Thank you for your interest in the School of Music at Montana State University! The following is important information for all of you.
Because our students come from a wide variety of musical backgrounds, we have three pre-tests to help you assess your own pre-college preparation and determine if the Music, Music Education, or Pre-Music Technology major may be the right fit for you.
Pre-Test #1: All incoming students, on or before the first day of MUSI 140 - Aural Perception I, will be asked to match pitch: hear notes played on the piano, and sing back those same notes. If that skill is extremely difficult for you, it means that any music major will not likely be the right choice for you.
Pre-Test #2, required of all incoming freshmen, is the online Music Theory Pre-Test. Any student who does not take the pre-test online will be tested at Summer Orientation. The online pre-test determines whether you are eligible to enter MUSI 105 - Music Theory I.
Note: The material in the Music Theory placement test is preliminary to MUSI 105. Students who have taken AP music theory in high school typically score well, but a high score on the pre-test does not "place out" of MUSI 105. (Students can typically "place out" only if they have successfully completed an equivalent college-level music theory course at another university.)
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Before being admitted into a music degree, students must demonstrate the following skills:
- Music Reading
- Know note names in treble and bass clef
- Major and minor key signatures
- Time Signatures / Rhythmic Values
- Helpful: major and minor scales
- Aural Skills / Singing Skills
- Vocal pitch matching
- Beat awareness
- Ability to sing back a simple melody by ear
- Keyboard Skills
- Ability to match notes on the staff with keys on the keyboard
- The physical coordination necessary to move individual fingers
Resources for Preparation
- Scales, Intervals, Keys, Triads, Rhythm, and Meter by Clough & Conley
- Practical Theory, Complete Self Instruction Course
- Alfred's Essentials = Music Theory Self Study
Whether you pursue music as a major or avocationally, the above information and pre-tests will help you plan your college education and your future musical endeavors.
If you are a prospective Music Technology student, please also visit the Music Technology Prospective Students page.
If you have questions about music majors at Montana State University, please contact:
Bachelor of Music Education
Bachelor of Arts in Music
Bachelor of Arts in Music Technology