Entering First Year


First year students take a common program of courses. See note below for students interested in music education and composition.


Language of Music: MUS 101A includes a unit on two-part species counterpoint, and an introduction to tonal harmony and embellishing tones. MUS 101B continues the study of diatonic harmony and introduces simple chromaticism.

History of Music: MUS 120A and MUS 120B offer a survey of the history of Western music from Antiquity to circa 1770.

Individual Tuition: MUS 140 provides a 1-hour, private lesson in the student's main performance area. At the end of the year each student plays for a jury of performance faculty. The final grade is a combination of the jury's grade and the teacher's grade.

Basic Musicianship: MUS 170A and MUS170B includes sight-singing, dictation, and elementary keyboard skills. It aims to give each student the basic musical competence that will be essential to his or her future. On completing MUS 170, a student should be able to sing simple melodies at sight, to remember and notate a melody when played, and to use the keyboard as a basic tool.

Large ensemble: MUS 180A Orchestra, MUS 180B Wind Symphony, MUS 180C Don Wright Symphonic Winds, MUS 180D Jazz Ensemble, MUS 180E Chorus, MUS 180F Chamber Singers. Students are placed in Large Ensembles by an Ensemble Committee every year, according to each student's educational needs and the needs of the School. Placement auditions for large ensembles are scheduled during the first week of classes in September.

Small ensemble: MUS 181 includes all of the School's chamber ensembles (Sonic Lab, Opera Ensemble). Groups will be arranged by the performance faculty in September. Pianists will normally satisfy this requirement by accompanying instrumentalists or singers.

Creative Being: FA 101 offers an exploration of the diversity within creative practice and theory that builds bridges across disciplines and challenges students' understanding of the creative process. All B.Mus students take 1.5 units of English. First-year students will be advised by the Admissions Office if they must write the Language Proficiency Index. Some students who have difficulties with English will be required to take a remedial course.

Non-music elective: Music students should take one other elective (1.5 units) course outside music in their first year. This can be in any area that interests you, but should not be a course that meets after 1:30 PM, since afternoons and evenings are reserved for rehearsals and master classes.

English 100 level or approved English: Students in the music education program must complete 3.0 units of approved English and demonstrate competency in written English to qualify for admission to the Faculty of Education’s Secondary Post-Degree Professional Program (Diploma or BEd). Students should consult a teacher education adviser in Education for complete admission requirements.

Note: There are two programs for which additional courses are recommended in the first year. Students intending to major in Music Education should take MUS 131, and those intending to major in composition should take MUS 105 (Introduction to Composition).

Music students are often surprised to find that their first year is much busier than they expect it to be. And it is true that a timetable which includes only lecture courses and lesson times does not tell the whole story. Practicing, ensemble and chamber music rehearsals, and special events take up much time that is difficult to project in advance. For this reason, we ask students to keep their afternoons and evenings free of non-music courses.