The M.M. degree incorporates several distinctive features. One is that the scope of music considered in the curriculum extends to music of the European art tradition, jazz, popular musics, and musics of non-Western cultures. Thus, the M.M. in Contemporary Music conveys the broad scope of applied musical practice in the 21st Century.
A second distinctive feature of this degree is its flexibility with respect to areas of applied practice. Students may focus in a single area, such as keyboard performance; or combine allied areas such as keyboard performance, American vernacular, jazz studies and composition. In the contemporary music environment such allied areas are frequently intermixed in practice, but they usually are not intermixed in academia.
A third distinctive feature is the requirement of a compact disc as an exit project. The state of recording technology today is such that a musician with even only modest financial resources has access to the means of producing a high-quality recording. As a result, having a CD as part of one’s portfolio is no longer optional in the professional world. The compact disc requirement puts the art of recording on the same artistic plane as the art of live performance and recognizes the centrality of the recording arts in contemporary music practice.
Once admitted to the Master of Music program, you will work with an advisor to plan the courses you will take and how you will complete the academic requirements of the program. By filing this program plan (PDF form), you have a road map for completing your degree and clarity on what to expect.
Maximum 6 credits in MUS 606 and/or MUS 640.
MUE 425/525 Orff Schulwerk Level I (6)
Intensive two-week course offered summers only, exploring a comprehensive approach to teaching music and movement to children. The first of three levels leading to certification by the American Orff-Schulwerk Association (AOSA). Recommended for elementary education students with an emphasis area in music and for M.S. in Education students with a content area in creative arts or interdisciplinary studies. Prerequisites: MUS 111, 211, or the ability to read music notation
MUE 427/527 Choral Methods (3)
For those planning a career in choral music education. Addresses rehearsal planning and pacing, age-and-ability-specific repertoire, historically accurate performance practice, authentic performance practice in a variety of ethnic and regional styles, sight-reading, vocal production, all aspects of concert planning, and budget preparation.
MUE 451/551 Woodwind Pedagogy (3)
Focus on learning how to teach woodwind instruments at the beginning and intermediate levels. Topics include proper embouchure, basic fingerings, published teaching materials and rehearsal techniques. Prerequisite: successful completion of three terms of MUP at 200-level on any instrument, or equivalent skill
MUE 452/552 Brass Techniques (3)
Learn basic playing and teaching techniques on brass instruments. Provide basic information and skills for students who anticipate pursuing licensure to teach band or orchestra. Students will learn to play trumpet, horn, trombone and tuba with emphasis on correct fundamental concepts embrouchure, tone and hand position. Successful completion of this course and MUE 451/551, MUE 453/553 and MUE 454/554 will constitute approval to enter the MAT program.
MUE 453/553 Percussion Techniques (3)
Learn basic playing and teaching techniques on percussion instruments. Provide basic information and skills for students who anticipate pursuing licensure to teach band. Students will learn to play snare drum, timpani, marimba and traps with emphasis on correct fundamental concepts, tone and hand position. Successful completion of this course and MUE 451/551, MUE 452/552 and MUE 454/554 will constitute approval to enter the MAT program.
MUE 454/554 String Techniques (3)
Learn basic playing and teaching techniques on string instruments. Provide basic information and skills for students who anticipate pursuing licensure to teach band or orchestra. Students will learn to play violin, viola, cello and bass with emphasis on correct fundamental concepts, tone and hand position. Successful completion of this course and MUE 451/551, MUE 452/552 and MUE 453/553 will constitute approval to enter the MAT program.
MUS 414/514 Jazz Theory (3)
Introduction to the elements of jazz theory and jazz composition, including harmony, scales, modes, rhythms, instrumentation, melodic fluency, voicings, orchestration, ear training, jazz nomenclature, and manuscript. Compositions and arrangements for jazz combos will be performed and critiqued. Prerequisite: MUS 213 or consent of instructor
MUS 415/515 Jazz Arranging I (3)
Arranging and composing for jazz combo and large ensemble with emphasis on the big band. Topics include: harmonizing melodic lines, voicings, orchestrating for the instrumental sections, and form. Compositions and arrangements for jazz combos and instrumental sections of the big band will be performed and critiqued. Prerequisite: MUS 414/514 or consent of instructor
MUS 416/516 Jazz Arranging II (3)
Advanced arranging and composition techniques for the big band with emphasis on counterpoint, five-part voicing, extended forms, Latin jazz styles, and advanced orchestration and instrumentation. Compositions and arrangements for the big band will be performed and critiqued. Prerequisite: MUS 415/515
MUS 418/518 Contemporary Composition Techniques II (3)
Advanced contemporary strategies, systems, methods, and techniques of composing music for various styles, genres and mediums. Compositions will be performed and critiqued. Prerequisite: MUS 313 and MUS 318
MUS 421/521 Media Music Production I (3)
An introduction to media music production techniques with emphasis on midi processing, sound-sample libraries, midi orchestration, digital audio workstations, and preparing music compositions synchronized for various media. This course may be used to satisfy 3 credit hours of the 2nd-year (undergraduate) theory requirement. Prerequisite: MUS 213 (undergraduate only)
MUS 422/522 Media Music Production II (3)
Composing music for film and media with emphasis on history dramatic conceptualization, orchestration, styles, and genres. Underscoring projects will be performed, recorded, produced and critiqued. Includes weekly midi lab times for scoring productions, composition, and transcriptions. This course may be used to satisfy 3 credit hours of the 2nd-year (undergraduate) theory requirement. Prerequisite: MUS 421 (undergraduate); 521 (graduate) or consent of instructor
MUS 423/523 Media Music Production III (3)
Composing music for media with emphasis on the film, TV, and video game industry, synchronization and timings, spotting, dramatic conceptualization, orchestration, recording techniques, styles and genres. Underscoring projects will be performed, recorded and critiqued. Includes weekly midi lab times for scoring productions, composition and sound track transcriptions. This course may be used to satisfy 3 credit hours of the 2nd-year (undergraduate) theory requirement. Prerequisite: MUS 422 (undergraduate); MUS 522 (graduate) or consent of instructor
MUS 424/524 Vocal Literature (3)
An overview of vocal literature from Renaissance lute song through the 20th century
viewed in terms of: melody, harmony, rhythm, accompaniment form and poetry, with consideration of style and performance practice.
