Jun 14, 2024  
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

School of Music

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Dr. John Allemeier, Director
Phone: (540) 568-3614
Location: Music Building, Room 130
Website: http://www.jmu.edu/music

S. Barber, S. Bolstad, C. Carrillo, B. Chandler, A. Connell, D. Cottrell, W. Dabback, G. Dobner, C. Donakowski, C. Dotas, J. Gibson, J. Haney, W. Huang, A. Lankford, D. Maddison, L. Piitz, D. Pope, E. Ruple, M.J. Speare, K. Stees, C. Stevens, D. Stringham, J. Taylor, I. Zook

Associate Professors
P. Aponte, C. Cangelosi, V. Curry, E. Guinivan, R. Hallahan, W.B. Hayes, S. Jankauskas, L. Maynard, K. McMillan, D. Rierson, P. Steinberg, J. van der Vat-Chromy

Assistant Professors
F. Beyers, J. Peterson, D Phoenix-Neal, S. Rikkers, S. Suggs, J. Walker, J. Zyko


The mission of the School of Music is to provide the highest level of musical training in a comprehensive program that prepares students in conducting, music education, music industry, music performance, theory, composition and music history and to prepare them to be thoughtful and productive citizens. Specifically, the school’s mission is to:

  • Select undergraduate and graduate majors and minors who have demonstrated a commitment to developing their musical skills and talents.
  • Motivate music enthusiasts to explore musical concepts by exposing them to and including them in music performance, composition and education.
  • Foster a sense of community that encourages intellectual curiosity, creative endeavor, cultural diversity and respect for various perspectives.
  • Encourage excellence from faculty members as educators, researchers, performers, clinicians and supporters so that they develop students into motivated, competent professionals and outstanding world citizens.
  • Provide music majors and non-music majors with knowledge of music and develop appropriate skill levels and musicianship.
  • Offer curricula that prepare students to be professionals in music performance, composition, education or industry.
  • Broaden students’ understanding of music through innovative teaching, creative experiences and scholarly research.
  • Provide a wide variety of cultural events for the JMU and Shenandoah Valley communities.
  • Expose students to current technology employed in the music field, such as computers, music instruction software, electronic devices, and advanced audio and visual equipment.
  • Prepare D.M.A. students to teach at the college level, not just in their principal areas but also in many of the core curriculum classes, such as theory, music history and music appreciation.

The School of Music is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of School of Music.


The ten major degree concentrations are each designed to establish a set of skills and a knowledge base necessary for success as a practitioner in specific career areas in the broad field of music. These objectives are achieved through School of Music classes:

  • Through core music classes, students will attain a general level of functional musicianship sufficient to begin and sustain a professional career in the music field.
  • To gain awareness and basic competency in composition and analysis of the standard forms and styles of western music.
  • To gain a broad historical perspective on the development of the forms and styles of western music, as well as diverse world music.
  • To develop a knowledge base enabling the placement of music within stylistic and chronological eras through cues that can be aurally identified.
  • To develop a minimal ability to use a piano keyboard in the study, analysis and performance of music.
  • To learn and practice the basic skills of conducting a musical ensemble and leading a rehearsal.
  • Through attendance at musical performances, students will gain awareness and acceptance of a broad variety of music, as well as of the traditional practices of concert musicians through listening to and watching others perform.
  • Through specialized classes in each concentration, students will attain skills and attitudes necessary for the establishment and maintenance of a career as a professional musician.
  • Students in all concentrations will take weekly lessons in a primary instrument until they have mastered the skills of performance on that instrument sufficiently well to pass the graduation level for the specific concentration and to successfully complete a senior recital in performance or composition.
  • Students in all concentrations will perform regularly in both solo and ensemble situations, allowing them to gain a variety of professional-level performing experiences. At least one ensemble per semester is required of all music students until they have completed all the major requirements for the B.M. degree.
  • Students in all concentrations will take specialized classes at the upper levels to learn the skills and more concentrated knowledge bases of the individual concentration areas. These classes may be aimed at developing a broad survey knowledge of music literature or history in a particular segment of the repertoire, or at the discovery and development of skills needed in the field but not necessarily to be mastered through individual practice and performance.
  • In some major concentrations, internships are required that put the student into the work world in a supervised off-campus learning activity designed to give practical workplace experience in the field.

Career Opportunities

The various programs offered by the school can lead students to a wide range of careers. Programs in performance or composition are intended for students who desire to continue their musical training in graduate programs that will prepare them for professional careers in performance, composition and/or teaching at the college level.

Those who elect the emphasis in music industry will be prepared for positions in a broad area of music-business occupations and for admission to graduate professional schools of business.

The music education program prepares students to teach vocal and/or instrumental music in public schools.

The music theatre program is designed to prepare vocal music majors for the field of popular Broadway musical theatre performance as well as for careers in opera and operetta.

