Academic Policies

Music Scholarships

The Music Department offers a variety of scholarships, including several large endowed scholarships. The department offers scholarships for one year based on a written application and performance audition. Returning students must reapply every year for scholarship consideration, and receiving a scholarship for one year is not a guarantee of renewal for the following year. Each scholarship has somewhat different requirements, so students are encouraged to examine various scholarship opportunities in greater detail. More information, including application forms and deadlines, is available at the department's Music Scholarships link.

Major Ensemble Enrollment

Participation in one of the major performance ensembles most appropriate to a music major's applied instrument is required each quarter in residence as a full-time student, with a maximum of 12 units being applied to the major. CSUSB's major performing ensembles include: MUS 380 Chamber Orchestra (1), MUS 381 Symphonic Band (1), MUS 385 Concert Choir (1), and MUS 386 Chamber Singers (1).

All transfer students may apply to the department for wavier of up to three units of major ensemble credits based on prior community college or university ensemble experience in chamber-sized or large groups. In addition, consistent with California's Transfer Model Curriculum, California community college students may transfer credit to CSUSB for large ensemble coursework as indicated at Students enrolled for a part-time load in a particular quarter are not required to participate in a major ensemble for that quarter, but they must still eventually earn the total minimum units required for graduation. String music majors must enroll in MUS 380, wind and percussion majors must enroll in MUS 381, and vocal majors must enroll in MUS 385 or MUS 386. Piano and guitar majors lacking the requisite instrumental skills to participate in MUS 380 or MUS 381 should enroll in MUS 385 or 386. MUS 386 is open to advanced singers by audition only. Students enrolled in preparatory-level lessons are not required to enroll in a major ensemble and may only do so if they successfully audition into one of those groups.

MUS 998. Concert Attendance (0)

Music majors complete multiple semester of MUS 998 to broaden their knowledge of musical performance. Music majors who complete all of their music coursework at CSUSB must complete six quarters of MUS 998. Music majors who transfer some music coursework to CSUSB from another institution are required to successfully complete three quarters of MUS 998. For more information about the course's specific requirements, email for a course syllabus.

Piano Proficiency

Except for piano majors, all music majors entering CSUSB must take a placement audition for class piano requirements. The audition is designed to place students in the appropriate level of class piano. Satisfactory completion of a proficiency examination, or a grade of B or higher in MUS 222 Class Piano III, is required of all music majors. Piano majors meet the examination requirement as part of jury examinations for their applied lessons. At the exam, students will be asked to demonstrate their level of achievement in the following areas:

1. Sight-reading, hands together, treble and bass clefs, chorale-style music.
2. Harmonization of melodies, beginning with I-V7 chords in left hand and progressing to secondary dominants, if possible.
3. Transposition of material listed under Number 2.
4. I-IV6/4-I-V6/5-I chord progressions in as many major and minor keys as possible.
5. Other types of keyboard facility as appropriate.5. Other types of keyboard facility as appropriate.

Any entering student who feels he/she has sufficient piano background to challenge piano proficiency may request an examination. The following general requirements must be met:

  • Patriotic Songs
    • America ("My Country 'Tis of Thee") in keys F, G, Eb
    • Star Spangled Banner in keys of Bb, A
      1. Tempo should be suitable for community or classroom singing.
      2. Note accuracy, rhythmic steadiness, fluent pianism with suitable use of pedal, legato, touch, tone quality and proper style are expected.
  • Sight-reading of:
    • A three-part open choral score and a four-part open choral score. 
    • A four-part chorale (similar in difficulty to a Bach chorale) in a two-staff reduction.
  • Harmonization and transposition (at sight)
    • One melody employing I, IV, V7 harmonization. Examiner will choose keys.
    • One melody employing secondary triad harmonization. Transposition to keys of subdominant and dominant will be expected.
    • Style of accompaniment should be appropriate for chosen melody: Alberti Bass, Waltz, etc.
  • Piano technique
    • Ability to play all major and minor scales, hands together:
      1. octave in quarter notes
      2. octaves in eighth notes, quarter note = mm 92-100
    • I, IV, V, ii, V/V, chord progressions in all major and minor keys.
  • Piano Repertoire
    • Play one piece with difficulty equal to:
      Sonatine by Kabalevsky
      Sonatina, Op. 36, No. 2 by Clementi

