Academics Blog


Name: Carolyn Rosinsky

Year: Class of 2011

Hometown: Columbia, Maryland

Major: Neuroscience, Cell and Molecular Biology

Minor: Music

Music has always been a huge part of my life.  I knew I wanted to study science in college, but I also knew that I wanted to continue seriously with my studies in cello and music.  When I applied to college I applied to 12 schools, and at 11 of them, I auditioned to do a double major or a double degree—the twelfth school was Hopkins, where I did not audition for the double degree!  Therefore, when I chose to come to Hopkins, it was a natural decision for me to want to pursue the music minor.

My first semester at Hopkins, I did not take any music classes.  The first week of school, I auditioned for the Hopkins Symphony Orchestra and several a cappella groups, and ended up joining the Orchestra and Ketzev, the Jewish a cappella group on campus, of which I later became Musical Director.  There are multitudes of music groups on campus, including band, jazz band, the Choral Society, and eight (or so) a cappella groups, not to mention the dozens of student musicians who just play for fun or with other students.  By my second semester of college, I had already formed a string quartet with three other students from the Orchestra.

My second semester, I also started taking music classes.  I have since taken Theory I, II, III-20th Century Music, and III-Counterpoint, as well as Western Classical Music, and Mozart’s Piano Music.  The minor requires that you spend two semesters either taking private lessons or in a performing group, and the coursework requires Theory I, II, and III, Western Classical Music, and two Musicology electives.  All of this can be accomplished at Homewood, although you can take any of the academic classes at Peabody, the internationally-acclaimed conservatory that is part of the University, if you wish.  The courses at Homewood are taught by Peabody faculty, and are honestly some of the best professors and classes I have had at Hopkins, besides being world-class experts in their fields!  A couple of years ago, the Theory III course was reworked.  There are now four Theory III classes that rotate every two years (one is offered Fall or Spring for a two year cycle).  The four options are Form, Song, Counterpoint, and 20th Century Music.  There are many Musicology courses offered at Homewood as well, but you can also take courses at Peabody.  Most students who do so choose to take those in the History I-IV series, a series of required courses for Peabody students.

When I first started at Hopkins, I began taking cello lessons with a teacher in Baltimore who was not affiliated with Hopkins.  My hometown is about halfway between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and my teacher from high school had recommended someone for me to study with in Baltimore.  Unfortunately, that teacher moved out of the state after my first year at Hopkins.  Music minors normally submit lesson request forms through the Registrar and are assigned a teacher at Peabody, and most of these teachers have students primarily from the Hopkins minors or Peabody Preparatory programs.  Because I was from the area, however, I had some idea of the teachers with whom I would want to study.  I emailed several of the faculty at Peabody, played for a few teachers, and ended up joining Alison Wells’ studio as a non-Conservatory student.

My experiences allowed me to be active in a cappella, orchestra, and chamber music, and to study privately.  Music at Hopkins allows you to meet so many people, gain leadership experience, and explore opportunities both academic and extracurricular.  In fact, I’m planning to attend graduate school for cello next year.  You never know what “major” implications could come out of a “minor”!


Click here to access more information about the Music Undergraduate Program of Study.

To further your exploration of this academic program and ask any question you may have of current students, be sure to visit the Hopkins Forums’ Academics: The Insider Perspective and the Music question thread.