Crucial Information for Students Taking Basic Theory and Ear Training Classes

Undergraduate Theory and Ear Training Guidelines at a Glance for Spring 2014:

Please read on for important information on placement, enrollment restrictions, scheduling and advising for all students taking basic Music Theory classes ("Fundamentals of Music," MUSI V1002; "Diatonic Harmony and Counterpoint I," (V2318 - 19); and "Chromatic Harmony and Counterpoint," (V3222 - 23), and for students  planning to enroll in Ear Training at any level (Intro, I, II, III, and IV) this Spring.

Some of these policies are new for 2013-14.  If you are a music major, minor, or concentrator, or otherwise planning to enroll in basic theory or ear training courses this year, please familiarize yourself with these policies.

Please note that in the document below, the acronym "MMC" stands for "Music majors, minors, and concentrators."

For more information contact:
Prof. Peter M. Susser,
Director of Undergraduate Musicianship


Musicianship/ET First Day of Class for Spring 2014

  • All students who were enrolled in Fall 2013 ET classes advance to the next level for Spring 2014.
  • Attend one of the following classes even if they are listed as full.
  • Students new to the ET sequence regardless of experience must attend Intro ET or ET I to take a diagnostic exam for placement into the appropriate ET level.
  • Students are REQUIRED to attend one of these sections for placement if you have not previously taken any Ear Training at Columbia and wish to do so this year:

1.  Tuesday, January 21, 12:10 - 1PM, Dodge 814

2.  Tuesday, January 21, 3:10 - 4PM, Dodge 814

3.  Wednesday, January 22, 12:10-1PM, Dodge 405

4. Wednesday, January 22, 12:10-1PM, Dodge 404

Theory/Musicianship Registration Guidelines for Spring 2014

  • Registration Priority for all Theory and Musicianship (ET) classes will be given to Music Majors/Minors/Concentrators (hereafter: "MMC").
  • All Undergraduate Music MMCs are required to take "Diatonic Harmony and Counterpoint" (V2318-19) and "Chromatic Harmony and Counterpoint" (V3222 - 23).
  • An entrance exam will be given on the first day of class in all sections of "Diatonic Harmony and Counterpoint I". A grade of B- or better places a student into "Diatonic Harmony and Counterpoint." A grade of C+ or lower places the student in "Fundamentals of Western Music."
  • Diatonic Harmony and Counterpoint Entrance Exam Schedule

            1. Wednesday, January 22, Diatonic I V2318 Sec 1, 1:10-2:25 PM, Dodge TBA

   Registration Priority for "Fundamentals of Western Music" (V1002) will be given to freshmen and sophomores who are registered as Music MMCs or who are 

   considering becoming a Music MMC.

Piano Proficiency Registration and Placement Guidelines
  • Proficiency at the piano is required of all MMC students enrolled in the Diatonic/Chromatic Harmony and Counterpoint Theory sequence.
  • The Piano Proficiency Exam will be given Friday, January 24, 9AM - 12 Noon, in Dodge 808. Students will be asked to play a piece of their own choosing and two short compositions - a chorale and an accompanied melody. The exam is given on a first come, first serve basis. Students will be notified immediately if they have passed the exam.
  • Not passing the piano proficiency exam requires students to register for Keyboard Harmony,W1517 and is required for registration in Diatonic I.


Musicianship (Ear Training/"ET") Registration and Placement Guidelines

  • All Music MMC students are required to enroll in the ET sequence and complete ET level IV.
  • All students in Diatonic (V2318-19) and Chromatic (V3321-22) are required to enroll in an ET class.
  • All Music MMC students in Fundamentals of Western Music (V1002) are required to enroll in an ET class.
  • All students considering a Music MMC are strongly encouraged to enroll in an ET class.
  • All students new to the ET sequence, regardless of prior experience, MUST attend either an Intro ET or ET I during the first two days of the semester to take a diagnostic exam which will determine their appropriate ET level. (See times for sections above.)
  • Students advancing from Into ET to ET I will also take this exam.
  • ET students who receive a grade of C- or better in a given semester advance to the next level in the ET sequence.
  • There is no co-requisite for ET for non-Music MMC students who enroll for Fundamentals of Western Music. It is, however, recommended that students in Fundamentals also take an ET class IF space is available.
  • Due to the placement exam process in both ET Intro/I and Diatonic H/C, class rosters will not be finalized until the end of the first week of the semester.
  • Any MMC students who take the exams after the first week of class will be placed in the appropriate section.
  • Non-MMC students are placed in all theory and ET classes only if space permits and by permission of the Director, Peter Susser (not the section instructor).

NOTE: If you are NOT a Music major/minor/concentrator (MMC), and expect to enroll in Ear Training levels 2, 3, or 4, please contact Prof. Susser as soon as possible at