2021-2022 Humboldt State University Catalog 
    Jul 02, 2022  
2021-2022 Humboldt State University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Music, B.A.

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Throughout the history of humanity, music has been one of the most universal, essential, and enduring of human endeavors.  Through the study of the art of music, individuals can be empowered to deeply explore, understand, and give form to their own intellectual, emotional, and creative energies and impulses.  The study of music is therefore both an appropriate and an indispensable component of the educational development of university students, serving the mission of Cal Poly Humboldt in unique and powerful ways.

The Music Program accepts and strives to fulfill this charge: that each person participating in the study of music in this program will be able to perceive music in an enlightened, discerning way, respond to the expressive qualities of music with sensitivity and appreciation, and share those perceptions and responses with others through the vocabulary and activities intrinsic to music.

The department is committed to providing quality education directed to individual student needs. Students receive studio instruction in voice, piano, or instruments from highly qualified faculty who are active performers. Quality performance organizations (wind ensemble, symphony, chamber music ensembles, opera workshop, jazz band, vocal jazz ensemble, combos, percussion ensemble, and calypso band) allow study of the finest musical literature. The department is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) 11250 Roger Bacon Dr., Suite 21, Reston, VI, 20190-5248, 703- 437-0700.

The music complex features a 227-seat recital hall, a smart classroom, many practice rooms, computer labs, a tech shop, recording equipment, plus a large inventory of brass, woodwind, and string instruments. Our music library contains one of the most comprehensive collections of chamber music on the West Coast.

Music majors must participate in a performance ensemble each semester. Students who receive a scholarship from the music department must participate in at least two ensembles during each semester in which they receive the award, with one ensemble being assigned by the department. Most large ensembles require an audition, usually signified by IA (Instructor Approval) in the course description. Specific audition requirements are available from the ensemble’s conductor/director.

All those taking studio lessons (majors, minors, nonmajors) will take a jury examination each semester. The complete policy is available from the department.

The music major consists of a 43-unit core (providing foundation courses in music theory, music history, and music performance) and four separate major concentrations. 

  • All entering majors begin in the music studies concentration, emphasizing a liberal arts orientation with a broad view. It involves guided electives, requiring 11 additional units beyond the core, yielding a total of 54 units for the music studies major.
  • The performance concentration requires selection of a performing emphasis area (voice, piano, orchestral instrument, guitar) and a successful audition. A senior recital is required in all areas of emphasis. For students in the piano emphasis and guitar emphasis, a junior recital is also required. The vocal and piano emphases consist of 22 units beyond the core, yielding a total of 65 units for the major. The instrumental emphasis and guitar emphasis both consist of 18 units beyond the core, yielding a total of 61 units for the major.
  • The composition concentration gives a practical background in music composition with an emphasis on the use of music technology. Students must audition to enter this concentration. It requires 18 units beyond the core, yielding a total of 61 units for the major. A senior recital is also required.
  • The music education concentration prepares students to teach music in elementary, middle, and high schools. The department is vitally concerned with providing quality experiences to prepare future music educators. A broad spectrum of course offerings provides opportunities to learn all aspects of music education. Following graduation with a Bachelor of Arts in music education, students may be eligible to enter a professional preparation program leading to a music teaching credential. Students in the music education concentration receive instruction in all instrumental areas, keyboard, and voice. They may choose from a wide variety of performance organizations - wind ensemble, choir, symphony, madrigals, chamber ensembles, opera workshop, jazz band, chorale, vocal jazz ensemble, and jazz combos. The high quality of these ensembles allows students to perform the finest of musical literature from a wide variety of historical eras and musical styles, while observing a conductor’s effective rehearsal techniques that are vital for success as a teacher. Entrance into the music education concentration involves four steps:
  1. Complete an application, including questionnaire, available from the Music Department office.
  2. An audition demonstrating performance skills on the student’s primary instrument or voice.
  3. An interview before a panel of faculty and local practitioners.
  4. A transcript evaluation by the Coordinator of Music Education. Courses are assigned based on the results of this evaluation regardless of courses completed at other institutions.

A bachelor’s degree requires a total of 120 units. For a description of degree requirements to be fulfilled in addition to those listed below for the major, please see “Bachelor’s Degree Requirements ”.

Requirements for the Major (54-74 units)



* See separate list of specific ensemble requirements for each instrument, available from the Music Department.

Concentrations ( 11-32 Units)

Complete one of the following concentrations to fulfill the requirements of the major.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate the ability to hear, identify, read, write, and work conceptually with the elements of music - rhythm, melody, harmony, and structure
  2. Students will demonstrate understanding of a wide selection of musical literature representing principal eras, genres, and cultural sources.
  3. Students will demonstrate ability to perform a wide variety of musical styles in areas appropriate to the student’s needs, interests, and degree path.
  4. Students will demonstrate the ability to write clearly and effectively about music, using appropriate discipline-specific vocabulary.

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