The Occidental Music Department is a community that values and cultivates the creation, performance, and critical study of the world's musics. Students majoring in music develop an integrated understanding of music as creative work, as cultural and historical expression, and as performance. Through its curriculum, recitals, lectures, master classes, residencies, and other public events, the Music department leads the musical discourse that enriches College and community life. Music majors and minors develop their craft in a rigorous analytical study of music from the world's musical traditions, which they apply to their own artistic expression as they engage in specific studies in composition, performance, conducting, music theory, and music history. In addition to upper-division courses requiring a reading knowledge of standard music notation, the Music department also offers a wide array of special topics courses in subjects ranging from popular music and jazz to opera, choral music and art song, instrumental music, music for film, and music in world cultures. Classroom and private studies are coordinated with opportunities to attend live concerts by the world-class musical artists who perform on campus and elsewhere in the Los Angeles area. Students study, practice, and perform in Booth Music Hall and Thorne Hall, with ready access to practice rooms, large and small performance halls, an electronic music studio, and a music library of scores, recordings, and computers with musicianship and notation programs.

The music major is designed to enable students to enter into music-related professions. Alumni have become successful in opera, musical theater, professional choruses and orchestras, in careers as concert artists, and as composers and arrangers for films, television, and theater. Many have become music teachers in private studios or at the elementary, middle and high school, or college and university level. Still others have become involved in related professions such as arts management, sound engineering, music editing, and publishing. Because of the quality, breadth and depth of Occidental College's liberal arts curriculum, alumni who majored in music are prepared to enter graduate school with a wide variety of professional goals.

The music curriculum is structured so that students who are undecided about majoring in music may begin their music studies in their second year at Occidental and complete the major by the end of their fourth year. However, the development of musical craft and artistry requires time as well as effort, and students considering a major or minor in music are urged to begin taking music theory courses and applied music studies in their first year at the college. Students who plan to study abroad in their third year at the college must begin their music theory studies in their first year. -- Occidental College Course Catalog


Browse the Music Collections:

Music Faculty Scholarship

Music Student Scholarship

Music URC Student Scholarship