School of Performing Arts: Music Applied Music Policies



Applied Music Courses

Private lessons are offered in band and orchestral instruments, voice, piano, and guitar. A special music fee is charged for enrollment in applied music courses. Music majors and minors enroll in the course numbers listed below, and must register concurrently in MUSC 1107, Recital Attendance, and in the appropriate large ensemble (band, orchestra, choir). Music majors and minors will normally be classified as entering freshman in the 1000 level. Course numbers for applied music are as follows:

Fresh. Soph. Jun. Sen.
Piano 1121 2221 3321 4421
Voice 1131 2231 3331 4431
Organ 1141 2241 3341 4441
Strings 1161 2261 3361 4461
Brass 1165 2265 3365 4465
Woodwinds 1175 2275 3375 4475
Percussion 1185 2285 3385 4485

Secondary Applied Music

The following course numbers are available for non-majors, for prospective majors who do not yet meet the level of proficiency expected of a major, and for majors who wish to study an additional applied music area. Students enrolled in secondary applied music do not have to register concurrently in MUSC 1107, and do not have to take the jury exam at the end of the semester. Concurrent registration in an appropriate large ensemble is usually required. Lessons for non-majors are subject to availability.

Piano Secondary 1120
Voice Secondary 1130
Organ Secondary 1140
Strings Secondary 1160
Brass Secondary 1164
Woodwinds Secondary 1174
Percussion Secondary 1184

Applied Music Emphasis

Students seeking music degrees declare an applied emphasis upon entering, and are expected to continue this applied emphasis for a total of 7-24 credits. Daily practice of a minimum of one to two hours is expected, and study culminates in a solo or joint recital at the 4000 level. For the Bachelor of Music degree, intensive study is expected of the performance major. A minimum of two to three hours of daily practice is expected, and study culminates in a solo recital of high caliber. All music majors must pass the department's Junior Standing Examination in applied music (usually taken at the end of the sophomore year) and register for, and pass, a minimum of two semesters at the 3000 level and 1-2 semesters at the 4000 level. All music majors are required to participate in a large ensemble (band, orchestra, choir) as a portion of their applied music study. Participation in chamber ensembles is expected (with or without credit) some time during the degree program, with a chamber ensemble performance required as a portion of the student's senior recital program.

Ensemble Requirements

Music majors are required to participate in large ensembles a minimum of 7-8 semesters as a portion of their applied music study. The following are considered large ensembles: Symphonic Band, Marching Band, Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Idaho State Civic Symphony, Concert Choir, and Women's Choir.

  • Singers must register for Concert Choir or Women's Choir.
  • Pianists should register for Concert Choir or Women's Choir unless they play a band or orchestral instrument.
  • String players must register for Orchestra.
  • Wind and percussion players must register for Symphonic Band, Marching Band, Wind Ensemble, or Concert Band. Wind and percussion players who are Music Education majors are required to register for the Bengal Marching Band for two semesters. The Bengal Marching Band may count for a maximum of two semesters towards the large ensemble requirement.

Only one large ensemble per semester may count toward degree requirements. Participation in chamber ensembles is expected during the degree program with a chamber ensemble performance required on the student's senior recital. Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Department Chair.

Non-major vocalists and instrumentalists who register in the major applied music courses (1121, 1131, 1165, etc.) are also expected to participate in the appropriate major ensemble as a portion of their applied music study. Participation in small ensembles is encouraged.

Recital Attendance (MUSC 1107)

General Recital Hour, a weekly convocation or studio class, is held every Tuesday afternoon. General Recital Hour is an opportunity for students to perform with the permission of their applied music instructors. Musicians are encouraged to prepare themselves early in each semester since the end-of-semester programs are often full. Students registered for any major applied music number are required to attend all General Recital Hours and studio/master classes. Students registered for secondary applied music are not required to attend unless required to do so by their individual instructors.

In addition to the General Recital Hours many formal concerts are presented by faculty, advanced students, and University large ensembles, as well as the programs of the Cultural Affairs Council, the Idaho State Civic Symphony, and programs of various community music organizations. The benefits to all music students from attendance at these functions are undeniable; therefore, all music majors and students registered for major applied music numbers are required as a part of their musical development to attend twelve recitals/concerts (including General Recital Hour performances) in any semester. In order to certify this attendance, registration in MUSC 1107 (Recital Attendance) is required each semester of residence. It is a graduation requirement that all B.A., B.S., B.M., and B.M.E. candidates receive a satisfactory grade in MUSC 107 in seven semesters of their residence at Idaho State University.

