NDSU School of Music offers a traditional set of undergraduate degrees—the Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science liberal arts degree (B.A./B.S.), the Bachelor of Music in Performance (B.Mus.), and the Bachelor of Science in Music Education (B.S.Ed.) through the School of Education. Each follows a typical format and content of common elements in Musicianship Studies and General Education, and each follows traditional residency practices, with only certain non-major courses available in online offerings.
All degree programs at NDSU are integrated by a General Education suite of classes that addresses traditional content areas and that integrates with the major. The General Education component can consist of 31-61 credits for music majors, depending on the degree program, and includes categories of First-Year Experience, Communication, Quantitative Reasoning, Science and Technology, Humanities and Fine Arts, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Wellness. Further, students select courses that will include at least one offering in Cultural Diversity and at least one offering in Global Perspectives. Unlike most departments on campus, NDSU Music administers and teaches the First-Year Experience for music majors.
For all music degrees, the Musicianship core includes four semesters of theory and analysis, four semesters of ear training, three semesters of music history, five semesters of recital/performance attendance, and in all but the B.A./B.S., four semesters of class piano. The professional degrees include extensive supportive courses in music (B.Mus.) and additional basic musicianship, pedagogical, and performance studies (B.S.Ed.).
In keeping with our goal to provide students in professional degree programs with “musical maturity and professional competence,” we offer what we believe to be thoughtful curricula as well as a defined structure for matriculation, nurturing, and graduation.
The Bachelor of Music (B.Mus.): Students are admitted to the B.Mus. no sooner than the end of their first semester but generally at the end of their first year of study. The admission process consists of approval by the student’s performance area faculty members, a jury to assess technical and artistic accomplishment and potential, and the analysis of the student’s academic and ensemble work to that date, to assess his/her ability to successfully negotiate the academic and collaborative rigors of the degree. Required juries at the end of each semester as well as academic achievement measure continuing success, and both a junior and senior recital are required as capstones. Passing these juries, in addition to success in coursework constitutes the required level of attainment for the degree, which reflects entry-level professional skills and knowledge.
The B.S.Ed. is administered by the School of Education, and admits students to teacher education no sooner than the end of the sophomore year, based on success in EDUC 321 Introduction to Teaching, passing Praxis I, 40 hours of supervised pedagogical experiences in working with youth, academic achievement in general studies, demonstration of English writing competence in one of a number of ways, a grade point average of 2.75 overall and in the major, and an interview (with School of Education and Music faculty members) to assess philosophical suitability for teaching and interpersonal skills. Professional pedagogical growth is measured through coursework, pre-professional teaching experiences and observations, and student teaching. Musical growth is measured through coursework, ensembles, and required performance juries at the end of each semester. A senior recital is required. Passing grades in student teaching (professional education) as well as passing the senior recital (performance) and coursework constitutes the required level of attainment for the degree, which reflects entry-level professional skills and knowledge.
The curricular offerings and administrative structures of both professional degrees—the B.Mus. and the B.S.Ed.—attempt to inspire, nurture, and develop entry-level professional musical skills in the following areas:
Performance: Students develop performance abilities on the principal instrument or voice with the development of:
In the B.Mus., through eight semesters of one-hour lessons comprising 22 credits, a studio class per week, eight registrations in major ensembles, four registrations in minor ensembles, and both a junior and a senior recital.
In the B.S.Ed., through seven semesters of half-hour lessons comprising seven credits, a studio class per week, seven registrations in major ensembles, two registrations in minor ensembles, (two registrations in major ensembles in the complementary area), and a senior recital.
In the B.Mus, through repertoire study in the applied studio, and required courses in 441 Symphonic Literature, 331 Instrumental Arranging, and 344 Wind Band Literature (Instrumental track); 442 Opera Literature and 346 Survey of Vocal Literature (Vocal track); and 443 Keyboard Literature plus an elective class from Vocal, Opera, or Symphonic Literature (Piano track).
In the B.S.Ed., through repertoire study in the applied studio, and required courses in 351 Instrumental Conducting and Literature and 352 Choral Conducting and Literature in both tracks. Both conducting classes feature a lab band and lab choir component for additional hands-on experiences for conductors. Finally, additional repertory study occurs in 344 Wind Band Literature in the Instrumental track and 332 Survey of Choral Literature in the Voice/Choral track.
In both the B.Mus. and the B.S.Ed., through classes, applied study and ensembles.
Rehearsal and Conducting Skills:
In the B.Mus, through the required 250 Basic Conducting class and through collaborative experiences throughout the program, especially in required small ensemble registrations.
