When BFA students enter the program, they are regarded as holistic “Music Artists.” As each student gains experience with the spectrum of curriculum offerings available, always in regular consultation with a mentor, they naturally develop particular concentrations of study that best suit their artistic and professional goals. Students have the option of declaring their intention to concentrate their work in a particular curriculum Specialization immediately upon arrival, or they may allow their Specialization to emerge. All BFA students will identify and declare a Specialization by the time of their Mid-Residence Review, which takes place prior to the third year (BFA-3) of study. To be prepared for this, students must have taken any necessary prerequisite courses and have approval from the faculty. In special cases, it may be possible to declare more than one or a combination of Specializations. When students complete the requirements of their Specialization(s), appropriate notations are placed on their official transcripts.
Six major curriculum Areas comprise the course offerings:
- Theories and Skills of Music Languages in Practice
- Making Original Work
- Performing Skills and Realizing Performances
- Perspectives of Music Cultures, Histories & Literature
- Career Skills, Professional Agency and Pedagogy
- Investigating/Mastering New Materials, Methods and Technologies
Initially, BFA students are required to take specific Core Curriculum courses in Theories and Skills of Music Languages in Practice and Perspectives of Music Cultures, Histories and Literature. In addition, to completing their individualized Core Curriculum, each student must accumulate a minimum number of credits in the remaining Areas. Students may proceed at their own pace through the Core Curriculum, bearing in mind that many Core Curriculum courses will serve as prerequisites to qualify them for more advanced Specialization courses in which they may be interested. As students complete these prerequisites, again in close collaboration with a mentor, they may branch out to take courses that customize the skillsets they will master. The BFA Program in Music requires four years of residency. Over time, students build portfolios of work that are regularly reviewed. Eventually, they graduate with individualized portfolios displaying a broad range of expertise and high-level accomplishments.