Minor in American Roots Music

The American roots music minor will enhance a student’s knowledge of the musical basis of a wide range of American roots music styles while also exploring the historical and sociological components of these styles—including, but not limited to, country blues, old-time, bluegrass, spirituals, early gospel, classic country, cajun, celtic, and other related offshoots. Designed for all instruments and ensemble ratings, the minor includes a survey course, as well as choices of ensembles and liberal arts courses. Upon completion of the minor, students will have a well-developed understanding of both the performance aspects of American roots music and the historical and cultural components that gave birth to these styles and through which they thrive.

Entrance Requirements

There are no entrance requirements for this minor. This minor is managed by the String Department

What the Program Gives You

Upon completion of the American roots music minor, students will:

  • develop performance skills in a variety of American roots music styles, including blues, country, and other rural idioms;
  • gain knowledge of the social and cultural context through which these styles evolved;
  • develop an understanding of the role of technology and the music industry in the creation, dissemination, and labeling of rural music;
  • integrate musical elements from these styles into contemporary compositions and performances;
  • analyze the relationship between musical elements of related styles, and;
  • apply critical thinking and practical reasoning to the study of American roots music.
Required Courses

Seven courses required for completion of the minor (at least 12 credits).

Required Courses

  • PFSS-362: Survey of American Roots Styles (2 credits)

    Ensemble Courses (choose three; up to 3 credits)
    • ENGB-201: Klezmer Music (1 credit)
    • ENGB-223: Celtic Music (1 credit)
    • ENJZ-227: Django Reinhardt/Gypsy Jazz (1 credit)
    • ENJZ-326: New Orleans Street Band (1 credit)
    • ENPC-359: Berklee Bata Ensemble (1 credit)
    • ENPN-266: Gospel Keyboard Techniques Ensemble (1 credit)
    • ENRB-409: The Music of Take 6 Ensemble (1 credit)
    • ENRK-206: Blues-Rock Ensemble (1 credit)
    • ENRT-200: Blues (1 credit)
    • ENRT-201: Acoustic Blues (1 credit)
    • ENRT-202: 21st-Century String Band (1 credit)
    • ENRT-203: Traditional Gospel (1 credit)
    • ENRT-220: Spirituals (1 credit)
    • ENRT-300: Chicago Blues (1 credit)
    • ENRT-400: Bluegrass (1 credit)
    • ENRT-401: Country Music Ensemble (1 credit)
    • ENRT-405: Reverence Gospel Ensemble (2 credits)
    • ENRT-406: Old-Time/Appalachian Music (1 credit)
    • ENST-132: Banjo Improvisation Ensemble (1 credit)
    • ENST-223: Wayfaring Strangers Ensemble (1 credit)
    • ENST-253: Old-Time Fiddle Ensemble (1 credit)
    • ENVC-219: The Berklee Celtic Vocal Ensemble (1 credit)
    Liberal Arts Courses (choose one; 3 credits)
    • LHIS-224: Africana Studies: The Sociology of Black Music in American Culture (3 credits)
    • LHIS-225: Africana Studies: The Theology of American Popular Music (3 credits)
    • LHIS-226: Africana Studies: Biographies in Black (Music, Lives, Meanings) (3 credits)
    • LHIS-223: History Topics: History and Music in Rural America (3 credits)
    • LHIS-321: America from the Jazz Age to the MTV Age (3 credits)
    • LSOC-230: Gender and Country Music (3 credits)
    Elective Courses (choose from any of the following or from the above lists)
    • MLAN-251: Blues: Analysis and Application (2 credits)
    • ILBS-271: Blues Bass Lab (1 credit)
    • ILGT-119: Guitar Styles Skills Lab (1 credit)
    • ILGT-215: Bottleneck Blues Lab (1 credit)
    • ILGT-228: Fingerpicking Blues Guitar (1 credit)
    • ILGT-247: Steel Guitar Lab (1 credit)
    • ILGT-249: Slide Guitar Lab (1 credit)
    • ILGT-285: Country Guitar Lab (1 credit)
    • ILPD-239: Country Drumming Styles (1 credit)
    • ILPD-361: New Orleans Drumming (1 credit)
    • ILPH-353: Native American Drumming Lab (1 credit)
    • ILPH-354: Batá Rhythms/Afro-Cuban Ceremonial Drumming Lab (1 credit)
    • ENPN-266: Gospel Keyboard Techniques Ensemble (1 credit)
    • ILPN-337: Blues Styles for Hammond Organ (1 credit)
    • ILST-121: Jazz Strings (1 credit)
    • ENVC-221: Vintage Vocals Ensemble (1 credit)
    • PSPR-345: Country Music (2 credits)
    • PSPR-361: Motown (2 credits)
    • PSIM-221: Improvisation Techniques for the Blues Player (2 credits)
    • PSIM-327: Improvisation in the Jazz/Blues Idiom (2 credits)

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