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BA in Music: Music Performance focus

Each student entering the BA in Music elects to focus in either Music Performance or Musicology/ HTCC (history, theory, criticism, and composition).  Regardless of focus, all majors begin with a set of basic requirements in musicianship, music history, and music analysis, usually completed during the first two years of study.  Students then move onto more focused coursework in either Music Performance or Musicology/HTCC. Students focusing in Music Performance 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. 

BA In Music Degree Requirements                   45 credits
Basic Requirements                                                                                23 credits
MUSC 139, 140        Piano A and B                                                            2 credits
MUSC 189, 190        Elements and Musicianship 1 and 2                      6 credits
MUSC 226, 227        Music in Western Civilization 1 and 2                    6 credits
MUSC 236, 237        Music Analysis 1 and 2                                             6 credits
MUSC 311                 Twentieth-Century Music                                        3 credits
Additional Music Performance Requirements                                  22 credits
MUSC 160 or 165   Performance Organization                                       8 credits
MUSC 350-355        Intermediate Studio Instruction*                            4 credits
MUSC 450-455        Advanced Studio Instruction                                    4 credits
MUSC ELECTIVE      Selected from MUSC 315 or 330-339                      3 credits
MUSC 359                 Junior Recital                                                               1 credit
MUSC 459                Senior Recital                                                               2 credits
 * 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.
In Depth: Program Design, Course Of Study, & Learning Outcomes

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 is designed to help students achieve specific learning outcomes.


The first year centers around a year-long course in musicianship, with students receiving instruction in basic solfège, harmony, keyboard, and aural skills.  Prospective music majors take Music a (MUSC 189) and Piano a (MUSC 139) in their first semester of study, continuing on to Music b (MUSC 190) and Piano b (MUSC 140) in their second semester.  At the start of their second year, students complete a final practicum (MUSC 213) intended to consolidate their musicianship coursework while also providing a foundation for upper-division and elective tutorials in harmony, composition, jazz harmony, and conducting.  In addition to written mastery of all music theoretical rudiments, learning outcomes for the first-year musicianship course focus on the development of skills for creative expression in music, as well as both practical and informal reasoning skills.  Students completing the first-year course will demonstrate:   

  • An ability to sing and transcribe simple diatonic melodies as well as melodies that modulate to closely related keys  
  • An ability to aurally identify triad and seventh chord quality as well as simple four-part progressions by ear
  • An ability to harmonize a bass line and melody at the piano, on sight, in four-part, functional harmony
  • An ability to write four-part harmony including sequences, cadences, simple chromaticism, and modulations
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.  You can find the learning outcomes for each studio by clicking on the links below (links coming soon!).

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.