Jury Examinations

A jury is a performance by the student which is given for the faculty in the major applied area at the end of each semester. It is expected that this performance be prepared as carefully as if for public performance. Each music faculty member will give written commentary to the student regarding the performance. Then, based upon this performance and the semester's work, the final grade will be determined by the appropriate faculty member. Each student should obtain either the Term Repertoire Report - Vocal (downloadable) or the Term Repertoire Report - Instrumental (downloadable) from the Music Department Office which must be completed and brought to the jury. This sheet becomes a part of the total record of each student.

Grading Policy in Applied Music

It is the faculty's desire to graduate students having performing skills suited to the degree they receive. The grading of studio lessons is necessarily subjective; it involves the consideration both of a student's motivation/progress and of the level of performance skills (taking into account both the student's degree program and the course number in which the student is enrolled). Students should be aware that "passing" grades alone for studio lessons do not guarantee automatic advancement to the next level. Therefore, students should familiarize themselves with these guidelines:

  1. Students registered for 1000-level lessons will remain at that level until, at an end-of-semester jury exam, the faculty in that area (voice, strings, etc.) unanimously agree that the given student should register for 200-level lessons for the following semester.
  2. Students registered for 2000-level lessons will remain at that level until the Junior Standing Examination is passed; they may then register for 300-level lessons.
  3. Students registered for 3000-level lessons will remain at that level until, at an end-of-semester jury exam, the area faculty unanimously agree that the student should register for 400-level lessons for the following semester.

Satisfactory Progress Requirement

Upon completion of three consecutive semesters of applied music at the same course number without advancement, students who wish to receive a fourth probationary semester at the same course number must meet with the department chair, primary academic advisor and studio teacher to evaluate progress and goals (e.g.,Junior Standing Examination, Senior Recital, Graduation). At that meeting the student must bring a letter explaining why the student should receive a fourth probationary semester at the same course level. If approved at the meeting, the student will be granted a fourth semester of applied music at the same course level.

If the student does not progress to the next course level after the fourth probationary semester, applied music studies in that specialty will end. Any appeal of this decision must follow the ISU policy regarding "Appeal of Dismissal from an Undergraduate Program" as contained in the ISU Undergraduate Catalog.


Any student receiving a grade of "F" in an applied music course will not be permitted to register for applied music courses. Any appeal must follow the procedures established above.

Junior Standing

Applied music students who wish to register for upper division credit in applied music (Music courses 3321, 3331, etc.) must pass a Junior Standing Examination. This examination, ordinarily taken at the end of the sophomore year, consists of a special 30-minute exam. In order to take the Junior Standing Exam a student must have the status of an Intended Music Major, and must meet the following grade point requirement:

  • B.M., B.A., B.S. - An overall accumulative grade point average of 2.0, and a Music GPA of 2.5.
  • B.M.E. - An overall accumulative grade point average of 2.75, and a Music GPA of 2.5.

The exam will consist of a technique component (except vocal exams), repertoire component and a verbal component regarding the repertoire. Information about specific requirements is available for each applied music area. Additionally, all aspects of the student's progress are reviewed, including potential for successful completion of the degree program, overall grade point average, progress toward completion of the piano proficiency, and potential for future employment. Student performance on the exam must be approved by a music faculty committee consisting of the student's major applied professor, another full-time professor from the same (or related, if necessary) applied area, and at least one other full-time faculty member. Obtain the Junior Standing Form (downloadable) from the Music Department Office.

Sample Questions for the Junior Standing Examination

  1. When did the composer live? What about your composition makes it typical or atypical of its time of composition?
  2. Was this composition written for or dedicated to a particular person?
  3. How have you worked to solve any performance problems encountered in learning this composition?
  4. In a vocal composition, what is the relationship between the text and the musical setting? Be able to give a literal translation in English.
  5. How are the title and character of your composition linked?
  6. What is the form of your composition? If it is part of a larger work, how does it relate to the whole? If your piece is a sonata, does the overall organization of the work match the usual profile for a sonata? If there are major differences, describe them.
  7. What are general characteristics of the historical period represented by the composer of your composition? For example, know general characteristics of the Classical period if the composer was Mozart.
  8. Discuss the performance practice of stylistic consideration you gave to the composition, or discuss the contrast between two pieces from different style periods.
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