Since the 1940s, the Music Department at Mills College has enjoyed an international reputation. Because of its strong faculty and history of innovation, the department can enable its students to participate in some of the most exciting areas of development for music making in our time. All music students at Mills—whether they are music majors, music minors, or those who simply wish to take music courses—benefit from this stimulating, creative atmosphere.
The curricular emphasis of the Music Program is twofold:
First, in keeping with the liberal arts mission of the College, courses for non-majors not only expose students to a wide variety of styles and repertory, but also place musical activity within the broader context of intellectual history and global culture.
Second, the Music Department offers a unique undergraduate major in music that promotes a dynamic interaction between performance and improvisation, historical and theoretical studies, composition, and music technology. The music student at Mills also learns that Western musical culture is only one of the world's many musical traditions—a fact accentuated by the cultural diversity of the Bay Area as well as its position on the Pacific Rim.
The music major revolves around a core curriculum of music history, theory, and performance that provides knowledge and skills basic to all musicians. In addition, music majors select one of five areas of emphasis: performance, music and culture, theory/history, composition, or composition with an emphasis in media technology or electronic music. Performance students work with top San Francisco Bay Area musicians and perform in various musical groups, which include the Mills Performance Collective (chamber) as well as the Early Music, Vocal, Percussion, Gamelan, African Drumming, Music Improvisation, and Contemporary Performance Ensembles. Our program in composition provides undergraduate women the opportunity to assume roles in music technology, recording engineering, and composition that have traditionally been inaccessible to them.
All music students at Mills can also work at Mills' Center for Contemporary Music, a world-renowned facility for electronic and computer music and recording facilities that has played an influential role in the development of contemporary musical culture and is an important link in a long tradition of musical innovation at Mills.
Finally, just as all musical activities should be interrelated, music should not be isolated from other disciplines in the arts, humanities, and sciences. The Music Department therefore encourages interdisciplinary work and is committed to courses of study that fit the needs of students with special interests.
Prospective students: See the catalog for information regarding financial aid, music awards, the Carroll Donner Commemorative Scholarship in Music, and the Barbara Hazelton Floyd Scholarship.
Mills College’s innovative Bachelor’s-to-Master’s Accelerated Degree Programs allow you to earn a master’s degree in one additional year of study. Combining a master’s degree with a liberal arts undergraduate education prepares you for career success and increased options upon graduation. Mills students in this major should consider one of these options:
Business Management (MBA)
Interdisciplinary Computer Science