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Music Placement Exams


Music Placement Exams

All prospective music students, except those already accepted by audition into our Jazz Studies program, must take the Music Placement Exam prior to departmental advising and registration for major courses. These exams are given the week before each semester to help place students in the appropriate theory and skills sections to move through our program successfully.

Next exam:

  • Fall 2019 exam: Tuesday, August 20, at 11a in Shepard Hall 95
  • Fall 2019 makeup: Friday, August 23, at 11a in Shepard Hall 95

The exams are graded immediately upon completion and music advisors will be on hand throughout the same afternoon to help students complete the registration process. Jazz students should contact Professor Suzanne Pittson ( for placement and advising.

Basic Exam

The entry-level exam covers fundamentals such as scales, keys, intervals, and triads. This is a brief timed exam, testing comfort with the material, so please arrive early; late students will not be accommodated. Passing the basic exam grants access to the required first semester courses, as well as departmental approval to declare a major in music.

Advanced Exams

Students with prior formal training who seek advanced placement can request additional exams covering harmony, voice leading, sight singing, and keyboard skills. Qualified students should arrive early enough to alert the proctor that they wish to add advanced testing to the entry-level exam. Passing these components can place students into second or third semester courses, depending on their results.

Please note:

Students with no prior formal training do not need to take the exam. Instead, we recommend that they register for these three courses to prepare for the next round of placement exams:

  • MUS 13100, Theory Fundamentals
  • MUS 16100, Aural Fundamentals
  • MUS 15400, Keyboard Fundamentals

Alternatively, students can study on their own by mastering a text such as:
Scales, Intervals, Keys, Triads, Rhythm, and Meter by Clough et al. (Norton, 1999).

Please keep in mind that students are not eligible to become music majors until they pass the Placement Exam and are enrolled in the required degree courses.