Programs

Music

BFA HONOURS
BA HONOURS

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 seven areas in which to specialize: Jazz and Gospel Music, Western Classical Music, World Music and Ethnomusicology, Contemporary Improvisation, Composition, Music Education and Community Music, and Studies in Music Cultures.

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 artists and scholars who give students the individual attention they need

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.
  • 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 first-year curriculum in which 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
  • Small ensemble: Introduction to Jazz Performance or Jazz Workshop
  • Theory: Jazz Theory and Musicianship
  • Large ensemble (choices): Jazz Orchestra, York Rhythm and Blues Ensemble, Jazz Choir or York University Gospel Choir
Year 2
  • Private lessons
  • Small ensemble: Jazz Workshop orJazz Repertoire ensemble: Saxophone
  • Theory: Jazz Theory and Musicianship
  • Large ensemble (choices): Jazz Orchestra, York Rhythm and Blues Ensemble, Jazz Choir or York University Gospel Choir
Year 3

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

  • Jazz Workshop: New Directions
  • Jazz Repertoire ensemble: Saxophone
  • 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.
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 Accompanying I
  • Piano Accompanying I
  • 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):

  • Private lessons
  • 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

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
  • Private lessons are available
Studies Courses

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

  • 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 always 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

Composition has been an area of strength in the music program since its beginning. 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
  • Digital and Electronic Media I
Year 2
  • Composition Studio II
  • Digital and Electronic Media II
Year 3
  • Composition Studio III
  • Introduction to Scoring for Film, Games, Motion Media
  • Instrumentation and Orchestration
  • Song Writing and Repertoire
Year 4
  • Composition Studio IV
  • Composing for Film
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

Performance and ensemble courses relevant to interests and career direction, as shown in other pathways. Other courses could include:

  • Guitar for Non-majors and Majors
  • Flute for Non-majors and Majors
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

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
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.

APPLICATION PROCESS

How to apply

Please note that the supplementary application procedures may change due to Covid-19. Please check back to learn about interim measures. If you have any questions please contact ampd@yorku.ca.

A. Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC) Application

Use this application if:
  • You want to apply to degree studies for any session (Ontario high-school students should see their guidance office). Fee Information.
  • You’re a mature or university/college applicant (if you’re applying to more than one university). Fee Information.

Apply Now

B. York University Application

Use this application if:
  • You are a mature, international or university/college transfer applicant (if you’re only applying to York), OR
  • You want to take courses as a Visiting Student, OR
  • You want to apply to a certificate, OR
  • You are currently taking a York pre-University/”Bridging” course or YUELI course

Fees: $120 (non-refundable)

Apply Now

Once you have submitted your application, you will receive an email containing your York reference ID. This email will be sent approximately 5-10 business days after you submit your application. Please complete step 4 once you have your York Reference ID.

Once you have submitted your application, you will receive an email containing your York reference ID. This email will be sent approximately 5-10 business days after you submit your application. Please complete step 4 once you have your York Reference ID.

  • Make sure you have your York Reference ID on hand.
  • Complete the questionnaire which helps us get to know you a little better.
  • Pay the administration fee of: $60 CAD. You will then be able to proceed with the audition.
  • Read through the instructions below on the audition process.
  • Book an in person zoom audition to meet virtually with one of our faculty members or upload your audition online.

Good luck!

Preparing for your audition

Attend our annual Audition Prep. Workshop! Check the website for the details.

Read over the audition details below and check out our Audition FAQs for information specific to your instrument and genre.

The audition

Our application process is designed to help us get to know each other. Our auditions are grouped into four broad categories of performance: Classical, Jazz, World Music, and Digital/Electronic Music. The area you choose to audition for should reflect your interests but does not imply that you will be limited to that area if you are accepted to the Department of Music. All of our students must demonstrate their musical ability in one of the above areas. If you have a particular interest (such as digital/electronic music, composition, music education, music studies), please indicate this in the Supplementary Evaluation questionnaire.

Once you have completed the questionnaire you will be directed to choose your audition option and identify your focus further: instrument or voice, and performance category of Classical, Jazz, World Music. (If you wish to audition in Digital/Electronic Music, please be sure to indicate this in the Supplementary Evaluation.)

You have two options for your audition:

1. Virtual: A complete live zoom audition that will include both performance and interview.

2. Online: Fully online application with submitted performance (for applicants in distant time zones or problems with Internet connectivity). If you choose this, you will be contacted to arrange a virtual interview, since we would still like to meet you!

What happens at the zoom interview/audition?

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.

Are there online auditions?

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. .

*During the coronavirus pandemic public events on campus have been cancelled.

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.