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Let’s take it from the top.

Whatever has ignited your passion for music, you can stoke that fire as a music major in any of four tracks of study: performance, composition and theory, history and criticism, and technology.

As a music major, you’ll get involved and begin playing the moment you arrive on campus. Whether you’re interested in recording technology or hoping to get on stage, you’ll meet and collaborate with innovative professors and peers, benefiting from a liberal arts education that will enable you to create your best music and prepare for work in a variety of musical fields.

Catalog Requirements for:

Why Study Music at Clark?

  • Hone your musicianship in Estabrook Hall’s rehearsal space, recording studio, and practice rooms — or take to the stage in the Traina Center for the Arts’ Razzo Hall.
  • Perform as a member of Clark’s many vocal and instrumental ensembles, including chamber music ensembles, Clark Concert Choir and Chamber Chorus, Jazz Workshop, Concert Band, and the Sinfonia string ensemble.
  • Work closely with renowned faculty mentors who can guide and support your practice.
  • Explore music’s potential to advance social causes, and use your talents to generate political action and social justice — whether by serving at-risk youth in Worcester, or volunteering with a local arts organization.

The Music Path

As you begin to study music at Clark, you’ll take foundational courses that begin to build the intellectual and critical tools you’ll need for advanced work in music performance, theory, history, and technology. As you complete foundational courses, you’ll put your knowledge into action through workshops and seminars, and learn the intellectual, practical, and personal skills that are the hallmark of Clark’s LEEP model of education. In workshop courses, you’ll build “communities of practice” by bringing your developing proficiencies and interests to bear on challenging project-based tasks that require collaboration and integration of skills. For example, in MUSC 225: Jazz and Popular Music Composition and Performance, faculty mentors work with students as composers, performers, critics, and audio engineers to create new compositions from concept to recording.

Private Lessons

Private lessons for nonmajors and majors are offered with or without course credit in several areas. See MUSC 180 – Private Instruction in Instruments and Voice (for credit for majors and minors) and MUSC 018 Private Instruction for Instruments and Voice (noncredit).

Visit the catalog to view courses

Double-Majors and Minors

Clark Visual and Performing Arts Department (V&PA) majors are a motivated, tight-knit group. In fact, many music majors often double-major or complete a minor in another V&PA discipline (art history; media, culture and the artsscreen studies; studio art; or theatre arts), each of which has its own distinct curriculum — and faculty who encourage collaborative work.

Skills you will learn include:

  • Music theory — the study of the practices and possibilities of music
  • Critical thinking and analysis — music composition and music history
  • Collaboration — performance and academic workshops and group projects
  • Technical skills —  audio engineering/sound synthesis studio
  • Leadership — performance groups, academic workshops, and group projects

Robert P. Manero Memorial Music Award
The Robert P. Manero Memorial Music Award was established in 1987 by the Clark University music program in honor of lecturer Robert P. Manero. The awards are given to outstanding seniors in the Visual and Performing Arts Department music program.

Robert. P. Manero Prize for Musical Scholarship
This prize recognizes an outstanding scholarly work written by a Clark undergraduate that addresses music. Any scholarly project that explores music from a historical and/or critical perspective is eligible for consideration. This work may take any form, typically an academic paper written for a course or seminar, but other formats, including electronic publications, are eligible. Possible approaches include music analysis, music history, musicology, cultural studies, music cognition, music in politics, or music as social text. The submissions will be judged on the basis of their depth of research, critical and historical acuity, strength of documentation, and clarity of thought and presentation.

Robert P. Manero Prize for for Musical Creativity
This prize recognizes an outstanding creative project involving music created by a Clark undergraduate. This work may take any form, typically a notated musical composition, a recorded project, an electro-acoustic composition, a multi-media project with a substantial musical component, or a recital performance. The submissions will be judged on the basis of their music quality, the level of technical skill, creativity, and clarity of conception and presentation.

Patricia M. Plamondon Undergraduate Award in Visual and Performing Arts
The Patricia M. Plamondon Award is given to juniors and seniors who have demonstrated their talent in and commitment to the arts and for whom the award will serve to enhance their studies, research, or project-related travel. The award is made annually by a vote of the full-time faculty of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts.

As a music student, you’ll spend a lot of time in the Traina Center for the Arts, which features a recital hall, multimedia center, and resource library, and in Estabrook Hall, which includes rehearsal space, practice rooms, and a recording studio.

During your junior year, you might be accepted into the music honors program. Joining the program means you’ll work closely with a professor to create a thesis or project on a topic of your choice. Examples of recent honors topics are:

  • Thesis: “Just Like ‘Clockwork:’ An Analysis of the Symbolism of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in Anthony Burgess’s and Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange
  • Composition: “Craven angels” for String Quartet; premiered: Razzo Hall, Clark University, QX String

Building your foundation

The Clark Experience

We structure our curriculum around Liberal Education and Effective Practice (LEEP), which connects classroom learning with action through world and workplace experiences.

Learn More

Faculty and Programs in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts