Music Majors and Minors

Music Theory: New students learn the ins and outs of the music major

“Majoring in music is a unique experience for a college student,” according to music professor Nancy Menk, who also directs the renowned Women’s Choir. Over the Orientation weekend new students got just a taste of that unique experience, as they attended the music major and minor orientation. The Sunday night meeting served as their introduction to the music family at the College, during which Menk and upperclassmen went over the A-Zs -- or “do re mis” -- of being a music student at Saint Mary’s.

The orientation session allows students considering music as a major or minor to get a jump-start on their academic planning. “There is a lot that goes into being a music major beyond just signing up for classes,” says Menk. “[That includes] auditioning, taking private lessons, going to recitals, taking juries, piano proficiencies and masterworks exams, and performing in ensembles.” In fact, intended music majors must audition before they are accepted into the major. They declare their specific degree program at the end of their first year.

Seniors Katie Chmelko and Laura Miller were there Sunday to help answer students’ questions. The two music majors know the importance of diving right into the program. “I think the music orientation for incoming first years is extremely important because the music department becomes so much like a second family to the majors and minors,” says Miller. “While the department demands so much from students, they also really take care of us and help us through every step of the process.”

Chmelko explains that the session leaders also presented first year students with the music department handbook -- a guiding star for students -- which, she explains, is “the A-Z guide of being a music major or minor at Saint Mary’s. It explains procedures, from how to get a practice room key to a checklist of courses and proficiencies needed to graduate.” Perhaps most importantly, Menk and her older students communicated their availability and connected with new students preparing to join the Saint Mary’s “music family.”