Ned Kirk, D.M.A., Chair
The music department offers a challenging and enriching curriculum for music majors and minors, as well as students wishing to pursue music as an avocation. Music majors prepare themselves for one of a variety of careers in performance, education, music industry or continuing to graduate school. Saint Mary’s University offers majors in music, music performance, music industry and music education (K–12 classroom and vocal or K–12 classroom and instrumental). A popular option for music education students is to complete the bachelor’s degree with a major in either music or music performance and then continue at Saint Mary’s in the Master of Arts in Instruction program; in a total of five years and one summer session qualified students may attain both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees and Minnesota teaching license.
The music faculty are active professionals and nurturing mentors for students. Faculty members and students present an ambitious calendar of recitals and concerts each year. Please see the course descriptions for complete listings of student ensembles that are open to all Saint Mary’s University students regardless of academic major. All ensembles perform on a regular basis, many of which tour regionally, nationally and internationally.
The Saint Mary’s music department is unique in that it stresses collaboration and cooperation over competition. Excellence is achieved through cooperative effort, mutual support, and the experience of peer mentorship and leadership. We are indebted to the late Brother Laurence Walther, FSC, founder of the music department in 1975, for this example. The pursuit of excellence in music, as in all things, is predominantly a process of individual discovery and measurement against one’s self. The faculty serves to guide and advise in that process, but ultimately each student is responsible for their own growth and learning.
In addition to being an All-Steinway School, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM, 11250 Roger Bacon Drive, Suite 21, Reston, VA 20190; 703-437-0700).
The music department strives to incorporate the philosophy and the goals of the broad Lasallian Catholic traditions in our daily lives and work.
Music degree programs develop the skills required for success in any of several career paths.
- Musical study provides students with opportunities to develop and enrich their personal and spiritual lives, explore the connection of music to various cultures and historical periods, and develop the basis for life-long participation in the arts.
- Music majors who complete graduation requirements from the music department demonstrate knowledge of music history, including western music, world music and contemporary musical styles.
- Music majors demonstrate analytical skills in the areas of music theory and aural skills, analysis of music from all historical periods, and develop skills and understanding in conducting, arranging, improvisation and technology.
- Music majors demonstrate performance skills appropriate to their major with their primary instrument or voice, as well as piano skills appropriate to their major emphasis.
Students anticipating majoring in music should take the following courses during their first semester: MU130 /MU131 music fundamentals, MU150 experiencing music, applied lessons (MUL) and at least one ensemble (MUE).
Many courses are offered in a rotating biennial schedule; students are responsible for completing required courses when they are offered and are expected to work closely with the academic advisor.
Students are officially admitted to majors within the music department on the basis of an audition and are expected to successfully complete a comprehensive sophomore review (MU299 ), which includes a portfolio assessment, essays, interview, and juried performance examination.
Many students participate in one of our music student organizations: Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Sigma Alpha Iota, Collegiate NAfME (National Association for Music Education) or the Music Industry Club.
Music majors and minors are provided with an annual Music Student Handbook that includes the most current information available regarding courses, recital attendance requirements, registering for lessons and ensembles, faculty contact information and sample four-year course paradigms. The handbook is printed every fall and is also available on-line through the music department website.