Organ, Sacred Music, and Historical Keyboards

Sacred Music

The organ department prepares its students for employment in the field of sacred music through the required weekly department colloquium, four-semester Sacred Music Skills course sequence, as well as other elective courses in organ improvisation, choral conducting, choral literature and others.  In addition, students may apply to be admitted to the Sacred Music Diploma program.

Sacred Music Diploma

The aim of this diploma is to equip students with the knowledge and skill set necessary to meet the challenges of the rapidly changing and diverse settings in which sacred music is practiced today. It gives grounding in a variety of worship traditions, both liturgical & nonliturgical. It also provides courses to develop skills for those serving churches now & in the future, while at the same time maintaining the high musical and performance standards traditionally expected of Eastman students. The 24-credit diploma program is available to students enrolled in the Eastman MM or DMA program, or who have or are completing a BM at Eastman. Though the diploma is primarily designed for organists, students in conducting, music education, voice or piano who possess significant organ skills also may apply.
Admission to the program is through completion of the Supplemental Application Form for the Sacred Music Diploma, available from Eastman’s Admissions Office or the Office of Academic Affairs. An interview with the director of the program will be conducted at the same time as the audition/admissions interview. For students in conducting, music education, voice or piano, an organ playing audition will be arranged as well.
It is anticipated that most students who will undertake the course of study leading to the Sacred Music Diploma will do so in addition to other graduate study. It is possible, however, for some students to pursue the Sacred Music Diploma after completing the requirements for a Bachelor’s degree in music at the Eastman School. For those continuing their studies following completion of a Bachelor’s degree, at least 12 credit hours must be completed after acceptance into the program.

Basic Course of Study

A total of 24 credits are necessary for the Diploma.

  1. KBD 401, 402, 403, or 404 Sacred Music Skills
  2. KBD 405 Organ Improvisation
  3. CND 423 Choral Conducting
  4. CND 424 Choral Techniques and Methods
  5. TH 475 Intermediate Keyboard Skills
  6. TH 476 Advanced Keyboard Skills
  7. MUE 214 Elementary and Junior High Choral Music
  8. KBD 250-251 Jazz Improvisation for Keyboard Majors
  9. SMU 407-408 Perspectives in Sacred Music
  10. SMU 471-472 Supervised Internship

Other requirements

  1. A final project is required in the last semester of enrollment consisting of a full written plan of liturgy and music for one of the major liturgical seasons
  2. A final oral examination will be held with the Sacred Music Advisory Committee following the completion of the Final Project. It will include a review of the final project, as well as a discussion of the broader topics relating to the practice of sacred music.