Music plays a vital role in student life and learning at St. John’s. As freshmen and sophomores, students take two years of music, but the opportunity to sing, play, and dance goes far beyond the classroom.
The music program is a two-year program whose aim is to study music primarily as a liberal art. We seek to know the elements of music and in so doing, to know ourselves as musical beings and to know the musical world in which we live.
The Freshman Chorus prepares students for the work of the Sophomore Music Tutorial. The preparation is two-fold: students learn (if they do not already know) the basics necessary for reading music notation and they learn to sing great choral pieces that illustrate the musical elements studied in the Sophomore Music Tutorial. Freshman Chorus meets once a week and provides freshmen with a common musical experience, regardless of their formal education in music.
The Sophomore Music Tutorial seeks to develop an understanding of music through attentive listening, close study of musical theory, and the analysis of works of music by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Palestrina, Stravinsky, and Schoenberg, among others. Students undertake a thorough investigation of the diatonic system, a study of melody, counterpoint, and harmony, and an investigation of rhythm in words as well as in notes. A music tutorial has one tutor and 13 to 16 students and meets three times per week. Two shorter sessions are for discussion and one longer session brings students together to sing.