Music and Consciousness


Fall 2013 and Winter 2014 quarters

Taught by

music composition, theory, and technology


One full year of previous college-level music study.

This program is a two-quarter-long investigation of the relationship between sound, music and human consciousness. We will compose original music and explore the psychological and aesthetic effects that music has on us. The program is for experienced composers and performers. It is primarily a musical endeavor, working with aspects of psychology and contemplative studies, rather than a study of psychology that involves aspects of music. The program goal is to become better composers and performers and to develop greater understanding of the qualitative aspects of listening, how music “functions” in our lives and how it relates to the broad field of Consciousness Studies. To do this, we will read texts that deal with established contemporary compositional techniques as well as seminal texts and recent findings in Consciousness Studies. Research topics could include the effects of music at the somatic level, studies in psycho acoustics, and surveys of techniques used in music therapy. Students will be expected to complete compositions, research projects and listening exercises and to keep a journal related to their experiences with the music that we create.

In fall, we will build listening and compositional skills and begin to relate these to the psychological and spiritual dimensions of the pieces, learning to use appropriate vocabulary and critical techniques. In winter, students will deepen these musical skills and they will select a topic for a twenty-minute formal research presentation that will be presented during week nine. There will also be a public concert of original pieces at the end of the winter quarter.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

music and consciousness studies.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


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Online Learning

No Required Online Learning: No access to web tools required. Any web tools provided are optional for students.

Required Fees

$75 in winter for an overnight field trip.


Date Revision
June 18th, 2013 $75 fee has been added to winter quarter.

Registration Information

Credits: 12 (Fall); 12 (Winter)

Class standing: Junior–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 25


Course Reference Number

Jr - Sr (12 credits): 10197

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Accepting New Students


Students joining the program will need to have taken one full year of previous, college-level music study to be successful in the program.

Course Reference Number

Jr - Sr (12 credits): 20157

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