The Department of Music at Lafayette College is committed to the study of music as an important element of a truly excellent liberal arts education.

A primary goal is to offer students—regardless of their major field of study and whatever their career goals might be—the opportunity and means to experience music emotionally and intellectually. We address this goal with an interdisciplinary studies approach by offering a wide variety of courses in the four principal areas of music—music history and literature, music theory and analysis, performance, and composition. These courses and performance activities provide our students with a solid foundation in these traditional areas of music study. We encourage students to pursue their individual musical interests and to explore and enjoy music in its infinite variety to whatever extent they are capable.


Many students develop their own course of study, and truly exceptional students are encouraged to participate in the development and implementation of the music program by assisting in classes, the electronic music lab, and ensembles. The world of professional music is extremely competitive today, but interesting and rewarding opportunities do exist for those with the motivation, talent, and preparation to succeed.

While Lafayette is not a “professional music school” in the strictest sense of the term, students with a strong interest in music may choose the bachelor of arts degree in music or elect a minor in music. Both curricula can lead to a career in music, and, when combined with other interests or majors, open up a wealth of music-related career opportunities, such as music journalism, arts management, recording engineering, arts medicine, or music therapy. Many former students have continued to realize their potential in graduate school, the performing world, and a host of rewarding careers involving music.

We are dedicated to providing a wide variety of musical experiences for all interested students. We strongly encourage everyone to continue to build upon previous musical experiences and to develop new ones. We offer numerous opportunities to perform (choir, jazz ensemble, wind and string ensembles, percussion, or world music), to compose, to study music in a historical context, and to explore music technology. Interested singers and instrumentalists also have the opportunity to study privately with some of the finest artist-teachers anywhere, from beginning through advanced levels. The curriculum includes offerings in theory, performance, composition, history, literature, and criticism. In addition to the more traditional offerings, students can explore jazz styles, world music traditions (Africa, China, Japan, India, Indonesia), and electronic composition.

Vocal music

Requirements for the Major

Music 103, 121, 201, 222, 323, one course in Twentieth Century and contemporary music (satisfied by either Music 202 or 324), one elective in musicology at or above the 300 level, a capstone senior project/thesis (Music 491/495), four semesters of Applied Music lessons (Music 141), four semesters of approved ensemble participation, and demonstrated piano proficiency.

Requirements for the Minor

Music 103, 121, 201, 222, one additional music course (200 level or above), two semesters of Applied Music lessons (Music 141), two semesters of approved ensemble participation, and demonstrated piano proficiency.

See the Music Department chair for ensemble and piano proficiency guidelines.