Office of the Dean of the Conservatory

Placement Tests

Oberlin Conservatory and Double Degree students will take placement tests in music theory, aural skills, and piano online prior to and during New Student Orientation. 

 

The placement test for Aural Skills takes place online, during the summer before matriculation to Oberlin.

  • Upon comitting to Oberlin, students will receive an an e-mail from Conservatory Admissions with more information and a link to schedule their individual placement test.
  • Placement will be based on sight singing rhythms and melodies. (Solfége is not required.)
  • Based on this test score, incoming conservatory and double degree students will be pre-registered for the appropriate aural skills course just prior to the first week of classes.

For questions about Theory, Aural Skills, Musicology, testing conflicts, or technical issues contact: Jeanne Rosecrans, Kohl Bldg 309, x58297.

College of Arts and Sciences students interested in taking aural skills courses may also take the test, however, Bachelor of Music students will be given preference regarding class limit and section assignment. The aural skills test is not required of arts and sciences students wishing to take secondary lessons, ensembles, and most other conservatory courses.

Jazz students are required to take additional jazz theory and jazz aural skills courses. Placement in these courses is based on testing which usually occurs online prior to and during orientation. Jazz majors will hear directly from the jazz department about taking their placement tests in July. Jazz Theory and Jazz Aural Skills are usually offered spring semester.

For jazz theory and jazz aural skills questions, please contact Julie Baker Kohl Bldg 200.

The music theory placement test is required for all Bachelor of Music and Double Degree students. Most students take this test during the admissions process. 

This test will be requested again, after comitting to Oberlin, for any for incoming Bachelor of Music/Double Degree Program students who did not take the test during the admissions process.

All students will place into either Intro to Music Theory (MUTH-120) or Music Theory I (MUTH-131) and be pre-registered appropriately. Upon comitting to Oberlin, students will receive an email from Conservatory Admissions with the testing link and deadline. The exam can be taken up to 5 times, and the highest score will be used for placement.

For questions about Theory, Aural Skills, and Musicology contact: Jeanne Rosecrans, Kohl Bldg 309, x58297


College of Arts and Science students interested in taking theory courses may take the online theory test. Bachelor of Music students, however, will be given preference regarding class limit and section assignment. The music theory placement exam/course is not required of arts and sciences students wishing to take secondary lessons, ensembles, and most other conservatory courses.

Most conservatory students are required to take MUSY 101, Introduction to Music History and Literature. Most of the incoming conservatory students will be pre-registered for MUSY 101 in the fall; while the remaining students will be consented to register in the spring. Fall and Spring MUSY 101 placements are based on the student's individual pre-registration schedule as well as section availability.

Double Degree students in the String and Wind/Brass/Percussion divisions are usually consented for MUSY 101 spring semester, while Voice majors will not take MHST 101 until their second year.

It is worth noting that not all conservatory majors require MUSY 101, and it is not a pre-requisite requirement for other musicology elective courses.

For questions about Theory, Aural Skills, and Musicology contact: Jeanne Rosecrans, Kohl Bldg 309, x58297


College of Arts and Science students: Bachelor of music students will be given preference regarding class limit and section assignment. MUSY 101 is not required of arts and sciences students wishing to take secondary lessons, ensembles, and most other conservatory courses.

Piano Class is required for most Conservatory majors. 

  • Conservatory students without prior piano experience do not need to take a placement audition and will be placed directly into the beginning level of Piano Class APST 110.
  • Upon comitting to Oberlin, students will receive an email from Conservatory Admissions with more information and a link to schedule their individual placement test.
  • New conservatory students will be pre-registered based on their placement, and continuing students will be issued consent for registration. 
  • New and returning conservatory and arts and sciences students interested in secondary piano lessons should apply online. If approved, students will receive consent for private secondary lessons with student-teachers or faculty for credit-bearing lessons. Space is limited. 
  • Those with some experience may wish to play a placement audition. In this audition students will be asked to sight read, harmonize, and play a few scales and chords. One solo may be prepared that represents your highest level of playing but is not required.

See Secondary Lessons: Piano Auditions and Consent for additional details, and send an email to Professor Andrea McAlister if you have questions about secondary piano lessons.

For students who matriculated after Fall 2021: The Bachelor of Music degree requires all entering students to take at least one writing intensive course, usually as a liberal arts elective.

Students are required to complete one full course (four credits) with either the Writing Intensive (WINT) or the Writing Advanced (WADV) attribute by the end of the second year of study if possible. A second course with the WINT or WADV attribute is strongly recommended. The required course must be completed at Oberlin, with the exception that transfer students may petition to count a transferred course with a comparable focus on writing toward this requirement.

The writing requirement is designed to help students develop the ability to do the following:

- communicate effectively in writing;
- understand writing as a process;
- engage in writing as a form of critical thinking;
- demonstrate rhetorical flexibility by addressing various audiences and purposes in their writing; and
- demonstrate awareness of the conventions and forms of writing in particular disciplines.

Double Degree or College or Arts and Science Writing Requirements

For questions regarding the Conservatory Writing requirement please contact the Office of Associate Deans in Bibbins 113, x58200.

For general information about requesting credit for Advanced Placement (AP) exams, review the Advanced Placement or course planning for first-time students section in the Academic Advising Resource Center website.

Browse the course catalog for additional information. You will need to search under “AP credit’ for each department and their requirements. 

For questions regarding AP credits please contact the AARC, Carnegie West, x58450.