The Department of Music at Kenyon College aims to increase a student’s sense of the richness and importance of music in the human experience. Because music is embedded in issues such as identity, ritual, politics, and aesthetics—to name just a few—it becomes a gateway for students to understand themselves and the world around them.
The Department offers a curriculum by which students can explore any of all facets of the discipline. Whether the student opts for classes in ethnomusicology, musicology, music theory, or applied study, the coursework emphasizes the interconnectedness of listening, creativity, and critical thinking by which students become more articulate practitioners of the musical arts.
1. Students should possess the ability to communicate (verbally and in prose) about musical issues. They should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the structure of the music under discussion, the historical and cultural context(s) in which the music was originally composed and performed, and performative (interpretive) issues found in the music itself.
2. Related to #1 above, students should be able to compare and contrast music from two or more different style periods, genres, cultures, and functions vis-à-vis the same structural, historical, cultural, and interpretive issues.
3. Students should be able to retrieve and synthesize music theoretical and music historical knowledge and apply this knowledge to current issues in musical life and society.
4. Students should be able to demonstrate an awareness of how music intersects with other disciplines, both within the fine arts and the liberal arts more broadly.
5. Students should be able to offer a convincing interpretation of a musical score that is suitable to their level of ability.
6. Students should be able to work collaboratively.
1. Our major and minor curricula specifically address all learning goals above. Instruments used in these courses routinely include writing assignments (papers; Goal #1 and 2), oral presentations (Goal #1 and 2), quizzes and examinations (Goal #3), and collaborative assignments (Goal #6). Whenever possible in these courses, connections between and among music and other disciplines are highlighted (Goal #4)
2. Private music lessons and participation in music ensembles include ample opportunity for interpretive and collaborative work (Goal #5 and 6).
3. Our senior majors are evaluated on four criteria: self-designed project (recital, lecture-recital, composition recital, or research presentation), the oral defense of this project, the paper that accompanies the project, and a comprehensive (one-day, six hours) examination. Thus the Senior Exercise addresses students’ ability to communicate verbally, their ability to write articulately and formulate arguments, their ability to defend positions and engage in substantive conversation about a specific musical topic (i.e., their own project) and how it relates to broader issues and themes, and their ability to retrieve and synthesize musical information and apply it.
4. Individual instructor and course evaluation forms (both the standard College Form and individually-designed forms) help us to gauge how well we are meeting our learning goals in individual courses.
1. End-of-year DOAP meetings typically involve useful discussion about how the year went. Senior Comprehensive Exams are reviewed, Senior Projects are assessed, and discussions about possible changes/improvements take place on a departmental level.
2. Departmental Self-Studies and Outside Examinations occur every 7-8 years and provide excellent opportunities for feedback. Significant changes for the better have occurred as a result of each self-study/outside examination in memory.
3. As above, individual instructor and course evaluation forms (both the standard College Form and individually-designed forms) help us to gauge how well we are meeting our learning goals in individual courses. These findings routinely come up in departmental discussions about the curriculum so that broader trends may be detected and changes made as appropriate.