The Music Major
The Bachelor of Arts Degree in music is designed to meet the most rigorous standards of graduate schools in music but is also tailored to meet individual needs and interests. Explorations of classical music history and theory are complemented by performance studies, broad-based American and World Music courses and electives of a student’s choice. Small classes, ample opportunities to independent study and travel abroad, plus a close relationship with faculty ensure personalized treatment and thoughtful guidance.
Students wishing to combine their musical pursuits with studies in other arts areas may do so within the Interdisciplinary Arts major. It is also possible to create a concentration combining music and business management, music and computer science, music and communications, music and human development (ultimately leading to a career in music therapy), or any other pairing approved by a faculty committee. Many students declare music as a second major or as a minor. Academic courses in music and ensemble rehearsals are scheduled so as not to conflict with science labs to make this possible.
Music at Eckerd
Eckerd College invites all students to participate in music, ranging from the beginner and enlightened amateur to the music major and trained musician. Everyone has the opportunity to participate in the Concert Choir, Eckerd Ringers, the Community Band, Community Orchestra, small vocal and instrumental ensembles, private music instruction, and a wide range of music courses. The Eckerd Concert Choir and Eckerd Ringers have an intensive concert schedule and perform in local, national and international venues. The band and orchestra give public concerts on and off campus that often feature student and faculty soloists or smaller ensembles.
Concert Choir & Eckerd Ringers
The Eckerd Concert Choir performs a wide variety of sacred and secular music in local concerts and on tour. A select chamber choir drawn from the larger ensemble is featured at public concerts alongside the college’s excellent handbell choir, the Eckerd Ringers. These groups generally tour in the spring, either on the East Coast or abroad. Past choirs have sung in the National Cathedral, St. Patrick’s and Carnegie Hall and toured Britain, Italy, China and Spain. Many of our best singers also audition for roles in musical theater productions presented every other fall on the Binninger Theater’s main stage and more frequently in the smaller black box theater.
Community Band, Community Orchestra & Other Performing Groups
Wind players may join the Eckerd Community Band while string players will find a home in the Eckerd College Orchestra. Both can join chamber music groups, as can pianists and classical guitarists. Regular opportunities to play jazz or experimental music or take part in a music theater production also arise. In addition, there are countless opportunities for Eckerd musicians to join student bands and groups in the larger Tampa Bay area. There is a significant community of singers / song writers at Eckerd and several campus venues at which song writers and student bands can share their latest work.
Music Composition & Production
Song Writing and Sound Design (a project-based sonic arts course) are excellent starting points for students with interests in these fields. Independent studies, dedicated summer programs and credit internships are reasonable next steps, alongside courses in music history and theory.
Conducting & Sacred Music
Students interested both choral or orchestral conducting have opportunities to work with our ensembles under faculty guidance. Student conductors typically take independent courses in conducting and rehearsal technique, orchestration or choral repertory and advanced studies in theory and counterpoint. Those with an interest in sacred music are strongly encouraged to take appropriate religious studies courses, study voice, piano and organ and become involved with Eckerd’s campus ministry program.
Music Education, Music Performance & Music Therapy
Eckerd College does not have a program leading directly K-12 certification in Music. Eckerd students interested in primary or secondary music teaching typically complete a music major and take complementary psychology courses. They then pursue a master’s degree in music education at another institution. Some private schools do not require teaching certificates, simply college diplomas plus appropriate expertise. Even some public school systems allow college graduates to assume teaching positions while pursuing certification.
Eckerd does not offer Bachelor of Music degrees as do conservatories and university music schools. However, a number of Eckerd College graduates have become prominent professional performers, typically by participating in competitive summer programs throughout college and continuing their studies on a graduate level.
The Human Development discipline at Eckerd College has a track in Expressive Arts Therapy that is popular with music majors and minors interested in music therapy careers. Efforts are underway to design a more focused concentration drawing on both music and human development courses that leads to certification in music therapy. Human Development professor Paige Dickinson is overseeing these efforts.
Most students admitted to Eckerd College find that demonstrated financial aid is met by one means or another by working with the Financial Aid office. However, merit scholarships and fee waivers are also available to Eckerd student musicians. New applicants to the college may qualify to receive Artistic Achievement Awards that defray tuition above and beyond demonstrated need. The annual application deadline is February 1. Sopranos and mezzo-sopranos may also apply for Arabia Scholarships that defray both some portion of academic tuition and the cost of private voice lessons. Currently enrolled participants in choral or instrumental ensembles may also apply for applied music fee waivers and scholarships.
Music at Eckerd Series & Music in the Community
Faculty and guest recitals alongside major performances by Eckerd’s student ensembles and soloists are offered throughout each academic year as the Music at Eckerd Series. All performances are free and open to the general public. Student tickets are also available to performances by The Florida Orchestra, the excellent amateur Tampa Bay Symphony, the St. Petersburg, Tampa and Sarasota Opera companies, and by major soloists and ensembles giving concerts at local museums and concert halls. There is also a vibrant popular, jazz and world music scene in the Tampa Bay area.