Applied Lesson Enrollment

Before or concurrent with declaring music as a major, a student must complete a placement audition for applied lessons. The faculty member(s) hearing the audition will assign the student to an appropriate applied level. Students assigned to preparatory applied lessons (MUS 80s, below the 100-level) may attempt a maximum of three quarters at that level. If, after three quarters, a student cannot advance to 100-level lessons, he or she should select a major outside of music. Units awarded for preparatory applied lesson are not applicable to any baccalaureate degrees at CSUSB. Preparatory study is graded on a credit/no credit basis.

A music major may attempt a maximum of six units in applied lessons at each of the 100-, 200-, and 300-levels (MUS 140s, 240s, and 340s). If, after six quarters of study at one of those levels, a student cannot meet the requirements for that level, the student should change his or her major to something other than music.

Music majors must study as a primary instrument the instrument on which they perform their initial applied placement audition. A student wishing to change to a different primary instrument or voice must complete an applied placement audition on that instrument and may as a result be assigned to a lower applied level. Enrollment in preparatory-level lessons (MUS 80s) is limited to three total quarters no matter what instrument or instruments are studied during those quarters, and the same applies to the six-quarter limits for 100-, 200, and 300-level lessons

One-on-one teaching in applied lessons is very expensive. As a result, only music majors may enroll in applied lessons. The Music Department does not offer applied lessons to any other CSUSB students, even music minors. Music majors may enroll in applied lessons only in pursuit of the requirements for their degree. Applied lessons may not be used as an elective because the cost of such one-on-one instruction is very expensive. The department provides many other one-, two-, and three-unit classes suitable for elective coursework. Lessons at the 400 level are restricted to students accepted to pursue the Bachelor of Music in Performance.

Entrance and Completion standards for the Bachelor of Music in Performance

Entrance to the BM in Performance will require a demonstration of significant academic, performance, and intellectual achievement.  Students may apply at any time for entrance to the program, but freshmen students usually apply to enter the program after the completion of three quarters of CSUSB coursework, and transfers usually apply immediately before their first quarter of enrollment.  Students whose initial application does not result in acceptance into the program may apply a maximum of one additional time. 

Entrance requirements include:

  • A minimum grade of B- in each of MUS 120 Theory I, MUS 121 Musicianship I, MUS 122 Theory II, and MUS 123 Musicianship II or, for students with transfer credit for those courses, an equivalent grade on a diagnostic test of music theory knowledge. 
  • The demonstration of a high potential for success as a professional musician based on a live performance audition for a committee of music faculty.  Student must perform two contrasting works of significant repertoire for their audition, including for vocalists works in two different languages.   In addition, as a prerequisite to the live audition, and concurrently with the submission of the written essay described below, a student must submit two unedited, unaltered recordings (at least one in video format) from distinct live performances. The performances must feature the student performing either a solo or a prominent part in a small chamber work.
  • The demonstration of intellectual achievement based on a written essay submitted to the music faculty.  Essays should contain between 600 and 1000 words (two to three pages), and detail an applicant's prior experience and achievements in music, willingness to commit to the rigor of a professional program, and future professional aspirations.   The essay must document a well-developed ability to communicate in written form, experience and achievements that suggest exceptional talent, and professional aspirations and commitment consistent with the stated purpose of the BM degree.
Live auditions for the BM program are held on the afternoon of the final Friday of each academic quarter, the last day of an exam week.   Essays are due one week before an audition via email to  The audition days for 2016 are March 25, June 17, and December 9.  New transfer students should plan an audition for one of the first two dates, while new freshmen will audition in 2017, after they have completed the required theory and musicianship classes mentioned above.

