Programs

Music

BFA HONOURS
BA HONOURS
MUSIC MINORS

Offered as:
Full-time and Part-time

Entry in:
Summer, Fall and Winter






Music Program Video Description Transcript
Theatre Students

OVERVIEW

Music

We invite you to share your music, find your vision, and build the future by studying in the Department of Music’s dynamic, inclusive program.

Since the 1970s Music at York has led in innovative post-secondary music studies, being the first in Canada to offer integrated studies in jazz, contemporary improvisation, gospel music, world music performance and ethnomusicology.

The program continues that tradition of innovation, combining a flexible program with individual attention. Courses in jazz, gospel, western classical, world, and contemporary music develop music skills and engage students in music creation (performance, composition, improvisation), studies (ethnomusicology, musicology, popular music studies), and community practice (education, community music, career-related placements).

While maintaining flexibility, we offer students pathways to specialize in Jazz and Gospel Music, Western Classical Music, World Music and Ethnomusicology, Black Music Studies, Contemporary Improvisation, Composition, Digital and Electronic Music, Music Education and Community Music, and Studies in Music Culture.

HIGHLIGHTS

Top 6 reasons to apply

The flexibility to choose courses from different areas or to focus and specialize

Diversity of music traditions and styles from classical, jazz, popular, and traditional musics

Opportunities to perform, participate in workshops, and benefit from community and industry placements

Classmates who are talented, invested in learning, and contribute to a shared community

Faculty who are dedicated performers, composers and scholars who give students individual attention

World-class, state-of-the art facilities for performance, rehearsal, recording and composing

YEAR BY YEAR OVERVIEW

Learning Outcomes

Share your MUSIC, find your VISION, build the FUTURE

Years 1 and 2

    Build a solid foundation & explore:

  • Develop essential concepts and practical skills in musicianship, music theory, and performance.
  • Expand your awareness of musical cultures of the world.
  • Explore new areas of study.
  • Gain an understanding of the social, cultural, and historical contexts of music.

Years 3 and 4

    Differentiate, consolidate, & apply:

  • Deepen your expertise to apply techniques, skills, and knowledge to performances and research.
  • Specialize in your chosen area or continue to explore options.
  • Connect and integrate your skills with others in creative projects and critical studies.
  • Apply your skills through performance, community connections, and placements.

Year One

Theatre Students

OVERVIEW

Incoming students share a common curriculum in the first two years, when they take courses across the various areas of Music. All first-year Music students enter the BFA program. After first year, students who interests centre on music studies (music history, criticism and scholarly research) may choose to move to the Honours BA program.

In their first two years in the Music program, all Music majors and Music minors share a core curriculum of 4 courses (24 credits). These courses are not open to non-majors/non-minors.

MUSI 1000 Workshop in Musicianship I and MUSI 2000 Workshop in Musicianship II Through two years of intensive study, these courses develop musical sensitivity, imagination, and practical skills through group and individual exercises in singing, composing, playing, listening, and critical analysis focused on the elements of music and harmonic training.

MUSI 1200 Musics and Cultures I and MUSI 2200 Musics and Cultures II These two courses introduce specific styles and repertoires of world musics within historical and socio-cultural contexts to understand how music is tied to racial, class, and gendered identities, socio-economic structures, and political systems. By understanding music within a broader set of meanings, students also explore community connections.

In addition to these foundation courses, students select courses from other areas of the program. This makes it possible to specialize as early as first year, or explore.

OPPORTUNITIES

Create your own pathway or specialize

The Undergraduate Curriculum offers flexibility: as a student in the program, you may choose from any number of courses and areas of interest through four years. In addition, you may choose courses to develop an area of specialization. This offers you a way through the program based on your interests and personal career goals. You will choose elective courses in first-year.

Student Singing

OVERVIEW

The Department of Music at York University was the first music program in Canada to include jazz as an integral part of its curriculum. A full range of courses, including private lessons, jazz theory and musicianship, small ensembles, jazz orchestra, and jazz history are offered each year. York University was also the first music program in Canada to include Gospel music, and today students can join the gospel choir as well as study gospel history and performance practice. Related courses include a rhythm and blues ensemble.

