2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog

Music / 19

Accreditation of Music Degrees

Since 1969, Northwest Missouri State University has been a member of the National Association of Schools of Music. Both the B.M.E. and the B.A. degree are accredited by NASM. This accreditation insures that our programs are of the highest quality and that the curriculum conforms to national standards of excellence.

Statement of Purpose for Music

The Discipline of Music serves the University in three basic areas: general music education foundation for all students, individual professional preparation for selected fields and cultural enrichment for both campus and community.

Study in these programs provides majors with the skills needed to become highly successful in their chosen professions. The Discipline of Music is especially committed to excellence in public school music; in addition to an inclusive major in music, comprehensive programs are also available in vocal music education and instrumental music education. These programs provide instruction in private study, music theory/literature and methodology applicable to teaching at the elementary and secondary levels. 

Recognizing its obligation to enhance the quality of life for the citizens of the four-state area, the Department of Fine and Performing Arts assists music supervisors in keeping current in their fields of expertise, offering courses for advanced study and special topics seminars that help them advance the cause of public school music in their communities.


The music curriculum has been designed to assist all participating students in maximizing potential. Toward this end, the primary objectives of the undergraduate programs are (1) to further performance ability in at least one musical medium, (2) to provide future teachers with the knowledge and skills necessary to become successful as professional educators in instrumental and/or vocal music, and (3) to provide students with a wide range of educational/musical experiences which will encourage continued personal and professional growth.

Degree Programs in Music

The Bachelor of Arts with a Comprehensive Major in Music (44 hours) is designed to provide the student with a broad liberal arts education, as well as more specialized work in an applied area of voice, keyboard or a particular instrument. 

The Bachelor of Music in Education, Elementary/Secondary Program, with a comprehensive major in either Instrumental Music Education (64 hours) or Vocal Music Education (62 hours), prepares students to teach instrumental or vocal music at all levels, K-12. These major programs exceed the minimum Missouri teacher certification standards in instrumental music K-12 or in vocal music K-12. 

A 27-hour Minor in Music is available to students with a major in another academic discipline. 

Test-Out Policy for Music

Credit by examination through the department is available for the following courses only: MUS 19171 (Beginning Sight Singing and Ear-Training), MUS 19172 (Intermediate Sight Singing and Ear-Training), MUS 19173 (Theory of Music), MUS 19174 (Theory of Music), MUS 19271 (Advanced Sight Singing and Ear-Training I), and MUS 19272 (Advanced Sight Singing and Ear-Training II). 

For policies and procedures see the “Departmental Test-Out” section of this catalog. Advanced Placement (AP) credit is available for MUS 19173 (Theory of Music) and MUS 19201 (Enjoyment of Music) with a score of “4” on the appropriate test. 

Upper-Level Standing in Applied Study for Music

The Upper-Level Qualifying Examination in applied study may be attempted after a minimum of four semester hours of study (not including dual credit) in the lower level (courses numbered below 300) of applied instruction. If approved for upper-level standing by the appropriate faculty committee, the student must then enroll in upper-level applied study. Transfer students wishing to enroll in private study at the upper level must meet the same requirements as students who began studies at Northwest. Transfer students will be tested for upper-level standing during the first week of their initial semester.

Departmental Policies for Music

Applied Jury Exam: All students enrolled in applied music are required to participate in the applied jury exam each semester of applied study except for the semester in which their senior recital is actually presented. These examinations are administered by the music faculty on specific dates during the week of final examinations. 

Concert/Recital Attendance: All music majors and minors are required to attend concerts and recitals as specified by the music faculty at the beginning of each fall and spring semester. Non-music majors and minors may be required to attend concerts and/or recitals as directed by course instructors.

Ensemble Participation: Majors in the B.M.E. program are required to satisfactorily participate in Marching Band, Symphonic Band, Wind Symphony, University Chorale or Orchestra according to their major applied area (and/or area of added endorsement) each fall and spring semester of full-time enrollment, except for the semester of student teaching. Majors in the B.A. degree and minors are required to satisfactorily participate in either Marching Band, Symphonic Band, Wind Symphony, University Chorale, or Orchestra according to their major applied area each fall or spring semester of full-time enrollment.

Students may enroll in ensemble courses for activity OR academic credit in order to fulfill this requirement. NOTE: Courses taken for activity credit do not count toward GPA.

