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College of Letters & Science


Undergraduate Degree Programs
Admissions Procedures
Transfer Students
Reentering the School of Music
International Students
Special Students
Office of Student Financial Aid
School of Music Scholarships
Grades and Advising
First-Year Core Curriculum
Recommended First-Semester Curriculum, 13–16 credits

Bachelor of Music–Performance (130 credits)
Bachelor of Music–Education (130 credits)
Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science Degrees (120 credits)

Honors in the Major

Music Courses for Nonmusic Majors

Music Courses
Music–Performance Courses

3561 Mosse Humanities Building, 455 North Park Street, Madison, WI 53706; 608-263-1900; www.music.wisc.edu

Professors Aley, Bartley, Blasius, Calderon, Chisholm, Cook, Crook, Davis, Dembski, Dill, Di Sanza, Doing, Earp, Fischer, Fulmer, Hyer, Jensen, Johnson, Jutt, Karp, Koza, Leckrone, Perry, Radano, Rowe, Schaffer, Schwendinger, Smith, Stowe, Swack, B. Taylor, C. Taylor, Teeple, Thimmig, Vardi; Associate Professors, Dobbs, Hetzler, Vallon; Assistant Professors Grabois, Wallmann

Undergraduate audition/admission coordinator: Jared Jellison, 5561 Mosse Humanities Building, 608-263-5986, admissions@music.wisc.edu

Undergraduate advisor in the major: Patricia Atwood, 5560 Mosse Humanities Building, 608-263-1918, pmatwood@wisc.edu

Faculty diversity liaison: Richard Davis, 608-263-1911, rdavis1@wisc.edu

The School of Music views its goals and objectives as complementary to those of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, which include "to provide an environment in which faculty and students can discover, examine critically, preserve and transmit the knowledge, wisdom and values that will help ensure the survival of the present and future generations with improvement in the quality of life." The goals of an education in music are:

  • competency in communication;
  • competency in using the modes of thought characteristic in the art of music;
  • awareness and perception of the musical art and its discipline;
  • a knowledge of our basic cultural heritage;
  • a thorough understanding of at least one area—creative, recreative, analytic, historical, or pedagogical.

The University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Music is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), and has been an institutional member of NASM since 1966.

Undergraduate Degree Programs

The School of Music offers four principal degree options for the music major. All require a performance audition for admission.

Bachelor of Music–Performance, with concentration in Brass, Composition, Guitar, Harp, Jazz Studies, Organ, Percussion, Piano, Strings, Voice, or Woodwinds.

Bachelor of Music–Music Education, with certification in General and Instrumental Music (Early Childhood through Adolescence), or General and Vocal Music (Early Childhood through Adolescence).

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science with a music major: options in performance, history, theory, or an individualized music curriculum.  The individualized music curriculum can be designed with an emphasis in composition or jazz studies.  The history and theory options are under review and may be changed.  During this time, the School of Music is not admitting new students to these options.

Admissions Procedures

To become a candidate for a School of Music degree a student must be accepted by the UW–Madison Office of Admissions and Recruitment and by the School of Music Undergraduate Admissions Office, 5561 Mosse Humanities. These are the specific steps for applying to the UW–Madison School of Music:

  • Review the information available on the School of Music website.  Any questions may be directed to the School of Music Undergraduate Admissions Office.
  • Request an audition date by submitting a completed School of Music application.
  • Students who expect to need financial assistance should consult the Office of Student Financial Aid.
  • Prepare the appropriate repertoire and materials for the audition.
  • Request that official transcripts be sent to the School of Music Undergraduate Admissions Office from all high schools and colleges attended. Request written recommendations from two people who can attest to the applicant's musical background and ability.
  • Come to the campus for an audition, which includes a ten- to twenty-minute performance audition, music theory and piano placement examinations, and an introduction to School of Music faculty, students, and facilities.

Transfer Students

Students who have earned more than 24 course credits at another college or university follow the same application and audition procedures described above. Upon acceptance by UW–Madison and the School of Music, credits for music courses taken at another institution are interpreted by the UW–Madison Office of Admissions and Recruitment simply as elective music credits. These course credits, as they appear on the transcript(s), will be reviewed during a conference with the advisor upon enrolling at UW–Madison. Transfer credit for music courses will be reviewed only after all placement and proficiency examinations in theory and piano have been taken at UW–Madison and syllabi for academic music courses have been submitted.

Reentering the School of Music

Students who were previously enrolled in the School of Music and UW–Madison who desire to reenter to seek an undergraduate degree should apply for reentry to both the UW–Madison Office of Admissions and Recruitment and the School of Music Undergraduate Admissions Office. An audition will be required in most cases.

International Students

Students from foreign countries who seek admission to the university and the School of Music should contact International Student Services in addition to the UW–Madison Office of Admissions and Recruitment and the School of Music Undergraduate Admissions Office.

Special Students

Persons who are interested in courses offered by the School of Music but who are not working toward a UW–Madison degree should contact the Division of Continuing Studies, 21 North Park Street, Madison, WI 53715; 608/263-6960. Enrollment is limited in music courses, and priority is given to UW–Madison undergraduate degree candidates.

