School of Music

As the founding school of Ithaca College in 1892, the School of Music affirms its fundamental belief that music and the arts are essential components of the human experience. The School of Music contributes to the ongoing realization of this belief by preparing the music leaders of tomorrow — highly trained professional musicians educated through expert musical instruction coupled with outstanding performance experiences.

The School of Music: Mission, Vision, and Values


The Ithaca College School of Music educates students who transform the human condition through the art and practice of music.

Overarching Student Learning Outcomes

  • The School of Music Bachelor of Music graduate demonstrates synthesis of all degree-related student learning outcomes (degree-specific, overall musicianship, knowledge, and skill) through expertise displayed in the degree capstone experience (see student learning outcomes and capstone experiences/assessment for designated degree).
  • The School of Music Bachelor of Music graduate demonstrates musical expertise by displaying musicianship expected for distinctive success in the professional field.
  • The School of Music Bachelor of Music graduate demonstrates competency of foundational musical knowledge related to music theory, analysis, and history.
  • The School of Music Bachelor of Music graduate demonstrates proficiency in musical skills related to aural skills and keyboard musicianship, and to a functional competence in music technology.

General Information

Admission to the School of Music

Every School of Music applicant must audition on a major performing instrument or voice, except for composition applicants who must submit scores. Every applicant must also take a sight-singing test and submit the required supplemental music application materials. Composition and sound recording technology applicants are required to have an additional interview with the faculty. Applicants may audition on more than one instrument (including voice). Auditions are conducted by the faculty on the Ithaca campus and in several off-campus locations. Students are strongly encouraged to audition on campus. In special circumstances, applicants may submit a recorded audition (video only) or audition at a special time by making arrangements with the music admissions office. Percussion, sound recording technology, and composition applicants must audition on campus. For further information, contact the music admissions office.  For more information see External transfers and Internal transfers.

External Transfers

Students who wish to transfer into the School of Music from another institution follow the same admission procedure as all new students. Students are placed at an academic level on their performing instrument or voice based on the amount of study at other institutions and the performance level demonstrated at their audition. Transfer credit for all non-music courses is evaluated at the time of acceptance to Ithaca College. Transfer credit for music courses cannot be granted until the student completes placement examinations in music theory, sight-singing, music history, and keyboard musicianship. Placement examinations are administered during the orientation periods before the beginning of classes. For further information, contact the music admissions office.

Internal Transfers

The School of Music accepts transfers from other schools at Ithaca College on the same basis as it accepts students from any secondary school or from other institutions of higher learning. All qualified students are encouraged to transfer into the program.

Students considering transfer to the School of Music or those who are considering a music minor should contact the director of music admissions for information regarding the required audition. However, coursework in the School of Music may be taken prior to the time of acceptance as a major or minor in music.

More detailed information may be obtained from the School of Music admissions office.

Students who are interested in transferring should take the following steps:

  • Ask their adviser to send their file to the music admissions office. The file should be available before the audition takes place. The decision on acceptance as a music major is made by the dean of the School of Music based on review of the audition and the student’s academic record.
  • If accepted, see the associate dean of the School of Music to confirm a program of study and to be assigned a music faculty adviser.

Academic Programs

For the music major — bachelor of music (B.M.), bachelor of arts (B.A.), and concentrations in music theory and jazz studies: The baccalaureate degrees awarded by the School of Music represent numerous individual programs of study designed to afford music majors a wide range of choices, including various possibilities for teacher certification, to meet their particular professional and personal interests. Specific program requirements can be found in the curriculum outlines set out under “Majors and Minors" .

For the non-music major: Musically talented students who are seeking a career in other fields may pursue their interest in music according to their ability through music minor, liberal arts music emphasis, individual courses, ensembles, or lessons. 

The music minor provides an organized sequence of study that nonmajors may begin at the start of their freshman year. Each applicant must audition on a principal instrument and pass a sight-singing test. A schedule of audition dates is available through the music admissions office or the College admissions office. 

