Piano and Music Theory Requirements

Piano Recommendations

It is strongly recommended that students take four semesters of class piano or private piano. Nearly every four-year music school requires four semesters of piano study (or the ability to test out with a piano proficiency requirement exam) to acquire a Bachelor’s degree. At the conclusion of each semester at a four-year school, students will be required to pass a piano jury or barrier exam. Many major universities will require incoming students to take a piano audition in addition to their major instrument. Students may sign up for class piano or private lessons for each of the four semesters. It is highly suggested that students concurrently enroll in class piano, music theory, and ear-training courses of the same level each semester (e.g. Class Piano I, Music Theory I, and Sight-Singing/Ear-Training I).

NOTE: Students pursuing an Audio Engineering degree will only need to successfully complete one semester of class piano.

Music Theory Requirements

All incoming freshman students (and those transferring from other majors or schools who have had no coursework in music theory) must take a placement exam that tests for the following rudimentary skills: ability to read and write music in treble and bass clefs; intervals (number and quality); major and minor scales; major and minor key signatures; triad qualities; rhythmic notation; meter signs. Students lacking sufficient background in music theory are required to take MUSI 1301 (Music Fundamentals) before being admitted to the core theory curriculum. Students achieving a satisfactory score on the exam will be placed directly into Theory I and Sight-Singing and Ear-Training I.

NOTE: SJCC offers Theory I and Sight-Singing/Ear-Training I in both the Fall and Spring semesters. This allows students enrolled in MUSI 1301 during the Fall semester to enroll for these courses in the Spring and continue with Theory II and Sight-Singing/Ear-Training II in the summer semester so that they may keep on task toward a two-year degree plan.

Students who have coursework or other experience in music theory may elect to take placement exams at higher levels of music theory to evaluate their skill level before enrolling in music theory courses. Placement exams are administered during most audition days.