Statement of Purpose

Music theory plays a central role in the education of every Eastman student. The study of theory includes a wide range of subjects, from hands-on training in musical skills to advanced research on musical structure and music’s cultural context. The goal of the Eastman theory department is not only to provide students with a solid technical foundation, but also to encourage their ongoing intellectual engagement with music as an art form. The department maintains the highest academic standards based on clear aims and learning outcomes at all levels, and on significance, originality and rigor in the research outputs of graduate students.

For undergraduates, the theory department provides a necessary grounding in musicianship and aural skills, as well as a scholarly exploration of “how music works” in a variety of repertoires. The five-term theory core is divided into written and aural areas and must be taken in sequence, with specific learning outcomes at each threshold. The theory major for undergraduates includes advanced coursework and a senior thesis, preparing students through sophisticated transferrable skills and professional knowledge.

Graduate students study history of theory and applied theory as well as practical skills and advanced music analysis, with a wide range of electives to support their professional training.

Applicable technology is incorporated at all learning levels.