Learn more about Opportunities for Non-Majors

Bachelor of Fine Arts

Musical theatre This is a performance-based pre-professional program designed for the student who is interested in a career in musical theatre. The program, a joint offering of the Department of Theatre Arts in the School of Humanities and Sciences and the School of Music, offers students conservatory-style training in acting, singing and dancing. Applicants are invited to audition following a pre-screening video audition. (cross-listed under the Department of Theatre Arts, School of Humanities and Sciences).

Academic Courses of Study

The freshman-year curricula are practically identical for all degrees within the school, giving students one academic year in which to make a final decision regarding their programs. From the time a specific program is approved for a student, that student must adhere to his or her selected program and to the total number of credits listed for that program. Changes in program and courses, or in major and secondary instrument or voice, require the approval of the adviser, department chair, and associate dean.

Performance Study

All private lesson study required in the student’s program is included in the basic tuition charge, subject to the conditions under “Explanation of Charges.” Elective private lessons, whether for music majors or nonmajors, are subject to a private lesson fee in accordance with the schedule shown under “Expenses.”  (p. 355)Normally, elective private lessons are taught by graduate students. All private lesson registration and preregistration are through the music office only.

Performance courses are of two general classifications: private instruction for voice and instrument and course instruction for minor (secondary) instrument study. A course section usually consists of eight students. Those majoring in the performance or performance/music education (four-and-a-half-year) program take a one-hour private lesson each week (for 4 credits); all others take a half-hour private lesson each week (for 2 credits). All music students attend one repertory class each week conducted by the major performance teacher.

Attendance at Performances

All full-time students in the School of Music are required to attend 10 ensemble, faculty, or guest artist recitals or master classes each semester. In addition, they are required to attend 5 student recitals. The associate dean will determine how this policy applies to transfer students. All other students must meet the requirement for six semesters. Additional attendance requirements are at the option of the major teacher.

Recital and Jury Requirements

All students enrolled in the B.M. in performance and B.M. in performance/music education (four-and-a-half-year) programs must successfully perform two solo recitals as part of their degree requirements. Other students may elect to perform in a graded recital with the permission of their major teacher. The required recitals are graded by three faculty members from the School of Music. Normally, the major teacher and two faculty members from the student’s division constitute the grading committee. Elective recitals are normally graded by only the major teacher.

The final grade for these recitals is determined by averaging the grades assigned by the members of the grading committee, according to the following system:

A 11
A- 10
B+ 9
B 8
B- 7
C+ 6
C 5
C- 4
D+ 3
D 2
D- 1
F 0

All undergraduate music majors must perform a jury at the end of each semester. Students who perform a graded recital and students who are off-campus because of student teaching may be exempted at the discretion of their major teacher. Nonmajor students enrolled for 2 credits of private study must also perform a jury at the end of the semester. Juries are graded on a pass/fail basis. If a student receives a grade of F from the majority of the faculty hearing a jury, the major teacher must issue a grade for the semester no higher than D. The grade of I, “incomplete,” must not be used in these cases. The incomplete grade is to be used only if a student is unable to perform a jury because of illness or providential intervention. The chair of performance studies must also be informed of the jury failure. The chair will then request that a letter of warning be sent by the associate dean to the student (see “Academic Status ”).

To be removed from warning, the student must pass the jury in the following semester and receive a semester grade of C- or higher. Every music student is required to meet specified minimum requirements in piano, relative to his or her curriculum. Students having voice or piano as the major instrument, regardless of their curricula, take keyboard musicianship, which includes accompanying, transposition, and literature.

Ensemble Requirements

All full-time music students are required to participate in a major ensemble each semester until the ensemble degree requirements are fulfilled.

Ensemble Policies

Certain ensembles are designated major ensembles. All full-time music students are required to participate in a major ensemble each semester until the ensemble degree requirements are fulfilled.

A student may participate in additional ensembles, up to a total of 10 ensemble participation hours per week. Exceptions beyond 10 hours can be made in very unusual circumstances by the associate dean in consultation with the performance teacher and conductor.

