Our Program and Courses
You can major or minor in music at F&M. Our courses explore multiple genres — including jazz, global popular music, and more — and dive into music history and culture, theory and composition, and performance and conducting.
A major in music is designed to allow you — no matter your musical background — to thrive and carve your own individual path. The majority of our courses are open to students with no formal background in music, but there are many academic and performance opportunities for those with a musical background. You can perform with your talented peers in our ensembles and take private vocal or instrumental lessons with our highly renowned professors. The grand finale of your F&M music experience is a recital, research project, or creative project of your choosing.
By the time you graduate, you will have:
- Become proficient in recognizing and performing many styles and genres of music from throughout the world
- Gained a comprehensive understanding of music theory: melody, harmony, rhythm, and form
- Developed competence in speaking and writing about music
- Become proficient in musical composition
- Gained competency in ear-training by way of sight-singing and melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic dictation
- Developed skill with a variety of music analytical techniques and practices
- Built an understanding of performance protocols and stage etiquette
- Honed your technical skill and expressive capacity as a solo and ensemble performer
- Developed competence in working with primary and secondary source materials (i.e.
Wondering what music courses are like? Take a look at our course catalog to explore what classes you can expect to sample.
Our Faculty and Staff
Adjunct Instructor, TrumpetContact »
Adjunct Assistant ProfessorContact »
Artist-in-Residence, Senior Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music, Clarinet, Chamber Music CoordinatorContact »
Senior Director of Instrumental Music & Conducting Studies and Senior Teaching Professor of MusicContact »
Adjunct Assistant ProfessorContact »
Choral Conductor and Senior Teaching Professor of Music, Associate Department Chair of MusicContact »
Learning Outside the Classroom
Studying music at F&M is deeply rooted in electives outside the classroom. With music ensembles, studio lessons, and research and study-abroad opportunities, you’ll develop your natural talent and skill and gain deeper understanding in an area that most intrigues you.
Do you dream of conducting an orchestra that’s performing your original composition? Or maybe you feel a pull toward the history of music and want to venture deeper by researching musical archives. You won’t have to wait until graduate school to dive in. Every student at F&M has extraordinary opportunities to engage in independent or faculty-led research.
The music department offers research funds through F&M’s own Nolt Music Award, which
is awarded to students undertaking musically enriching projects.
Explore research at F&M
Off-campus study, in the U.S. and internationally, is encouraged. Our students have
studied abroad in Italy, England, Austria, Australia, and more.
Explore off-campus study at F&M
Competitions, Contests, and Awards
In addition to all of the opportunities above, the music department also offers:
- Solo and concerto competitions for singers and instrumentalists
- Music composition contests
- Senior recitals
- Achievement awards via honors in music
- The Adams & Gustafson Music Achievement Award, a financial award offered to rising sophomores who have shown distinction and exhibit potential in their music studies.
Lessons are available for a fee and for 100- and 200-level course credit. A fee waiver is available for eligible students.
If you major in music, you’re encouraged to participate in one of the College’s many instrumental or choral ensembles. By doing so, you’ll not only enjoy extraordinary artistic opportunities each semester, but develop an appreciation of the creative endeavor related to music and musical performance.
The Ann & Richard Barshinger Center provides a world-class concert hall to serve as the centerpiece of F&M’s thriving music program. Adjoining the Barshinger Center is Meyran Hall, a building that serves as home for the music department, as well as others. Our concert hall features an expanded stage designed to handle a full 70-piece orchestra or a full chorus with up to 135 performers. Seating accommodates just over 500, all with a first-rate view of the stage. The elegant setting was designed by a team that led the centennial renovations of Boston’s Symphony Hall, and the acoustics were designed by one of the world’s leading acousticians, creating an acoustically vibrant atmosphere.
Success Beyond F&M
Many of our students complete a major or minor in music even if they do not intend to embark on a career in music. The writing, analytical, critical thinking, and creative skills you gain by studying music in F&M’s liberal arts environment can play a pivotal role in your post-college plans.
