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Placement Procedure for Music Major Courses

Student practice musicianship.

Musicianship students practicing outside Morrison Hall.

Students who plan to major in music or wish to take music major classes MUST complete the Musicianship Placement Exam before beginning music major classes. Students may pre-enroll (see below) in classes before the Music Placement Exam and make adjustments to their schedule during the add/drop period if necessary.

The Musicianship Placement Exam for Spring 2017 is held in two parts:

Audition: Monday (01/16); by appointments only
Theory & Dictation Tests: Wednesday (01/18), 10am-12pm, 125 Morrison

Additionally, students are invited to attend the Undergraduate Major Orientation: Friday, 01/13, 1-3pm.

To register for the Musicianship Placement Exam complete the online registration form.

Be sure to bring a pencil with an eraser to the Musicianship Placement Exam (and to the Harmony Advanced Placement Exam, if you take it). Please follow other links below for more detailed information.

Musicianship Placement Exam

Written portion: a short written theory exam and musical dictation required of all incoming music majors or students who plan to take music major classes.

Audition and sight singing portion: required of all incoming music majors or students who plan to take music major classes. Administered individually by sign-up on that same day, immediately following the written portion. If you play an instrument (other than piano, organ, or harpsichord) that you are unable to bring to the Musicianship Placement Exam, you may be able to borrow one from the department. Please check in advance with Mark Mueller (, (510) 643-8722) to be sure that the instrument you need is available to borrow.

Criteria for Placement in the Musicianship Series

Please see the placement criteria page for more information.

Harmony Advanced Placement Exam

Required only for those incoming music majors or students who plan to take music major classes, who have previously studied four-part writing and can realize a figured bass or harmonize a melody. In other words, if you have sufficient background that you think you may place ahead in the harmony sequence, rather than at the beginning of the harmony sequence, this test is for you. The optional Harmony Advanced Placement Exam in Spring 2017 will take place on Friday, 01/13, 3-5pm. Please see department academic calendar for the date, time and place.

Reservations are not necessary for the Harmony Advanced Placement Exam.

Piano Music 405 Placement

If you are an intending music major and have little or no keyboard experience, you are strongly encouraged to take Piano 405 while you are completing your lower division musicianship and harmony requirements. For admission to Piano 405, you must take the Musicianship Placement Exam and the Piano 405 Placement Exam. Priority for enrollment is given to Music Majors enrolled in Musicianship 49B, 50 or 51. A sign up sheet for the Music 405 Placement Exam will be posted on the bulletin board outside room 107 during the first week of classes. Be sure to sign up.

Pre-enrollment Recommendations

Students wishing to pre-enroll in music major courses before completing the Placement Procedure should enroll in 49B and 49C unless they have had considerable formal training in musicianship and/or harmony. Those who have had formal training should look at the placement criteria for musicianship and harmony and estimate where they will place. Adjustments to your schedule can be made during the add/drop period during the semester.

Students with little musical background should sign up for 20A before beginning the music major classes in musicianship and harmony. Once they have acquired more musical skills, they may take the Music Placement Test to see if they qualify for music major classes. See the criteria for placement in the musicianship series if you think this might apply to you.

Placement Exam Policy

Music Placement Exam results for entry in 49B (Musicianship 1) and 49C (Harmony 1) are only valid for the semester in which the exam is taken. If a student who placed into 49B does not enroll in 49B in the semester in which the Placement Exam is taken, he or she will need to retake the Placement Exam in the semester of enrollment. An exception can be made for qualified students who, because of heavy course loads, are unable to take 49B-C concurrently. If placed into Musicianship 49B, they may take Harmony 49C before 49B, and their placement result will be honored the subsequent semester provided they have completed 49C successfully.

The Music Department only offers one section of 49B and 49C in spring semesters. Entry into these classes will be competitive based on Placement Exam results. The continuing sequence of those classes (Fall 50-60, Spring 51-61) will also have only one section each. Students should plan to take their musicianship and harmony classes without interruption to maximize their chances of securing a spot.