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Student Handbook

The York College Music Program Student Handbook includes important information for current music students and prospective students interested in York College's music major and minor programs.

Last updated: May, 2020

Table of Contents

  • About the Music Program
  • Music Program Policies
  • Performance Opportunities
  • Facilities
  • Scholarships and Honors Program'
  • Student Resources
  • Student Clubs
  • Alumni

About the Music Program


The York College music program enables students to a wider understanding of music making in their environments, throughout history, and around the globe. Students in the program connect their musical background with a variety of musics through performance, analysis, composition, and production. Graduates of the program will be effective musical leaders who can then apply their acquired skills in their chosen musical endeavors.

Members of the York College Big Band, Spring 2018.

York College Big Band (Spring 2018)

Academic Programs

  • Music (Bachelor of Arts)
  • Minor in Music Performance
  • Minor in Music Production

Music Program Policies

Rhythm section performers in the York College Big Band

Students performing in the York College Big Band.

Ensemble Auditions

Each ensemble requires an audition. Students interested in participating in an ensemble are requested to contact the specific ensemble director to schedule an appointment:


All music majors are required to be advised each semester by the music faculty prior to registration for the following semester. Students should regularly monitor their academic progress by using the DegreeWorks degree audit tool, and to create their schedule for upcoming semesters with consultation from their academic advisor. Students are also advised to consult with the program's four-year degree map (or two-year transfer degree map) as they plan their coursework.

Remember that in order to graduate from York College, you must complete 120 credits, including the general education requirements, the major requirements, and general electives. Take a look at this very useful Advisement Guide for reminders on DegreeWorks, CUNYFirst, and much more.

All declared music majors must be advised by a faculty member in the music program. Students may choose their own advisor, and are recommended to continue with the same advisor in subsequent semesters. If you would like to switch advisors, please let both your current advisor and your new advisor know of this change.

It is important to note that not all courses are offered every semester. Be sure to work with your advisor to know how best to plan your coursework so that you may complete all degree requirements in a timely manner. Take a look at the table below to help you plan when to complete music major requirements, some of which also require prerequisite courses.

Next Offered
MUS 101 Introduction to Music (Creative Expressions)NoneEvery semester
MUS 110 Fundamentals of Music Theory (Creative Expressions)
NoneEvery semester
MUS 208 Music Theory 1
MUS 110Fall 2020, Fall 2022
MUS 209 Ear Training 1MUS 110Fall 2020, Fall 2022
MUS 225 Foundations of Music Production (Creative Expressions, WI)ENG 126Every semester
MUS 279 History of Hip-Hop (WI)ENG 126Fall semesters
MUS 218 Music Theory 2
MUS 208Spring 2021, Spring 2023
MUS 219 Ear Training 2MUS 209Spring 2021, Spring 2023
MUS 350 Middle Ages to Baroque Era
MUS 101Fall 2021, Fall 2023
MUS 351 Classical and Romantic Eras
MUS 101Spring 2022, Spring 2024


Senior Recital

The senior recital is the crowning project of the music major at York College. Graduating seniors direct an evening of music at the Milton G. Bassin Performing Arts Center. The recital is designed to be a showcase of the student's talent and expertise. In addition, the senior recital provides the student with real world experiences in leadership and project management. The student is also responsible for promoting the event to ensure a sizable audience and to document the event for self promotion and to add to their portfolio of accomplishments. Students may choose to work with any member of the full-time faculty as their advisor for the Senior Recital project.

Performance Opportunities

York College Gospel Choir

York College Gospel Choir

York College Big Band

The York College Big Band, directed by Tom Zlabinger, is a student ensemble at York College that performs repertoire including (but not limited to) standards from various styles of jazz: blues, New Orleans jazz, swing, bebop, Latin jazz, free, and fusion. The band gives at least two performances a semester. The band has shared the stage with such legends as Carla Cook, Antonio Hart, Branford Marsalis, Arturo O’Farrill, Eddie Palmieri, Bernard Purdie, James Spaulding, Ray Vega, Ben Vereen, and Rachel Z. Students participating in the York College Big Band register for MUS 139-439 Jazz Band (3 hours / 1 credit).

