Beyond Intro: Further Roles for Music in the Liberal Arts Core

August 27, 2012

More than three decades ago in this journal, in an essay entitled "The Department of Music in the Contemporary University," Henry L. Cady concluded

Music in higher learning has come from the unhappy state of a pariah to a position of security. The arts as a whole will have an even firmer place as academic colleagues gain a better understanding of how human beings function and what is needed for them to be well nurtured. Henceforth, the role of music in higher learning will be determined by the breadth of our own vision and our willingness to consider ourselves differently.1

With the woes of the current economic climate, Cady's word "security" may at times seem sanguine, but his point stands: when other programs in the arts have faced severe cutbacks and even elimination, music programs have fared reasonably well—and particularly so in Liberal Arts environments. Even schools that do not offer a major in music routinely have robust student involvement in ensembles and in other applied music initiatives, and an introductory course in art or music that satisfies a liberal arts curricular requirement is standard across American higher education. The nature of such courses—whether a traditional appreciation course, a newer approach to appreciation, or a survey of an altogether different type (or of a specific repertory)—has been a recurring topic in this Symposium and in The College Music Society Reports.2 These articles and studies document decades of contemplation and healthy debate about music in the college classroom.

I am taking such general education music offerings for granted in the following pages; I want to look beyond both these and courses in the specialized music major curriculum and consider instead other ways that music faculty might be involved elsewhere in the liberal arts curriculum. Most prevalent among these are seminars on musical topics offered for writing-across-the-curriculum or writing-in-the-disciplines programs. Such courses are legion; indeed, music is such a popular topic that reviewing the offerings in many schools reveals courses featuring music taught by faculty from other departments—particularly Black studies, gender studies, history, and philosophy, but a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds is represented. Anecdotal evidence—from administration as well as from peers (albeit musicologists)—suggests that it is often more difficult to persuade applied music faculty than the music history/theory/ethno faculty to teach writing seminars. If this is true, it is certainly reasonable: the latter spend their professional careers reading and writing, not practicing and performing, and thus are more likely to be willing to have part of their faculty load given over to teaching those skills. I want to advocate here, however, for music faculty of any area of expertise to seek out appropriate teaching opportunities in niches in the curriculum that are outside the domain of the music department proper. Such "appropriate" niches will naturally vary from one faculty member to another and from one institution to another (even one of a similar classification). My discussion below is intended to suggest possibilities, and cannot presume to be comprehensive: many more things are possible than I sketch here. I approach this issue from a particular perspective reflecting my own experience, with the possibilities and limitations of a certain context (specifically the undergraduate general education curriculum in a Liberal Arts college), but the general ideas here can be applied and modified to suit other contexts. The CMS Report, Music in the Undergraduate Curriculum: A Reassessment (1989), briefly described a variety of new general education alternatives to more standard music appreciation courses, commenting "[e]ach local variant has a life independent from any national norm or standard." I find this diversity—ideally adapted to the local curricular needs—very encouraging.

My own context: the catalyst for these thoughts has been my service for the past few years on a committee that was charged with proposing a new or revised core curriculum at my institution, a small (c. 600 undergraduates) private, church-related liberal arts college. In the early stages of the committee's work, we recognized that despite the characterization of our general education requirements as a "core," it was actually a "distribution" model. Students were required to select courses in several categories in order to fulfill graduation requirements. The categories (which had been in place for more than twenty years) represented the spectrum of academic departments on campus, but the courses in the categories had not been designed to cohere and complement each other. As I tried to explain to colleagues, who did not sit on the committee, the difference between the distribution and core models, I characterized the distribution model as "What can we offer to students who know nothing about our discipline?" and the core model as "What can our discipline contribute to the core knowledge of a student?" The latter question must take into account the essence of our educational project, and cannot afford to ignore what the other departments regard as most important for any student.

