Montana State University

Music Technology

School of Music


The Bachelor of Arts in Music Technology offers undergraduate students an integrated experience in composition, sound design, audio technology, and interdisciplinary collaboration, within a broad program of general study. Music Technology courses provide students with the range of skills and experience they need to forge their own pathways in this constantly-changing field.

All Music Technology majors must enroll in Applied Music for a minimum of three semesters. Advancement to the next level will be by performance jury and with the approval of the applied music instructor. Successful completion of one semester at the MUSI 295 level or higher is required for graduation. All students must successfully complete a minimum of two semesters of large ensemble performance.

Students without previous experience reading standard musical notation may need to complete MUSI 103 (Fundamentals of Musical Creation) before starting the Music Theory course sequence, as determined by placement examination, in consultation with the Head of Music Technology and the Music Theory faculty.

All students will be placed, by audition, at the appropriate level of performance study. Placement in MUSI 195 will be at the sole determination of the studio professor. Students with less previous experience on their principal instrument are responsible for obtaining preparatory instruction and basic music-reading skills to reach the 195 level. Basic preparatory skills on guitar may be obtained via MUSI 160, MUSI 161, and /or MUSI 260 (Beginning Guitar/Intermediate Guitar), as determined by placement evaluation with the Guitar faculty.

Music majors are required to fulfill concert attendance through MUSI 100 every semester in residence, with the exception of Pre-Music Technology majors who have not yet taken Introduction to Digital Music (MUST 115).

Other requirements for Music Technology majors: Music Technology majors must complete either MUSI 301 or MUSI 302. Music Technology majors must receive the grade of "C" or better in all music content courses. Further, a grade of "C-" or better is required in all courses that will be counted toward the 42 upper-division credits required in all degrees. Courses with a passing grade of D-, D, or D+ may only be counted toward the overall 120 credit requirement. Music Technology majors must complete either MUST 382 (Interdisciplinary Projects 2) or CAA 490R (Collaborative Research/Creative Activity).

The Music Technology major requires each entering student to declare the pre-major and complete an initial course sequence before applying for the major. This gate ensures that students will have sufficient studio time and individual instruction, and that School of Music resources can meet the needs of the student population. For the Bachelor of Arts in Music Technology, the pre-gate requirements are:
a) MUSI 140 and 141 (Aural Perception I and II)
b) MUSI 105 and 106 (Theory I and II)
c) MUSI 135 and 136 (Keyboard Skills I and II)
d) MUST 115 (Introduction to Digital Music)
e) MUST 125 (MIDI and Electro-Acoustic Composition )
f) Placement into MUSI 195 in one of the applied studios, or placement by audition in MUSI 260 (Intermediate Guitar), or successful completion of MUSI 161 (Beginning Guitar II) with a grade of "C" or better. Music Technology students wishing to study piano as their primary instrument may be accepted for applied study (MUSI 195) by the following methods:

  1. By earning an A- or A in MUSI 135 and MUSI 136.
  2. By earning a grade of "C" or better in a minimum of two semesters of Advanced Keyboard Skills ( MUSI 230, MUSI 231, MUSI 232, or MUSI 233); or
  3. By audition and subsequent permission of the instructor
Music Technology students wishing to study piano as a secondary instrument may be admitted to MUSI 195 only by fulfilling requirements #2 and #3 of the above.

Each spring, any Music Technology pre-major who has successfully completed all of these requirements may submit an application and portfolio for the gate. Successful completion is defined as a grade of "C" or better, with an average of "C" or better in each of the Theory sequence pairs (MUSI 140 & 141 and MUSI 105 & 106).

Any student who is not admitted past the gate may re-submit one additional time the following spring. When any of the required first-year courses have been attempted at MSU, a student's grade may change only by retaking that specific course in the School of Music (i.e., no transfer credits or other course substitutions will count toward re-submission).

