Drake has long emphasized the importance of the academic and intellectual side of music for all music students.
The Drake University Department of Music offers students performance opportunities equal to those found at large music institutions, yet in a smaller environment. Drake music ensembles tour internationally, nationally and regionally, expanding their degree of performance beyond the Drake campus.
Music students have participated in annual recording sessions for professional albums, some of which have received Grammy-nominated eligibility. Drake music students perform regularly throughout the Des Moines metro whether it is in a jazz combo at a local coffee house or as a member of the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra. At Drake, the performance opportunities flourish!
Students are required to take five semesters of music theory, including courses in aural skills and twentieth-century practices.
During the first two years of music theory, students will be introduced to species counterpoint, four-part voice-leading methods, Roman numeral analysis, and many other compositional and analytical practices.
Students also have the opportunity to take elective courses in fields such as counterpoint, structure and design, and orchestration, and private composition lessons are available upon request.
Music students are also required to take four semesters of courses in music history and literature. First-year students will typically enroll in World Music their second semester, which introduces them to important concepts in musical style and philosophy.
During the sophomore and junior years, students will enroll in a three-semester survey of the history of western music, featuring courses covering the Medieval through Baroque eras, the Classical and Romantic eras, and music written after 1890.
Elective courses and seminars are also offered in such fields as jazz history, music and politics, and a variety of literature surveys organized by genre or instrument.
Non-music majors also have the opportunity to take courses in the music department, all of which fulfill requirements for the Artistic Experience Area of Inquiry (AOI). These include surveys of music in western culture, jazz literature, world music, and music since 1900, all of which are taught by full-time music faculty.