This distinction between core and distribution models is not unique, nor indeed even new. It has been a feature of larger curricular debates over the last few decades.3 That discussion is frequently presented in terms of diametrically-opposed approaches: broad versus deep, content versus process, "cafeteria-style" selection versus common core, Western canon versus multicultural perspectives. If I had not really noticed the discrepancy between my own institution's practice (distribution) and the way my colleagues usually described it (core), I think it was because I had not had time to examine the full student experience. With some contrition I admit that student advising often felt like going through a check-list to make sure that the requirements in the given categories were fulfilled, rather than planning a course of study which would make the most of their general education experience.

As our committee met with each academic department and other constituencies on campus, we found widespread support for a coherently structured core, and considerable interest in interdisciplinary approaches that could emphasize the intersections of knowledge (and the richer insights that different perspectives could yield together). We also heard a good bit of trepidation and skepticism about interdisciplinarity:

“Do I have to be an expert in two disciplines to teach such a course?”
“Wouldn’t that approach short-change both disciplines?”
“Is this just a pedagogical trend?”
“This sacrifices professional instruction for amateur exploration.”
“I would do it only if I can team-teach a course. Do we have the resources to support enough team-teaching?”

These were all reasonable reactions, and left the committee stymied. How would we convert enthusiasm for the idea in the abstract into a commitment to realize it in the classroom in this specific context (given budgetary and faculty load constraints)?

Our committee has not solved this problem. This article thus does not look backward from the finish line to analyze the factors contributing to our glorious victory. Instead, I write while the process is still on-going. I have tried or will soon be trying some of the ideas that are discussed here; others I would like to implement but I realize that this time and place is not the right context for them; others I could imagine, but I would not be the right person to teach them; still others I can barely imagine, but they sound like things I would crave to take if I were a freshman again.

I have mentioned "budgetary constraints." Innovative core curriculum development can attract grant funding—sometimes in the multiple millions of dollars—and this can, of course, make all sorts of things possible even in very small programs. Some years ago in this journal, Ted Blair reported on a creative "Humanities Colloquia" program at Dominican College (now University), in which a cluster of courses in different disciplines were offered around an agreed theme.4 He participated in a colloquium on "The Russian Soul," offering a music course entitled "The Russian Sound?," whereby grant funding enabled an instructor of one course in the colloquium to have a load reduction in order to participate (as a student) in another. Thus the faculty and the students engaged in the colloquium cluster together experienced an extremely intense interdisciplinary immersion into the theme. Indeed, "intense" is hardly a strong enough word. As Blair noted:

None of the faculty had any illusions about how difficult both the language and the music would be for the students, because of the innate difficulties in learning a new alphabet in each. Too, one of the aims of the colloquia was that the subject matter must be studied in depth, so that the music course had a two-fold problem in teaching the language and probing Russian music in depth, all of which had to be accomplished in sixteen weeks!. . . Four piano majors from the Department of Music were enlisted to teach piano lessons to the seventeen students who had no previous background in piano or reading music. . .Then, the first six weeks, rudiments were covered as part of the class; and at the end of each session, all students had to play the piano for the instructor.5

The statement reminds us that interdisciplinarity requires a full engagement with the various approaches involved: not only were the students and faculty expected to be hands-on, but even to get their hands "dirty" with the material they were studying. This is considerably more interaction with the music than most general education music students are able to get. Even though formal instruction in the topic ended after sixteen weeks in the Dominican model, the students' experience in music had broadened considerably. Even though it only scratched the surface, the consequences of that instruction must have been far reaching.

In a recent address to the National Association of Schools of Music, Christopher Nelson, president of St. John's College (Maryland), talked about the vital importance of music as part of the "great-books" curriculum at St. John's.6 At St. John's the nuts-and-bolts, hands-dirty, practical experience model is employed toward a particular end:

All of our students study mathematics (4 years), laboratory sciences (3 years), language study in ancient Greek and modern French (4 years), seminars in many of the great classics of history, philosophy, literature, theology, and political and social sciences (4 years), and last but not least, music for two years. In their freshman year, they learn basic musical notation and the reading of a musical score. As a large chorus, they all sing some of the great choral works. In their sophomore year, all students meet in small tutorials to investigate rhythm in words and in notes, ratios and musical intervals, and considerations of melody, harmony and counterpoint. They study in some detail the inventions of Bach, the songs of Schubert, the operas of Mozart, the masses of Palestrina, and the instrumental works of Beethoven. The climax of their musical studies is a six-week concentrated examination of the St. Matthew Passion.7

