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.

Degree Requirements

The Music Major

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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) or Track 2: Electronic Music, Composition, and Technology (20 additional credits, 44 total). Foundation Requirements (24 credits, required of all majors):

Music History (3 credits)

MUSIC211Evolution of Musical Style

Music Theory and Musicianship (12 credits all required)

(These courses lay the foundation in theory and basic skills for the study of Western Music. Music 170 Basic Musicianship or test-out is required before a student can enroll in Music 270.)

MUSIC270Music Theory and Composition I
MUSIC271Aural Skills I (1 credit, co-requisite with MUSIC 270)
MUSIC370Music Theory and Composition II
MUSIC371Aural Skills II (1 credit, co-requisite with MUSIC 370)
MUSIC470Music Theory and Composition III
MUSIC471Aural Skills III (1 credit, co-requisite with MUSIC 470)

World Culture Through Music (6 credits)

Select two (2) of the following courses:

MUSIC310Music in the USA
MUSIC311Music of Latin America and Caribbean
MUSIC312Music of China & Japan
MUSIC313Music of India & Middle East
MUSIC314Music of Indigenous Peoples

Final Project (3 credits)

The Final Project must be approved by Music faculty. Select one of the following courses:

MUSIC480Thesis, Composition, or Recital

Track #1 – Global Music Studies (19 additional credits)

This track of the music major offers students the opportunity to study the music of peoples from around the world within cultural contexts. Faculty experts guide students through both classroom and experiential learning, with both on and off campus concerts, hands-on activities, and research. Furthermore, substantial study in an applied instrument or voice gives students a solid foundation in both solo and ensemble performance.

Music History (3 credits)

MUSIC212Great Personalities in Music

World Culture Through Music (3 credits)

One (1) course from the WCTM series (Music 310-314), taken in addition to the two required for the Music Foundation.

Music Elective (3 credits)

One additional 3-credit music course, 200-level or above. May not be fulfilled by Applied Music or Ensemble credits.

Applied Music Requirement

Note: Applied Music courses are each one credit and may be repeated for required totals.

Ensemble Requirement (take 4 credits from the following)

MUSIC151Instrumental Ensemble

Lesson Requirement (take 6 credits)

Students must take at least one (1) semester of piano lessons and at least four (4) semesters in their primary instrument, or voice or composition; the final one (1) credit may be in any area.

MUSIC239Other Instrument

Track #2 – Electronic Music, Composition, and Technology (20 additional credits)

This track explores 20th and 21st century developments in music, with an emphasis in electronic and computer music technologies. Using state of the art facilities in the Bergquist Music Lab as part of the Roger Williams Center for Electronic, Computer, and Experimental Music, students engage in a series of courses to learn the history and foundation of contemporary music, digital music synthesis, computer music programming, and applied use of electronic and computer tools for sound design. Furthermore, students in this track may also explore the art of music composition in both acoustic an electronic domains with applied study with our expert faculty.

Music History (3 credits)

MUSIC213Music of the 20th Century and Beyond

Music Technology (9 credits)

MUSIC220Intro to Music and Computers
MUSIC320Electronic & Computer Music I
MUSIC420Electronic & Computer Music II

Music Elective (3 credits)

One additional 3-credit music course at the 200-level or above; may not be fulfilled by one-credit Applied Music or Ensemble courses.

Applied Music Requirement

Note: Applied Music courses are each one credit and may be repeated for required totals.

Ensemble Requirement (1 credit)

MUSIC152Digital Music Ensemble

Lesson Requirement (3 credits)

Students must take at least one (1) semester of piano lessons and at least 2 semesters in their primary instrument, or voice or composition.

MUSIC231Piano Lessons
MUSIC232Guitar Lessons
MUSIC233Voice Lessons
MUSIC234Composition Lessons
MUSIC239Other Instrument Lessons

The Music Minor

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Required courses (15 credits):

MUSIC161The Art of Rock and Roll
MUSIC211Evolution of Musical Style
MUSIC270/271Music Theory and Composition I * (4cr)

2 credits from any applied instruction and/or ensemble course offering

*NOTE: MUSIC 270 has a prerequisite of MUSIC 170. Through the program’s placement examination, students may test out of MUSIC 170.

Elective courses (6 credits):

Choose any two (2) 3-credit courses in MUSIC, at least one must be at the 300 level or higher

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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