Contemporary Music Studies

  • Overview

Combines exploration of the liberal arts with focused study in contemporary processes of music making. This includes music created by songwriters and bands, by ear, through improvisation, in recording studios, and in video/film/games, online, in clubs, and in concert. Contemporary music is rooted in post-1950 repertoire and musical forms and is continually re-shaped by global mixing of cultures, styles, technologies, politics, and commercial forces. This academic program provides historical, theoretical, and musical foundations for understanding and actively pursuing artistry and careers in the contemporary music field.

  • Curriculum documents

    To plan degree completion, see the course descriptions in the academic catalog which specify the planned semester(s) in which required classes are to be scheduled.

  • This is just one way you might complete the Contemporary Music Studies program in 4 semesters over 2 years of full-time study, or 8 semesters over 4 years of part-time study. (Sample course sequences assume that all pre-requisites have been satisfied and the student is prepared for college-level work.) For a detailed list of required courses, optional electives and program information, download the Contemporary Music Studies program description from our official academic catalog.

    Course descriptions are also available in the catalog. Find courses

    Sample 2 Year Sequence of Courses
    Fall 1Spring 1Fall 2Spring 2

    MUS 153
    MUS 138
    MUS 140
    MUS 230
    MUS 231
    ENG Comp. I
    ANT 104
    PSY 101

    MUS 230
    MUS 154
    MUS 138
    MUS 139
    MUS 137
    MUS 231
    MAT 117
    PCS 101

    MUS 101
    MUS 140
    BIO 120
    MUS 230
    MUS 231
    GEO 101
    ENG Comp. II

    MUS 248
    MUS 230
    MUS 231
    PSY 209
    MUS 222
    HIS 127
    ENG 200 level course

    Sample 4 Year Sequence of Courses
    Fall 1Spring 1Fall 2Spring 2

    MUS 153
    MUS 138
    MUS 230
    MUS 231
    MAT 117

    MUS 230
    MUS 231
    MUS 154
    MUS 138
    ENG Comp. I

    ANT 104
    MUS 230
    MUS 231
    ENG Comp. II

    MUS 139
    MUS 137
    MUS 230
    MUS 231
    MUS 222

    Fall 3Spring 3Fall 4Spring 4

    MUS 140
    PSY 101
    GEO 101

    MUS 139
    PCS 101
    ENG 200 level course

    MUS 137
    PSY 209
    MUS 223

    BIO 120
    HIS 127
    MUS 248

Student learning outcomes

Students completing a course of study in this program will be able to:
  • Appreciate diverse cultural and individual perspectives
    Learn to hear musical styles and characteristics as part of fluid cultural expression.
  • Solve problems collaboratively
    Cooperate as active participant with peer musicians and teachers to explore and discover creative possibilities as life-long learners and students of music.
  • Reason and act ethically
    Respect others’ creative work and the larger endeavor of human expression and connection; understand commercial, musical, and cultural forces of appropriation.
  • Demonstrate civic knowledge and engagement
    Prepare, rehearse, and perform live music that has relevant meaning and purpose for audience and community.
  • Communicate in various modes and media
    Express themselves on instrument(s), in musical notation, reflective and research writing, musical composition, live performance, digital recording, and through online commercial/social networks.
  • Use quantitative concepts and processes
    Learn how music is “put together” through theory, applied instrumental technique, and study of music history.
  • Locate, evaluate, and use various sources of information
    Research music, artists, styles, and cultures through various online, digital, and traditional sources; Identify, locate, interview, document, and present local music culture through fieldwork project.
  • Explore the natural and physical world
    Explore instruments and time/sound qualities of musical expression in performance and recorded modes.
  • Think creatively and critically
    Discover possibilities for putting musical materials together; evaluate in the moment and over time how music is working and what comes next
  • Apply, integrate, and synthesize learning
    Perform individual recital pieces based on self-directed multiple skill applications: Learn a new piece of music, practice the piece, recruit accompaniment, organize rehearsals, record the rehearsals, evaluate the rehearsals, perform dress rehearsal, perform the concert, evaluate the final performance.
February 2014

What’s next

Transfer to a four-year college or seek professional employment. Your future career may include work in performing, composing, producing, teaching, sound design for film/game/video genres, studio engineering, live sound engineering, music therapy, artist management, and arts administration.

By taking classes in a Liberal Arts option, students complete courses that help develop 100 and 200 course level knowledge and skills in a particular field. If you don’t satisfy the requirements of a specific Liberal Arts option, you may still be able to fulfill the requirements of another option, or fulfill the requirements of the Liberal Arts General degree. Students are advised to work closely with their GCC advisor to select the specific courses that will help meet their career or transfer goals. Note: Students who complete a Liberal Arts option will graduate with the degree “Associate in Arts in Liberal Arts.” Your area of concentration is reflected only in your transcript, not your diploma.