For most Liberal Arts faculty, it is difficult to imagine a curriculum in which every student would analyze the counterpoint of a Bach invention: that sort of music instruction simply does not rank highly as an institutional priority. Laudable as it is, it is not the only way to teach music in the Liberal Arts, and what fits ideally in one well-crafted curriculum would be out of place if transplanted into another. In a ultra-canonic" great books" curriculum, this approach to music strikes me as invigorating, even breathtaking; but in a more standard program (complete with departments and majors, and lacking the sustained "great books" focus), this model might well founder on the rocks.

A considerably scaled-down version is the "common intellectual experience" course as a unit of a larger general education curriculum; faculty from all departments teach sections of a wide-ranging humanities course using a small, canonic reading list.8 In this model, although each instructor necessarily brings a perspective informed by disciplinary study, the effect of the course is to emphasize the coherence of the academic community: "we're all in it together." There is great value in this, but I would like to consider below ways in which a music professor (qua music professor, not merely as a part of the community) might be a vital contributor to a student's core experience.

For example, a course might take not only a mathematical approach to music—as many courses have done—but specifically the quadrivium approach to harmony. Alternately a team-taught course might survey the whole quadrivium (i.e., harmony, arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy) together. Such courses might be framed in a way that could legitimately satisfy a "quantitative reasoning" category in a general education curriculum, or might be taught as medieval history, or history of science—and fulfill a different aspect of a student's core (or distribution) experience. In many cases, a book already available inspires such interdisciplinary integration in a course. In the 1980s it was (and in some places still remains) Douglas Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach.9 If Edward Rothstein's Emblems of the Mind10 is a little too heavy for a course with no prerequisites and Gareth Loy's Musimathics11 too comprehensive, Thomas Levenson's apparently neglected Measure for Measure12 seems to be crying out for a team-taught general education course; and any of these would supplement (rather than replace) the conventional introductory course in music.

James Parakilas's lavishly illustrated Piano Roles13 is a text I have sometimes used as part of the music major/minor music history sequence (viewing 1750-1950 through the lens of the piano in society), but it would lend itself equally well to a team-taught sociology, history, or cultural studies course. Such an approach would not require even rudimentary score reading skills of the students. While the worldwide web enables students to access all sorts of musical examples to supplement lectures, students would benefit immensely from an instructor who could sit at the keyboard to illustrate the changes in musical style, technique, and repertoire that coincide with the social developments. Of course some sociologists or historians would have the musical abilities to do that; but there are significant benefits in having several instructors teaching together to demonstrate what it is to engage in interdisciplinary study.

In 2011 I collaborated with my colleague, Ashley Woodiwiss, on a cross-listed course entitled simply Music & Politics. He is a political scientist with no musical training (although considerable interest in music); I am a musicologist with no background in political science (and with no more than a passing interest in politics). We offered the course for elective credit in either major, but there were no pre-requisites in either discipline, so it was also open to all students. We could assume neither score-reading abilities nor a knowledge of theoretical concepts in either area, nor a basic familiarity with Plato nor John Locke. I learned anew the challenge of devising ways of discussing complex—even very specific—musical issues without relying on specialized terminology or notation; but the general education approach did not prevent us from getting into fairly detailed considerations of the issues at hand. The most productive consequence was that each instructor became the model student for the other half of the class. Sometimes this meant raising questions that seemed mundane, but which helped the different sorts of students (and instructors) join in a common conversation:

"We don't use the word statist in music. What do you mean?"
"When you say deceptive cadence, how does it deceive? What would an undeceptive cadence be?"
"Are you making a distinction between nationalism and patriotism? What's the distinction?"
"Can you give us a familiar example of unison music?"