Office of Student Financial Aid

Prospective music students should contact the Office of Student Financial Aid (333 East Campus Mall #9701, Madison, WI 53715-1382; 608-262-3060) to obtain information about grants and loans when returning the application for admission.

School of Music Scholarships

Some funds are available for scholarships awarded by the School of Music to outstanding applicants. It is always advisable to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit it to the Office of Student Financial Aid. Application materials will serve as support for music scholarship consideration.

Scholarship applicants must audition in person and must take the Theory Placement Examination on the audition day in order to be considered for an award. After the audition and review of materials, the associate director will notify each applicant about the scholarship decision. Accompanying each award notification will be a Letter of Commitment, to be signed and returned to the School of Music. Criteria used for awarding scholarships are:

  1. Quality of the performance audition
  2. High school and/or college academic record
  3. Letters of recommendation

Most School of Music scholarships are awarded for a four-year period. The music faculty reviews every scholarship award each semester and expects that each student on scholarship will maintain satisfactory progress toward completing the music major and degree requirements, continue to make significant contributions in performing organizations or accompanying, and maintain a minimum 3.00 grade point average. Please see the School of Music website for more information regarding music scholarships.

Grades and Advising

The School of Music is a department of the UW–Madison College of Letters & Science. Information on the grading system and academic procedures is available in the College of Letters & Science section of this catalog and in the opening section of this catalog.

The undergraduate advisor of the School of Music serves as the advisor for every music major. The advisor maintains records and will assist students in determining an appropriate course schedule each semester. More information about advising at UW–Madison appears in the opening section of this catalog.

First-Year Core Curriculum

Preliminary music students admitted to the School of Music without any previous transferable college coursework in music enroll for a core curriculum of music courses their first year that lays a basic foundation for later, more specialized study. Near the end of the first year, each student applies for a specific degree emphasis. During the first year, the student has opportunities to consider the program best suited to individual interests and needs. All preliminary School of Music students are assigned a classification of PRM.

Recommended First-Semester Curriculum, 13–16 credits

Music Courses, 8–10 credits

Performance study, 2 cr
Music Theory, 4 cr
Organizations (Band, Orchestra, or Choir; piano majors will enroll for Keyboard Skills class), 1–2 cr
Secondary piano (non-piano majors), 2 cr
Chamber Ensemble (for majors in brass, guitar, or percussion), 1–2 cr

Liberal Studies (College of Letters & Science), 3–8 credits

Communication, 0–3 cr
Quantitative Reasoning, 0–4 cr
Breadth, 0–8 cr

Honors in the Major

The School of Music is reviewing its requirements for Honors in the Major. Current music majors may contact the undergraduate advisor for more information.

To earn Honors in any music major, students must satisfy the requirements below as well as all other requirements for their music degree and major:

  • 6 credits of 681–682 Senior Honors Thesis
  • 12 credits of honors coursework in music: 6 of the 12 credits must be at the 300 level or higher and only 6 credits can be taken in any one of the three music areas of theory, history, and performance.

To participate in the Honors in the Major program, students must:

  • Notify the School of Music undergraduate advisor of their intention to become a candidate for Honors in the Major. This will usually occur in the sophomore year.
  • Present a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3 in all courses taken at UW–Madison and maintain this average throughout the degree.
  • Present a minimum 3.5 GPA in all music coursework and maintain a minimum 3.5 GPA in all music honors coursework.
  • Engage a faculty member who will collaborate in planning the 12 credits of honors curriculum coursework; submit this plan to the undergraduate advisor. The course plan may change as students progress through their work.
  • Prior to beginning work on the 681–682 Senior Honors Thesis sequence, confirm a faculty advisor for this sequence (who may be the same person as for the 12 credits above) and submit a prospectus outlining in detail the planned work including (a) the topic, (b) plans for research, and (c) a clear substantive written component, although it may also include oral and/or performance components. The faculty advisor must sign the prospectus indicating approval.

Music Courses for Nonmusic Majors

A variety of courses in music theory, music history and literature, as well as orchestra, chorus, band, and some ensembles, are open to students from other departments, schools, and colleges. Students should review the specific regulations of their degree program to determine whether music courses can fulfill breadth requirements. The Course Guide indicates music courses that are open to nonmusic majors.

Music Performance courses are generally filled by music majors. Fundamentals courses (007–036) are for instrumental music education majors only. Class Piano (101–104) is for music majors only. Basic courses require the ability to read music and to pass a prepared audition; in addition, Basic Guitar requires previous experience with classical guitar. Students outside the School of Music may audition to be on a waiting list for group or individual voice study with a teaching assistant (Mus Perf 143 or 144). Contact the course instructor for more information about course requirements and admission criteria. The School of Music offers private music lessons (not for university credit and with separate costs) for nonmusic majors through the Community Music Lessons program.

Regulation of music courses available for degree credit varies among the divisions of the university. Students should consult their major department for specific advice.

Courses for nonmusic majors that satisfy the university's humanities breadth requirements: 101, 103, 104, 105, 106, 111, 113, 151, 204, 205, 206, 305, 308, 309, 310, 311, 319, 361, 377, 461, 400, 401, 402, 403, 404, 509.