If additional ensembles are taken, they can be taken for 0, 0.5, or 1 credit. Students should normally enroll in ensembles for credit, unless the total credit enrollment exceeds 18 credits. Ensemble and chamber music credits over and above the required ensembles may be applied toward music elective requirements according to the following formula: for every 3 credits of music electives required in each degree program, 1 credit of ensemble or chamber music may be counted toward elective requirements, with a minimum of 1 credit and a maximum of 4.

Ensemble transfer credits may not be used to exempt a student from ensemble participation.

All music education students must participate in a major ensemble during the on-campus portion of the student teaching (“block”) semester.

The organizations designated below as major ensembles carry 1 credit for all students except where required as a second ensemble. The organizations designated as minor ensembles carry 1 credit when required as a major ensemble in the student’s degree program.

Major Ensembles

Concert Band
Symphony Orchestra
Symphonic Band
Women's Chorale
Wind Ensemble

Minor Ensembles

Accompanying Master Class
Chamber Orchestra
Guitar Ensemble
Piano Ensemble
Pianist as Collaborator
Jazz Ensemble
Jazz Repertory Ensemble
Jazz Lab Ensemble
Jazz Vocal Ensemble

The following fulfill the major ensemble requirements for the performance majors listed:

Composition Major - Eight semesters of major ensemble (with two being choral in consecutive fall-spring semesters) with approval of the composition coordinator. Up to 2 credits can be fulfilled with minor ensemble that focuses on the student’s particular music composition interests.

Guitar major - Music education, performance, and music education/performance — Choral ensemble (Choir, Chorus, or Women’s Chorale) and/or Guitar Ensemble (as specified in the curriculum outlines)

All other guitar major degrees — Choral ensemble (Choir, Chorus, or Women’s Chorale) or other major ensemble by audition, including Guitar Ensemble

Jazz studies major - Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Repertory Ensemble, Jazz Lab Ensemble or Jazz Vocal Ensemble (as specified in the “Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies” curriculum outline)

Keyboard major - Choir, Chorus, Women’s Chorale, Pianist as Collaborator, Accompanying Master Class, Guitar Ensemble, Piano Ensemble, Piano/Instrumental Duo, or Piano/Vocal Duo

String major - Symphony Orchestra

Voice major - Choir, Chorus, or Women’s Chorale

Wind and percussion majors - Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Symphonic Band, or Orchestra

Minor Ensembles

The following organizations are designated minor ensembles and carry 0.5 credit for music majors and 1 credit for all other students:

Brass Choir
Chamber Orchestra
Madrigal Singers
Percussion Ensemble

The ensembles listed below carry 0.5 credit for music majors when used as an elective ensemble. As with other minor ensembles, they carry 1 credit for non-music majors:

Accompanying Master Class
Campus Band
Contemporary Chamber Ensemble
Guitar Ensemble
Jazz Workshop
Pianist as Collaborator
Piano Ensemble
Piano/Instrumental Duo
Piano/Vocal Duo
Vocal Jazz Ensemble

Music majors should see the statement above (under “Major Ensembles”) covering total weekly ensemble participation hours allowed.

Opera/Musical Orchestra

Opera/musical orchestras are ensembles that perform in the major productions of one opera and one musical per year. Students participating in these ensembles may earn music elective credit. See the course description under MUMC 14000.

Course Exemptions

Students may be exempted from courses in the School of Music through examination by the departments concerned. Resulting credit deficiencies may be made up in any area in music upon consent of the student’s adviser and the associate dean.

Music Electives

Ensemble and chamber music credits over and above the required ensembles may be applied toward music elective requirements according to the following formula: for every 3 credits of music electives required in each degree program, 1 credit of ensemble or chamber music may be counted toward elective requirements, with a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 4 credits. Performance studies in an instrument/voice other than the major and elective recital credits may apply toward music electives. Performance study in the major performance area taken in addition to the degree requirements may also apply toward music electives.

