Major and Minor
Faculty and professional interests
Laura Lane, chair
Director of choral activities; voice, conducting, music history
Bruce Polay (on leave, Spring 2014)
Artistic Director/Conductor, Knox-Galesburg Symphony; theory, music history, composition, songwriting
Music history and culture
Director of jazz studies; music history and culture
Director of Piano Studies
Music study at Knox is set within the liberal arts tradition, training accomplished musicians as well as those new to music study. More than a third of the Knox student body participates in our music program through classes, lessons, and ensembles.
Courses in music history and culture expose students to the diverse ways music reflects and shapes societies past and present, in the West and around the world. Courses in music theory train students in the construction of music and analytical techniques. Students may pursue interdisciplinary connections between music and a host of other fields including psychology, history, anthropology, sociology, history, art history, philosophy, black studies, and gender studies.
Knox offers a dynamic, comprehensive jazz experience with weekly performances and annual tours. The Knox Jazz Ensemble (KJE) has won numerous outstanding soloist awards at collegiate festivals. Membership in the KJE and top combo is by audition; other combos are open to all. The Knox Jazz Studies program sponsors the Rootabaga Jazz Festival, bringing highly acclaimed performers and clinicians to Galesburg and features a jazz artist in residence during Fall term. Wind and percussion players may audition for the Knox-Sandburg Community Band, comprised of Knox students and other area musicians; this ensemble features guest conductors and soloists, who often premiere contemporary works. Wind, brass, and string players may also perform with the Knox Chamber Ensemble and flute players may perform with the Knox Flute Choir.
The Knox College Choir (KCC) is the premier choral ensemble of the College. It performs three different programs each year, and tours every year during spring break, with a European tour every four years. In March 2013 the KCC performed for the third time in Carnegie Hall, under the baton of Dr. Laura Lane. The KCC has also performed in the famed Paraninfo of the University of Barcelona in March 2006, 2010 and 2012.
The Knox Chamber Singers is a select 18-voice ensemble auditioned from the Choir, performing everything from Renaissance madrigals or vocal jazz to Debussy or Lauridsen. Our outstanding choral program also offers opportunities for students who love to sing but do not wish to audition: the Women's Chorale, the Men's Ensemble,the Galesburg Community Chorus, Umoja Gospel Choir, and Soulfege.
Selected instrumentalists have the opportunity to perform in the Knox-Galesburg Symphony (KGS), a professional orchestra directed by Dr. Bruce Polay, Illinois Conductor of the Year in 1997, 2004 and 2010. The Orchestra has three times been named Illinois Orchestra of the Year and has won 17 prestigious awards in 10 categories from the Illinois Council of Orchestras. Each year the KGS presents a subscription concert series, a Pops Concert and the "Concert on the Lawn." Guest soloists bring international reputations to Galesburg. The Symphony performs in the Orpheum Theater, a stunningly restored 1,000-seat concert hall in downtown Galesburg.
The Knox String Ensemble performs at student recitals and off campus. It is open, without audition, to any student who plays one of the standard orchestral string instruments.
In addition to participating in nearly twenty ensembles, Knox students may take private lessons in voice, piano, organ, guitar, all standard string, wind and percussion instruments, as well as lessons in composition, orchestration, improvisation, and jazz on all standard jazz instruments.
Music Education Program
Students who want to teach music in elementary or secondary schools may prepare for teaching certification. This demanding curriculum requires completing a major in music, a major in educational studies, and several courses specifically designed for music education. Students who complete these requirements and who pass the State of Illinois certification tests are qualified for recommendation for certification.
Students interested in music education should contact both Professor Lane (Music) and the chair of the Educational Studies Department as early as possible. In order to complete the program in four years at Knox, students must begin in their first year. Specific requirements to prepare for certification in music education are as follows:
- Music: Completion of the course requirements for a major in music:
- Core courses: MUS 101, 102, 145, 245, and 246
- Electives: 5 credits as follows:
- 1 credit in a course focusing on music outside the European tradition
- 1 credit in a style history course (MUS 361 or 363)
- 1 credit in a seminar (MUS 322 or 324)
- 3 of the 5 electives must be at the 300 level. Lessons may not be used to fulfill this requirement.
- Capstone: MUS 399 or 400
- Proficiencies: Piano and two years of participation in ensembles
- Additional requirements in Music required for certification:
- MUS 307 Instrumental Techniques I
- MUS 309 Secondary Choral Methods
- MUS 311 Fundamentals of Conducting
- either MUS 308 Instrumental Techniques II, or MUS 310 Vocal Pedagogy
- proficiency in an additional instrument
- Educational Studies: a major in K-12 Special Content Areas (course descriptions available in the Educational Studies portion of the Catalog):
- Introductory course: EDUC 201
- Foundation courses: EDUC 202 or EDUC 203, EDUC 204, EDUC 205, EDUC 208(.5), EDUC 301, EDUC 310D
- Methods course: EDUC 312D, EDUC 319
- Student Teaching: EDUC 340 (3 credits)
The departmental curriculum contributes to the College's Key Competency Requirements as follows:
- Writing Key Competency - MUS 322 and 324 serve as a writing intensive courses for majors
- Speaking Key Competency - MUS 254, 260, or the combination of two of: MUS 345, 361, and 363 serve as speaking intensive courses for majors
- Information Literacy and Informed Use of Technology - Music majors use technology to conduct research, (using e.g. RILM and Oxford Music) to effectively present, (using e.g. Powerpoint, GarageBand) and to compose (using e.g. Sibelius and Finale). Key courses for acquiring these skills include MUS 101, 102, 254, 260, 322, 324, and applied music lessons.
Departmental Learning Goals
Students completing a Music major will:
- Be able to precisely describe detail and form in music (whether presented in sound or score) through words and analytical symbols, and to apply such analytical insights to unfamiliar pieces and repertoires
- Have basic practical proficiency on some instrument
- (Performance students) Have an advanced and artistic command of their chosen instrument, their voice, or conducting
- (Musicology and theory students) Be able to construct and evaluate a musicological or analytical argument critically and sensitively
- (Composition students) Be able to compose original pieces that draw upon existing musical vocabulary as well as articulate their own artistic voice