Cardinal Chorus

Launched in Spring 2020, the Cardinal Chorus, directed by Felix Graham, is the newest ensemble at York College. Students interested in auditioning for the Cardinal Chorus should contact Dr. Graham for more information. Students participating in the chorus register for MUS 138-438 Chorus (3 hours / 1 credit)

York College Gospel Choir

The York College Gospel Choir, directed by Jonathan Quash, is a performing ensemble that covers a variety of genres. While the Gospel Choir’s foundation is the sacred music of the African American experience, the ensemble also performs other genres such as jazz and popular music. The Gospel Choir performs throughout the academic year both on and off campus. Students participating in the York College Gospel Choir register for MUS 131-431 Gospel Choir (3 hours / 1 credit).

Jazz Improvisation

The music program also offers studies in small group performance that are more focused on building a student’s improvisational skills in the context of a combo. Students participating in the Jazz Improvisation program, directed by Mark Adams, register for MUS 146-446 Jazz Improvisation (3 hours / 1 credit). This course is generally offered every semester.

Community Jam Session

The York College Community Jam Session, led by Dr. Tom Zlabinger, is a weekly event that takes place most Tuesdays at noon to 2 p.m. in Academic Core LL01. All musicians on any instrument or from any background or of any level are invited to jam with one another. This is a chance to share music and network with other musicians within the greater York College community. The intent is to provide a welcoming space for musicians on campus to learn and grow with one another in an inclusive environment. The repertoire performed is chosen by the musicians at the time of the session. The door is open!

Jazz Workshop

The York College Jazz Workshop, led by Prof. Mark Adams, is open to all students, faculty, and community musicians who would like to broaden their skills on their instrument by performing in a jazz ensemble setting. Everyone is welcome to bring tunes (standards, covers or originals) for the workshop to work on together. Participants learn the form, melody and chord changes for songs featured in each workshop, as well as different improvisational approaches in the repertoire.


Lower Level Computer Lab

Lower Level Computer Lab

Academic Classroom and Rehearsal Space (LL01)

The LL01 classroom in the Academic Core Building is dedicated to music classes, rehearsals, recording sessions, and hosts the weekly Community Jam Session and the Jazz Workshop. LL01 is equipped with an 80” plasma TV, powered speakers, as well as a dedicated computer and lectern outfitted with a document scanner. Students also have the opportunity to use LL01 for rehearsals and meetings throughout the academic year.

Lower Level Computer Lab (LL02)

The Lower Level Computer Lab hosts 25 iMac workstations, each equipped with a 2-channel Focusrite Scarlett audio interface and a keyboard MIDI controller. In addition, the lab features two WhisperRoom sound isolation enclosures (a vocal booth and a larger instrumental booth) for recording projects, a master recording rig with Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 for 18 channels of simultaneous recording, front and rear stereo audio monitoring, AKAI pad controllers, a variety of dynamic, condenser and ribbon microphones, and a range of other gear for recording and production. iMac workstations have access to audio software including GarageBand, Logic Pro, Reason, and ProTools. The Lower Level Computer Lab is open to the general York College community during open lab hours, where a college assistant is on hand to assist users with the lab's equipment.

Piano Practice Rooms (LL03)

The LL03 Piano Practice Rooms include seven soundproof Wenger practice modules. Six of the rooms include Privia PX-350 digital pianos, and one of the rooms includes a Steinway upright piano. The LL03 practice rooms hosts the Class Instruction in Piano courses (MUS 141 and 241) and the Studies in Performance courses. The rooms are open to York College students for musical practice throughout the academic year.

Milton G. Bassin Performing Arts Center

The Milton G. Bassin Performing Arts Center includes the 1,372-seat mainstage theater and the 152-seat little theater. The Center hosts performances throughout the year by the Music Program, the Theatre Arts Program, as well as a host of visiting artists and productions.

Student Resources

Carroll and Milton Petrie Student Emergency Grant Fund

The Carroll and Milton Petrie Student Emergency Grant Fund (administered by the Division of Student Development) was created to provide quick response grants to students in good academic standing who are going through short-term financial emergencies to remain in school. Students who demonstrate need and are facing a current emergency may apply for the grant. The maximum award is $2,000. More information is available here.

Counseling Center

Promotional Graphic for the York College Counseling Center

The York College Counseling Center provides opportunities for students to define and actualize their potential toward personal, educational, and career goals through individualized, evidence-based, and culturally sensitive counseling services.

