Create Your Future with new Conservatory core curriculum


Beginning in the fall of 2022, Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music students will have a stronger voice in helping to curate their BW experience.

The Conservatory is implementing a new core curriculum that will serve as the foundation for all music majors at the University. The new curriculum focuses on building skills important for successful music careers in the 21st century and providing student choice in crafting their academic journey. A focus on expanding the diversity of music styles and genres and implementing a new introductory course are hallmarks of the new curriculum.

The update follows an 18-month strategic planning process that resulted in the Conservatory’s current strategic plan, AMPLIFY 2024 | building lives of passion & impact through the arts. The AMPLIFY plan strives to empower graduates to build fulfilling and sustainable careers aligned with their values and passions through a consistently refreshed curriculum that equips students for graduate study, established career tracks, portfolio careers, teaching and successful pivots to non-arts professions.

One of the pillars of the new plan focuses on building a "Student-centered Curriculum" with goals to "infuse diversity throughout student academic experiences," "offer students more tools to chart their own futures," and "infuse career training throughout all student experiences."

Conversation around these topics led the Conservatory’s Academic Studies department to look carefully at and update the foundational music curriculum. The creativity and rigor demonstrated by Academic Studies led to conversations across all departments of the Conservatory and curricular updates to every major in the Conservatory.

"Our Music History and Music Theory faculty continue to devote themselves to developing an exceptional academic music core experience that consistently responds to our students’ needs and keeps pace with pedagogical best practices in these disciplines," explains Beth Hiser, Conservatory Academic Studies Department Chair.

"The focal point of the new academic core curriculum is a reimagined Music History and Music Theory sequence that provides extraordinarily diversified, relevant, and flexible content for all music students. An exciting new course, 'ICTUS: Introduction to Conservatory Thinking, Understanding, and Skills,' will focus on three pillars of strong musicianship by teaching students ways to think about, listen to, and communicate about music from a variety of musical and cultural perspectives.

"After taking ICTUS in their first semester, students will engage with innovative core course sequences and then choose upper-level theory and history electives that best suit their interests, aspirations, and preferences. Students will graduate from BW with an academic foundation that will equip them with the skills they need to fulfill their ambitions.”

Students will graduate from BW with an academic foundation that will equip them with the skills they need to fulfill their ambitions.”

Beth Hiser, Conservatory Academic Studies Department Chair

In addition, an expanded group of emphasis programs available to all BW music majors creates opportunity for further artistic growth and career-focused skill building. Emphasis programs are designed similar to minors but are less credits making them doable for most music majors within their four-year degree. Emphasis programs available include:

  • Afro-centric Music
  • Arts Management
  • Composition
  • Contemporary Media
  • Jazz
  • Music History
  • Music Industry
  • Music Theory
  • Vocal Pedagogy

The updated music curriculum coupled with the Conservatory’s expanded music emphasis programs and the ability to minor or double major in any of the University’s additional 86 liberal arts degree programs provide limitless opportunities for students to create a unique educational pathway at the BW Conservatory resulting in strong preparation for building a successful life in the arts upon graduation.

Written by Bryan Bowser

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