Goucher students engage in the performing arts as both participants and observers. The Music Department produces more than fifty public events each year. Vocalists perform in the Goucher Chorus, Chamber Singers, Jazz Ensemble, and Opera and Musical Theatre Workshop. Instrumentalists perform in the Orchestra, the Chamber Music Group, the Jazz Ensemble, and the African Drum and Dance Ensemble. Digital music producers participate in the music department's computer music program. Ensembles are open to all Goucher students, regardless of major or minor. An audition is not required for admission to the Goucher College Music Department, only for seating placement and casting in specific ensembles and programs.
Music has held a central and honored position in Western culture since antiquity, yet its essential nature remains ever a mystery to us. Its power to evoke emotion-and even to persuade and inspire-has been regarded in certain periods and cultures as magical, for although it affects us strongly, it is also fleeting and ephemeral. No doubt for this reason Plato said, and many after him have affirmed, that "education in music is most sovereign." At Goucher music is one of the liberal arts. Questions about the place of music in culture, its power, and hence its mystery, and the diversity of its appearances are important issues in the department curriculum. Goucher's approach to music is not for everyone, but it is ideal for the student who wishes to explore musical interests in depth and who also wants the kind of intellectual challenge that is not often available in a conservatory setting.
The Music Department provides instruction to students who wish to study music as a manifestation of a civilization or culture, who will use music as an avocation, and who wish to enter professions in music. Thorough preparation is given to those who intend to pursue graduate study or begin a career. (See specific descriptions of the major and minor programs.) In both the music major and minor, courses are designed to enable students to acquire a balance of harmonic and structural study, historical and analytical information, interpretive and performing experience, and compositional technique. Students may also pursue other interests and career options by combining music courses with courses in other departments. (See Music in the Individualized Major.) The department curriculum provides graduates with the knowledge and experience to become composers, performers, digital music producers, sound engineers, teachers, critics, journalists, and arts administrators.