Information for Current Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate  Music Theory and Ear Training Guidelines

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 UN1002; Music Theory I and II, UN2318–19; and Music Theory III and IV, UN3222–23), and for students planning to enroll in Ear Training at any level (Intro, I, II, III, and IV) in the fall semester.

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,” and ET stands for “Ear Training.” 

Music Theory Contact Info: 

Prof. Benjamin Steege
Director of Undergraduate Music Theory
bas39 [at]

Ear Training Contact Info:

Prof. Peter M. Susser
Director of Undergraduate Musicianship
pms3 [at]

Music Theory Registration Guidelines for Spring 2019

  • Registration priority for all Theory and Musicianship (ET) classes will be given to MMCs.
  • All MMCs are required to take Theory I and II (UN2318–19) and Theory III and IV (UN3222–23).
  • An entrance exam will be given on the first day of class in all sections of Theory I. Failure to place into Music Theory I generally results in a recommendation to take Fundamentals of Music (UN 1002).
  • Interested students will also be given an opportunity to place into Music Theory II at the same time as the Music Theory I placement exam.

Theory I Entrance Exam: 

      Wednesday, January 23, at 1:10, in 404 Dodge

All students registered for Theory I are REQUIRED to attend one of these sessions. No make-up entrance exams will be given outside of these times.  An absence will be considered as a forfeiture of the student’s spot in the class. 

Students who are on the WAIT LIST must also take the entrance exam during one of the times listed above if they wish to take Theory I should a spot become available. 

Registration Priority for Fundamentals of Music (UN1002) will be given to freshmen and sophomores who are registered as MMCs, or who are considering becoming a MMC.

Musicianship / Ear Training (ET) First Day of Class for Spring 2019

  • All students who were enrolled in previous ET classes advance to the next level for Spring 2019.
  • 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:

Musicianship Spring 2019

  1. Tuesday, January 22 Intro ET 3:10 – 4 Dodge 620  
  2. Tuesday, January 22 ET I 3:10 – 4 Dodge 803
  3. Wednesday, January 23 12:10 – 1 Intro ET Dodge 404
  4. Wednesday, January 23 12:10 – 1 ET I Dodge 405

Piano Proficiency Registration and Placement Guidelines

Proficiency at the piano is required of all MMC students enrolled in the Music Theory sequence.

  • The Piano Proficiency Exam will be given on Friday, January 25, 8:30 – 11 AM 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-served 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, UN1518 and is required for registration in Theory I.

Musicianship / Ear Training (ET) Registration and Placement Guidelines

  • All MMC students are required to enroll in the ET sequence and complete ET level IV.
  • All students in all levels of Theory (I–IV) are required to enroll in an ET class.
  • All MMC students in Fundamentals of Western Music (UN1002) are required to enroll in an ET class.
  • All students considering a 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)
  • 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-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 Theory I–IV, 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 for Non-Major/Minor/Concentrator Students

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 pms3 [at]