Course Descriptions

A list of all Undergraduate courses in Music.

10 Rock to Bach: Introduction to Music
Students in this class cultivate the ability to listen more deeply. They study the evolution of classical music, jazz, blues and early rock through exposure to more than three dozen composers — from Bach to Miles Davis to Little Richard. This course satisfies the Artistic Understanding (Analysis) requirement of the Core Curriculum.

11 Music Fundamentals
Students learn to read musical notation and study the basic construction of music through scales, key signatures, chords, and the relationship between melody and harmony.

12 Applied Music (.25)
We offer group instruction on a variety of instruments including voice. Open to music and non-music majors/minors. These courses satisfy the Artistic Understanding (Creative Practice) requirement of the Core Curriculum.

 

Applied Music in Group Instruction:

Beginning Guitar
Beginning Guitar introduces students to fundamental guitar techniques with an emphasis on reading and performing as a soloist and in an ensemble. Classical and folk styles include basic single note melodies, scales, arpeggio patterns, and chords.

Intermediate Guitar

Continued study of guitar techniques, chords, scales, music-reading, and solo/ensemble performance, plus individualized repertoire depending on abilities.

 

Beginning Piano

This course provides a basic knowledge of the keyboard, music-reading skills, rhythmic development, and piano technique. Topics include an introduction into simple transposition, improvisation, and composition. Class time is composed of group time and individual time and culminates with in class performances of beginning level repertoire.

 

Intermediate Piano

This class covers more advanced reading of music notation, rhythmic development, piano technique and mastery of intermediate repertoire. The skills of sight-reading, transposition, improvisation, and harmonization are explored in more detail. Class time is composed of group time and individual time and culminates with in class performances of intermediate level repertoire. Perquisite: Beginning piano or permission of the instructor.

 

Beginning Voice

This course focuses on foundational vocal technique (posture, breath-support, diction, resonance, projection) and the art of performance (expressive communication of the lyrics, and confidence in presentation). Repertoire focuses on beginning level classical and folk songs performed as a group and as soloist in class.

 

Intermediate Voice

This course explores with more depth the foundational vocal technique (posture, breath-support, diction, resonance, projection) and the art of performance (expressive communication of the lyrics, and confidence in presentation). Repertoire focuses on intermediate level classical and folk songs performed in class primarily as a soloist.

 

112 Private Music Instruction Lab (.25)

Private instruction is offered for most orchestral instruments, piano, voice, classical or jazz guitar/bass, and includes participation in a weekly music instruction lab (masterclass). Concurrent participation in a performing ensemble (Perfa 19) is required; non-music majors may take lessons only if concurrently enrolled in an ensemble. May be repeated for credit every semester. This course satisfies the Artistic Understanding (Creative Practice) requirements of the Core Curriculum.

 

14 World Music and Dance
A survey of music and dance from China, Japan, India, Indonesia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Native American culture.  This course satisfies both of the Artistic Understanding (Analysis and Creative Practice) requirements of the Core Curriculum.

 

18  Lyric Diction. This course explores pronunciation and articulation that enables vocalists to realize discernable and rhetorically expressive singing (and acting) in four different languages (English, German, Italian, and French). Study focuses on learning and utilizing The International Phonetic Alphabet (a universal phonetic alphabet) to express musical lyrics from classical music repertoire. Mostly conceived for vocal music majors or minors, the course is open to students who have some experience and interest in singing classical solo or choral music. Offered in the fall on odd-numbered years.

 

19 Performing Ensembles (.25) May be repeated for credit every semester. All performing ensemble courses satisfy the Artistic Understanding (Creative Practice) requirements of the Core Curriculum.

Glee Club. This ensemble focuses on developing intermediate-advanced ensemble musicianship and artistry in performance of mostly a cappella choral arrangements in contemporary music styles (pop, jazz, funk, rock, etc.). Study includes vocal technique, diction, movement, rhythmic development, and the discernment of intervals, complex harmonies, and modes.  Performs 5-8 times each semester, participates in festivals and competitions, and tours regionally and internationally. Admitted by audition. Suggested pre-requisites: Beginning and Intermediate Voice, Beginning Piano, Extreme Musicianship, Music Fundamentals. For more info see stmaryscollegechoirs.blogspot.com.

 

Chamber Singers. This ensemble focuses on developing advanced ensemble musicianship and artistry in performance, with classic choral repertoire spanning the centuries in a variety of languages. Study includes vocal technique, diction, movement, rhythmic development, and the discernment of intervals, complex harmonies, and modes.  Performs 5-8 times each semester, participates in festivals and competitions, and occasionally tours regionally and internationally. Admitted by audition, with concurrent enrollment in Glee Club required. Suggested pre-requisites: Beginning and Intermediate Voice, Beginning Piano, Extreme Musicianship, Music Fundamentals. For more info see stmaryscollegechoirs.blogspot.com.

 

Jazz Band. This widely acclaimed ensemble prepares charts from a wide variety of jazz styles with a focus on developing musicianship and artistry. The group performances 4-5 each semester with some off campus activity including participating in festivals. Although non-audition, experience is preferred.

 

Chamber Musicians. This group includes players of most orchestral instruments organized into a variety of small ensembles (ranging in size from duos to quintets), with each student playing one-on-a-part.  Study focuses on developing technical, musical, and expressive skills as students also hone their ability to be communicative and responsive in small group settings. Performs 3-4 times each semester on campus. Admitted by audition.