The jazz studies program prepares students for the rigors of graduate study in jazz performance, equips students with the jazz vocabulary necessary for professional performance, and provides knowledge and skills necessary for employment in private instruction or as a jazz specialist in public schools.

The following list of careers is only a small sample of possibilities:

  • Artists’ manager
  • Composer
  • Conductor
  • Entertainment lawyer
  • Music educator
  • Music journalist
  • Music librarian
  • Music software developer
  • Orchestra manager
  • Performing artist
  • Professional accompanist
  • Professor/teacher
  • Record producer

Co-curricular Activities and Organizations

These activities are open to all JMU students without audition:

These activities are open to all JMU students with audition or instructor permission:

  • Bach Aria Group
  • Brass Ensembles
  • Camerata Strings
  • Chamber Orchestra
  • Chorale
  • Clarinet Choir
  • Collegium Musicum
  • Flute Choir
  • Guitar Ensemble
  • Horn Choir
  • Jazz Band
  • Jazz Chamber Ensembles
  • Jazz Ensemble
  • Madison Singers
  • Opera Theatre
  • Opera Theatre Orchestra
  • Percussion Ensemble
  • Piano Accompanying
  • Steel Drum Band
  • String Ensembles
  • Symphonic Band
  • Symphony Orchestra
  • Treble Chamber Choir
  • Trombone Choir
  • Trumpet Ensemble
  • Tuba and Euphonium Ensemble
  • Wind Symphony
  • Woodwind Ensembles

Admission Requirements

Students choosing to major in music must possess a solid background and experience in the performance medium they elect for their major, and they should display sufficient musical talent to indicate promise in their field.

To be considered for undergraduate admission to the music program, all entering first year students, transfer students and previously enrolled students seeking re-admission must complete the following:

Audition guidelines may be found on the music website.

Students are encouraged to contact the applied faculty on their area of performance expertise with specific questions about their audition. General questions about the music degree programs may be answered by an admissions assistant at (540) 568-3851 or by sending a message to music_admit@jmu.edu.

Audition, Exam and Placement Test

No student will be accepted into the music degree programs until an audition is successfully completed and passed. A piano placement test will also be taken but has no bearing on acceptance. The piano test primarily determines keyboard skills class-level placement.

All candidates are expected to perform the entrance audition on one of the scheduled audition dates. The school does not encourage special appointments and will arrange them only when applicants have serious conflicts with the scheduled auditions.

Because assessing a student’s ability through a recorded performance is difficult, only students who live at great distances are encouraged to send audition recordings. All recordings submitted must be of high quality and demonstrate the student’s ability.

The audition should reveal the student’s highest level of musical attainment. Appropriate literature in at least two varying styles and tempos is suggested so that the school can evaluate the candidate’s ability accurately. If you have specific questions regarding appropriate audition literature, please contact the applied professor of your area of performance.

In addition to meeting the audition requirements above, all students who intend to major in the Bachelor of Music, emphasis in music industry or the music industry minor are required to first complete MUI 221  and then enroll in MUI 231  and MUI 230 . To successfully complete MUI 230 , prospective majors and minors must submit a portfolio for review, showing evidence of their interest and potential for success in the music industry. The portfolio should represent work completed in the above classes with assistance in resume preparation from Career and Academic Planning. Portfolios will be reviewed once each fall and once each spring semester. Following the portfolio review, students who are recommended for the major or minor will be eligible to register for upper level music industry classes. Students who are not recommended for admission to the major or minor may reapply the following semester. To obtain the schedule of portfolio review sessions, as well as other specific information about the admission process, contact the School of Music, music industry area.

Students who score a 4 or 5 on the Music Theory – Aural Subscore Advanced Placement exam may bypass a diagnostic test administered by the school.

All major concentrations in the School of Music require potential candidates to develop additional qualifications before full admission to the concentrations. These gateways are generally attempted at the end of the first or second year in the major. For additional details, see the School of Music’s Undergraduate Music Student Handbook.

Class Fees

There is a once per semester fee for enrollment in MUAP 200 , MUAP 214  and MUAP 300. Applied Music Lesson (Undergraduate) . See MyMadison for details.

Music Scholarships

The entrance audition also serves as the scholarship audition. All music scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit. Recorded auditions will not qualify a prospective student for consideration to receive a music scholarship.

A transfer student on scholarship at another school can only be considered for a scholarship at JMU if the music executive of the current school sends a written release to the director of the School of Music.

Retention Policy

Students admitted as music majors must meet school standards published in the School of Music Student Handbook to continue. To ensure that these standards are met, the Music Academic Review Coordinator examines each music major’s progress at the end of each semester in accordance with policies stated in the handbook.

Music majors must earn a minimum grade of “C-” in all music courses required for their degree. In situations where courses are sequential, with prerequisites (for example, (MUS 143 -MUS 144  or MUS 243 -MUS 244 ) ), if a grade lower than “C-” is earned, it does not constitute fulfillment of the prerequisite.


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