RWU’s unique and intimate Music program layers the exploration of world cultures on top of a solid foundation in theory, history and composition. All Music students take private lessons, perform with an ensemble and specialize in either technology or culture. With opportunities to take additional coursework in professional fields like business, communication or computer science, you’ll be prepared for a wide range of music careers.

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.

The Music Major offers two tracks for students to choose from. The “Music & Culture” track highlights performance and world culture through music, and the “Music & Technology” track explores 21st century developments in music, as influenced by new electronic and computer technologies.

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.

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Degree Requirements

Students pursuing the Bachelor of Arts in Music must satisfy University Core Curriculum requirements and the College speech requirement, COMM 210. Music majors will be required to pass Music 170 Basic Musicianship with a C or better or, upon entrance to the program, demonstrate their knowledge in knowledge in basics of music theory through written and oral examination. In addition, all majors must complete the Foundation Requirements (24 credits) and the additional credits in either Track 1: Global Music Studies (19 additional credits, 43 total) See course requirements 


 Track 2: Electronic Music, Composition, and Technology (20 additional credits, 44 total) See course requirements

To read more about our academic offerings, or to view full course descriptions, please refer to our University Catalog.

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.
A headshot of Reggie Estinvil

Combining Marketing and Music

Reggie Estinvil, RWU Class of 2017

At RWU, we encourage you to pursue your interests with another major or minor that will give you an edge on your career path. Reggie Estinvil, a senior from Holbrook, Massachusetts, is a perfect example.

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