In the B.S.Ed., through required classes in 250 Basic Conducting, 351 Instrumental Conducting and Literature, and 352 Choral Conducting and Literature; and also through collaborative experiences throughout the program, especially in required small ensemble registrations.
In both degrees, through the required four-semester piano class or private study, and/or in passing the keyboard proficiency examination.
In the B.Mus, through the required eight semesters of large ensembles (four for piano) and four semesters of minor ensembles.
In the B.S.Ed., through the seven semesters of major ensembles and two semesters of minor ensembles in the primary area (Instrumental or Voice/Choral), and the two semesters of major ensembles in the complementary area.
Musicianship Skills and Analysis:
The professional degrees build upon the significant standard musicianship core described above with numerous specialized courses in methods, conducting, and arranging for the B.S.Ed., and with advanced analysis (431 Contemporary Harmonic Techniques and 411 Form and Analysis) in the B.Mus.
Composition and Improvisation:
All students gain experience with creating derivative and original music extemporaneously and in written form. These topics are covered continually in the musicianship core—theory, ear training, and keyboard skills classes. Further, all B.Mus. students create original and derivative compositions in MUSC 431 Contemporary Harmonic Techniques and all B.S.Ed. students create accompaniments and arrangements in EDUC 482 Choral Methods as well as Orff-related improvisation activities in EDUC 483 Elementary Methods. Many other examples occur in individual studios and elective classes and ensembles—period ornamentation, cadenzas, jazz improvisation, hymn descants, MUSC 430 Counterpoint, extended techniques in individual instruments, etc.
History and Repertory:
All music students take the music history three-semester sequence (103, 340, 341), which covers the Western tradition as well as a defined one-week component of world music in Music History I. This unit covers world music in general as well as more specific attention to three non-Western traditions and repertories. Further, in the the B.S.Ed., 332 Survey of Choral Literature contains a significant unit in multicultural repertory.
All students gain experience in music notation and basic sequencing through assignments in musicianship courses, using Overture (installed on all departmental computers), Sibelius, or Finale. Web-related research subjects are covered in the music history sequence. Further, all B.Mus. and B.S.Ed. students gain basic MIDI facility through class piano study. Students in many courses make use of the streaming audio technology for the listening library. Instrumental students gain acquaintance with electronic accompaniments using SmartMusic, and all instrumental studios address technology appropriate to the construction and care of their instruments and accessories—reed making, piano adjustments, etc. Voice students are made aware in the applied studios of the anatomy and physiology of the voice as well as the technology used to measure aspects of vocal production. Music education students all acquire facility in using electronic portfolios through TaskStream, are expected to use computer notation software in their required arranging classes, and drill-writing software in the Marching Band Techniques class, and are introduced to electronic accompaniment no matter what their major instrument.
The components in each degree program combine to interrelate the above elements and to produce articulate and accomplished professional musicians of at least entry level.
Bachelor of Arts in Music and Bachelor of Science in Music
Description: These degrees together form the undergraduate liberal arts offering. They are identical in content, except that the Bachelor of Arts requires a 4th-semester language proficiency and the Bachelor of Science requires an outside minor. This distinction follows the model for all B.A./B.S. degrees in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at NDSU.
Purpose: “Our liberal arts degrees place musical emphasis in the context of a broad liberal arts education” and are intended for those who will likely not seek a career as a professional musician or music educator.
Assessment: The liberal arts degrees develop competencies in compliance with NASM standards regarding titles, purposes, curricular structure, and essential content and competencies, including general education, musicianship, performance and music electives, and levels.
The curricular structure, content, and time requirements are typical; NDSU’s general education core allows for flexibility within the context of a broad treatment of disciplines; musicianship studies offer ample opportunities for music-making, listening, and studying; solo and ensemble performance opportunities are required at a basic level (six semesters) and are available at continuing levels; and opportunities are provided for advanced study.
Expected levels of competency on the part of students in the B.A./B.S. for musicianship studies include satisfactory academic progress as determined by course grades. Levels of competency in performance studies include the ability in solo and ensemble activities to offer pleasing musical solo performances, to pass applied study courses and juries, and to be a competent contributor to a second-level un-auditioned college-level ensemble.
This degree is useful for those wishing a non-professional degree in music (often as a second major), and for those who are not ready to decide if they wish a music education degree.
Bachelor of Music in Performance (B.Mus)
Description: A four-year degree with typical and relatively equal proportions of performance study, supportive courses in music, and general studies. It is offered in instrumental, voice, and piano tracks.
Purpose: “Our undergraduate performance degrees provide rigorous technical and artistic training in preparation for further study and/or performance and studio teaching careers” (from Goal 1). The degree is intended for those who will likely seek a career as a professional performing musician. There are tracks in instrumental, vocal, and keyboard performance.
