Music

The Music Department is committed to placing music at the center of the liberal arts experience as an integration of musical practice with scholarship. Our curriculum is built around five core ways of knowing music: through performance, creation, analysis, ethnography, and history. We provide a path for students of any level of musical experience (or none at all) to pursue high-level work as music majors in one or more of these areas. We further aim for all students to find each of these ways of knowing available to them for study, and for music majors to gain experience in each area.

David Reck with veena shot from above

In Memoriam: Professor Emeritus David Reck

A model of creative, interdisciplinary teaching

David taught at Amherst for over thirty years, holding appointments in the departments of music and Asian languages and civilizations before retiring in 2006. Thanks to the range of his talents, curiosity, generosity, and expertise, his teaching indeed embraced music of the whole earth. Many of his courses were legendary, with scores of students gathered in Buckley Recital Hall to learn about David's three Bs—Bach, the Beatles, and Bollywood—and a large part of the football team learning to sing South Indian ragas. At the ends of semesters, the corridor outside David's office swelled with fantastic musical instruments handmade by students in his course called "The Sound Machine”—a testament to David's conviction that students learn about the material and spiritual foundations of music by making and doing.