Although it is not a requirement, freshman organ majors are encouraged to study piano or harpsichord as a secondary applied study.
Sophomore Major Status is attained upon completion of: The First Major Committee Examination.
Junior Major Status is attained upon completion of: Principal Private Study IV (Organ) and the Second Major Committee Examination.
Senior Major Status is attained upon completion of: Principal Private Study VI (Organ), the Third Major Committee Examination, and the Junior Recital.
Theory and Aural Skills Requirement
Students are expected to register for Music Theory and Aural Skills courses each semester until they have completed the requirements. Part or all of these requirements may be waived by placement examination when the student enters Oberlin.
Music Theory I-IV and Aural Skills I-IV must be taken concurrently, e.g., a student will register for Music Theory I (MUTH 130 or 131) and Aural Skills I in the same semester. Under certain circumstances, with the permission of the appropriate division director and the Music Theory division director, students will be allowed to take Aural Skills IV and Music Theory IV separately. A student’s aural skills requirement must be completed before the senior recital can be scheduled. Double-degree students will resolve any conflicts with these expectations in consultation with their advisors.
A student should select electives based on the following: a minimum of 76 hours of Conservatory coursework is required; a minimum of 24 hours of liberal arts is required.
First Private Study Committee Examination
This examination will consist of approximately 10 minutes of solo music, prepared with the major teacher, to be performed from memory for the organ faculty at the end of the freshman year. In addition, two hymns are to be played: one chosen and prepared by the student; one to be read at sight. Total duration of this exam: 15 minutes. Transfer students with two or more semesters of organ credit will not be required to take this examination. No grades are given for this exam; it is advisory in nature. Comments will be offered by the faculty.
Second Private Study Committee Examination
This examination, to be played for the organ faculty at the end of the sophomore year, will consist of the following items:
i. A piece of approximately 12 minutes duration, prepared with the major teacher, to be performed from memory.
ii. A self-chosen and self-learned piece of approximately six minutes duration, which may be played from score. (Both pieces should take no longer than 18 minutes to play.)
iii. Sight reading of a chorale harmonization and a trio.
This examination will be graded pass/fail and must be passed in order for the student to continue as an organ performance major. Total duration: 25 minutes.
Third Private Study Committee Examination
This examination, to be played for the organ faculty at the end of the first semester of the junior year, or at the end of the fifth semester of study, will consist of three parts:
i. A piece chosen by the faculty and announced two weeks before the examination date; this music is to be self-prepared, without help from the major teacher or others.
ii. More advanced sight reading of chorale harmonizations and trios.
iii. Transposition of a hymn harmonization up or down by a half or whole step.
This examination will be graded, and comments will be written by the faculty. Students who do not receive an average grade of B– or better on this examination will be required to repeat it at the end of the following semester. Total duration: 20 minutes.
This will consist of solo pieces performed from memory. The maximum length shall be 35 minutes. Minimum length shall be 25 minutes. The junior recital may be performed during the first or second semester, or during Winter Term.
This will consist of at least 50 minutes of solo repertoire and may be played from score. In addition, emsemble pieces may be included. The senior recital may be performed during the first or second semester, or during Winter Term.
At the discretion of the instructor, organ performance majors are expected and encouraged to secure a position as an organist in the Oberlin/Cleveland greater area. International students in their first year of study may accept positions only with institutions affiliated with the organ department.
Expository Writing Proficiency
Students with an SAT verbal score below 580 or an ACT score below 24, or a TOEFL score below 600 must complete one course chosen from RHET 101 or 102.