About Music

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. information literacy)

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

Julia R Adams

Director of Fellowships Advising

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Douglas Albert

Adjunct Instructor, Trumpet

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Jessica B Beebe

Senior Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music, Voice

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Travis S Berkoski

Performance Manager for the Barshinger Center for Musical Arts

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Rosemary Blessing

Adjunct Instructor of Piano

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Kimberly D Buchar Nolet

Senior Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music, Bassoon

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Matthew W Butterfield

Professor of Music, Department Chair of Music

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Morgann Davis

Adjunct Assistant Professor

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Caroline Fresh

Lead Academic Department Coordinator

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Gwynne Geyer

Artist in Residence, Voice & Teaching Professor of Music

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Doris J Hall-Gulati

Artist-in-Residence, Senior Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music, Clarinet, Chamber Music Coordinator

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Tammi L Hessen

Senior Adjunct Instructor of Music, African Drum Ensemble Conductor

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Michael T Jamanis

Senior Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music, Violin

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Chris Keeney

Adjunct Instructor Music, Guitar

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Karen Leistra-Jones

Associate Professor of Music

Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

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Sara B Male

Senior Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music, Violoncello

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Brian H Norcross

Senior Director of Instrumental Music & Conducting Studies and Senior Teaching Professor of Music

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Anne M Nye

Adjunct Instructor of Music, Horn

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Neil Podgurski

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Jazz Piano & Improv

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Stephen E Shiffer

Adjunct Instructor of Music, Low Brass

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Tyler Tejada

Adjunct Assistant Professor

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William B Wright

Choral Conductor and Senior Teaching Professor of Music, Associate Department Chair of Music

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Mark T Yingling

Senior Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music, Percussion

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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.

Research Opportunities 

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

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. 

Studio Lessons

You can take private or for-credit studio vocal or instrumental lessons. Studio 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.

Music Ensembles

Chamber Singers
If you major in music, you’re encouraged to participate in one of the College’s many instrumental or choral ensembles. By doing so, you’ll not only enjoy extraordinary artistic opportunities each semester, but develop an appreciation of the creative endeavor related to music and musical performance.

Our Facilities

The Ann & Richard Barshinger Center
The Ann & Richard Barshinger Center provides a world-class concert hall to serve as the centerpiece of F&M’s thriving music program. Adjoining the Barshinger Center is Meyran Hall, a building that serves as home for the music department, as well as others. Our concert hall features an expanded stage designed to handle a full 70-piece orchestra or a full chorus with up to 135 performers. Seating accommodates just over 500, all with a first-rate view of the stage. The elegant setting was designed by a team that led the centennial renovations of Boston’s Symphony Hall, and the acoustics were designed by one of the world’s leading acousticians, creating an acoustically vibrant atmosphere.

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. 

Graduate School

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.

Career Paths

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 
  • Singer
  • Arranger 
  • 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
  • Pediatrician

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 »

Student Life Spotlight

“Keeping music in my life was important because it’s something that I think really unifies people.”

F&M’s four a cappella groups bring together Diplomats from various majors who share a love of music. “Keeping music in my life was important because it’s something that I think really unifies people,” said Brianna Herrera ’24, president of Kite & Keys, an a cappella group for women and gender minorities. Four a cappella groups at one school may seem unusual, but students say their support of each other and the campus enthusiasm for their performances creates a robust a cappella culture. “I think it’s important to know that all of us really work together,” said Herrera. “Where you would expect competition, instead you see people holding each other up.”
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Faculty Spotlight

“I think making music together is one of the best things we can do as human beings.”

We sat down with Matthew Butterfield, professor of music and Department of Music chair, to ask him about teaching and learning, his research, his time as a College House don, and what motivated him to launch F&M Idol, an all-campus singing competition for students.
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

American Studies

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

April 12, 2024

Senior Spotlight: Micheala Patalano

Micheala Patalano shares how music at F&M, particularly singing and performing with the a cappella group Sweet Ophelia, helped the College feel like a true home.

December 8, 2023

Students Find Community Through A Cappella Groups

F&M students find community, creative expression, and personal growth through music in student-led a cappella groups.

November 10, 2023

5 Questions with Matthew Butterfield, F&M Professor of Music and Chair of the Department of Music

Music Professor Matthew Butterfield talks teaching and learning, his research, and what motivated him to launch F&M Idol, an all-campus singing competition for students.