Continuation in and graduation from the BM program require the following:

  1. A minimum GPA of 2.75 in all CSUSB coursework, and a minimum GPA of 3.0 in all CSUSB music coursework.  Students whose academic achievement falls below either GPA minimum for two or more consecutive quarters in a row cannot continue in the program.
  2. Normally three quarters are required in each of MUS 239, 339, and 439, and a maximum of four quarters of enrollment are allowed in each of the three courses.  Students not able in four quarters to complete requirements for one of those three courses cannot continue in the BM program.


Applied Lesson Policies

Syllabus and grading policies

  • Publication of applied syllabi: All applied lessons, per campus policy, require the publication of an applied syllabus including content as specified by CSUSB's Faculty Senate: (see CSUSB Syllabus Policy). There are NO exceptions to this policy, and, as with all syllabi, applied syllabi must be distributed to students, and a copy filed in the departmental office, by the second week (second lesson) of a quarter.
  • Standards for weighting of applied grades: at most 20% for the jury or recital hearing performance (one or the other is required as the culmination of each quarter of study), at least 20% for overall attendance and performances in repertoire classes, at least 10% for each required performance (Music Major Recital, Instrumental Recital, or repertoire class), and not less than 40% for the actual lessons completed for the quarter.

Minimum lesson meetings, practice, repertoire and performances

  • For applied lessons in the 80s, 140s, 240s, 340s, and 440s: Individual areas or studio teachers may require additional repertoire, practice, and performances beyond the minimums, as well as lesson sessions longer than 30 minutes, if specified in the corresponding syllabus at the start of a quarter. Students must have 10 lessons, one per week, every quarter. In cases where a student must travel off campus to take a lesson, the chair of the department may on a case-by-case basis authorize the substitution of seven 45-minute lessons for the usual minimum.
  • BM students enrolled in MUS 239, 339, and 439 will have an additional 30-minutes of lesson time per week.
  • Repertoire for juries must includes at least two separate selections, contrasting in style, character, instrument/medium, or language, plus sight-reading appropriate to the level. Additional requirements, such a scales and other technique requirements, can be found in syllabi for individual applied studios.

Practice minimums (per week)

  • Prep level (MUS 80s): At least 7 hours.
  • 100 level (MUS 140s): At least 7 hours.
  • 200 level (MUS 240s): At least 10 hours.
  • 300 level (MUS 340s): At least 12 hours.
  • 400 level (MUS 440s): At least 15 hours.
  • BM students in MUS 239 add 2 additional hours per week, and add 3 hours per week for MUS 339 and 439.

Performance minimums (per quarter)

  • Prep level: No performances required.
  • 100 level: One Music Major Recital or repertoire class performance.
  • 200 level: One Music Major Recital or repertoire class performance.
  • 300 level: Two Music Major Recital or repertoire class performances.
  • 400 level: Two Music Major Recital or repertoire class performances.
  • BM students in MUS 239 , 339, and 439 must add one additional Music Major Recital or repertoire class performance per quarter.
  • BM students in MUS 239 also must perform one "real world," off-campus performance per quarter, and MUS 339 and 439 students must complete two such performances per quarter. Students should see their applied syllabi for "real world" expectations particular to their studios.

Level Completion Requirements

Below each instrument family or individual studio publishes specific requirements for the completion of each level of applied study, preparatory through the 400 (senior) level, for instruments in the family or studio. These include Bachelor of Music students' requirements for MUS 239, 339, and 439. Requirements must be consistent with all of the above overall departmental applied lesson policies and be easily converted into a series of jury evaluation sheets appropriate to each instrument and level. Students' current and past jury sheets are available on file in the Music Department Office for student reference.

[Current completion requirements are listed online under "Academic Policies" and in the corresponding course syllabi on the attached data CD (MUS 140s, 240s, 340, and 440s). The attached data CD does include revised applied percussion syllabi (MUS 245/239, 345/339, and 445/439) as examples of the implementation of BM-related level requirements for 239, 339, and 439. However, other applied levels related to the BM degree for other applied areas are still in the process of development.]