Close search

Afro-Centric Music Emphasis


The Afro-Centric music emphasis is designed to provide the music major with an applied and analytical introduction to the music of the African diaspora. Students will participate in hands-on music making, study appropriate historical trends in these musics, learn to analyze the layered textures of Afro-Centric music, and gain an appreciation of the immense contributions that West African culture has bestowed upon Western cultures. Students will achieve this through a mixture of applied and classroom work.

Career Opportunities

A 21st century musician is well-rounded with the skills and ear training to manage and process the multiple influences on modern music and performance practices. The music of the African diaspora has an enormous influence on American music and offers a musician the opportunity to cross-train in a dense rhythmic and textural counterpoint. These are essential skills for orchestral, chamber, pit, studio, contemporary and collaborative musicians.


The Afro-Centric music emphasis requires a total of 11 credits.

Ensemble Performance (2 credits)

  • MUC 206 (S08) - Afro-Centric Music Ensemble (2 semesters at 1 credit)

Historical and Cultural Work (3 credits)

  • AFR-200D - Introduction to Africana Studies (3 credits)

Applied Application (6 credits)

  • MUC 324 - Structure and Style in the Music of the African Diaspora (2 credits)
  • MUC 050 - Independent Study (2 credits)
  • MUC 206 (S08) - Afro-Centric Music Ensemble (2 credits beyond requirement above)
  • MUC 218 - Jazz Improvisation (2 credits)
  • MUC 206 (S03) - Jazz Ensemble (1 credit)
  • MUC 206 (S04) - Jazz Combo (1 credit)
  • MUC 236 - Jazz Piano Skills (1 credit)

Learn more about these courses in the University catalog.

Student Experiences

The Afro-Centric emphasis offers the opportunity to learn, play and begin to understand the music of a few other cultures. Not only can this broaden your horizons intellectually and musically, but it increases the depth of your musicianship, internalized rhythm and ensemble listening. Students will learn safe technique on a variety of hand and stick percussion instruments, learn traditional songs, and incorporate aspects of traditional movement and dance as well.


Conservatory of Performing Arts

Anthony Fuoco
Lecturer, Keyboard

Gabriel Piqué
Assistant Professor, Saxophone & Jazz Studies

Josh Ryan
Professor, Percussion

History Department

Nicholas Mays
Assistant Professor

Africa→West Trio

Faculty member, Josh Ryan is a part of the Africa→West Trio.