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Music Courses

Explore the music department's course list and permanent offerings.

Course information found here includes all permanent offerings and is updated regularly whenever Academic Senate approves changes. For historical information, see the Course Catalogs. For actual course availability in any given term, use Course Search in the Portal.


Music lessons (MUSI 010-MUSI 044) are domain 2A and require an additional course fee. Please refer to the Portal for further details.

  • MUSI 010. Composition (.25).

  • MUSI 011. Conducting (.25).

  • MUSI 012. Voice (.25).

  • MUSI 013. Piano (.25).

  • MUSI 015. Harpsichord (.25).

  • MUSI 016. Organ (.25).

  • MUSI 018. Guitar (.25).

  • MUSI 020. Recorder (.25).

  • MUSI 021. Flute (.25).

  • MUSI 022. Oboe (.25).

  • MUSI 023. Clarinet (.25).

  • MUSI 024. Bassoon (.25).

  • MUSI 025. Saxophone (.25).

  • MUSI 026. Introduction to Jazz Improvisation (.25).

  • MUSI 031. Horn (.25).

  • MUSI 032. Trumpet (.25).

  • MUSI 033. Trombone (.25).

  • MUSI 034. Tuba (.25).

  • MUSI 035. Percussion (.25).

  • MUSI 041. Violin (.25).

  • MUSI 042. Viola (.25).

  • MUSI 043. Cello (.25).

  • MUSI 044. Bass (.25).


  • MUSI 051. Beloit College and Community Choir (.25). A large choral ensemble composed of Beloit College students, faculty, staff, and members of the surrounding community. Membership is open to all students, placement hearing by director. (2A)

  • MUSI 055. Chamber Music (.25). Groups are formed each semester in consultation with faculty. Common are string quartets, cello ensemble, and mixed groups of strings and winds, sometimes with piano or harpsichord. Requires 4 members. (2A)

  • MUSI 057. Creative Strings Collective (.25). This innovative string ensemble (violin, viola, cello, bass) breaks into nonconventional genres for strings in addition to performing traditional string orchestra repertoire. The course includes but is not limited to the following styles: bluegrass, blues, classical, jazz, Latin, pop, and tango. Students are encouraged to engage through performance, improvisation and theory with opportunities for arranging and composition. Students need only basic skills on their instrument and an open mind. Neither prior improvisational skills nor theory background are required. Open to all students, placement hearing by director. (2A)

  • MUSI 058. Jazz Ensemble (.25). Program and activities depend on the interests of the participants. Repertoire consists of a variety of styles, including music of the big bands; swing, jazz, and blues. Open to all members of Beloit College. (2A)

  • MUSI 061. Recorder Ensemble (.25). Gives students an opportunity to explore recorder music from the medieval to the modern. Open by consent of instructor. (2A)

  • MUSI 062. Chamber Singers (.25). A select vocal ensemble that performs quality choral literature of all styles and historical periods. The ensemble is devoted to the development of comprehensive musicianship, choral singing, and fundamental musical skills. Membership is open to all students through audition. (2A)

  • MUSI 065. Woodwind Quintet (.25). Group is formed each semester in consultation with faculty. Traditional woodwind instrumentation, performs mostly classical music. (2A)

  • MUSI 066. Wind Ensemble (.25). Consists of students and community members. Performs a large variety of classical and modern music. Open to all students, faculty, staff, and members of the surrounding community. No audition required, placement hearing by director. (2A)

  • MUSI 067. Saxophone Ensemble (.25). Usually a quartet, performs all styles of music from jazz to classical. (2A)

  • MUSI 068. Percussion Ensemble (.25). Open to all percussionists. Experience is desired but not essential. A complete collection of instruments, including all mallet instruments, is available. (2A)

  • MUSI 069. Guitar Ensemble (.25). Group works as a large ensemble and as smaller duos and trios. Mostly classical repertoire, students are encouraged to suggest other genres. (2A)

