The beautiful Olin Arts Center is home to the department, and offers sunny classrooms, an ample number of good practice and rehearsal rooms – several with Steinway grand pianos – a computer music studio, and a fine concert hall.

We study music from all over the world in our courses, at introductory and advanced levels.  All of our courses and performance ensembles are open to general liberal arts students and music majors alike.  A secondary concentration (minor) in music is available, and many of our majors pursue interdisciplinary interests or double majors.  Concentrations in performance, composition, musicology, and ethnomusicology are available.  We are small enough to be able to give all our students a lot of individual attention as they pursue their particular interests, and our departmental philosophy is that we are interested in all the global varieties of human musical expression.

Composition and Digital Sound

The Bates Department of Music offers courses in acoustic and digital composition, covering contemporary and experimental musics, popular musics, and sound for visual media. In the Bates Sound Studio, located in the Olin Arts Building, there are three fully equipped workstations with Macintosh computers, MOTU interfaces, Ableton Push controllers, keyboard MIDI controllers, and software including Reaper, Logic, Ableton, Pure Data, MaxMSP and the Adobe Creative Suite, and two additional workstations equipped with the same software. Available on all studio computers are various music notation programs. Additional resources are available through the Bates Digital Media Studios and the Digital Media Equipment Exchange located in Pettigrew.

Recent thesis compositions by music majors have included film scores, a piano concerto, a jazz suite for big band, a string quartet, and a software suite for processing percussion sounds in real time.  For further information, contact Asha Tamirisa ( or Hiroya Miura  (

World Musics

Students interested in studying music from a global perspective may take courses in world music, music of Southeast Asia, and the discipline of ethnomusicology.  Students may study the sitar or the fiddle, perform in our steel pan orchestra, or in our Indonesian gamelan orchestra, which presents dance and shadow puppet dramas. For further information, contact Gina Fatone (

Western Classical Music

We offer lessons in all the major classical instruments and voice, along with the opportunity to perform in our choir, orchestra, and chamber groups—groups in which students sing the solos and occupy the principal chairs.  Students learn to analyze classical masterpieces in our four-semester music theory sequence, and they study the music in historical and cultural contexts in courses on the classical tradition, opera and Broadway, music and religion, and the discipline of musicology.

Jazz and Popular Music

Our courses in popular music, offered in conjunction with the program in African-American Studies, range from introductory courses in jazz and blues, African-American popular music, and electronic dance music to an advanced seminar in Miles Davis.  We also offer performance courses in jazz improvisation and jazz guitar, lessons in all the major jazz instruments, and a jazz band program that provides both big band and combo opportunities.  For more information, contact Dale Chapman ( or Larry Williams (


The Department of Music, the Olin Arts Center, and the Office of Student Activities bring an endless stream of performers, from the popular to the experimental, to campus throughout the academic year.  The largest part of the musical life of the college, however, comes from the members of the college community.  Students perform not just in Music Department ensembles, but in five student-run a cappella groups and in many rock, jazz, and fusion groups.  They play folk music in our fiddle ensemble and at contradances.  They sing and play in Theatre Department productions, accompany productions of our Dance Program, and give solo performances at the campus coffeehouse.

Admission: Submitting Musical Work

Olin Arts Center