Our Program and Courses
You can major or minor in music at F&M. Our courses explore multiple genres — including jazz, global popular music, and more — and dive into music history and culture, theory and composition, and performance and conducting.
A major in music is designed to allow you — no matter your musical background — to thrive and carve your own individual path. The majority of our courses are open to students with no formal background in music, but there are many academic and performance opportunities for those with a musical background. You can perform with your talented peers in our ensembles and take private vocal or instrumental lessons with our highly renowned professors. The grand finale of your F&M music experience is a recital, research project, or creative project of your choosing.
By the time you graduate, you will have:
- Become proficient in recognizing and performing many styles and genres of music from throughout the world
- Gained a comprehensive understanding of music theory: melody, harmony, rhythm, and form
- Developed competence in speaking and writing about music
- Become proficient in musical composition
- Gained competency in ear-training by way of sight-singing and melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic dictation
- Developed skill with a variety of music analytical techniques and practices
- Built an understanding of performance protocols and stage etiquette
- Honed your technical skill and expressive capacity as a solo and ensemble performer
- Developed competence in working with primary and secondary source materials (i.e.
Wondering what music courses are like? Take a look at our course catalog to explore what classes you can expect to sample.
Our Faculty and Staff
Adjunct Instructor, TrumpetContact »
Adjunct Assistant ProfessorContact »
Artist-in-Residence, Senior Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music, Clarinet, Chamber Music CoordinatorContact »
Senior Director of Instrumental Music & Conducting Studies and Senior Teaching Professor of MusicContact »
Adjunct Assistant ProfessorContact »
Choral Conductor and Senior Teaching Professor of Music, Associate Department Chair of MusicContact »
Learning Outside the Classroom
Studying music at F&M is deeply rooted in electives outside the classroom. With music ensembles, studio lessons, and research and study-abroad opportunities, you’ll develop your natural talent and skill and gain deeper understanding in an area that most intrigues you.
Do you dream of conducting an orchestra that’s performing your original composition? Or maybe you feel a pull toward the history of music and want to venture deeper by researching musical archives. You won’t have to wait until graduate school to dive in. Every student at F&M has extraordinary opportunities to engage in independent or faculty-led research.
The music department offers research funds through F&M’s own Nolt Music Award, which
is awarded to students undertaking musically enriching projects.
Explore research at F&M
Off-campus study, in the U.S. and internationally, is encouraged. Our students have
studied abroad in Italy, England, Austria, Australia, and more.
Explore off-campus study at F&M
Competitions, Contests, and Awards
In addition to all of the opportunities above, the music department also offers:
- Solo and concerto competitions for singers and instrumentalists
- Music composition contests
- Senior recitals
- Achievement awards via honors in music
- The Adams & Gustafson Music Achievement Award, a financial award offered to rising sophomores who have shown distinction and exhibit potential in their music studies.
You can take private or for-credit studio vocal or instrumental lessons. Music lessons
include masterclasses and performances, in addition to working one-on-one with one
of our renowned professors for a truly personalized approach to honing your skill.
Lessons are available for a fee and for 100- and 200-level course credit. A fee waiver is available for eligible students.
Success Beyond F&M
Many of our students complete a major or minor in music even if they do not intend to embark on a career in music. The writing, analytical, critical thinking, and creative skills you gain by studying music in F&M’s liberal arts environment can play a pivotal role in your post-college plans.
It’s not uncommon for F&M music majors to study in graduate programs in the U.S. and abroad. Students who have graduated with degrees in music have gone on to doctoral programs in musicology, ethnomusicology, and composition.
Music graduates are prepared for a wide array of careers. They’ve built successful careers in performance and the music industry, and have also gone on to careers in medicine, law, and more. They hold positions such as:
- Music Department Chair
- Associate Professor of Music
- Music Teacher
- Orchestra Director
- Music Director
- Audio Visual Technician
- Producer & Engineer
- Private Instrument Instructor
- Freelance Musician
They also land in many positions seemingly unrelated to music, including:
- Director of Marketing
- Law Partner
- Associate Attorney
- Research Technician
- Associate Scientist
- Director of National Accounts
- Senior Development Manager
Live at Barshinger Center
Ready to immerse yourself in music at F&M? When available, you can tune into live concerts at the Ann & Richard Barshinger Center, our world-class concert hall. You can also watch recorded concerts from previous academic years.Watch now »
If you plan to study or engage in music at F&M, you can further personalize your application
showcasing your musical prowess.
An Internship Making Music for EveryoneInitially drawn to F&M for science and technology, Reece Chang '24 changed his tune
after rediscovering a passion for music. Now a music major, Chang a summer working
with Lancaster nonprofit Music for Everyone (MFE). "As a music major, I've thought
a lot about going into education. But I'm also really interested in nonprofit community
work. Music for Everyone is a great place for me to be for that," he said.
Read More »
Composing LeadersF&M's unique conducting class is all about leadership. "Conducting is a lot more than
just waving your arms," said Brian Norcross, senior director of instrumental music
and conducting studies and senior teaching professor of music. "We teach how to unravel
the mysteries of a score," he said. "We teach how to interact with each other when
we're leading. We teach how to listen and respond and react to what we're hearing.
We teach how to study a score and understand what Mozart or Beethoven or Haydn have
composed, so that we can be their advocate and help their music come to life."
Read More »
Special Application Opportunities for Musicians
If you plan to study or engage in music at F&M, you can further personalize your application showcasing your musical prowess.Learn more »
Related Fields of Study
Engage with the oldest multifaceted major at F&M. As a student of American Studies, you’ll enjoy a true liberal arts experience, exploring several disciplines to develop analytical skills and critical judgment and to examine the range and diversity of American experiences, identities and communities.
Arts for Social Change (Certificate)
This certificate will help you deepen your understanding of the arts as mediums for impacting culture, community, politics, education, and more. Arts for Social Change spans F&M’s dynamic arts disciplines, uniting the ethos of community-building with artistic practice that foregrounds innovation and action.
Thrive in one of the oldest art forms in the world, and discover how global traditions permeate today. By studying theatre at F&M, you’ll explore the intersection of theory and performance; engage in craft, creativity, and critical thinking; and discover the importance of each role in production, developing a deep understanding that there truly are no small parts.
F&M Music in the Spotlight
May 23, 2023
'97 Alum Reconnects with A Cappella Roots
By the time they graduate, many Franklin & Marshall College students have a favorite place on campus. For music producer Ed Chung '97, room B-11 in the Steinman College Center meant so much to...Franklin & Marshall College offers students a hands-on education that emphasizes close relationships with faculty. Students flourish in a supportive community that treats them as an individual, and their successes continue long after F&M. The College is a national leader in launching students and alumni to opportunities where they make a difference in the community and the world.
February 14, 2023
Love, Music and F&M Will Keep Us Together
One clear strength of Franklin & Marshall College throughout its 235-year history is its outstanding alumni. Today, its living graduates number more than 29,000 and stretch around the world. They...Alumni share how music brought them together and why they donate in support of the College's diverse academic foundation and lifelong love of learning.
December 8, 2022
Election Season at F&M
When Franklin & Marshall junior Liz Joslin began interning for Josh Shapiro, she never expected to go viral on TikTok alongside Pennsylvania's Governor-Elect. The video — a clever take on a...When F&M student Liz Joslin began interning for Josh Shapiro, she never expected to go viral on TikTok alongside Pennsylvania's Governor-Elect.