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

Learning Outcomes

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.
Curriculum and 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-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)
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)
  • PSPR-345 Country Music (2 credits)
  • PSPR-361 Motown (2 credits)
  • PSIM-221 Improvisation Techniques for the Blues Player (2 credits)