School Of Music

Entrance Requirements

Students applying for admission to the School of Music must fulfill all admissions requirements as stated in the current MSU Undergraduate Bulletin. Application to undergraduate degree status is administered through the Office of Admissions, 201 Strand Union Building, MSU-Bozeman (994-2452 or on the web at

All entering music majors will be required to audition their major performance area. Students should be prepared to perform literature which is indicative of their current level of accomplishment. During the performance audition, music faculty will carefully assess each student's ability for purposes of placement within the School's applied music and ensemble programs.

Music Theory Placement Examination

All entering music majors must take a placement examination in music theory and aural skills during orientation. The Theory pre-test will cover note reading in treble and bass clef, key signatures, meter, rhythm, and major and minor scales. Students with insufficient prerequisite knowledge in music fundamentals may be required to pass MUSI 103IA before attempting the freshman music major course sequence.

Keyboard Skills

All entering music majors will be placed in Keyboard Skills I- MUSI 135. If an entering student has significant prior experience, they may petition to be placed in a more advanced level of Keyboard Skills. A placement examination will be administered by the piano professor, and petitioning students will be placed in keyboard skills study at the level deemed appropriate.

Keyboard Skills Placement Audition

All incoming music majors are required to audition for placement in the appropriate keyboard skills class. Expected competencies for each semester are listed below:

To bypass MUSI 135, Keyboard Skills I, a student will be asked to do the following:

  1. Play tonic, subdominant, dominant-seventh chords in every major key.
  2. Construct and play all major and minor scales in tetra chord positions. (Tetra chord position uses the left hand 5,4,3,2, to play the first four scale tones, and the right hand 2,3,4,5 to complete the scale).
  3. Construct and play any triad in any inversion. This includes major, minor, augmented, and diminished chords in root position, 1st and 2nd inversions.
  4. Sight read and transpose up or down a step a simple melody.
  5. Harmonize a folk melody at sight using tonic, subdominant, and dominant-seventh accompaniment.

To bypass MUSI 136, Keyboard Skills II, a student will be asked to do the following:

  1. Play all major scales hands together with the correct fingering.
  2. Construct and play all qualities of seventh chords. This includes major, minor, diminished, half-diminished, and dominant-seventh quality chords.
  3. Play all primary and secondary chords in a given major key. This includes the I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, vii triads.
  4. Harmonize a melody at sight using primary and secondary chords.

To bypass MUSI 231, Keyboard Skills III, a student will be asked to do the following:

  1. Play the I, vi, IV, ii, V, I chord progression in any major key.
  2. Play the i, VI, iv, V, i chord progression in any minor key.
  3. Play all harmonic minor scales hands together with correct topographical fingering.
  4. Play vocal and instrumental accompaniments at sight.
  5. Sight read in Alto and Tenor clef.
  6. Transpose wind excerpts to concert pitch and perform at sight.

Any student successfully completing all of the above will be placed in MUSI 232, Keyboard Skills IV. Completing MUS 232 with a greade of "C" or higher fulfills all keyboard proficiency requirements of the Bachelor of Arts in Music and Bachelor of Music Education degrees.