  • MUSI 074. Improvisation Ensemble (.25). This course is open to all ability levels wishing to study the basics of improvisation. The class is run as a class/rehearsal hybrid. Students learn basic improvisational concepts within a broader musical spectrum and creatively apply this knowledge to their instrument. The class does not focus on any one musical genre but has a definite leaning towards rock, freely improvised music, experimental music, and jazz. Open to all students, placement hearing by director. (2A)

  • MUSI 075. North Atlantic Music Ensemble (.25). North Atlantic Music Ensemble Students learn, play, and perform traditional material from Atlantic Europe (particularly Ireland, Scotland, England, North America, and the Nordic countries). This ensemble is designed to be a forum for creativity, exploration, teamwork, and music performance. As members of this musical community, students learn instrumental and vocal repertoire from these traditions, explore the stylistic differences between them, and gain an understanding of the social conventions that shape these contemporary traditional music scenes. Ensemble members may play a variety of acoustic instruments (including fiddle, flute, and guitar) and sing. (2A) Prerequisite: with the exception of students beginning to learn tin whistle, ensemble members should have at least one year's experience on their instrument.

  • MUSI 076. InterArts Ensemble (.25). This ensemble features collaborative projects among students of all artistic disciplines. Writers, actors, dancers, musicians, visual and multimedia artists, and creative people of all types are encouraged to join. Through collaborative processes marked by experimentation, rigorous inquiry, and thoughtful risk-taking, this work investigates the intersections of different creative modalities, challenging its makers to seek out new expressive dimensions. Members also work together to design the culminating concert or show, which may speak to a chosen theme. Meetings include improvisations, group planning, development and workshopping of pieces, and rehearsals. Students should be ready to stretch within their own disciplines and to experiment with new ones. All styles and skill levels are welcome. Contact the ensemble director for information about how to join. (2A)


  • MUSI 110. Class Piano (.5). This course offers individualized piano instruction in a group setting. Students of all skill levels are welcome, but it is particularly targeted to those with little or no piano background. Reading skills are developed, while also increasing the student¬ís familiarity with basic musical terms and directions. For those students with more extensive background, there is flexibility regarding choice of repertoire to achieve these goals. This is an excellent way to prepare for higher level courses and/or participation in ensembles offered by the music department. This course may be taken twice for credit. (2A)

  • MUSI 150. Music as History and the Histories of Western Music (1). This course, open to all students, examines the idea of Western Art Music as a concept and as an oppressive and liberating institutional/aesthetic/political force. This is not a course that surveys history nor a course on music appreciation. Rather this is a class about music historiography, canon formation, and the institutional, political, and cultural power that can accrue to historical narratives. Students explore the power dynamics that undergird aesthetic, gendered, racial, political, and institutional conceptions of music and music history. We will consider the following questions: How does music relate to the construction of so-called Western civilization? Why are certain styles, musicians, repertoires, practices accepted within the canon and others excluded? Upon what criteria are alternative canonic centers based and what strategies and challenges are involved with writing music histories that challenge dominant narratives? What are the multiple relationships between Western history and theory? What governs the conceptual distinction between music and sound? The viewpoints explored here will also help us understand the specificities inherent in music, often portrayed as universal. (Also listed as Critical Identity Studies 269/History 211.) (5T) Offered each fall semester.

  • MUSI 160. Music Cultures of the World (1). This course introduces students to some of the primary concerns of the field of ethnomusicology, as well as to a sampling of musical genres from North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Through a selection of listenings and readings from music scholarship, anthropology, and critical theory, we consider themes including nationalism, colonialism, identity (race/ethnicity, gender/sexuality, class, etc.), sound/soundscape, and (inter)disciplinarity. (Also listed as Anthropology 160.) (3B) Offered each spring.