Sample Program Pathway

Year 1
  • Private lessons
  • Theory: Jazz Theory and Musicianship
  • Small ensemble: Introduction to Jazz Performance or Jazz Workshop
  • Larger ensemble (choices): Jazz Orchestra, York Rhythm and Blues Ensemble, Jazz Choir, York University Gospel Choir, Gospel Ensemble: Instrumental
Year 2
  • Private lessons
  • Small ensemble: Jazz Workshop, Jazz Workshop: New Directions, or Jazz Repertoire ensemble: Saxophone
  • Theory: Jazz Theory and Musicianship
  • Large ensemble (choices): Jazz Orchestra, York Rhythm and Blues Ensemble, Jazz Choir, York University Gospel Choir, Gospel Ensemble: Instrumental
Year 3

Continue with combination of Year 2, adding from below (for example):

  • Jazz History I
  • Jazz History II
  • History of Gospel Music
  • African-American Popular Music
Year 4

Continue with combination of Year 3, adding:

  • Jazz Theory in Practice
  • Field Placement in Music
Student Singing

OVERVIEW

Western classical music has been central to the Department of Music since the beginning. Students may choose from a variety of courses in classical performance, including private lessons, large ensembles, small ensembles, choral singing and solo performance. Early music continues to thrive at York with opportunities for students interested in harpsichord, Baroque and early music. A full suite of courses supports those students interested in a specific concentration such as classical voice, piano or other instruments, with associated learning opportunities.

Sample Program Pathway

Year 1
Vocal/Keyboard/Instrumental
  • Private lessons
  • Topics in Vocal Performance I/Piano Literature & Pedagogy
  • Small ensemble (choices): Chamber Choir, Chamber Music Performance, New Music Ensemble, Baroque and Early Music Ensemble
  • Large ensemble (choices): York University Concert Choir, York University Wind Symphony, York University Orchestra
Year 2
Vocal/Keyboard/Instrumental
  • Private lessons
  • Topics in Vocal Performance II/Piano Accompanying II
  • Piano Accompanying II
  • Small ensemble (choices): Chamber Choir, Chamber Music Performance, New Music Ensemble, Baroque and Early Music Ensemble
  • Large ensemble (choices):York University Concert Choir, York University Wind Symphony, York University Orchestra
Year 3

Continue with combination of Year 2, adding from (for example):

  • Master Class in Performance I
  • Recital I
  • Renaissance Music
  • Baroque Music
  • Murder, Mayhem, and Order: Exploring Classical Music
  • Romantic Music
  • Music of the Avant-Garde
  • Music in the Modern Era
Year 4

Continue with combination of Year 3, adding from (for example):

  • Master Class in Performance II
  • Recital II
  • Canadian Music
  • J. S. Bach
  • Field Placement in Music
Student Singing

OVERVIEW

The Department of Music at York has offered world music study and performance as an essential part of its curriculum from its earliest days. Today, we offer our Music majors and minors the opportunity to experience other music cultures through performance in ensembles, private lessons, and related studies courses. As a reflection of our broader environment, this area is directly relevant to community music and music education.

Sample Program Pathway

Ensembles

In addition to private lesson instruction in a range of world music instruments, the following are examples of ensembles from which to choose:

  • Celtic Canadian Folk Ensemble
  • Balkan Music Ensemble
  • Cuban Music
  • Middle Eastern Ensemble
  • Escola de Samba
  • Caribbean Ensemble
  • West African Drum Ensemble: Ghana
  • Klezmer Ensemble
Studies Courses

The following studies courses are among those offered to complement the above performance courses:

  • World Music in the Classroom: Issues and Practice
  • Musics of World Cultures
  • Music in the Modern Era
  • Music of India
  • Music of Africa
  • Music of the Americas
  • Music, Voice, and Society
  • Music, Myth, and Ritual
  • Music Performance in Global Perspective
  • Music of the Middle East
  • Field Placement in Music
Student Singing

OVERVIEW

The Department of Music has valued improvisation as contributing to the musical flexibility required for success in performance. Studies in contemporary improvisation, through private instruction, class engagement, and ensemble performance, guide students in developing the musical versatility required to flourish in today’s evolving creative environment. The courses listed below complement studies in other areas of performance.

