Major Approval is Music to College’s Ears

Conductor Michael Shasberger, Westmont’s Adams professor of music and worship

The National Association of Schools of Music has approved a Bachelor of Music in performance at Westmont for orchestral instruments, piano and voice beginning in fall 2019.

“This latest affirmation of the quality of our music program excites us and expands our opportunities to bring top musical talent to our choirs, orchestra and ensembles,” says Provost Mark Sargent.

In the last seven years, the college has significantly enhanced its music curriculum, strengthening programs in music education and worship leadership and adding courses in piano and vocal literature.

Westmont student plays the oboe

“The new degree completes a robust portfolio of offerings for talented students seeking to excel in professional music careers,” says Michael Shasberger, Adams professor of music and worship. “Students who plan to continue their musical training in a conservatory or pursue a career in performance after they graduate will benefit from this degree. Westmont now offers a full range of choices from the Bachelor of Arts in music with a liberal arts emphasis for double majors to the more focused professional degrees of the Bachelor of Music Education and the Bachelor of Music in performance. We hope the new degree will attract more high-caliber performers from around the world.”

Westmont singerShasberger notes that Westmont already enrolls many fine music students, whose talents contribute to the burgeoning collaboration with the theater department in operatic performance and the growing sophistication of the orchestral and vocal programs. The new major features a strong and distinctive commitment to the liberal arts and requires 80 units in musicianship and musical performance courses, 15 units outside the major, and general education courses.

Westmont student playing the violin

“Our music programs incorporate courses from several departments, including modern languages, theater, kinesiology, physics and mathematics, which contribute to the development of the musician,” Shasberger says. “Such interdisciplinarity is a hallmark of a Westmont program.”

Shasberger aspires to enroll about 60 music majors, enhancing the choir, orchestra and musical ensembles that present well-received concerts and performances for the local community, including the Christmas Festival, the Fourth of July concert, and the West Coast Symphony Annual Free Fiesta Concert during Old Spanish Days.