  • MUSI 170. Music, Sound, and Theory (1). Open to all students, this course investigates theories of sound and music with a particular focus on the project of listening. Students develop tools to describe what they hear and are introduced to rudimentary concepts of notation, melody, harmony, rhythm, and form within a tradition of Western music. Yet critical listening takes us beyond the notes on the page as we recognize that a given piece of music is shaped by myriad social, political, historical, and aesthetic influences and demands unique listening strategies. Multidisciplinary readings and discussions about musical notation, classical ideals of structure, psychoacoustics, improvisation, musical affect, notions of musical time, and music¬ís intersection with the body, race, gender, and class enable students to think more broadly about systems and structures of sound. (1S) Offered each semester.

  • MUSI 200. Selected Topics in Music (.5, 1). These courses focus on the study of music as examined in light of another discipline and, inversely, how the other discipline can be understood more critically when analyzed through the lens of music. Recently offered examples of topics include Music in the Third Reich, Music and Criticism, Music in Cold Places, Music and Entrepreneurship, and Music and Authenticity. Offered each semester.

  • MUSI 250. Selected Topics in Sound Studies (1). These courses explores various topics in sound studies and composition. Possible topics include harmony and counterpoint, soundscapes, music and shape, computer music, songwriting, recording and editing techniques, improvisation, the physics of music, or music and cognition. Prerequisite: Music 170 or consent of instructor. Offered each semester.

  • MUSI 251. Topics in Music Composition (1). Investigating unique approaches to creating music, this course includes topics such as an Introduction to Music Composition, Song-Writing, Experiments in Musical Notation, Arranging, and Advanced Harmony and Composition. No prior experience in composition is required though students should have facility with at least one musical medium including an instrument/voice, electronic music, and/or musical notation. Class meetings incorporate discussion, analysis, listening, and workshopping of works in progress. Additional one-on-one meetings are periodically scheduled. A culminating concert features original works by each student. May be repeated for credit if topic is different. Prerequisite: Music 170 or consent of instructor.

  • MUSI 260. Introduction to Recording and Editing Techniques (1). This course instructs students in the rudimentary techniques of sound recording. The course offers students the opportunity to explore the many different techniques of recording, both live and in studio. Aside from recording techniques, the course also offers the student techniques in editing. (2A) Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of instructor.

  • MUSI 270. Music Theory in Practice (1). A continuation of MUSI 170 for music students who seek to improve their facility with harmony, notation, score-reading, analysis, arranging, and musicianship skills, this course integrates music theory and musical practice. Students apply techniques from 16th-century counterpoint and tonal harmony through model compositions and original arrangements, ranging from the style of Palestrina to contemporary popular music. Theoretical concepts are exercised through the rigorous practice of musicianship skills, including sight-singing, dictation, and keyboard harmony. Workload includes weekly written assignments and projects in analysis and composing/arranging; regular independent skills practice is essential to prepare for musicianship tests. Students should have some facility with an instrument and/or voice. Prior keyboard experience is not required. (1S) Prerequisite: MUSI 170, placement test, or permission of instructor.

  • MUSI 300. Music as a Creative Practice (1). This course allows students to synthesize materials and ideas from their previous three years as they create the foundation for a final creative project (e.g. research paper, composition, performance, sound recording, etc.). Under the guidance of multiple faculty, students are required to present their work regularly and, in particular, learn how to sell, persuade, and share with colleagues from different backgrounds the significance of their central argument, interpretation, or musical vision. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing and consent of instructor. Offered each fall.

  • MUSI 351. Senior Recital/Project (.5, 1). This course provides a culminating experience in any area of music study. Students will work in close consultation with a music faculty advisor; they will be given the opportunity to experience musical scholarship through original research, preparation of performance, or original composition. Prerequisite: senior standing and consent of instructor.

  • MUSI 390. Special Projects (.25 - 1). Individual work outside the scope of the regular course offerings of the music department. Prerequisite: sophomore standing.

  • MUSI 395. Teaching Assistant (.5). Work with faculty in classroom instruction. Graded credit/no credit.