The Colby Music Department is a close-knit community of students, faculty members, and music associates. Whether you are taking a class about music or are playing in one of our ensembles, you will be surrounded by a group of talented young musicians and students who are deeply interested in music as a performance art and as an academic discipline. Students tend to develop close ties with their professors, who are accomplished composers, performers, and music academics. There are ample performance opportunities throughout the year, from weekly piano workshops to end-of-semester recitals and an annual concerto competition. There are also opportunities for students of composition and music theory to have their own works performed. Academic courses range from Samurai music to the History of Rock and Roll to the ethics and praxis of music sampling.
Stroll through the Gordon Center in the morning, you might find a group of students brainstorming a collaborative, multi-media installation. Later that afternoon, you might come across students conducting a music ethnography of campus or playing through complex Afro-Cuban rhythms. Come back at midnight, you can hear our pianists practicing passages from Frédéric Chopin or Bill Evans, or working through an experimental composition in our innovative Arts Incubator. We have students who major and minor in music and also those who take our courses and play in our ensembles for the pure love of the art and of the discipline.
Submit a Supplement
Artistic talent is one of many factors considered in admissions, and students with musical abilities can frequently strengthen their application by submitting evidence of musical accomplishment. Applicants are encouraged to submit musical performances of works in two contrasting styles. Original compositions can be submitted as PDFs. Musical resumés may be submitted as PDFs but are not required. Good quality audio files and video recordings and can be submitted as well.
Supplementary materials can only be uploaded after you have submitted your application to Colby and received a PIN providing you access to the application status portal.
For further details concerning the submission of a music supplement, click here.
Meeting Our Faculty
Our faculty and applied music instructors are delighted to meet with prospective students and give short coaching sessions during a Colby visit. We encourage students to remain in contact with the appropriate teacher during the admission process.
Please visit the applied music instructors page for the contact information.
AP Courses (Credits / Placement)
We work carefully with incoming students to ensure the appropriate placement in music theory. The department generally grants credit for MU 181 to students who score a 5 on the AP music theory exam; placement is in MU 182 (offered spring semesters). Students who earn a 4 on the AP exam receive credit for MU 153, but may also be able to place out of MU181 by examination. If you earn AP credit for MU 153 or MU 181, you are also eligible to receive credit for lessons and participation in department-sponsored performing groups. (The granting of academic credit for AP courses is handled through the registrar’s office; for information on Colby’s placement exam, consult the music department office.)
Life After Colby
Colby’s music students have been successful in a variety of career paths. Some attend graduate school and earn advanced degrees in performance, composition, music history or music theory. Some teach privately or obtain certification to teach public school music. Others have worked in radio, film, recording, or other facets of the music industry, sometimes after studying arts management or earning an MBA. Still others have chosen careers outside music where the skills that they learned from their music studies (including abstract reasoning, aesthetic sensitivity, and analytical skills) serve them well.
For more information on Colby music alumni, please see our Alumni page.
For More Information
The department’s administrative assistant, Tina Steeves, can be reached at 207-859-5670 (fax 207-859-5635).
If you need information concerning department-sponsored ensembles, the name of the appropriate contact can be found via the ensembles page. Contact information for individual faculty members is listed on the faculty contact page.