We did not find a textbook that would satisfy us for what we wanted to accomplish in the course, although we considered many, and even contemplated a custom course reader. Ultimately, we used only the New York Times, supplementing it with materials pertinent to the particular matter at hand. One lesson for me was that it almost did not matter what music we chose to study, as there would be useful things to say about it at the intersection of our disciplines. Although we had agreed on general themes that we wanted to cover in the course (e.g., identity, autonomy, ideology), we let the specific topics and repertoire be determined by the inclinations demonstrated in class discussions. With the impending fiftieth anniversary of Britten's War Requiem (1962), we spent some time with it and expanded that into an exploration of the rebuilding of Coventry Cathedral (after its destruction during the Second World War) itself as a political as well as artistic and theological statement amid Cold War tension. Art with an agenda? To put Britten's work into perspective we delved also into Michael Tippett's oratorio A Child of Our Time (1939‒41); the students were particularly intrigued by Tippett's use of American spirituals in place of chorales, which then led us to the Lutheran passion repertory, and thence to Bach's passions and the surrounding anti-Judaism controversy (which, as usual, resurfaced in the pages of the Times just before Easter), and also to Osvaldo Golijov's Pasión según San Marcos (2000) as a post-modern manifestation of the passion tradition. We spent as much time in the canon as in the headlines, discussing the music of the Arab Spring (both the likes of Ramy Essam on the ground in Tahrir Square and of expatriate Mohammed Fairouz's concerto Tahrir for Clarinet and Orchestra); the Palestinian protests against the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra's recent appearance at the BBC Proms; and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra project founded by Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said. It was an extremely invigorating class to teach, presenting not only a considerable amount of material entirely new to me, but also an opportunity to regard with new eyes and ears material I thought I already knew very well. It would have been very different—and much less fulfilling for all concerned—if I had designed and taught it by myself. The Music & Politics course met in a classroom in the music building. That seemingly mundane detail is significant because of what it conveys about the course to the students. Many classrooms across campus have audio/visual equipment; but a piano at the front—with one instructor often playing it—suggests that the piano can be used convey information not easily conveyed with just a sound file: stopping the music in its tracks, bringing out a certain voice, reharmonizing a melody, or presenting it in a different texture. (I remember in a discussion of national anthems and patriotic songs how I demonstrated stylistic differences between George M. Cohan's "You're a grand old flag" and Hubert Parry's Jerusalem, altering harmony and texture to translate one into the idiom of the other. It worked at the piano, but it would be much harder to achieve the same effect, I think, with prepared mp3s.) Playing music—and not just talking about it—is a reminder to the students that interdisciplinarity requires participating through all the disciplines involved, not just acknowledging that they might have some relevance.

Many schools offer a course on the physics of sound; in some programs this course fulfills a general education science requirement. I have not been able to find data on this, but my suspicion is that these courses are offered primarily in classrooms in science buildings. And why not?—it's a science course! What different signals about the course content—and about living in the laboratory of the real world—might be sent if the physics professor convened with his students in the music building? Rather than taking an occasional field trip to the music building or auditorium, the class might meet every day in musical (rather than clinical) surroundings.

Beyond that, how might such a course be transformed if it were team-taught with a musician—no longer just the physics of sound, but also the musical consequences of acoustical phenomenon? This is not a matter of a few guest visitors, but rather an equal partnership with a musician in shaping the course. Any musician for whom the nature of sound is of sustained interest could be a vital contributor, regardless of what instrument they might bring to class (trombone, oboe, organ, percussion. . . ). Of course many scientists have strong musical backgrounds as well; I can recall watching the physicist and able musician Brian Holmes of San Jose State University captivate a room full of engineers with his lecture/recital/demonstration "The physics of brass instruments, or 'What Do Horn Players Do With Their Right Hands, Anyway?'." The effect of such virtuosic display, however, may be to intimidate some students away from interdisciplinarity, who might think that it is only for the prodigiously gifted. In any case, performing music and teaching about music are different activities, and someone accustomed to teaching physics and playing music may not be as able to do justice to the relevant musical content as an academic component to the course (i.e., rather than a concert or mere show-and-tell); and there are far more amateur musicians than amateur ethnomusicologists, say, or theorists—whose skills might be more pertinent to a given approach to a course. More importantly, the daily presence of a faculty member from a different discipline reminds the students that the material matters in a wider frame of reference.

