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Bennington College History: Black Music: Home

A guide to the history of Black Music at Bennington College.


This a guide to the history of the Black Music Division at Bennington College. Black Music courses were listed in the curriculum as extra-divisional or interdisciplinary courses from 1968 - Spring 1974. Black Music became a teaching division in the Fall 1974. From Fall 1974 - Spring 1984 Black Music courses were listed in the curriculum as Black Music or Black Music Division. After Fall 1985 courses were listed in the curriculum under Music. Resources are primarily drawn from the College's archival collection. The work on this guide is ongoing and we welcome feedback, suggestions, and questions. Please email us at


Purpose and Intent

"The Black Music Division offers both the art, philosophy and technology of Black Music to the entire student body at an introductory level. At the same time, it offers a more specialized discipline for those who have committed themselves either to performance, composition, improvisation, or criticism of the music. A main purpose of the program is to both preserve and advance the art and discipline of contemporary Black Music - teach both its musical and philosophical points of view, and to train and engage the young musician in a specific musical discipline - acquaint the student musician with the art of ensemble playing, composition, how to listen with a critical ear, development in the art of the solo, involvement with the intricacies of the instrument, and for writers how to write critically and intelligently about the music."

From Statement of Intents and Purposes With Regard to Being a Division Among Divisions at Bennington College, 1974

Bill Dixon at Bennington College