Heather Buchman is director of the Hamilton College Orchestra and the Chamber Music program.
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
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.View All Courses
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.View All Courses
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.View All Courses
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.View All Courses
Solo Performance 226FS
The study of music through lessons in voice, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, horn, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, tuba, piano, organ, harp, percussion, classical guitar, jazz/contemporary guitar, folk 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.View All Courses
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.View All Courses
Capturing a Music-Making Culture
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.
Singing the Praises of Music and Math
As a high school senior Kelsey Brush ’20 was interested in music education as a possible career, but she wasn’t ready to commit her life to it. She had too many interests to explore, so instead of a conservatory, she went for Hamilton and its open curriculum.