Professional Skills, Cultural Awareness, Artistic Explorations
Generally, students are awarded one credit for each hour of class time. Exceptions are made for studio, ensemble, and a small number of classes.
Students are required to take a minimum of 21 credits of Liberal Arts courses. In their first semester at NEC, all NEC students enroll in a Liberal Arts Seminar and a College Writing course, which together help students build essential college-level skills in critical reading and thinking, writing, and public speaking. In these paired courses, students explore focused topics of study such as “The Idea of Rights” or “Consumption and Waste in America” through intellectually challenging readings and class discussions. Seminar and Writing classes are both small in size (15 students maximum), providing students with a great deal of individual attention as they work on their writing and public speaking skills in a relaxed, supportive environment.
Liberal Arts Electives
In their ensuing years of undergraduate study at NEC, students select a number of required Liberal Arts electives in which they have the opportunity to develop and refine these skills even more. The Liberal Arts department’s broad range of course offerings in literature, history, philosophy, politics, cultural studies, social sciences, environmental studies, film, and foreign languages provide students with opportunities to study major academic disciplines as well as cultural, social, intellectual, and political contexts for music.
Discovering the Arts in the Liberal Arts
The Liberal Arts faculty also features several professional teaching artists who offer popular studios in sculpture and visual art and workshops in poetry, creative writing, and drama. These electives provide students with supportive environments in which they can apply the various skills in artistic expression that they have already developed through their musical studies; in fact, the Liberal Arts teaching artists have noticed that as a result of having such refined artistic skills, NEC students can rapidly achieve a fairly high level of understanding and skill in the new artistic disciplines as well. At the same time, by attaining a deeper level of understanding of another art form, students often find that these studios and workshops can help them see their way back in to their musical studies with even greater insight. At the end of the spring semester, the Liberal Arts department holds an Arts Festival to celebrate student work in theatre, visual arts, sculpture, and poetry.