The Music program gives students a thorough grounding in the four fundamental areas of music instruction – theory, general musicianship, history and performance, and allows students who are interested in teaching careers to specialize in Music Education, while those interested in academic studies and graduate school may emphasize such topics as Music History and Music Theory.
Students may also choose our ground-breaking new specialization in Music Cognition, which explores exciting new research into how music is perceived in the brain and how music intersects with other aspects of intellectual development.
It’s also possible to combine the study of music with another subject from Humanities or Social Sciences.
With a ratio of approximately one professor to every 15 students and private lessons in the student’s principal instrument or voice, the Music program offers an exceptional level of faculty contact within the conventional classroom.
Our program also emphasizes learning outside the classroom. There are several ways in which music students at McMaster are exposed to a wide range of world-class artists. These include free lunchtime concerts and the Celebrity Concert Series (to which Music students receive free admission). The series brings top calibre international musicians to McMaster, whose musical styles range from the standard repertoire to recent music, jazz, early music and world music.
To enter Music I, students must meet the Humanities admission requirements and pass an audition consisting of a performance (the minimum level required for both equates to Royal Conservatory of Music Honours Grade 8), a theory test (equivalent to RCM Advanced Rudiments), as well as an ear-training test. Most auditions take place between February and April. For more information, please visit the Humanities website.
While co-op and internships are not currently offered for the Music program, there are many performance opportunities available.
All Music programs at McMaster involve performance, both solo and ensemble. There are many opportunities to perform in public, such as the Student Concert Series for soloists and chamber groups. All students receive private lessons in their principal instrument or voice, and must also participate in one of the seven important ensembles sponsored by the School of the Arts:
- David Gerry Flute Ensemble
- McMaster Chamber Orchestra
- McMaster Concert Band
- McMaster Jazz Band
- McMaster Percussion Ensemble
- McMaster University Choir
- McMaster Cantemus Vocal Ensemble
Admission to these ensembles is by audition and is open to music and non-music students.
- large rehearsal rooms
- practice rooms
- seminar rooms, several equipped with two grand pianos
- multimedia classrooms
- a multimedia classrooms large instrument collection, including string, wind, brass and percussion instruments
- Mills Memorial Library’s extensive music section
- Music Cognition Laboratory
- an on-campus concert hall with a world-class Steinway piano
Want to take a look at this year’s offerings and build a mock schedule? You can use McMaster’s MyTimetable tool to pick from Mac’s entire course offerings this year.
How does it work? Simply follow these steps:
- Step 1: Pick a semester where the yellow box appears.
- Step 2: Start searching for classes in the box that appears. Don’t know where to start? You can type out subjects, such as “English” or “Physics,” or pick from the courses listed here.
- Step 3: Pick your classes and times. When you find a class that you like, click on it and it will appear in the calendar on the left. You can pick different tutorial and lecture times to fit the classes you want. When you find a class and times that you like, click on it in the calendar to pin it in place.
- Step 4: Fill out your schedule and save the URL. Keep picking classes and times until you have your schedule (this is usually five courses per semester). Once you’re finished, save your URL so you can come back and see what you’ve built.
The following degree options are available to students within Music:
- Honours Bachelor of Music
- Honours Bachelor of Music (Music Cognition)
- Combined Honours Bachelor of Arts in Music and Another Subject
- Bachelor of Arts Music
- Minor in Music
Diploma in Music Performance
The Diploma recognizes a concentration in the area of music performance and can be completed concurrently with a Music degree or with a degree in another subject. Students who are not in the Music program must complete an audition before being admitted to the Diploma.
Students take solo performance courses and accompanying and chamber music, leading up to the special final year solo performance course Music 4E09, which culminates in a recital presentation of approximately forty minutes duration. Since Music 4E09 may not be used for credit towards any McMaster degree, students pursuing the Diploma must plan their work to accommodate nine extra units.