Sample Program Pathway

Year 1

Students may choose from the following performance courses:

  • Private Lessons in Open Style Improvisation
  • Contemporary Musicianship and Improvisation
  • Electro-Acoustic Orchestra
  • New Music Ensemble
Year 2

Students may choose from the following performance courses:

  • Private Lessons in Open Style Improvisation
  • Contemporary Musicianship and Improvisation
  • Electro-Acoustic Orchestra
  • New Music Ensemble
Year 3

Students may choose from the following performance courses:

  • Private Lessons in Open Style Improvisation
  • Contemporary Musicianship and Improvisation
  • Electro-Acoustic Orchestra
  • New Music Ensemble
Year 4

Students may choose from the following performance courses:

  • Private Lessons in Open Style Improvisation
  • Contemporary Musicianship and Improvisation
  • Electro-Acoustic Orchestra
  • New Music Ensemble
Student Singing

OVERVIEW

The Department of Music addresses the expanding area of music composition by offering courses in both traditional compositional practices and digital and electronic media as early as first year. Students may then continue in traditional composition or focus on composing for films, games, and motion media. Specialized studios and labs are available to students studying composing for screens.

Sample Program Pathway

Year 1
  • Composition Studio I
Year 2
  • Composition Studio II
Year 3 and Year 4
Choose from among courses (for example):
  • Composition Studio III
  • Introduction to Scoring for Film, Games, Motion Media
  • Instrumentation and Orchestration
  • Song Writing and Repertoire
  • Composition Studio IV
  • Composing for Film
Music Headphones

OVERVIEW

From its earlier digital music labs, the Department of Music has expanded this area to address increasing interest in digital audio workstations, digital composition, and hybrid performance that includes both acoustic and computer-based instruments in real and virtual contexts. This area intersects with composition and contemporary improvisation, and with the Department of Computational Arts in AMPD.

Sample Program Pathway

Year 1 and Year 2
  • Digital and Electronic Media I and II, and/or Introduction to Interactive Digital Media I (DATT)
Year 3 and Year 4
Choose from among courses (for example):
  • Introduction to Scoring for Film, Games, Motion Media
  • Composing for Film
  • Electro-Acoustic Orchestra
  • Interactive Sonic Arts
Student Singing with mic

OVERVIEW

The Department’s commitment to diversity is demonstrated in its courses devoted to Pan-African traditions. These offer both performance-based opportunities and focused studies that reflect the range of Pan-African musical experience that is found around the world and contributes to local music communities. As an African-American music, jazz-related courses also contribute to this pathway.

Possible Program Pathway

Yearly
Performance-based courses (can be taken every year):
  • York University Gospel Choir
  • Gospel Ensemble: Instrumental
  • Rhythm and Blues Ensemble
  • Cuban Music Ensemble
  • Escola de Samba
  • Caribbean Ensemble
  • West African Drum Ensemble: Ghana
Year 3
Third-year Studies courses:
  • Music of Africa
  • African-American Popular Music
  • History of Gospel Music
  • Popular Music in the Era of Rock
Student Singing

OVERVIEW

A broad array of courses allows students to specialize in the critical and cultural study of music. Students may select from these courses to complement their primary area of study in the BFA, or move to a four-year Honours BA to engage more intensively with music studies, for example, musicology, ethnomusicology, popular music studies and music writing. These courses offer students the opportunity to focus on different repertoires, styles, historical periods, and areas of the world to explore issues related to the critical analysis of music and to gain a deeper understanding of music within its broader socio-political and cultural contexts.

