For course requirements for the Bachelor of Music: Performance (Organ), please see here .
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.
Music 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 examinations.
Normally, students will take Music Theory I-IV and Aural Skills I-IV concurrently. That is, a student will register for Music Theory I (MUTH 130 or 131) and Aural Skills I (MUTH 101) in the same semester, Theory II and Aural Skills II in the next semester, and so on. Under certain circumstances, with the permission of the student’s division director and the Music Theory division director, a student will be permitted to move forward in the Music Theory sequence beyond the corresponding Aural Skills course.
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.
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.
Conservatory Writing Requirement
All entering Conservatory and Double-Degree students must complete a writing assessment, administered by the Conservatory Writing Committee. Generally, this assessment takes place during Orientation week. Students who enter the Conservatory midway through the academic year must complete this assessment by the end of the second week of classes of the Spring semester.
This assessment is graded on a Pass/No Pass basis. Students who receive a passing grade on this initial assessment will have satisfied the Writing Requirement. Students who receive a No Pass on this initial assessment must successfully complete a second writing assessment by the end of their second year. For this second assessment, students must compile and submit to the Conservatory Writing Committee a portfolio comprising two pieces of persuasive writing and one reflective piece. Types of writing that might be submitted include (but are not limited to) essays submitted for Oberlin courses (College or Conservatory), artistic statements, program notes, personal statements, and grant proposals. The Conservatory Writing Committee will award each portfolio a grade of Pass or No Pass. Students who receive a Passing grade will have successfully completed the Writing Requirement. Students who receive a No Pass on this second assessment may revise and resubmit their portfolio one more time. Students must receive a Pass upon resubmission in order to satisfy the Writing Requirement.
Students are expected to complete the Conservatory Writing Requirement by the end of their second year of study at Oberlin. Students may not schedule their Junior Recitals until they have completed the Writing Requirement. Conservatory students enrolled in degree programs that do not require Junior Recitals will not be permitted to enroll in upper-division courses (taken during the Junior year or later, according to the advising grids) until they have successfully completed the Writing Requirement.
Numerous campus resources are available to help students develop their writing skills and fulfill the Conservatory Writing Requirement. These include Oberlin’s Writing Center and writing-oriented courses offered through the College of Arts & Sciences. Additionally, it is expected that Conservatory students develop as writers as they progress through the first years of the Conservatory curriculum, in particular their musicology and music theory coursework. To this end, students are encouraged to work closely with their Conservatory teachers (during office hours and the like) to hone their writing skills as they progress through these courses. Students enrolled in the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) sequence will prepare to fulfill the Conservatory Writing Requirement as part of their ESOL coursework.