Music Concentrations

Concentrations are available to music majors in the areas of Music Theory and Jazz Studies. A concentration is a structured plan of elective courses within a student’s major discipline that comprises a minimum of five courses for at least 15 credits. Courses taken to fulfill the concentration may count toward music elective requirements.

Admission to a concentration requires written acceptance by the chair of the department that offers the concentration.

Concentration Requirements

Pass/Fail or Satisfactory/D/Fail (S/D/F)

With the exception of MUMC 10100, MUMC 14100, and PFMJ 19900, music courses may not be taken on a pass/fail or S/D/F basis by music majors or minors.

(S/D/F) Option for the Non-major

All music courses may be taken S/D/F by the nonmajor in accordance with the S/D/F policy, except

  1. private lessons and ensembles
  2. courses required for the music minor

Academic Information - Credit and Grade Information

Fundamentals of Music Theory, Aural Skills, Keyboard Musicianship, and Recital Grades

Students must repeat MUTH 10100 until they receive a grade of B or higher or until they achieve a score of 84 percent or higher on the fundamentals placement examination.

Students must repeat keyboard musicianship or sight-singing courses in which they receive a grade lower than C-.

A grade of C- is the lowest acceptable grade for successful completion of a required undergraduate recital. In the event that a student receives a grade of D (+ or -), the grade will stand and be computed into the GPA, but the student must take the course again. A completely different program must be performed when repeating the course.

Physical Activity, Leisure, and Safety (PALS)

Physical activity, leisure, and safety (PALS) courses may be taken as free, general, non-liberal arts electives. A maximum of 6 credits is permitted.

PALS courses

Liberal Arts

All students in music must, by mandate of the New York State Education Department, take a certain number of liberal arts courses to complete their degree program. These courses must be taken outside the School of Music.

Distribution Requirements

Students are required to complete the Integrated Core Curriculum as specified by their degree.  Students who matriculated prior to Fall 2013 should refer to their catalog year for distribution requirements.

Academic Status

Ithaca College academic standards require that students in the School of Music pass 24 credits in any consecutive 12-month period and maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00.

In order to assure that students satisfactorily progress toward degree completion over a four-year or four-and-a-half-year period, detailed schematic outlines have been prepared for each degree. Students should follow these outlines closely as they register for classes. All degree programs in music include a number of courses that are sequential in nature and that develop skills in particular areas over several semesters of study. These courses include private performance study, music theory, sight-singing, and keyboard musicianship. For these core areas, which provide the foundation for a music major’s study, the following specific registration requirements must be adhered to each semester:

  1. Students must enroll in the appropriate performance study until the requirements are completed.
  2. Students must enroll in the appropriate music theory, sight-singing, and keyboard musicianship courses until the sequence is completed.
  3. Unless on part-time status, students must enroll in the appropriate major ensemble until the sequence is completed.

Exceptions to these registration requirements may occur under unusual circumstances. Permission for exceptions must be requested on the School of Music petition to request exceptions to School of Music policies form and reviewed by the instructor of record (when appropriate), the academic adviser, the appropriate department chair, and the associate dean. Students who withdraw from any course listed above must enroll in that course during the following semester. Failure to enroll in and successfully complete the course during the next semester in which it is offered will place the student on academic warning. Deficiencies in any area of preparation may necessitate remedial courses and may delay graduation.

Students who fail to meet College or school standards are subject to immediate suspension or to suspension after a warning period. Each case is reviewed on an individual basis by the dean and associate dean of the School of Music. If the review indicates that a warning before suspension is appropriate, the procedure below is followed. Students should be aware that the offer of a warning period is a privilege, based on individual review, not a right.

