Music Majors, Minors, and SIPs

Majoring or Minoring in Music

Ideally, exploration in the department – whether through ensembles, applied music lessons, or academic classroom work – should start early, in the first year. Students anticipating, or even considering, a major or minor in Music should plan to complete the prerequisite course, MUSC 105: Introduction to Music, winter quarter of their freshman year (preferable), but no later than winter of their sophomore year. (Students with previous experience in music theory may consider completing the MUSC 105 requirement by testing out of it; please contact Professor Bothwell for more information.) In the winter of your Sophomore year, all students can officially declare their major and/or minor at a campus event called Declaration of Major Day; outside of this event, one may also declare his/her major by filling out the following form with the College Registrar.

Music Majors are highly encouraged to select a member of the Department faculty as an Academic Advisor; Double Majors or Minors are also welcome to do this, or may simply choose to meet with Department faculty on a less formal basis. Either way, Music faculty can assist in music course selection and scheduling of classes, answer questions regarding the major/minor, and review career objectives.

The full requirements for the Music major or minor can be found in the College course catalogue. The courses therein are offered annually and biannually at the times and quarters listed here. Please note that in addition to this standard coursework, Majors are expected to complete a Comprehensive Exam (which takes place as part of the Senior Seminar, a required course), as well as demonstrate aural skills and piano proficiency, accomplished through labs attached to the courses in the theory sequence.


For general information about Senior Individualized Project (SIP) please see the Academic Catalog.

Majors and minors are not required to complete their SIP in the Department. However, students who plan advanced music studies in graduate school or who aspire to professional careers are advised to plan a senior recital, internship, or research project in close consultation with Department faculty. The Department does not usually consider a student for honors in the major unless a SIP has been completed in the Department (see below for exceptions and details). Majors or non-majors considering a SIP in the Department must have SIP proposals approved by the faculty prior to beginning work. Approval is based upon feasibility of the project in light of the student’s previous college level training in music. After securing a SIP advisor who will oversee the project, a formal SIP proposal must be submitted to the Department SIP Coordinator, Dr. Evans (x7414, by the end of 8th week of the student's junior spring.  Further information, as well as the SIP proposal form, is available in Guidelines and Proposal for the SIP in Music.

SIPs are given grades of either honors, credit, or no credit.  SIP faculty advisors who feel their student advisee has done exceptional work may nominate him or her for honors, which must then be confirmed by a majority of the full-time music faculty.  

Honors and Prizes at Graduation

At commencement, Honors in the Major will be awarded to those students who have successfully completed all degree requirements and additionally earned at least 5 points through the following outstanding achievements:

Completed a successful SIP in the music department, or a successful senior recital of similar scope (1 point)
Completed an honors SIP in the music department (2 points)
Earned a grade of A- on the comprehensive exam, the integrative project that concludes the senior seminar (1 point)
Earned a grade of A on the comprehensive exam, the integrative project that concludes the senior seminar (2 points)
Maintained a GPA of 3.67 or higher in departmental coursework (1 point)
Obtained no grade lower than an A- in any departmental coursework (2 points)

Should any of the information in the categories above be not yet fully gathered by the time Honors in the Major determinations must be submitted, a projected estimate of the final result, based on existing progress, may be used in its place.

At both Honors Day Convocation and Commencement, Majors, Minors, and other students who have engaged significantly in the musical life of the College are eligible for Music Department Prizes, which carry with them variable cash awards and include:

Lillian Pringle Baldauf Prize: awarded to an outstanding music student.

Fan E. Sherwood Memorial Prize: awarded for outstanding progress and ability on an orchestral stringed instrument. 

Margaret Upton Prize in Music: provided by the Women's Council of Kalamazoo College, awarded to a student designated by the music department faculty as having made significant achievement in music.