Our Mission

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 or 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.

Majors acquire expertise in all these areas of music; non-majors in one or more areas. Majors will be prepared for a music career (should they wish it); minors and all other students will gain music experiences that prepare them for an enriched life.

The Department of Music is part of the interdisciplinary activity of the college through participation in, specifically, gender & sexuality studies, German area studies, American studies, Asian studies, dance and drama productions, and through the use of historical, anthropological, scientific and sociological methods of inquiry.

Advice for First-Year Students

The Department of Music offers several types of study. Each course, whether it results in a student's own performance or in heightened perception of others' performances, is designed to increase the student's sense of the richness and importance of music in the human experience.

MUSC 101 (Basic Musicianship) and MUSC 102 (Introduction to Music History) are considered especially appropriate introductory courses for first-year or upperclass students new to the department. As the foundation on which the other coursework in the department is built, these courses are required for students considering majors in the department. To facilitate proper placement of entering students, the department administers a music theory exam during Orientation.

Students not contemplating a major in music, but having prior experience in music, should also take the placement exam. If the exam is not taken, the student will begin with MUSC 101 or 102. Those who wish to develop basic skills should take MUSC 101, which covers the rudiments of music theory and the aural skills needed by practicing musicians. MUSC 102 is designed to provide both an overview of the subject and the requisite skills needed for active, informed listening. All other music courses follow logically from MUSC 101 and 102.

Students may also continue their instrumental playing or singing, or they may wish to begin such study. The majority of those taking individual lessons (applied music) at Kenyon begin without formal study before college. Lessons are offered as follows: Levels I, II and III: 25 minutes (1/8 unit) or 50 minutes (1/4 unit); Levels IV: 50 minutes (1/4 unit) or 100 minutes (1/2 unit). Limited amounts of academic credit can be earned for lessons at Level I and II. Credit for Levels III and IV have no limit. Jessica Landon, program coordinator, can provide details.

The department's applied music program coordinator, Jessica Landon, can provide all pertinent information about the programs of studio instruction.

About one in four Kenyon students takes part in the department's applied music program, which consists of weekly lessons offered by distinguished adjunct faculty. These lessons are taken for credit or audit and involve an additional fee. When such instruction is required for the major or minor, these fees are waived.

Student recitals for nonmajors will be sponsored by the Department of Music only if the student has taken MUSC 102 (Introduction to Music History) or passed that section of the placement exam, and has attained Level IV.

As a corollary to the applied music program, the department offers ensemble work. The instrumental ensembles call for some degree of proficiency and are usually formed by audition. The Chamber Singers is open only by competitive audition. The Kenyon Community Choir is open to all with a voice-placement audition. Other ensembles include the Kenyon Symphonic Wind Ensemble, the Kenyon Jazz Ensemble, the Opera and Music Theater Workshop, the Early Music Ensemble, the Asian Music Ensemble, the Flute Choir, string, harp and woodwind ensembles, and other groups as determined by student interest. As with lessons, it is best to plan to begin such an activity as early in one's academic career as possible.