DCF94280-E8F7-F166-A62F886D097067AC
DD020F53-C98F-50DB-CEDFC9E5288EEEAA

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.

About the Major

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 ’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. The music department maintains its own website with additional details about the concentration.

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
315-859-4356 315-859-4464 rhopkins@hamilton.edu Music Website

Meet Our Faculty

A Sampling of Courses

View All Courses

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

Theories of Music: Fundamentals and Chromatic Harmony 210F


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

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

Conducting 316S


The elements of conducting, including baton technique, aural perception, rehearsal techniques and score study (both instrumental and choral).

View All Courses

Advanced Audio Production 370S


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

Seminar in American Studies: American Folk Revivals 420


Study of the folk revivals that marked 20th-century U.S. cultural life. Topics include African and Native-American origins, 19th-century minstrels, Stephen Foster, the Appalachian ballad collections of Cecil Sharp, the legacy of the Lomax and Seeger families, bluegrass and hillbilly music, Woody Guthrie and union songs, the freedom songs of the Civil Rights Movement, the Washington Square scene in Greenwich Village, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. Grounded in the study of music and its circulation, examines the impact of these revivals on dance, film, literature and politics.

View All Courses

Explore Our Spaces

Back to Top