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The Music BA: Performance Track

The Music Department offers major study in Voice, Piano, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Saxophone, Bassoon, Trumpet, Horn, Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba, Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, Guitar, or Percussion. All majors, regardless of track, students begin with a set of basic requirements that balance training in musicianship with methods for critical inquiry and exploration of the musical world. Students selecting the Music Performance Track receive private lessons and coaching sessions throughout the program, leading to junior and senior recitals. An audition is required for entrance into the BA in Music with a focus in music performance. You may find audition information here. 

Program Requirements: 45 credits
Musicianship and Critical Methods Requirement

Total Credits: 26

Musicianship Requirement

  • MUSC 139, 140  Piano I and II (2cr)
  • MUSC 189 Elements of Music Theory (3cr)
  • MUSC 256 Elements of Diatonic Harmony and Polyphony (3cr)

Critical Histories and Methods

  • MUSC 236, 327 Thinking through Music I and II (6cr) 
  • MUSC 226 Music History I: Music in the European City, 1685-1803 (3cr)
  • MUSC 227 Music History II: Key Figures in Music History, Beethoven to Beyoncé (3cr)
  • MUSC 315 Music Analysis (3cr)
  • MUSC 331-339 Seminar in Musicology or Ethnomusicology (3cr)
Additional Music Performance Requirements
Total Credits: 19
  • MUSC 160 or 165   Performance Organization (8cr)
  • MUSC 350-355  Intermediate Studio Instruction* (4cr)
  • MUSC 450-455  Advanced Studio Instruction (4cr)
  • MUSC 359  Junior Recital  (1cr)
  • MUSC 459  Senior Recital  (2cr)
 * prerequisite of two semesters at the 250 level or equivalent
In addition, each student electing to focus in music performance must complete a jury examination each semester as well as participate in the Friday Afternoon Recital Series each semester in the major.

*Requirements for Students beginning prior to FALL 2021, see here

Program Design

The BA curriculum in Music with a focus in Music Performance centers on three broad learning areas: musicianship; studio instruction and technique; and public performance. Each area contributes to the achievement of specific learning outcomes.


The first year centers around a year-long course in musicianship, with students receiving instruction in basic solfège, written harmony, keyboard, and aural skills. In addition to written mastery of all music theoretical rudiments, learning outcomes for the first-year musicianship course focus on the development of skills necessary for creative expression in music. These include a conceptual understanding of the rudiments of music theory, including scales, keys, and chords; an ability to sing and transcribe diatonic melodies as well as those that modulate to closely related keys; and an ability to provide a written three- or four-part harmonization of a diatonic melody or bass, as well as those that modulate to closely related and relative keys, making appropriate use of standard cadential and sequential patterns.

Studio Instruction and the Development of Technique

The center of Geneseo's curriculum in music performance is one-on-one studio instruction with a private teacher. With their teacher, students learn proper technique on their instrument or voice, studying appropriate repertory depending on each student's background and individual learning goals. Yet just as crucially, through studio instruction, students also learn correct practice technique needed for developing a disciplined, methodical approach to learning repertory. Each student focusing in music performance receives one hour of private tuition on their instrument or in voice every week, as well as one hour of weekly studio class or seminar instruction. In addition, vocalists meet each week with one of the department's vocal coaches, while instrumentalists meet regularly with the instrumental accompanist in preparation for recital performance.  

Recitals and Public Presentation

An equally important part of music study involves learning how to take everything learned in the studio and apply it in performance and other forms of public presentation. Students at Geneseo have extensive opportunities to perform both on and off campus. In addition to frequent ensemble performances, each student focusing in music performance participates in the department's Friday Afternoon Recital Series each semester. All junior's present a 30-minute recital while seniors present an hour-long solo recital. Advanced students participate in the department's annual honors recital competition as well as in the department's concerto competition for an opportunity to perform as soloists with the Geneseo Symphony Orchestra. For these and other opportunities, students learn how to approach a performance as a matter of its own technique, learning how to deal with issues of anxiety, learning good habits leading up to a recital and good habits of presentation when reciting, how to engage an audience, and more.