Music Theory

Music Theory Curriculum

Program Requirements

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The music theory program’s course offerings are divided into music theory and aural skills courses. Students are required to take "linked" music theory and aural skills courses simultaneously; for example, an entering student may begin theoretical studies with Music Theory I and Aural Skills I. In this way, writing and analytical skills are reinforced aurally at every step.

Music Theory courses meet 150 minutes a week.

·      All students will take a 100-level two-semester common core, which will prepare them to hear, perform, and communicate about multiple aspects of music in diverse repertoires.

·      Students will take two additional courses at the 200 level, selecting among a menu of topic- or repertoire-based classes in consultation with their advisor.

·      Students will receive targeted remediation that will prepare them to be maximally successful when they enter the core theory curriculum.

·      Students will not follow identical paths through the curriculum; rather, they will have the opportunity to design a course of study that supports their intellectual, musical, and professional goals.

·      After completing the two 200-level courses, students can choose from a variety of 300- and 400-level courses.


Aural Skills courses meet 100 minutes a week.

·      Bachelor of music and double degree students must complete or be exempted from Aural Skills 4 to graduate.

·      Placement tests are given prior to arrival on campus. Students can place into aural skills 1, 2, 3, 4, or be evaluated as exempt from aural skills.

·      Aural skills courses emphasize notation, sight singing, performance, and keyboard skills.

All of these courses are intended to emphasize the intensive study and integration of musical analysis with the student’s work in performance, music history, and related fields.