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MUSIC-BA - Music (BA)

Music Undergraduate Matriculated BA - Bachelor of Arts

Program Overview

The Department of Music at Stanford combines music-making with scholarly research in composition, conducting, performance, music history, ethnomusicology, music theory, cognitive science, intermedia, and computer-based technologies.

Departmental activities serve a broad and diverse constituency on campus and in local communities, with abundant courses, concerts, performance opportunities, research projects, workshops, and lectures throughout the year. Ensembles from various world cultures are open to all students: orchestras, jazz and chamber ensembles, taiko, guzheng, steelpan, and several choral groups. Many of the faculty have affiliations with other departments, programs, and interdisciplinary centers, such as Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Art and Art History, German Studies, Neuroscience, Symbolic Systems, Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, and Islamic Studies. Alumni include faculty in universities and conservatories around the world, researchers in the technologies of music and acoustics, members of major orchestras, soloists, chamber musicians, sound artists, composers, and arrangers in contemporary, film, and game music.

The Department of Music offers a Bachelor of Arts in Music. Students can pursue one of eleven possible subplans associated with the major. Eligible students may also be awarded a Bachelor of Arts with Honors. The department also offers a minor in music.

Subplans (concentrations) are offered in eleven areas:

  • Composition

  • Conducting

  • Music, Science, and Technology

  • Musicology and Ethnomusicology

  • Musicology/Ethnomusicology and Performance

  • Performance in Keyboard Studies

  • Performance in String Studies

  • Performance in Vocal Studies

  • Performance in Woodwind, Brass, and Percussion Studies

  • Theory

  • Self-designed concentration

Subplans are declared in Axess and appear on the student’s transcript and diploma. The department website explains Guidelines and application information at Declare a Major. Students should allow more than two years for completion of the major. Students pursuing multiple concentrations must fulfill all the requirements of each and may need more than two years to do so. The undergraduate student services officer in Music must approve requests to declare a concentration.

Suggested Preparation for the Major 

Recommended prerequisites for students without prior experience reading music in standard Western notation. A placement evaluation on the first day of instruction determines the appropriate entry level into music theory coursework.

course - Introduction to Music Theory

course - Intermediate Music Theory

Requirements for the minimum proficiency levels in each instrument for private instruction at Lessons on the department’s website.

Students should allow more than two years for completion of the major, in part because of sequential courses with prerequisite requirements. Early planning is essential for students who plan to double-major, study abroad or pursue any of the concentrations described below. Music majors should attempt to complete sequential courses in the order below.