Performance Audition: For all levels of applied study, students must have the permission of the instructor and/or faculty within the area of study. Any student who has not been heard by the faculty at scholarship auditions must perform an audition for faculty members before the drop/add period closes in the fall to determine acceptance to applied study. Students unable to demonstrate sufficient performance skills will be admitted on a trial basis. 

Entrance Examination for Music Theory: All students who intend to begin the theory sequence at Northwest must successfully pass the entrance examination prior to enrolling in theory courses. The purpose of the examination is to ensure that each student possesses a significant level of competence in music before entering the theory sequence.  Students who do not pass the examination must enroll in MUS 19103, Foundations of Music Theory.

Placement Examination in Theory and Ear-Training for Transfer Students: All students who desire to transfer theory and/or ear-training credit from another institution must take a Placement Examination in Music Theory and Ear-Training at the appropriate level. The purpose of this examination is to ensure proper placement in the theory/ear-training sequence and equate previous theory/ear-training courses to those offered at Northwest. Students may be required to retake or audit appropriate Northwest music theory/ear-training courses to remedy any deficiencies. 

Entrance Examination In Keyboard: All students who intend to study keyboard at Northwest must take a placement exam prior to enrolling in any level of applied piano class, applied piano, applied organ or applied harpsichord. The purpose of the examination is to assess the ability level of each student and to appropriately place that student.

Courses at 500-level: Unless excused by the department chairperson, students must have senior standing before being permitted to enroll in 500-level music courses.

Keyboard Proficiency: Majors in the B.M.E. degree are required to pass a piano proficiency examination to the satisfaction of the piano faculty. Piano majors are exempt from this policy. The examination must be taken no later than the end of the student’s third semester of piano study. Transfer students with three semesters of piano study are required to take the examination during their first semester of enrollment at Northwest. The examination is administered only during the fall and spring semesters of each academic year for students enrolled in keyboard study. Fulfillment of this requirement is a prerequisite to enrollment in MUS 19482 (Methods in Secondary School Instrumental Music), MUS 19484 (Methods in Secondary School Vocal Music), and EDUC 61470 (Directed Teaching in Elementary and Secondary School). 

In order to pass the piano proficiency examination at Northwest, students must be able to: (1) perform one prepared piece of comparable difficulty to a movement from a Clementi Sonatina, (2) sight read one composition of intermediate difficulty, (3) supply an accompaniment to a given melody with marked chording, and (4) supply an accompaniment to a given melody without marked chording. Special note: A requirement for taking the keyboard proficiency exam is enrollment in keyboard study for credit (and have a passing grade in the course) or successfully auditing of class piano (i.e. have a minimum of 65% attendance). 

Senior Recital: All majors, regardless of degree, are required to present a senior recital to the satisfaction of the music faculty. Such a recital will be presented only upon the approval of the student’s senior recital hearing committee. The student must be enrolled in MUS 19499 (Senior Recital) and in applied music with the student’s major instructor during the semester of the recital. The senior recital may not be attempted sooner than the third semester of the upper level of applied study. 

Students must adhere to departmental standards/policies concerning scheduling, format, additional performers and printed materials relative to the Senior Recital. These standards/policies are specified in the music student handbook, which may be obtained in the office of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts and online at http://www.nwmissouri.edu/finearts/pdf/music/Music%20Student%20Handbook.pdf

Sight Singing/Ear-Training Proficiency: All majors are required to pass a sight singing/ear-training proficiency examination to the satisfaction of the music theory faculty. This examination must be taken by the end of the student’s fourth semester of ear-training. The examination is given to all transfer students who have completed at least four semesters of ear-training study at another institution. Students who do not pass this examination must successfully audit (i.e. minimum of 65% attendance) either MUS 19271 (Advanced Sight Singing and Ear-Training I) or MUS 19272 (Advanced Sight Singing and Ear-Training II) before attempting to pass the proficiency examination again. The examinations are administered only during the fall and spring semesters of each academic year for students enrolled in MUS 19271 or MUS 19272. This requirement is a prerequisite to enrollment in EDUC 61470 (Directed Teaching in Elementary and Secondary School). 

Student Recital: Each music major, regardless of degree program, is required to perform in his/her major applied area in a student recital each semester of applied study, with the exception of the initial semester of such applied study. Other students enrolled in applied music may also be required by the applied instructor to perform in a student recital.