The music history department at Lawrence seeks to encourage students to think critically about music and its relationship to the world in which it is created and received through the exploration of changing styles, practices, and meanings in social, historical, and theoretical contexts.
The music history curriculum includes two main types of courses: an initial two-term sequence provides a survey of Western art music from medieval times to the present, as well as an introduction to bibliographic skills and research techniques; upper-level courses offer opportunities to explore individual topics in greater depth and to prepare more extensive research projects. The department offers a diverse range of courses in terms of both content and approach. Recent offerings in musicology and ethnomusicology include courses devoted to specific composers, genres, periods, places, and themes. Students can also participate in independent study, tutorial, and honors projects dealing with a musicological topic.
Lawrence alumni have continued on to prestigious graduate programs and to successful careers in both musicology and ethnomusicology.
Although Lawrence does not offer a music history major, students can take advantage of the possibility of a student-designed major that incorporates or emphasizes music history classes.