Hampshire's Music Program offers a unique and innovative approach to music performance, scholarship, theory, composition and improvisation. Students are encouraged to explore an interdisciplinary process to engage with music as a creative expression as well as understanding music as culture and in culture. Areas of study include ethnomusicology, jazz/improvisation, western music theory and composition, and electronic and computer music. Related areas of study include radio production and music journalism, audio art, music recording technology, and luthiery. Courses in improvisation, composition and theory push students to move beyond conventional frames of perceiving and performing music, while also investigating those conventional systems. Through the Five College consortium, students have access to other courses in western tonal music (both western music history/musicology and theory) as well as a wide range of performance courses.
Division I students are encouraged to take introductory theory courses such as Musical Beginnings or Tonal Theory I as well as performance
and ensemble courses. First year seminars such as "Writing about Music" and "Literature, Opera, Film" are designed to engage students in an interdisciplinary approach to topics of performance, cultural production, music, and ethnography.
Division II students in music design concentrations that are typically interdisciplinary in nature. In addition, Division II music contractors must complete a core sequence of theory courses either at Hampshire or Five College equivalents; a minimum of two semesters of performance courses or ensemble within the Five Colleges; and a minimum of three courses that critically examine musical/cultural studies from an ethnomusicological, historical, and/or cultural perspective. A major body of work from these (ethno)musicology/history/criticism courses must be included in the students Division II portfolio. A minimum of seven additional courses are required and students are encouraged to take an interdisciplinary approach to their Division II work.