It’s not uncommon for F&M music majors to study in graduate programs in the U.S. and abroad. Students who have graduated with degrees in music have gone on to doctoral programs in musicology, ethnomusicology, and composition.
Music graduates are prepared for a wide array of careers. They’ve built successful careers in performance and the music industry, and have also gone on to careers in medicine, law, and more. They hold positions such as:
- Music Department Chair
- Associate Professor of Music
- Music Teacher
- Orchestra Director
- Music Director
- Audio Visual Technician
- Producer & Engineer
- Private Instrument Instructor
- Freelance Musician
They also land in many positions seemingly unrelated to music, including:
- Director of Marketing
- Law Partner
- Associate Attorney
- Research Technician
- Associate Scientist
- Director of National Accounts
- Senior Development Manager
Live at Barshinger Center
Ready to immerse yourself in music at F&M? When available, you can tune into live concerts at the Ann & Richard Barshinger Center, our world-class concert hall. You can also watch recorded concerts from previous academic years.Watch now »
If you plan to study or engage in music at F&M, you can further personalize your application
showcasing your musical prowess.
Student Life Spotlight
“Keeping music in my life was important because it’s something that I think really
unifies people.”F&M’s four a cappella groups bring together Diplomats from various majors who share
a love of music. “Keeping music in my life was important because it’s something that
I think really unifies people,” said Brianna Herrera ’24, president of Kite & Keys,
an a cappella group for women and gender minorities. Four a cappella groups at one
school may seem unusual, but students say their support of each other and the campus
enthusiasm for their performances creates a robust a cappella culture. “I think it’s
important to know that all of us really work together,” said Herrera. “Where you would
expect competition, instead you see people holding each other up.”
Read More »
“I think making music together is one of the best things we can do as human beings.”We sat down with Matthew Butterfield, professor of music and Department of Music chair,
to ask him about teaching and learning, his research, his time as a College House
don, and what motivated him to launch F&M Idol, an all-campus singing competition
Read More »
Special Application Opportunities for Musicians
If you plan to study or engage in music at F&M, you can further personalize your application showcasing your musical prowess.Learn more »
Related Fields of Study
Engage with the oldest multifaceted major at F&M. As a student of American Studies, you’ll enjoy a true liberal arts experience, exploring several disciplines to develop analytical skills and critical judgment and to examine the range and diversity of American experiences, identities and communities.
Arts for Social Change (Certificate)
This certificate will help you deepen your understanding of the arts as mediums for impacting culture, community, politics, education, and more. Arts for Social Change spans F&M’s dynamic arts disciplines, uniting the ethos of community-building with artistic practice that foregrounds innovation and action.
Thrive in one of the oldest art forms in the world, and discover how global traditions permeate today. By studying theatre at F&M, you’ll explore the intersection of theory and performance; engage in craft, creativity, and critical thinking; and discover the importance of each role in production, developing a deep understanding that there truly are no small parts.
F&M Music in the Spotlight
December 8, 2023
Students Find Community Through A Cappella Groups
F&M students find community, creative expression, and personal growth through music in student-led a cappella groups.
November 10, 2023
5 Questions with Matthew Butterfield, F&M Professor of Music and Chair of the Department of Music
Music Professor Matthew Butterfield talks teaching and learning, his research, and what motivated him to launch F&M Idol, an all-campus singing competition for students.
May 23, 2023
'97 Alum Reconnects with A Cappella Roots
By the time they graduate, many Franklin & Marshall College students have a favorite place on campus. For music producer Ed Chung '97, room B-11 in the Steinman College Center meant so much to him that he named his business after it. Chung, who majored in music, spent countless hours rehearsing in B-11 with The Poor Richards, F&M's oldest a cappella group. He now owns the production company B-11 Entertainment and recently returned to campus to produce an album with current students.