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Hampshire's Music Program is unique in its approach to music performance, scholarship, composition, theory, and improvisation.

Hampshire's Music Program is unique in its approach to music performance, scholarship, composition, theory, and improvisation. Hampshire College's music program encourages students to engage in an interdisciplinary process to understand music as a creative expression and its role in culture.

Hampshire's music offerings include topics in ethnomusicology, musicology, popular music, jazz, and electronic and computer music as well as courses in improvisation, composition, and music theory. Students are also encouraged to take a wide range of courses through the Five College consortium.

Affiliated Faculty

Student Project Titles

  • Riddims of the Jamaican Diaspora: Exploring the Politics of Reggae Music in Britain
  • Music and Community: Education, Performance, and Zebu
  • My Mother's Hemlock: A Piece for Two Basses, Cello, Violin, Three-part Chorus, and Two Pianos
  • The Mind and Music: An Exploration of Music, Soundscapes, and Pop Culture Through Synthesis and Psychoacoustics
  • The Interactions of Music and Narrative
  • Community Music Performance
  • Building and Playing Keyboard Instruments
  • Music as a Rehabilitative Tool for Cochlear Implant Users

Sample First-Year Course

Jazz Ensemble Seminar I

In this performance-based introductory class, students will begin to develop the skills and techniques of jazz performance, including ensemble playing and improvisation. Students will study the forms and concepts of jazz composition and theory and apply them in the composition and performance of repertoire. They will learn to compose elements of jazz pieces and will present their original work in a spring concert performance. There will be assigned readings and a short, final paper. This course is open to all instrumentalists and vocalists who want to acquire proficiency in the basic elements of jazz. Students are expected to have a basic music theory background (Musical Beginnings or equivalent) and reasonable proficiency on their instrument, including basic scales and rudimentary reading ability.

Sample Courses at Hampshire
  • African-American Perspectives on the Blues
  • African Popular Music
  • American Strings: Old Time & Bluegrass
  • Applied Ethnomusicology
  • Audio Culture: Theories & Practice in Music Today
  • The Blues: Musical and Social Chorus
  • Computer Music I
  • Contemporary Music Cultures
  • Integrated Media Seminar
  • Intro to Ethnomusicology & Music Ethnography
  • Jazz Ensemble Seminar I
  • The Jazz Improvisation Orchestra
  • Music & Politics of Latin America
  • Music & Ritual
  • Musical Beginnings
  • Music Ethnography
  • Music in Caribbean Culture & Society
  • Music of Immigrant America
  • A Social History of Rock & Roll
  • Seminar in Music Composition
  • Sound Art
  • Tonal Theory I
  • Writing about Music
Through the Consortium
  • Chamber Music Mixed Ensemble (MHC)
  • Fundamentals of Theory (UMass)
  • Harmony & Counterpoint (AC)
  • History of Music: 1700-1900 (UMass)
  • Intro to the Music of Africa (MHC)
  • Music of the High Baroque (SC)
  • Sacred Sound (AC)
  • Sight-Singing (SC)

Facilities and Resources

Music and Dance Building
The Music and Dance Building in the Longsworth Arts Village contains classrooms, practice rooms, a recital hall, an aural training lab, a computer music studio, and an eight-track recording studio. Other campus resources include the Harold F. Johnson Library's collection of books, scores, periodicals, films, videos, and recordings. Extensive music collections of the Five College libraries are also available to Hampshire students.

Hampshire College Chorus
Ensembles include the Hampshire College Chorus, which presents a major program every semester, several jazz groups, old time music and contradance bands, and a steel band ensemble. Student-organized bands and music groups in jazz, folk, pop, rock, punk, and a capella, to name just a few, are integral to the music program. The music program supports these endeavors through providing rehearsal space, performance venues, and coaching.

Five College Instrumental Groups
Several instrumental groups at the other colleges are open to Hampshire students by audition, including the Five College Early Music Program, the University Orchestra, and the Amherst College Jazz Ensemble.

The larger Five College music community is a rich one, with hundreds of musical performances a year sponsored by the colleges and opportunities to hear or play music in numerous local clubs. Private lessons are also available as part of the Five College consortium. The Alan Garely Scholarship fund helps offset the cost of private lessons for Division II and III music concentrators; other funding sources are also available.

Early Music Program
Through the Early Music Program, a faculty of distinguished performers and scholars at the Five Colleges, together with the program director, make it possible for students to participate in a wide variety of experiences in the study and performance of music of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the Baroque Era.

Recent News in Music


Matt Lorenz 00F, the architect and sole member of The Suitcase Junket, sings, strums and plays up to four instruments with his feet, creating a sound that is not easily forgotten. 

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