to understand how sound, or lack thereof, came to shape modern Europe. We will discuss the history of silence as a philosophical concept, as a response to crisis, alienation and negation, gendered muteness, as well as the aesthetics of dissonance. Literary and musical selections include Boethius, Dante, Petrarch, Gaspara Stampa, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Robert Musil, Arnold Schoenberg, Theodor Adorno, Eugenio Montale, Anna Banti, Alda Merini, Luigi Nono, Ingeborg Bachmann, George Steiner. Taught in English.
Intensive study of music theory topics, analytical techniques, and compositional approaches applied to common musical forms and styles from different traditions, including Western classical music, popular, jazz, film, theater, and selected world music. Selected repertoire will emphasize 20th- and 21st-century practices.
Meet Our Faculty
Chair, the Eugene M. Tobin Distinguished Professor of Music
Dolly Parton; American folk and traditional musics; banjo, music and film; medieval and renaissance music; music and gender
Assistant Professor of Music
Choral repertoire and conducting; phonetic transcription of Afrikaans choral music; group vocal technique; choregie and interdisciplinary ensemble performance; text-painting in a cappella music; children’s choir composition; equity, diversity and inclusion in the choral literature canon
Carolyn C. and David M.’38 Ellis Distinguished Teaching Professor of Music
orchestral repertoire and conducting; ballet and opera conducting; trombone and low brass; solo performance; 20th- and 21st-century music
Assistant Professor of Music
acoustic and electro-acoustic composition; post-tonal analysis; audio programming; algorithmic composition; mobile platform development of audio applications
Lecturer in Music (piano)
Explore Hamilton Stories
Applause rumbled as the Tolles Pavilion shook. My vision readjusted past the blazing bright lights as I scanned the crowd. Joyful eyes and smiles. Raised arms and cheers. I don’t remember breathing in those moments, but I remember what I felt. I was in a state of pure wonderment as I fixed the microphone back to the stand.
Heather Buchman is the Carolyn C. and David M. Ellis ’38 Distinguished Professor of Music and director of the Hamilton College Orchestra and the Chamber Music program. But it was through her other role — guest conductor for Symphoria, Syracuse’s professional orchestra — that she received a recent distinction.
Careers After Hamilton
Hamilton graduates who concentrated in music are pursuing careers in a variety of fields, including:
- 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