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Music Overview

Performer • Private Music Instructor/Coach • Church Organist/ Pianist/Vocalist • Music Director • Arranger/Composer/ Songwriter • Community Music Teacher • Ensemble Conductor/ Director • Studio Musician


The Department of Music offers undergraduate programs designed to prepare students for professional careers in the field of music. It also provides introductory and general music courses for students majoring in other disciplines. The music department strives to help its students develop: competence in music by connecting musical knowledge to active performance practices; commitment through the discipline required to develop each musical talent; and compassion through an awareness of the uniqueness of each musical gift and the impact it may have on others. As a student in the music department, you will have intensive, interactive engagement between music coursework, repertoire, and performance, which emphasizes both specific concentrations and general musical study. Courses are offered in the areas of applied music (group and individual lessons), music literacy (theory and aural skills), music history and literature, music education methods and techniques, sacred music, pedagogy (teaching of studio piano and/or voice), performance ensembles (chorale, lyric theatre, and handbells), and guided field experience.

The offices, rehearsal studios and classrooms of the music department are located in a renovated wing of the Madame Cadillac building. Our department facilities also include a beautiful, stained-glass Recital Hall; an electronic keyboard lab; a MIDI computer lab; a smart classroom; a music lounge, and a peer-mentoring study room. Performances may also take place in Denk Chapman Hall, which houses a historic 1891 Steinway Grand; the elegant Alumnae Hall; the 400-seat Marygrove Theatre; and Sacred Heart Chapel, which features a 1928 three-manual 40 rank Casavant pipe organ.

The Marygrove Department of Music provides talented and motivated students with a challenging and supportive music program. We are committed to helping our students achieve excellence by learning to integrate musical knowledge and skills into their own unique musical gifts – so that each student may become a well-informed and expressive musician. In addition to a high quality musical education and performing arts environment, the Marygrove Department of Music also strives to provide students with opportunities to develop crucial professional, critical thinking, leadership, and communication skills for lifelong learning.

Objectives towards these goals:

  • Teaching excellence among the faculty; and
    encouragement for excellence among the students.
  • Integration of music subjects (i.e., theory, history,
    and performance) into musical practices so that each
    student understands the value of competency and
    literacy in musicianship.
  • Emphasis on connecting students to performance
    opportunities (studio classes, departmental recitals,
    concerts, and collaborations both on- and off-campus).
  • Emphasis on active attendance and participation at
    workshops, master classes and concerts held both
    on the Marygrove campus and around the metro-
    Detroit area.
  • Infusion of cultural and musical diversity throughout
    the curriculum.
  • Exploration of musicianship as leadership, selfexpression,
    civic awareness, and community
  • Commitment to authentic and reflective assessment practices.
  • Commitment to authentic and reflective
    assessment practices.

The Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in music is designed for students who wish to have a major in music which is less specialized and allows for a broader experience in the liberal arts. In the B.A. program, besides your general education courses, you will take approximately 52 music credits, which allows for approximately 25 credits in other liberal arts studies. Often, students will combine a complimentary second interest into their music major (e.g. dance, theatre, psychology, education, religious studies, literature, business). Due to the integrated nature of the discipline, a minor is not required for Bachelor of Arts students with a music major. Students may, however, choose to complete a minor in another field if desired.

The Bachelor of Music degree is a highly specialized program requiring approximately 74-80 credit hours in music. In this program, students engage in coursework, rehearsals, and performance opportunities to develop the skills, discipline, and understanding essential for a professional musician. As a Bachelor of Music student, you may select from these areas of performance concentration: voice, piano, guitar, or organ. Due to the integrated nature of the disciplines studied for the degree, a minor is not required for Bachelor of Music students. Students may, however, choose to complete a minor in another field if desired.

The Minor in Music is available for students majoring in other college disciplines. Students may pursue a music minor to develop knowledge and skills that complement their major area of study, or to simply enhance their own understanding and enjoyment of music in their lives. If you minor in music, you will take a minimum of 24 credit hours that combine comprehensive music courses (e.g. music literacy, history) with specialized study in performance (e.g. private lessons, ensembles).

The Minor in Fine Arts, a 24-hour group minor, is selected from at least three of the following areas: art, art history, music, theater, and dance, and provides you with the opportunity to experience the arts in a larger, collective sense. It works well with the humanities, modern languages, history, and a major in any of the arts.

