Director of undergraduate studies: Nathaniel Adam [fall 2023]; Anna Zayaruznaya [spring 2024];

The Department of Music offers introductory and advanced instruction in the history of music, the theory of music, composition, music technology, and performance. The Music major provides a general music program in the humanities, as well as preparation for graduate studies or for careers in music. 

Courses for Nonmajors and Majors

Introductory courses, numbered from 100 to 199, are open to all undergraduates and require no previous experience in music. 

Qualified students, whether majoring in music or not, may offer up to four terms of instruction in performance for academic credit toward the 36-course-credit requirement for the bachelor's degree. Of these four course credits, only two may be applied to the major in Music. Auditions for lessons are held at the beginning of the fall term; students sign up at the School of Music auditions website. Students who audition for lessons are placed into one of three groups: (1) noncredit instruction for a fee; (2) lessons for academic credit at the intermediate level (MUSI 345), graded Pass/Fail; or (3) lessons for academic credit at the advanced level (MUSI 445), graded A–F. Only students with exceptional proficiency are placed into MUSI 445

Students accepted for noncredit instruction are charged $550 for ten hours of lessons per term or $350 for six hours of lessons per term. The fees are added to the Student Financial Services bill and are not refundable after the first two weeks of lessons each term.

Course Numbering

Introductory courses are numbered from 100 to 199. Intermediate courses, numbered between 200 and 399, may require prerequisites or a familiarity with music notation. Advanced courses, numbered between 400 and 494, are intended for students who have completed intermediate courses in the relevant field. They are intended primarily for students majoring in music, but they may be elected by others who meet the stated prerequisites.

Corequisites and Lessons

Students taking MUSI 345 or 445 are required to enroll concurrently in a non-introductory music theory or music history course for two terms, or they must complete one term of the theory/history requirement before enrolling in MUSI 345 or 445 for the first time, and another before enrolling in MUSI 345 or 445 again. MUSI 345 is taken pass/fail; MUSI 445 and the corequisites are taken for a letter grade. Eligible corequisites include MUSI 110 or any course designated as Group I, III, or IV within the music major (i.e. courses numbered 200–219, 250-299, 300–319, 350–399, 400–419, 450–499).

Placement Procedures 

There is no longer a placement test for the music theory curriculum; instead we invite students to identify the right course for them by using our self-placement guide, and to consult with the course instructors.

Requirements of the Major

Thirteen courses are required, two intermediate courses and one advanced course in each of four groups, and the senior requirement. Group I (MUSI 200–219; 300–319; 400–419) includes music theory and technology courses focused on the materials and structures of musical works and repertoires. Group II (MUSI 220–249; 320–349; 420–449) includes composition, technology, and performance courses with a practical focus on techniques of artistic production. Group III (MUSI 250–274; 350–374; 450–474) includes lectures and seminars taking a research- and writing-based approach to the Western art-music tradition. Group IV (MUSI 275–299; 375–399; 475–494) includes lectures and seminars taking a research- and writing-based approach to popular or vernacular music or to music of non-Western traditions.

Credit/D/Fail Courses taken Credit/D/Fail may not be counted toward the requirements of the major.

Senior Requirement

Each student majoring in Music must satisfy the senior requirement by completing a senior essay, composition, or recital in MUSI 496, 497, 498, or 499.

The standard major Students must submit a completed Senior Project Form to the director of undergraduate studies (DUS) by the end of the course selection period in the term during which the project will be completed. The Senior Project Form, available in the departmental office, includes a brief description of the project and a timeline for completion. The form must be signed by the project's primary and secondary advisers, at least one of whom is a member of the faculty of the Department of Music.