This brings up an issue Marjorie Garber calls "discipline envy."14 More colloquially, we may say "turf wars." Who gets to teach this material? Despite all the interest our curriculum revision committee heard about our students getting an interdisciplinary experience, I perceived that the departmental wagons were being circled once we started mooting possible models. In the past, for example, all the offerings for the literature requirements were taught by faculty in the English department. But could a French professor—in the Modern Languages department, but with a Ph.D. in francophone literature—offer a literature survey (using English translations) that would satisfy a core requirement for literature? Could a music historian offer a course a student could opt to take in place of the regular core offerings of the history department? Or is that "history without the historians"—as such an idea was described to me? It is useful to remember that differences between what colleagues in various departments do are sometimes disciplinary differences, but they are also sometimes merely a matter of the material principally studied—and that the disciplinary differences can be sharper within a department. I am a musicologist, and my departmental home is Music—but in terms of what I do every day, I have at least as much in common with colleagues in other buildings (history, literature, sociology, philosophy) as I do with colleagues down the hall (piano, voice, conducting, composition).

These are not new points, nor new problems. I am convinced, however, that a lasting peace in the "turf wars" is only to be achieved in team-teaching environments. In a sense, this allows students to see the turf contested every day in the classroom; but it also shows them that the two (or more) sides can agree to get along in pursuit of a greater intellectual good. One might imagine a team-taught course on a very broad topic: American culture, or film, or the nature of text, or human well-being. Such courses could involve faculty from many departments, but in any of these music would have an important contribution to make. A course would succeed if a student could come away recognizing that the complexity (and competition, even) in the pedagogy reflected a significant aspect of the subject matter.

Many decades ago, my institution implemented a January term, in which each student would enroll in only a single course that meets every day for three hours or more. Other schools have similar programs, often in January or following the spring term. This concentrated period is an opportunity to offer courses that do not fit in the regular curriculum, either because they are too broad, or too narrow, or too marginal; they are also opportunities for faculty to explore topics that are fairly new to them, or even out of their usual disciplinary territory altogether. A chemistry professor offered "Contemporary Epics," for example; a Spanish professor offered a history of the Latin American colonies; a few years ago I taught a course surveying the varied writings of Dorothy L. Sayers—only tangentially related to my musicological research, and in no way connected to my normal teaching load. Even now I am preparing a course that will make students compare problematic representations of evil in different artistic media ("Dexter, Don Giovanni, and Dorian Gray").

Despite the clear potential for "discipline envy," the January term courses have not caused turf disputes, if only because they are outside of the regular curricular offerings. They demonstrate that faculty have interests outside of their main area of study, and colleagues seem happy to encourage that. As we develop a new core curriculum, however—and particularly if the total number of core hours is smaller than that of the distribution menu—turf wars seem inevitable, as faculty will inevitably compare the way we used to do things with the apparent shortcomings of the new way. All of these considerations notwithstanding, I am encouraged that the final product for the student can be a better one. One thing that has been driven home to me in teaching both music appreciation and the music major history sequence is that the students' understanding seems better when there is no illusion of comprehensiveness. When I have to explain why I'm going to focus on certain things and neglect others, the students have a much better understanding of what paths their education leads them through. Put another way, when the pedagogy itself becomes opaque—evident to the students and a topic for discussion—the educational project is more honest and effective. This is the reason that we do not need to fear the trade-offs of interdisciplinarity in the general education: we can (when we have to) afford to sacrifice some measure of subject matter in order to better instruct the students in why they should want to pursue it themselves. College and university mission statements—and mission statements for general education curricula as well—use the sort of verbiage that suggests content is secondary to skills learned, as seen in these hypothetical but representative samples:

Developing critical thinking and communication skills
Making better-informed citizens/global citizens
Transforming the world
Enabling people to realize their full potential
(what I hear at my institution described as "whole-person flourishing")

Against these are content-based goals like "exploring the rich humanities heritage." To some extent, of course, one can have both: some general education courses that are primarily about content, others primarily for skill acquisition, and others which productively synthesize these goals.

