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How to Prepare for Your First Semester as a Music Major

Music is an exciting program of study. It is also a challenging program that demands much time and discipline. If you are like most college music students, one of the reasons you have chosen this field is because you love making music and learning all you can about it. This is great, because you will spend many hours every day rehearsing with others, practicing on your own, and studying many aspects of music.

What to Expect in the First Semester

You have passed an audition and have been accepted to our Music Program. Now what?

Unlike students majoring in many other fields, as a music student you will begin taking several music courses during your first semester. This is because most music courses must be taken in sequence—if you wait to begin the sequence, you will delay your graduation by at least a year.  

We understand that music students begin their college studies with a wide variety of musical backgrounds, and we want to be sure that during your first semester we place you in music courses that are well-suited to your music background and that give you the best chance to succeed as a music major.  Before beginning your studies at Clayton State, we will give you a theory placement exam. The exam will allow us to see your "starting point" in theory so we can place you in an initial theory course that is the most appropriate for your current knowledge.  As a result of the placement exam, incoming music major will begin their studies with either MUSC 1002 (Music Fundamentals) or MUSC 1011 (Music Theory I).

Before Your First Semester

Before the beginning of the first semester, you are encouraged to spend time improving your skills in pitch reading, basic musical notation, rhythm and meter, reading and notating key signatures, and sight reading so you can be successful in your first-semester college music courses. This is recommended regardless of your current skill level, but especially if you are not fluent in any of these fundamental areas.

The following websites offer instruction and interactive drills for learning and reviewing fundamentals of music theory and are very helpful in your preparation for college music study:

http://www.musictheory.net/

https://tonesavvy.com/emusictheory/

http://teoria.com/