Orchestra. St. Mary’s students with experience on orchestral instruments are invited to play (and earn course credit) as part of the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra - the resident chamber orchestra for the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek. The orchestra performs the great canon of classical orchestral repertoire 2-3 times each semester. SMC students arrange carpools together to attend weekly, off-campus rehearsals. In the course of the year, the orchestra presents five concerts concerts at the Lesher and also the beautiful El Campanil Theatre in Antioch. Admitted by audition.

Wind Symphony. St. Mary’s students who are experienced players of wind, brass, and percussion instruments are invited to play (and earn course credit) as part of the dynamic  Diablo Wind  Symphony, which is made up of 46 outstanding high school and college musicians in the area. SMC students arrange carpools together to attend weekly, off-campus rehearsals. The ensemble presents two concerts (at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, and the theaters of Los Medanos College and Campolindo High School ).  Admitted by audition.

110 Medieval and Renaissance Music (.5)
An examination of various aspects of music from the Middle Ages through the 16th century, with a focus on musical forms, vocal and instrumental technique, and performance contexts.

 

111 Music and Romanticism
The evolution of symphony, concerto, opera, solo repertoire, and other nineteenth-century musical

developments are examined through the major works of Beethoven, Berlioz, Chopin, Brahms, Wagner, Mahler, Dvorak, and other composers. All the music is examined through the lens of Romanticism, a cultural movement that swept through the entire nineteenth century and

informed all the arts. This course satisfies the Artistic Understanding (Analysis) requirement of the Core Curriculum.

 

113 Jazz and Blues in America
An examination of the development of jazz and blues in the United States from 19th-century precursors to the present. Major artists and trends are studied through directed listening and analysis of the cultural context from which they arose. This course satisfies the Artistic Understanding (Analysis) requirement and the American Diversity requirement of the Core Curriculum.

114 Music Theory/Ear Training
Students learn basic principles of harmony (chords) and voice-leading, improve their music-reading skills, learn how to notate simple melodies, and identify types of chords and intervals by ear. Ability to read music is required before enrolling in this class. Concurrent enrollment in 114L Lab (.25) is required. Prerequisite: Perfa 11 or permission of instructor.

115 Music in Performance
This course emphasizes the history and aesthetics of music by attending live concerts throughout the Bay Area. Students hear music from all historical periods performed by outstanding orchestras, chamber ensembles, and soloists in a variety of concert halls. Prerequisite: Performing Arts 1.

116 Keyboard Harmony (.25) Oriented for music majors and other advanced musicians, keyboard Harmony teaches students to apply their knowledge of music theory to the keyboard. They learn to play common chord progressions and accompaniment patterns in all twenty-four major and minor keys, and are introduced to open score reading (such as playing a choral or string quartet score), and learning to transpose easy melodies at sight into various keys.

117 Form and Analysis
Combines the study of chromatic harmony with analysis of scores to determine the unity of form and content in selected compositions: e.g., a Bach fugue, a Mozart concerto, a Brahms symphony, a 20th-century atonal work. Concurrent enrollment in 114L Lab (.25) is required. Prerequisites: Perfa 114. This course satisfies the Artistic Understanding (Analysis) requirement of the Core Curriculum.

118 Twentieth-Century Composers
Students will become familiar with the 20th century’s most important classical music composers such as Stravinsky, Bartok, Copland, Debussy and Cage, as well as the music and aesthetics of living composers. This course satisfies the Artistic Understanding (Analysis) requirement of the Core Curriculum.

119 Music and the Enlightenment (.5)
This course examines the evolution of opera, fugue, symphony, and other forms through the works of Bach, Handel, Mozart, Beethoven and other composers. It explores how the intellectual and political values of the 17th and 18th centuries were conveyed through music.

121 Conducting 

Students build skills that allow you to take on the role of conductor in a variety of settings. Study focuses on gestural language (conducting patterns) and interpretation of 4-part musical scores.  Analytical skills required: students should have strong music-reading skills including the ability to  decipher melody, harmony, form, timbre/articulation, tempo/character, and phrasing with the intention of making interpretative decisions. Offered in the fall on even-numbered years.

DEPARTMENTAL

1 Perceiving the Performing Arts
Professional artists in the fields of dance, music and theatre introduce students to the fundamental concepts of their respective disciplines. Students go to Bay Area performances in each art form studied. Team taught.

142 Performing Arts in Production (.5 or 1.0)
Either half or full course credit is available for participation in the technical aspects of a Performing Arts departmental production: elements of stagecraft, costuming, marketing, front of house, etc. Required for Technical Theatre and Design majors, and Theatre minors, but open to all interested students. 
*Does not satisfy an Area requirement.

160 Special Topics in Performing Arts
Offered every other year, this course covers in-depth a specific aspect of the performing arts only touched on in other courses.  Rotating topics include: African-American Dance, Great Composers, American Musicals, Dance and Film, Theatre and Social Justice, and Directing for the Stage, among others. Although this upper-division course is open to all interested students without prerequisites, prior completion of Performing Arts 1 is strongly recommended.

197 Special Study
An independent study, internship or research course for students whose needs are not met by the regular course offerings of the department. Permission of the chair and instructor required.

198 Senior Project
During their senior year, majors in dance, music or theatre, under the supervision of a faculty member, are required to develop a project that demonstrates their expertise and creativity. The project may take the form of a solo performance, involvement with a performing arts group off campus, a substantive essay, or directing / designing / choreographing a student production. Written proposal must be approved by the appropriate program director prior to registration for the academic year in which the project will occur. Prerequisite: Completion of all lower-division major courses.