Warning, Suspension, Readmission

Academic Warning

A letter of warning notifies the student that the school’s academic requirements have not been met. Continued deficiencies may lead to suspension or dismissal from the School of Music. The following are deficiencies that lead to academic warning:

  1. Failure to maintain the general Ithaca College academic requirements of passing 24 credits in any consecutive 12-month period, unless approved for part-time status, and to maintain a minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA
  2. A grade below C- in private-lesson study
  3. Two successive failures in a music course required in the student’s program (or two successive grades below C- in either keyboard musicianship or sight-singing), or withdrawal from a required music course previously failed, or failure to enroll in the subsequent offering of a required music course previously failed
  4. Failure to enroll in and successfully complete music theory, sight-singing, or keyboard musicianship class over two consecutive semesters

During the semester that academic warning is in effect, the student must fulfill the specific requirements listed in the letter of warning or face suspension or dismissal from the School of Music.

Continuation of Warning

A second or subsequent letter of warning notifies the student of continuing deficiency in some areas listed under warning. Generally, this letter is sent to students who have demonstrated some improvement over the previous semester but have not yet attained the minimum levels required to be removed from formal warning.

During the semester that academic warning is in effect, the student must fulfill specific requirements listed in the letter of warning or face suspension or dismissal from the School of Music. Students may be suspended if this level is not attained; in some cases they may be continued on warning for one more semester.

Final Warning

A letter of final warning notifies the student that only one semester remains to improve his or her academic standing. During the semester that a final academic warning is in effect, the student must fulfill the specific requirements listed in the letter of warning or face suspension or dismissal from the School of Music. These are absolute requirements.

Academic Suspension

A student being suspended from the School of Music and Ithaca College is informed with a formal letter of suspension. The length of the suspension is specified, and students are informed that they are not eligible to attend courses at the College until the semester specified by the notification letter.

In the formal letter, procedures for applying for return to the College are explained, and the general expectations of performance upon resumption of studies are indicated. As a general rule, students are expected to complete 12 letter-grade credit hours with a semester GPA of 2.30 or better, with no grades of I, W, or F, and no more than one grade below C. Other conditions may be specified in the formal notification.

Return to College Following Academic Suspension

Readmission to the School of Music following suspension is unusual. However, it may be possible and is contingent upon evidence of a satisfactory record of achievement at another accredited institution of advanced musical training.

Academic Dismissal

Students who meet College academic standards but not those of the School of Music may be dismissed from the School of Music. In such instances, students are suspended from the College for at least one semester. Continued study following the suspension is contingent on the student’s being accepted into another school at the College.

In special cases, students with generally creditable records may be dismissed from a particular degree program for failure to meet requirements in that specific program. Such students are eligible to change their major to another program or school, provided they are accepted by the new department and, if applicable, school. Such program dismissals are usually made effective at the end of the following semester to allow the student time to decide upon, and be admitted to, a new major.

Dean's List

At the end of each semester, students who satisfy each of the following criteria are named to the dean’s list in the School of Music:

  1. A minimum semester average of 3.70 (freshmen, 3.50)
  2. Completion of at least 15 letter-grade credit hours (except student-teaching seniors, who must have at least 12 credits)
  3. No final grades of D, F, or I

Honors Courses

Students who excel in music theory and sight-singing may be selected to enroll in honors sections of these courses. A student may be recommended for honors if his or her work is A-level and if mature study and practice habits are evident.

Degree Requirements

The following are courses with honors sections.

MUTH 12201Music Theory I -- Honors2
MUTH 13301Aural Skills I - Honors1.5
MUTH 13401Aural Skills II - Honors1.5
MUTH 22101Music Theory II -- Honors2
MUTH 22201Music Theory III -- Honors2
MUTH 23301Aural Skills III - Honors1
MUTH 23401Aural Skills IV - Honors1
MUTH 32101Form and Analysis -- Honors2
MUTH 32201Analysis of Music since 1900 - Honors2

Performance Studies

Performance studies are considered as non-liberal arts (NLA) courses for music majors because of the emphasis placed on performance. Performance studies are considered as liberal arts (LA) courses for non-music majors because of the emphasis placed on fine arts in the context of a liberal arts education.

