Skip to main content

Online Music Program Information

Core Courses

  • Four semesters of Music Theory
  • Four semesters of Aural Skills
  • Basic Conducting
  • Scoring and Arranging
  • Four semesters of Music History and Literature

Performance-Related Courses

  • Minimum of four semesters of applied instruction on a single instrument
  • Four semesters of ensembles
  • Two semesters of class piano

Electives

  • Twelve credits of electives.

Electives are used to further round out a student’s education, and allow them to personalize their degree experience. Electives are also used to help students prepare for their capstone experience.

Capstone Project

All VCSU students must complete a capstone project as a requirement for graduation. There are several options for music students:

  • Recital: Students who elect to complete a capstone recital may do so no earlier than the sixth semester of applied study. This will require at least an additional two semesters of applied study beyond the minimum requirement.
  • Thesis: Students may elect to write a thesis on a musicological or theoretical topic of their choice, subject to approval by their advisor the department chair. Students choosing this route will take additional coursework in music theory or history as part of their elective credits.
  • Composition/Arrangement: Students may complete a composition or arrangement of suitable length and complexity, subject to approval by their advisor and the department chair. Students choosing this route will take additional coursework in theory, composition, and/or scoring and arranging as part of their elective credits.

Valley City State University offers certificate programs for students who wish to increase their learning in music and earn a credential to demonstrate their accomplishment, but do not want to commit to a full degree program. These programs include certificates in Piano Pedagogy and Composition.

Certificate in Piano Pedagogy

The Piano Pedagogy certificate program prepares students to be better teachers in their private piano studios. It also is designed to assist students in preparing for MTNA certification. It is recommended that students have at least one year of teaching before beginning the certificate. Courses in this 12-credit program include:

  • MUS 109: Music Theory I
  • MUS 121: Aural Skills I
  • MUS 322: Music History II OR MUS 333: Music History III
  • MUS 378: Applied Pedagogy
  • MUS 379: Piano Pedagogy

Certificate in Composition

The Composition certificate program gives budding composers the theoretical knowledge and practical skills they need to start a career as a composer. It is recommended that students be proficient on a musical instrument, especially a harmonizing instrument (piano or guitar) before enrolling in this program. For more information, please contact Dr. Nicholaus Meyers, nicholaus.meyers@vcsu.edu. This 15-credit program includes the following courses:

  • MUS 109: Music Theory I
  • MUS 110: Music Theory II
  • MUS 201: Music Theory III
  • MUS 121: Aural Skills I
  • MUS 122: Aural Skills II
  • MUS 203: Aural Skills III
  • MUS 120: Composition (2 semesters)
  • MUS 220: Composition (1 semester)

The application to VCSU Music, performance audition, and theory/aural skills placement exam are required of all prospective majors, minors, and transfer students in music.

Entrance Audition

An on-campus audition is preferred. Students located at considerable distance may, with permission, submit a good quality DVD videorecording.

  • Piano.   Two selections in contrasting styles, preferably from different eras. Repertoire equivalent to that described in the NFMC Junior Festivals Bulletin as Moderately Difficult II or higher. Memorization is not required but is preferred.
  • Instruments.   Two selections in contrasting styles, preferably from different eras. Repertoire equivalent to high school contest solos listed by the North Dakota (or other state) High School Activities Association, showing both technical and musical facility. Memorization is not required.
  • Voice.   Two selections in contrasting styles, preferably from different eras. Repertoire equivalent to high school contest solos listed by the North Dakota High School Activities Association. Memorization is not required but is preferred.

Theory/Aural Skills Placement Examination

The Theory / Aural Skills Placement Examination tests the student’s ability to read notation and rhythms; as well as knowledge of chords, intervals, key signatures, and scales. Admission to MUS 109 Theory I / MUS 121 Aural Skills I requires a score of 80% or better on the placement examination; or a grade of “C” or better in MUS 101. Students may take this exam twice; if an 80% score is not achieved on the second attempt, the student must enroll in MUS 101 Music Fundamentals (offered Fall, Spring, and Summer). Students without theory background are advised to begin with MUS 101. [Recommended practice site: musictheory.net by Ricci Adams]

Admission into MUS 110 Theory II / MUS 122 Aural Skills II; MUS 201 Theory III / MUS 203 Aural Skills III; or MUS 202 Theory IV / MUS 204 Aural Skills IV requires a transcripted grade of “C” or better in the previous level of theory / aural skills.

Exam ScheduleIt is recommended that the Placement Exam be completed no later than July 1 if enrolling for fall semester; and no later than October 1 if enrolling for spring semester. To schedule the online theory placement exam, contact nicholaus.meyers@vcsu.edu.