In this 40-credit major, students are free to make the music that is most meaningful to them, without restrictions on genre or style. The program is focused on creativity and the creative process, developed through the practice of improvisation—making music in the moment—and extending to the craft of composition, recording, and innovative uses of music technology.
Students develop their musical knowledge during four semesters of musicianship courses including training in theory, sight-singing, and aural and rhythmic acuity. Each semester, Music students connect as a community in the Music Program Retreat, exploring the relationship between contemplative practice and music; this includes one-on-one meetings between students and faculty to clarify student goals and development. Performance skills are fostered through private music lessons, ensembles, and public and private concerts offered throughout the academic year. To further deepen their musical understanding, students explore multicultural perspectives on music-making, music history, and audio recording and production.
Students can declare their major at any time and are invited to join the Music Program Retreat in the semester of their declaration. While students engage in private music lessons they must perform in at least one Works in Progress Concert or Final Music Concert, as stated in the syllabus. Recommended foundational courses include Keyboard Studio and Improvisation.
As the culminating graduation requirement of the BA degree, students design and execute a Senior Project in their final semester. This is a performance, recording, or other creative project that incorporates vital elements of musicianship and creativity acquired in their training at Naropa. Students develop marketing strategies and publicity materials for the presentation of their work.
In addition to regular music program events and recording opportunities students are encouraged to collaborate with other disciplines at Naropa; dance, theater, visual art, writing, film, etc. In addition, an Independent Study may be designed to support specific projects, collaborations or particular areas of musical study.