The GCC Music Department offers a diverse range of courses in performance, theory, history, music technology, and instrumental study. All but two music courses are open to both non-majors and majors. Our private lessons are open to students of any level, including beginners. Our ensembles require basic proficiency on an instrument or voice, and some require basic music reading skills.  We do not hold auditions for ensembles. Rather, we require that students have permission to take an ensemble simply by contacting the Department Chair to discuss abilities and experience in order to ensure the course is a good fit for each student.

Advising for non-majors

Non-majors can be registered for music courses by any advisor. Non-majors can enroll in any music courses other than MUS 138 Creative Musicianship and MUS 231 Recital Participation.  Students will need to contact the Music Department for permission to take ensembles, or to discuss any other specific music curriculum questions (see below).

Advising for music majors

The GCC Music Department offers an Associate in Arts in Liberal Arts degree with a music concentration (LA/MUS), commonly referred to as the music major.

Prospective, new, and current music majors are advised and registered for classes by Matthew Shippee, Music Department Chair. The advising process for majors entails conversation (and possibly informal demonstration of student skills or formal placement exams) in the following areas:

  • Orientation to the department and curriculum—who are we and what’s the major?.
  • Discussion of student musical, academic, and career goals. Is the major a good fit for you? Is a transfer plan or a graduation plan the best track for you?
  • Assessment of instrumental and ensemble proficiencies—what ensembles are you ready to benefit from?
  • Assessment for theory and elective course placements—what theory and elective courses are you ready for, and what is our plan to ensure you are able to take the courses in sequence?
  • Guidance in primary and secondary instrumental lesson selection—what instrument and style of lessons should you take to meet your goals?
  • Registration for courses each semester according to best selection and sequence design to meet student academic and professional goals beyond GCC.

Advising appointments

Make an advising appointment with Professor Matthew Shippee by emailing him at or by calling his office at 413-775-1228. During the early registration period, appointment sign-up sheets are posted outside his office (S334).