According to a recent study, 89% of US colleges and universities were in some stage of reviewing their general education offerings, and 56% regarded the priority of general education as having increased in recent years.15 The curricular components of general education are varied:

. . . the majority of administrators say that their programs are characterized by global courses (60% say describes very or fairly well), first-year seminars (58%), diversity courses (56%), and interdisciplinary courses (51%). Low marks for civic learning or engagement activities (38% describes very well), service learning opportunities (38%), and experiential learning opportunities (36%) indicate that though these are increasingly popular topics of discussion, no single one of these real-world learning approaches is yet being incorporated into general education programs on a broad scale. Nearly half of institutions (49%) are using at least one of these approaches, however.16

I am struck that aspects of music could fruitfully be incorporated into any of the categories described. Music instruction in the general education curriculum does not have to conclude with a single introductory course. There has been much discourse over the years (and in this journal particularly) about the lack of graduate pedagogy training. While in the last several decades great strides have been made in teaching future music faculty how to teach, the sorts of teaching venues and teaching methods I am advocating here are nowhere to be found in the crash-course to being a music professor.17 This is understandable, as the curricular conditions in each institution—even those that resemble each other very much—will always be idiosyncratic. A model that works very well in one school with a given faculty will not be directly transferable to another context. I would advise music faculty at any institution to consider where their skills and interests might enable them to fulfill a vital role in a general education curriculum teaching some aspect of music outside of a course listed with the prefix MU-. This out-of-the-box teaching can catch the students off-guard in productive ways. Mary Hunter accurately characterizes many liberal arts students' approach to their music courses:

Students in liberal arts colleges are quite used to, and often very good at, discussions about politics and the environment, gender and sex, the reasons for World War I, and how advertising worms its way into such apparently personal domains as body image and choices about relationships. Music courses—especially courses in classical music—are often seen, I think, as something of a refuge from the rigors of perpetual relevance and argumentation, and thus, as places where discussion (as opposed to simply answering the teacher's questions) does not really have to happen.18

Hunter discusses mid-level music history courses, but her remarks apply equally well to interdisciplinary offerings,

If the mission of the liberal arts college is not only to help students cross boundaries, but also to push them into challenging received wisdom and into rethinking some of their assumptions, then surely it is our duty as music history teachers in this environment to challenge both ourselves and our students do find a mutually comprehensible language and a set of interesting questions, which place music squarely in an intellectual, historical, or social context, and allow students to acknowledge and make use of the pleasure and nourishment they find in the purely aesthetic aspects of music.19

Cross-curricular involvement by music faculty should solidify the institutional position of any music program, while also better integrating general education offerings. My focus has been the liberal arts core, which is not unique to (nor indeed even ubiquitous in) liberal arts colleges; broader involvement of music should be possible in any curriculum, even if only in a limited way. Whether there will be opportunities for such integrated teaching will depend on whether the given administration can be convinced it is worth the resource expenditure. The tasks of the faculty, then, are to have the vision and make the case.


"2011‒12 Ratings." What Will They Learn? (accessed July 30, 2012).

Beckwith, Robert K., et al. "Symposium: Music Appreciation." College Music Symposium 8 (1968): 53‒91.

Blair, "Music and the Humanities at Dominican." College Music Symposium 16 (1976): 64‒73.

Bollag, Burton. "Where a Geneticist Can Teach Gilgamesh." Chronicle of Higher Education, November 4, 2005, A10.

Cady, Henry L. "The Department of Music in the Contemporary University." College Music Symposium 18 (1978): 45‒54.

Conway, Colleen M., and Thomas M. Hodgman. Teaching Music in Higher Education. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Ford, Phil. "Appreciation without Apologies." College Music Symposium 46 (2006): 31‒44.