The intensive major The intensive major is for students of high standing who are qualified to do sustained independent and original work in music research or in composition. Students wishing to elect the intensive major must register for the senior project in the fall term of their senior year (MUSI 497–499). A plan for progress must be included in the project proposal at the beginning of the fall term, specifying a deliverable end-of-term product with approximately the same scope as a one-term senior project. Upon satisfactory completion of this work, a student may be admitted to the intensive major, which consists of a second term of registration for the senior project (MUSI 497–499). The additional course for the intensive major is supplementary to the thirteen term courses that constitute the standard major.


Simultaneous B.A./M.A. program Undergraduates with exceptionally strong preparation in music history or music theory may complete a course of study leading to the simultaneous award of the B.A. and M.A. degrees after eight terms of enrollment. Students may not enroll in Yale College for more than eight terms to qualify for the simultaneous award of both degrees. Declared majors in Music may apply for the program until the last day of classes in their fifth term of enrollment, if they have completed at least two graduate courses in the Department of Music, at least one numbered 700 or higher, with grades of B+ or above, and if their overall grade average is A– or above. Applicants must demonstrate progress toward proficiency in a foreign language examined by the Department of Music.

Students in the simultaneous program fulfill the requirements for the intensive major in Music. They also take eight graduate courses in the Department of Music, with average grades of B+ or higher and grades of A or A– in at least two of the courses. They satisfy the Yale College requirements for the program (see Academic Regulations, section L, Special Academic Arrangements, “Simultaneous Award of the Bachelor's and Master's Degrees”), and they pass a departmental examination in a modern foreign language.

B.A./M.M. program The Bachelor of Arts/Master of Music program is designed for students with outstanding abilities in performance who are also interested in a liberal arts education. Admission to the B.A./M.M. program is through acceptance into Yale College as well as a separate, successful audition through the School of Music, either before matriculation into Yale College or during the third year of the B.A. program. For details regarding the B.A./M.M. program, please consult the Yale School of Music online bulletin.

Students cannot accelerate the undergraduate program in the B.A./M.M. program. 


Prerequisites None

Number of courses 13 term courses numbered 200 or above (incl senior req)

Specific courses required None

Distribution of courses 2 intermediate courses and 1 advanced course from each Group I–IV

Senior requirement One-term senior essay, composition, or recital in MUSI 496–499

Intensive major Two-term senior essay or project in MUSI 497–499; additional course is supplementary to the thirteen course req

The Department of Music offers courses in ethnomusicology, music history, music theory, music technology, composition, and performance. Students may take most introductory courses without a prerequisite. The department also offers First-Year Seminars without prerequisites. 

First-year students with appropriate preparation are also welcome in more advanced courses. Courses at the 200 level assume familiarity with music notation; many courses at the 300 and 400 levels assume the ability to read music.

Students interested in music—whether or not they are considering the Music major—are encouraged to take courses in music theory. There is no longer a placement test for the music theory curriculum; instead we invite students to identify the right course for them by using our self-placement guide, and to consult with the course instructors.

Voice and instrument lessons are available to qualified students. Students who want to take lessons must audition in the fall. Advanced students are eligible to take lessons for credit beginning with enrollment in MUSI 345 or MUSI 445. To qualify for credit, students must play at a sufficiently high level and be taking the appropriate theory course, as described in the Overview tab, "Corequisites and Lessons." Please see the Music Lessons page on the department website for more details.


Professors Kathryn Alexander (Adjunct), Richard Cohn, Daniel Harrison, Gundula Kreuzer, Richard Lalli (Adjunct), Ian Quinn (Chair), Gary Tomlinson, Michael Veal

Associate Professors Robert Holzer (Adjunct), Konrad Kaczmarek (Adjunct), Brian Kane, Markus Rathey (Adjunct), Braxton Shelley, Anna Zayaruznaya

Assistant Professors Ameera Nimjee, Jessica Pertiz, Lindsay Wright

Lecturers Phil Acimovic, Nathaniel Adam, Trevor Bača, Maiani da Silva, Daniel Egan, Grant Herreid, Annette Jolles, Sara Kohane, Ian MacMillen, Joshua Rosenblum, Wendy Sharp