Upon acceptance into the program, performance and performance/music education (four-and-a-half-year) majors take a one-hour private lesson each week for 4 credits per semester. All other music majors take a half-hour private lesson each week for 2 credits. Additionally, each semester, all music majors take the 0.5-credit course PFMJ 19900. Music minors take a half-hour private lesson each week for 2 credits. Music majors who have an additional requirement of private lessons on a secondary instrument (e.g., voice students who take private piano lessons) take a half-hour lesson each week for 1 credit. Music minors and music majors in secondary lessons do not take the PFMJ 19900 class for that instrument.

The following table shows performance studies (principal) levels and credits to be taken within degree programs of the School of Music.

Credits of Performance Study per Semester

Program Levels of Performance Study Credits
Music education I-IV (two semesters at each level; 1 credit during semester of senior student teaching) 2
Music education/performance I-IV (two semesters at each level); V (one semester; 2 credits during semester of senior student teaching) 4
Performance I-IV (two semesters at each level) 4
Performance—collaborative emphasis I-IV (two semesters at each level) 4
Sound recording technology I-IV (two semetsers at each level; 1 credit during semester of internship) 2
Combination with outside field I-IV (two semesters at each level) 2
Jazz studies I-IV (two semesters at each level) 2
Music theory I-IV (two semesters at each level) 2
Composition (no performance studies - major required) 0
Bachelor of arts in music I-III (two semesters at each level) 2
Minor in music I-II (two semesters at each level) 1
B.F.A.—musical theather1 I-IV (two semesters at each level; 1 credit during first semester of freshman year) 2

Integrative Core Curriculum

The Integrative Core Curriculum (ICC) is Ithaca College’s liberal education program, which contributes, along with students’ curricular experiences in the major, elective offerings, and out-of-class experiences, to achieving the College’s expectation that Ithaca College graduates should become integrative thinkers, critical and analytical problem solvers, and reflective learners. To achieve these expectations, students completing the ICC will:

  1. Address a topic, issue, problem area, or human challenge using a combination of concepts, theories, and/or methods from multiple perspectives or fields of study;
  2. Apply concepts, theories, methods, or skills to analyze new questions or complex problems
  3. Engage in and communicate self-reflection about their learning in the Integrative Core Curriculum, their chosen major discipline, and their overall Ithaca College experience

Requirements of the ICC

Ithaca Seminar4
Themes and Perspective Courses12
Creative Arts (CA)
Humanities (HM)
Natural Sciences (NS)
Social Sciences (SO)
Complimentary Liberal Arts12
School Requirements here
Additional Requirements12
Academic Writing I ( or ICSM 10800 or ICSM 11800)
Writing Intensive (WI)
Diversity (DV)
Quantitative Literacy (QL)
ICC Capstone (CP)0-3
E-Portfolio completion
Total Credits40

Course Prefixes and Numbering System

Course Prefixes

JAZZ Jazz studies
MSRT Music Sound Recording Technology
MUED Music education
MUEN Ensembles
MUMC Additional music courses
MUNM Courses for the non-music major
MUTH Music theory, aural skills, and composition; music history and literature
PFMJ Performance—major instrument
PFNM Performance—nonmajor
PFSM Performance—secondary instrument

Numbering System

The first three digits after the prefix designate the specific course. The first of these digits represents the year (one through four) during which a student normally takes this course. Ensembles may be repeated for credit. The third digit is odd or even depending on whether the course is normally offered during the first or second semester, respectively.

Level-5 Courses

Courses at level 5 are graduate courses for which qualified seniors may enroll under certain circumstances. Seniors may take level-5 courses for either graduate or undergraduate credit provided they

  1. have completed 90 or more hours in an undergraduate degree program;
  2. have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher; and
  3. secure the approval of the instructor, undergraduate adviser, graduate chair, dean of the school, and dean of graduate studies.

Such courses taken for graduate credit cannot be applied toward an undergraduate degree; those taken for undergraduate credit cannot be applied toward a master’s degree.