Freeman, Robert, and Shafer Mahoney. The Eastman Colloquium on Teaching Music as a Liberal Art. Missoula, MT: College Music Society, 1996.

Garber, Marjorie. Academic Instincts. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000.

______. "Coveting Your Neighbor's Discipline." Chronicle of Higher Education, January 12, 2001, B7.

Hofstadter, Douglas R. Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. New York: Vintage Books, 1980.

Hunter, Mary. "Teaching at a Liberal Arts College." In Teaching Music History, edited by Mary Natvig, 157‒68. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002.

Kirk, Elise Kuhl. "Music, Myth, and Man: A New Concept of Teaching Music Appreciation." College Music Symposium 19 (Spring 1979): 207‒15.

Latzer, Barry. The Hollow Core: Failure of the General Education Curriculum. Washington, DC: American Council of Trustees and Alumni, 2004. (accessed July 30, 2012).

Levenson, Thomas. Measure for Measure: A Musical History of Science. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994.

Loy, Gareth. Musimathics: The Mathematical Foundations of Music, 2 vols. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006.

Mann, Brian. "A Response to Kivy: Music and 'Music Appreciation,' in the Undergraduate Liberal Arts Curriculum." College Music Symposium 39 (1999): 87‒106.

Music in General Studies: A Wingspread Conference. College Music Society Report 4 (1981).

Music in the Undergraduate Curriculum: A Reassessment. College Music Society Report 7 (1989).

Nelson, Christopher B. "Music and the Liberal Arts." Keynote address to the annual meeting of the National Assocation of Schools of Music, Scottsdale, AZ, November 18‒22, 2011. (accessed June 20, 2012).

Palisca, Claude. "Teaching Music in an Interdisciplinary Humanities Curriculum." In Proceedings of the Australian Symposium on Music in Tertiary Education, edited by David Symons, 155‒59.Perth: University of Western Australia, 1984.

Parakilas, James, ed. Piano Roles: Three Hundred Years of Life with the Piano. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000.

_____. "Teaching Introductory Music Courses with a 'More Comprehensive Perspective'." College Music Symposium 30/2 (Fall 1990), 112‒16.

Rothstein, Edward. Emblems of the Mind: The Inner Life of Music and Mathematics. New York: Random House, 1995.

Trends and Emerging Practices in General Education, conducted by Hart Research Associates (May 2009).



1Cady, "The Department of Music in the Contemporary University."

2Among many others, see Beckwith, et al., "Symposium: Music Appreciation"; Kuhl Kirk, "Music, Myth and Man"; Music in General Studies; Music in the Undergraduate Curriculum; Parakilas, "Teaching Introductory Music Courses"; The Eastman Colloquium on Teaching Music; Mann, "A Response to Kivy"; and Ford, "Appreciation without Apologies."

3Musings about curriculum (and general education curricula particularly) are the stuff of life for academics, and articles and blog posts abound; it is a perennial topic in the Chronicle of Higher Education and the Chronicle Review. But see also the pessimistically polemical stance of Latzer, The Hollow Core, and the annual ratings at

4Blair, "Music and the Humanities at Dominican."

5Ibid., 68.

6Nelson, "Music and the Liberal Arts."

7Ibid., 1.

8For example, see Bollag, "Where a geneticist can teach Gilgamesh."

9Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach.

10Rothstein, Emblems of the Mind.

11Loy, Musimathics.

12Levenson, Measure for Measure.

13Parakilas, ed., Piano Roles. Be warned that a second edition was published as Piano Roles: A New History of the Piano, but this lacks the illustrations, compromising its value in the general ed. classroom.

14Garber, Academic Instincts, 53‒96; see also Garber, "Coveting Your Neighbor's Discipline."

15Trends and Emerging Practices in General Education.

16Ibid., 2.

17As an example, see Conway and Hodgman, Teaching Music in Higher Education.

18Hunter, "Teaching at a Liberal Arts College," 163.


3916 Last modified on March 6, 2019