Whether for students intending a career in music or those pursuing their own love of the art, the Department of Music offers courses in theory and composition, in the history and current trends of both Western and non-Western music, and lessons in performance. All students, regardless of musical background, are welcome in any course unless a prerequisite or permission of instructor is indicated (as for certain theory courses).
For the Music major, a liberal arts framework offers a broader outlook than that of either a conservatory or a school of music. In a liberal arts framework, students encounter historical, theoretical, cultural, ethnographic and performance perspectives on music. The student majoring in music at Boston College may find employment in teaching, in communications or arts administration, in liturgical music, or may major in music simply to provide a firm discipline for the mind or a source of lifelong enjoyment. Some students may go on to graduate school or a conservatory to become professional performers, composers, musicologists, or ethnomusicologists. Within the major, all students receive a common base of knowledge with a specialization at higher levels in such areas as composition, performance, music history or cross-cultural studies. A grounding not only in the traditional musical skills of Western fine-art music, but also knowledge of music of the twentieth century, of American music, and of the traditions of other cultures is considered indispensable.