Sample Courses

Sample Courses

Sample Courses:

  • Music in the Modern Era
  • Music of India
  • Music of Africa
  • Music of the Middle East
  • Music of the Americas
  • Renaissance Music
  • Baroque Music
Sample Courses
  • Murder, Mayhem, and Order: Exploring Classical Music
  • Romantic Music
  • Music of the Avant-Garde
  • Music in the Modern Era
  • Opera
  • Western Art Song
  • Music, Voice, and Society
  • Music in Film
  • Jazz History I and II
Sample Courses
  • History of Gospel Music
  • Popular Music in the Era of Rock
  • African-American Popular Music
  • Music, Myth, and Ritual
  • Music Performance in Global Perspective
  • Music of the Middle East
  • J. S. Bach
  • Canadian Music
  • Honours Seminar in Music Studies
Student Singing

OVERVIEW

The Department of Music distinguishes itself in providing students with practical experience relevant to teaching in today’s classroom. It offers a full range of courses that prepare students for a career in music education and the expanding opportunities in community music. Instructors with practical experience in the Ontario classroom address issues and methodologies required for teaching music and facilitate placements in classrooms. These studies complement those offered at York through both the unique Concurrent Education program and popular Consecutive Education program in the Faculty of Education (see below).

Sample Program Pathway

Year 1 and Year 2

Performance and ensemble courses relevant to interests and career direction, possibly including:

  • Guitar for Non-majors and Majors
  • Flute for Non-majors and Majors
Year 3 and Year 4

Continue with a combination of performance courses, adding from (for example):

  • Choral Conducting and Performance Techniques
  • Conducting and Score Study
  • Issues in Music Education
  • World Music in the Classroom: Issues and Practice
  • Instrumental Music Education
  • Vocal Music Education
  • Issues in Community Music
  • Field Placement for Music

ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES

Two degrees in one

Theatre Students

OVERVIEW

The Concurrent Bachelor of Education (BEd) program allows you to work toward an education degree while completing your Music undergraduate degree at the same time as early as first year.

Students are admitted on the basis of academic achievement, oral communication abilities, experience and personal characteristics relevant to the teaching profession. The BEd degree is awarded only in conjunction with an academic degree as described above.

Careers in music can span live performance, entertainment, screen-based media, gaming and technology, education and community work.

  • Accompanist
  • Acoustician
  • Adjudicator
  • Arranger
  • Artist manager
  • Audio editor
  • Audio producer
  • Band leader
  • Community arts administrator
  • Community arts advocate
  • Composer
  • Composer
  • Concert promoter
  • Concertizing musician
  • Conductor
  • DJ
  • Instrument builder
  • Instrument collection curator
  • Instrument restorer
  • Music critic
  • Music director
  • Music librarian
  • Music presenter and curator
  • Music publisher
  • Music teacher
  • Music therapist
  • Musicologist
  • Piano tuner
  • Recording engineer
  • Song writer
  • Sound designer
  • Vocal coach

Have Questions?

WE HAVE ANSWERS

You have the option to send the performance portion of your audition online, and you will be asked to book a virtual (zoom) interview. The fully online audition process is reserved for those who have problems with Internet stability or who are in a time zone that makes it impossible to arrange a live zoom-based audition. If this is necessary, please complete our online questionnaire and submit videos of your performance of the two required contrasting pieces. Have questions about the supplementary evaluation for this program? Ask us at evalampd@yorku.ca.
Your zoom audition will take 15 to 20-minutes and will generally include: – A performance of your two contrasting pieces (if you choose option 2) – A discussion of your musical knowledge as well as your goals and aspirations – An assessment of theory and musicianship by identifying intervals, scales and chord types, and you may be asked to sing pitches, intervals or scales – Sight reading and additional exercises if further information is needed to make a complete assessment of your abilities and potential Helpful information regarding choosing appropriate repertoire for your specific audition type may be found in our Audition FAQs.
You may only audition in a single area but make your other abilities clear on your supplemental application. Music students can take courses from all the areas they are interested in, no matter what they auditioned for (though some courses require additional auditions).
Your interview will include some general theory questions. You may then be asked to take an additional test.