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Music

The Music major at Roger Williams University offers a solid foundation in music theory and the principle musical styles in western culture, as well as an introduction to the music of various world cultures. Students study the elements of music and explore their application in various compositional formats. They have the opportunity to study the evolution of popular music as well as the classical forms that have characterized and helped define western culture. A unique aspect of RWU’s Music major that reflects the mission of the University is the exploration of world cultures through music. These courses will focus not only on the music of various world cultures, but also on the ways in which music is a reflection of these cultures.

Performing Ensembles
While enrolled at RWU, Music majors will study voice or instrument in private lessons and perform with one of the department’s ensembles. Both the Instrumental Ensemble and the Chorus are conducted by members of the Music faculty. The RWU Chorus performs a varied repertoire of classical choral works along with musical theater and popular styles. Both ensembles perform at the end of each semester in the RWU Performing Arts Center.

Preparing for a Career
Students in the Music major are encouraged to take advantage of other unique opportunities offered at Roger Williams University, with its strong professional schools that complement the liberal arts curriculum. By adding a minor in Business, Communication or Computer Science, students can prepare themselves for many new opportunities in the field of music beyond the traditional spheres of performance and composition.

Student Learning Outcomes

In addition to demonstrating the University-wide core values and achieving the University-wide learning outcomes, students in the music program at Roger Williams University will be able to:

  • employ well-developed critical and analytical listening skills.
  • define the fundamental elements of music.
  • utilize fundamental knowledge of music theory and notation to compose original music.
  • read rhythmic notation accurately and display well-developed aural skills.
  • demonstrate basic keyboard skills.
  • function effectively in an ensemble context and contribute constructively to group performances.
  • describe how the elements of music define musical styles, both orally and in writing.
  • describe the stylistic changes in Western music that have occurred over the past seven centuries, both orally and in writing.
  • identify social and cultural forces that have affected the creation and role of music in American and other cultures.
  • describe the place of music in American life and in the lives of people from cultures around the world.
  • understand and appreciate the diversity of musical styles from cultures around the world in acknowledgement of the ongoing globalization of the arts.
  • recognize how music from various cultures both utilizes common elements and displays unique stylistic characteristics.
William Ayton, D.M.A.
Professor of Music
D.M.A. Boston University, M.M.E. New England Conservatory, B.M.E. Shenandoah Conservatory
Contact Information
x3016
FCAS 158
Areas of Expertise: 
Music Theory & Composition, Music History, Non-Western Music and Culture

William Ayton

William
Ayton
D.M.A.
Professor of Music
D.M.A. Boston University, M.M.E. New England Conservatory, B.M.E. Shenandoah Conservatory
Contact Information
x3016
FCAS 158
Areas of Expertise: 
Music Theory & Composition, Music History, Non-Western Music and Culture

Will Ayton playing viola da gamba.Will Ayton was born in 1948 in Kansu province, China, of missionary parents. He received a BME from Shenandoah Conservatory of Music, a MME from New England Conservatory of Music, and a DMA in Music Theory  and Composition from Boston University.  He has taught in public and private schools, and has been a professor of music at Roger Williams University since the late 1970’s.  At Roger Williams, Will is the Music Departmnt’s primary instructor for music theory and composition. He has also taught private lessons, courses in music history, and specializes in courses dealing with non-western culture and music.  Will’s performing  instrument is the viola da gamba and he currently performs with with  “The Greybeards” (a Baroque trio).  He is also a composer and has published music for a variety of musical media.