Students admitted past the gate may declare the Music Technology Major. Evaluation for the gate is based on three components:
1) GPA in the pre-gate course sequence
2) Composition portfolio submitted with the application
3) Service credits for participation and volunteerism in the pre-gate year.

Undergraduate Music Technology majors are required to be enrolled for a minimum of nine credits each semester, and to make consistent progress toward the degree requirements each semester until graduation. Any exceptions will be at the sole discretion of the School Director and the Head of Music Technology. (For example, post-baccalaureate students pursuing a second bachelor's degree in Music Technology may be exempt from the 9-hour requirement.)

Music Technology is a broad field encompassing a wide variety of topics, and Music Technology programs at different institutions vary significantly in emphasis and curriculum order. Therefore, transfer credits for Music Technology courses (MUST 115, 220, 125, 341, 380, 382, 384, plus Music Technology electives) will not generally be awarded. The Head of Music Technology and the Music School Director reserve the right to award transfer credits in exceptional circumstances, at their sole discretion.

Course fees are assessed to all students enrolled in MUST 115 and MUST 125. Annual program fees (subject to annual increase) are assessed to all Music Technology majors admitted past the gate. Course fees and program fees support emergent equipment needs and maintenance of the computer lab and individual studios. These fees will enable Music Technology students to accomplish their work efficiently and to gain necessary experience with the most up-to-date tools of the trade.

Freshman Year Credits
MUSI 100--Concert Attendance 0
MUSI 140--Aural Perception I 1
MUSI 141--Aural Perception II 1
MUSI 105--Music Theory I 3
MUSI 106--Music Theory II 3
MUSI 135--Keyboard Skills I 1
MUSI 136--Keyboard Skills II 1
MUSI 195--Applied Music I (or)
MUSI 160/161--Beginning Guitar I/II 2
MUST 115--Introduction to Digital Music 3
MUST 125--MIDI & Electro-Acoustic Composition 3
University Core and Electives 12
Total 30
Sophomore Year Credits
MUSI 100--Concert Attendance 0
MUSI 295--Applied Music II (or)
MUSI 260--Intermediate Guitar* 1
MUSI 195--Applied Music I* (1)
(if not previously completed)
Ensemble 1
MUST 220--Recording I 3
MUST 380--Interdisciplinary Projects I:Film 3
EELE 217--Science of Sound (or)
MUSI 485--Acoustic Composition 2
MUST/FILM 259--Multimedia Audio Production 3
University Core and Electives


Total 31
Junior Year Credits
MUSI 100--Concert Attendance 0
MUSI 195/295--Applied Music I/II* (2)
(if not previously completed)
Ensemble 1
MUSI 301--Music History I(or)
MUSI 302--Music History II 3
MUSI 307IA--World Music 3
MUST 384--Film Scoring 3
MUST 341--Sound Design and Synthesis 3
MUST 382--Interdisciplinary Projects II (or)
CAA 490R--Collaborative Rsch/Creative Activity 3
EELE 217--Science of Sound (or)
MUSI 485--Acoustic Composition 2
MUST 305--Orchestration for New Media 2
University Core and Electives 9
Total 29
Senior Year Credits
MUSI 100--Concert Attendance 0
Music Technology Elective (or)
MUST 498--Internship 6
Computer Science or Business Elective 3
Upper Division Electives 6
Electives 9
MUSI 303--Music History of the 20th Century 3
MUST 499--Senior Project/Capstone Experience 3
Total 30

A minimum of 120 credits is required for graduation; 42 of these credits must be in courses numbered 300 or above.

Of the available elective credits:
14 must be in the Humanities, Social Sciences, or Fine Arts except music.
3 credits must be in Computer Science or Business.
10 credits may be free electives (music or non-music).
The remaining 6 elective credits must be non-music.

* Guitar principals will be placed in the appropriate level of performance coursework (Beginning Guitar I, Beginning Guitar II, Intermediate Guitar or MUSI 195) by audition upon entry to the pre-major.

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