MUS 425/525 Keyboard Literature (3)
An overview of keyboard literature from Baroque, Classical, Romantic and 20th century periods. Activities include listening, study of style, performance practices and score identification.
MUS 428/528 Choral Literature (3)
Study of choral music’s place, style, and performance practice in each of the major Western European historical style periods. Includes examination of the choral genre in various world music. Activities include listening, as well as studying representative scores.
MUS 429/529 Literature for Instrumental Ensembles (3)
Research, inventory, and selection of effective repertoire for the successful instrumental ensemble performer. Course concentrates on published music from the late 18th century to the present for modern orchestral and chamber ensembles.
MUS 430/530 Advanced Improvisation (3)
Application of a broad spectrum of theoretical constructs to improvisation in a variety of musical contexts. Prerequisite: MUS 332 and 333
MUS 440/540 Performance Anxiety for Musicians (3)
Introduces the causes and effects of performance anxiety among musicians and seeks to provide methods for coping with the stresses of performance. The diverse needs of the participants will be of foremost importance.
MUS 460/560 Special Topics in Music History (2-3)
A cultural study on a historical, artistic, literary, or philosophical movement using the role of music in that movement. The central topic will change with each offering in order to address the diverse interests and needs of the students. May be repeated for credit.
MUS 465/565 Special Topics In Music Theory (2-3)
Consideration of contemporary, historical, and ethnographic musical practices. Each term will focus on one or more topics such as species counterpoint, orchestration, serial music, minimalism, non-Western structures or cross-cultural influences. May be repeated for credit.
MUS 471/571 Songwriting I (3)
Study of modern songwriting styles and techniques through analysis and composition. Focus on developing a voice as a lyricist. Study of the harmonic language and forms common to songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, Harlan Howard, John Lennon, Willie Nelson, and Woody Guthrie.
MUS 472/572 Songwriting II (3)
Study of modern songwriting styles and techniques through analysis and composition. Focus on the variety of forms, melodic styles, and harmonic practices found in the music of late 20th-Century songwriters such as Carole King, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Paulinho Da Viola, and Tracy Chapman.
MUS 473/573 Songwriting III (3)
Study of modern songwriting styles and techniques through analysis and composition. Developing a distinctive voice as a songwriter. Focus on the dense harmonic language of songwriters such as Richard Rodgers, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Harold Arlen, Duke Ellington, and Antonio Carlos Jobim.
MUS 606 Special Individual Studies (1-3)
This course is designed for graduate advanced individual study under the guidance of a designated faculty member. May be repeated for credit.
MUS 607 Seminar (1-9)
Terms and hours to be arranged. May be repeated for credit.
MUS 608 Workshop (1-9)
Terms and hours to be arranged. May be repeated for credit.
MUS 640 College Pedagogy in Music (1-6)
Curricular development, learning assessment, philosophical perspectives and practical issues studied through observation of and collaboration with WOU faculty in the delivery of undergraduate coursework. Course may be repeated for credit when taken in conjunction with different undergraduate courses. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: consent of instructor
MUS 650 Concert Attendance (0)
Concert attendance for graduate music majors. Available as a P/NC grading option only. May be repeated.
MUS 675 Introduction to Graduate Research (3)
Introduces students to formal and informal scholarly communication and research in music. Finding resources, reading and interpreting research, and understanding and applying the principles of objective investigation will be the focus.
MUS 680 Special Topics in Contemporary Musicology (3)
A musicology seminar designed to provide graduate students with an intense one-term examination of a musical style, period, or philosophy from the last 125 years. The topic will change with each offering in order to address the diverse interests and needs of the student body.
MUS 685 Contemporary Readings in Music (3)
An investigation of contemporary writings in areas such as music criticism, comparative musicology, musical semiology and cognitive science.
MUS 690 Recording and Media Production (1)
Overview of technical and business concerns involved in professional recording. Course objectives include understanding the roles of recording engineers and producers, understanding basic technical processes to translate aesthetic intent to effective technical language, and understanding expectations in the recording process. Degree candidates must take three consecutive terms of MUS 690. A maximum of three credits can be applied to the degree.
"As a composition student, the music program at WOU provided me great hands-on training with accomplished faculty who are excellent teachers, as well as opportunities to work with world-class musicians in numerous clinics hosted by the department. I would highly recommend this program."
Christian Kaltwasser '15
MM in Contemporary Music
"My experiences at Western Oregon University were such a profound part of my educational growth and development. I am so grateful for the opportunities I had to gain real world experience and create a professional portfolio that I could use immediately after graduating. I currently serve as Executive Director of Salem Chamber Orchestra, and continue to do freelance music performance, private music lessons, and various recording and arranging projects."
Terra Hurdle '15
MM in Contemporary Music