Admission/Major Standing

Some degree of ability and prior experience is typically expected for admission into a specialized arts degree, such as music. Students then develop and enhance natural musical abilities with professional, technical and artistic skills and knowledge gained through coursework, coachings, master classes, rehearsals, and performances in the degree curriculum. With the amount of time and dedication required, a music degree may not be for everyone. Our goal is to help our future graduates succeed as practitioners in their careers after graduation. Professional musicians do not rely on natural talent alone – it is the combination of talent and hard work which makes the difference in developing professional musicianship and highly expressive musicality. To help ensure our students gain what they need through our program, we have designed a four-step assessment process from entrance to graduation. Students who wish to enter the Music Department must request an audition. You must have an application on file before auditioning with the department. Formal admission to the Music department is also required, typically in the Sophomore year.

Step 1: Entry into the Program
If you have been admitted to the College and wish to major in music, you must contact the music department to arrange for an interview with the music department faculty. At your interview, you will meet with one or more Marygrove music faculty members, and discuss your interest in our program.

During your interview, you will be asked to

    1. Tell us about your musical background and future career goals in music.

    2. Perform two selections of your choice with your instrument (e.g. voice, piano, guitar, organ)

You will also be able to ask questions to see if a Marygrove music degree is a good fit for you. If you have any experience in music reading, you may be asked to take a music theory placement test to examine your abilities in reading, writing. and analyzing written music. This assessment allows us to determine which theory course would be most appropriate for your current level of knowledge. If you have experience in piano playing, you may also choose to demonstrate your abilities at this time. A formal audition is only required for students who wish to be considered for a Talent Scholarship [see below].

Step 2: Prep Standing
The first year of coursework allows our students to explore formal musical learning and for our faculty to assist strengths and needs of individuals. These are preparatory classes, which assist incoming students with the foundations of music reading and technical skills required for the core music curriculum. All music courses are proficiency-based and must each be completed with no grade less than a C. Completion of the course work with B- grades may not grant admission to premajor status. Students may be required to demonstrate skills learned and/or to complete additional coursework prior to acceptance to pre-major standing. If the faculty determines a student lacks significant improvement in musical skills and knowledge, or commitment to the field, he/she may not be allowed to continue in the major.

Step 3: Pre-Major Standing (2nd year)
To maintain Pre-Major Standing, a student must:

  • Maintain an overall grade point average of 2.7 in music courses (with no grade less than a C)
  • Successfully complete juries for each semester of private applied study
  • Actively attend and/or perform in studio classes, recitals, master classes, workshops and collaborative performances with outside musical groups. Specific attendance requirements are defined for each semester.

Courses in pre-major standing prepare the student for the Major Approval process. During the sophomore year, each student will apply for official major standing in their selected degree program. Acceptance will be determined following: an evaluation of completed music course work, assessment of sight-reading ability, demonstration of technical and expression proficiency on applied instrument, a personal career goal statement and an interview with the faculty. If the faculty determines a student has not developed a certain level of musical skills and knowledge, or does not demonstrate commitment to the field, he/she may not be allowed to continue in the major.

Step 4: Major Standing (3rd and 4th years)
To maintain Major Standing, a student must:

  • Maintain an overall grade point average of 2.7 in music courses (with no grade less than a C)
  • Successfully complete juries for each semester of private applied study
  • Actively attend and/or perform in studio classes, recitals, master classes, workshops and collaborative performances with outside musical groups. Specific attendance requirements are defined for each semester.

Once a student has been approved for major standing, he/she may begin preparations for the development of the capstone project (MUS 496). Students should speak to their advisor for specific information on the capstone.

Distinguished Student Awards
These are given to students with a minimum grade point average of 2.7, who demonstrate outstanding talent in music. Interested students must complete the Distinguished Music Student Award application and schedule a formal audition and interview with the music department. Awards are given on the recommendation of the music faculty.

Talent Awards
Talent scholarships are available to incoming students, both first-time and transfer students. They may be renewed for up to five years for first-time students, and up to three years for transfer students (provided departmental requirements are maintained – see music department handbook for details). Scholarship awards are based on an audition and interview, which must be completed prior to the first semester of classes. For details or to schedule an audition, please contact: Ellen Duncan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (313) 927-1254

Academic Performance
Only classes with a grade of C or better can be applied to the fulfilment of a music major. Students must also have a 2.7 GPA in their major coursework to earn a degree with a music major.

Professional Experience
Seniors majoring in music may earn credit for work done in music outside of class in such areas as accompanying, church choir conducting, organ playing in church, piano teaching, etc. under the course title Guided Field Experience. (This course is similar to the Cooperative Education Program.)

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