Students come to the Counseling Center for a variety of concerns. Some include academic problems, relationship issues, family problems, or difficulties adjusting to college life. The counseling services at York College are FREE for eligible students. Make an appointment at the Counseling Center: Academic Core Building, Room 1G03, 718.262.2272 For more information, click here to visit the Counseling Center's website.

Student Clubs

Recording a track in LL02.

Students recording in LL02. (Photo by Cardinal Studios.)

Music Club

The York College Music Club is open to all York College students regardless of their major.  The YCMC meets regularly during club hours, and hosts a showcase of student talent every semester.

Cardinal Studios

Cardinal Studios is a space where students come together in order to network through the art of music production. The goal is to give every student the experience of producing, distributing and profiting from his/her music; to gain the ability to reach out to other creators and musicians; and to know how to bring them together in order to create something amazing - just as a music producer would.

National Association for Music Education (NAFME)

The National Association for Music Education is the only professional association that addresses all aspects of music education. More than 65,000 active, retired, and collegiate members represent all teaching levels from kindergarten through college. Through its many programs, initiatives, and resources, NAfME works to promote the importance of music education, foster the best possible school music programs across the nation, and advance music education as a profession. The York College collegiate chapter of NAfME brings awareness to music education by hosting events, lectures, producing music performances, and to assist music students with tutoring services.

Scholarships and Honors Program

LL03 Music Practice Rooms

LL03 Music Practice Rooms with digital pianos

Kenneth G. Adams Scholarship

The Kenneth G. Adams Scholarship was established in memory of Kenneth Adams, Professor of Music at York College.  The scholarship provides talented and deserving students with the opportunity to pursue a music education with emphasis in music performance and music education.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Must be a Full-time student majoring in Music
  • Minimum of 3.25 GPA or higher at the time of application
  • Live in the Tri-State Area
  • Must be a Upper Sophomore to Lower Senior
  • Able to read music, sing or play an instrument with an emphasis in Music Performance and/or Music Education

How to apply:

  • Head to the York College Scholarship Center to submit your application.
  • Submit your essay as part of the application (Essay topic: Why Did You Decide to Major in Music?)
  • Include two letters of recommendation from faculty members (one letter must be from a York College Department of Performing & Fine Arts faculty member.)
  • Provide documentation of student eligibility.

Dennis Moorman Scholarship

The Dennis Moorman Scholarship was established in memory of Dr. Dennis Moorman, Professor of Music at York College. This scholarship provides talented and deserving students with the opportunity to pursue a music education with emphasis in Jazz.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Must major in Music
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher at the time of application
  • Preferably lives in the Tri-State area
  • Must be a Lower Junior to Lower Senior
  • Able to read music, sing or play an instrument with an emphasis in Jazz

How to apply:

  • Head to the York College Scholarship Center to submit your application.
  • Submit your essay as part of the application (Essay topic: Why Did You Decide to Major in Music?)
  • Include two letters of recommendation from faculty members (one letter must be from a York College Department of Performing & Fine Arts faculty member.)
  • Provide documentation of student eligibility.

York College Honors Program

The Honors Program at York College seeks to provide academic, cultural and social opportunities to enhance the intellectual development of serious, highly able and motivated students. For more information on eligibility and the application process, visit the Honors Program website.


York College Alumni Combo

York College Alumni Combo performing at the Fall 2018 Music Program Open House.

York College Music Alumni Network

In order to be a continued resource for music students after they have graduated, the York College Music Alumni Network is open to all York College Alumni who were either music majors, music minors, or simply students interested in music. The purpose of the resource is help maintain relationships between alumni that could possibly grow into new opportunities for people who share a history with York College.

Featured Music Alumni

  • Kunal Singh ’13 (saxophone/keyboards/educator)
  • Angel Rodriguez ’14 (keyboards/guitar/educator)
  • Sam Yum ’15 (bassist)
  • Marc Reddick ’16 (keyboards/voice/music director)
  • Bayo Fayemi ’17 (guitar/bandleader)
  • Joe Ferrari ’17 (saxophone/music production/retired educator)
  • Mark Fiorentino ’17 (keyboards/music therapist)
  • Kemba Lodescar ’17 (vocalist/educator)