Assessment: We believe the B.Mus. degree develops competencies in compliance with NASM standards regarding title, purpose (synthesis of technical skills with broad knowledge of literature, integration, and musical insight), competencies and levels, curricular structure, the common body of knowledge and skills, and results correlated with levels.
The curricular structure maps well to the typical proportions of coursework meeting NASM guidelines and essential competency development:
Advanced work in the 22-credit applied studio core in all tracks, which covers independent preparation skills; specific literature study beyond more general repertoire study; and pedagogy study (as additional two-credit studio registrations in the instrumental track, as two semesters of courses in vocal pedagogy in the voice track (349 and 350 Vocal Pedagogy I and II), and as two semesters of piano pedagogy in the piano track (347 and 348 Piano Pedagogy I and II).
For voice students, foreign languages and diction through the one-year requirements in both French and German as well as the two-semester diction sequence (MUSC 174 and 175), which covers French, German, Italian, Spanish, English, and Latin.
Solo and ensemble performance experiences. All B.Mus students perform both a junior and senior recital as well as experience eight registrations in major ensembles and four semesters in minor ensembles.
Bachelor of Science in Music Education
Description: A four-to-five-year degree with 138 credits in the instrumental track, and 134 in the choral track. Students elect either the instrumental or choral track as a primary area, but also take significant coursework in the complementary area in order to achieve K-12 choral/instrumental certification.
Purpose: “Our music education degrees provide both musical and pedagogical training to assure competence and artistry among future school educators” (from Goal 1). The degree is intended for those who will likely seek a career as a professional music educator in the public schools or equivalent parochial schools.
Assessment: As in the B.Mus., we believe the B.S.Ed. degree develops competencies, knowledge, and results as described for all professional degrees above.
The curricular structure and proportions are larger than the B.Mus. and the liberal arts degrees, but are proportional: (1) there is a large music component (because of the K-12 instrumental/choral certification), (2) there are only 31 credits in general education because two three-hour courses (103 Introduction to Music History and 340 Music History) also fulfill general education requirements, and there is not an additional college requirement, and (3) there is a complement of professional education courses.
Students are admitted to the B.S.Ed. at the end of their sophomore year (or later) and continuing success through the program results in attributes desirable for music educators.
Music competencies as well as specialization competencies are addressed in the following ways:
Conducting and musical leadership: specifically through required classes in 250 Basic Conducting, 351 Instrumental Conducting and Literature, and 352 Choral Conducting and Literature. These courses also have a laboratory component that meets one day per week known as “lab band” and “lab choir,” with students from the first- and second-year ear training classes, who act as performers. Also, through collaborative experiences throughout the program, especially in required small ensemble registrations.
Arranging: through the two-year underclass musicianship sequence which contains continual attention in assignments to arranging skills for choral, keyboard and instrumental forces. In more advanced levels, through 331 Instrumental Arranging for the instrumental track and a component of EDUC 482 Choral Methods for both instrumental and choral tracks.
Functional Performance: In piano, through the required four-semester piano class or private study, and/or in passing the keyboard proficiency examination. In voice, through ear training and sight-singing sequence, through two semesters of 162 Voice Class (or applied lessons) for instrumental majors, and of course in the seven semesters of applied study for choral majors. For all students, class instruction in the methods classes of one semester each of woodwinds, brass, and percussion (353, 355, 359); and, for instrumental students, a second semester of woodwind methods (354).
Analysis/History/Literature: These topics are continually addressed through synthesis throughout the program.
General Music skills through synthesis throughout the program; more specifically through the EDUC core, EDUC 483 Elementary Methods, and elementary student teaching experiences.
Vocal and pedagogical skill through applied study and performance components described above as well as one semester of MUSC 349 Vocal Methods and Pedagogy I and 352 Choral Conducting and Literature. Choral-track students also take MUSC 350 Vocal Methods and Pedagogy II.
Vocal/Choral content and components through EDUC 482 Choral Methods and through 352 Choral Conducting and Literature for all students.
Experiences in vocal solo performance and in choral ensembles. For all students: Experiences in ear training/sight-singing classes, 349 Vocal Methods and Pedagogy I. Additionally, for instrumental track students: Either class voice or applied voice with juries (two semesters), and two semesters of a major choral ensemble. Additionally, for choral majors, seven semesters of applied voice with juries, a senior recital, seven semesters of a major choral ensemble, and two semesters of a minor choral ensemble.
To develop skills in one instrument to use as a teaching tool: Four semesters of class piano and/or passing the piano proficiency requirement. Accompanying, including transposition and improvisation, is part of that curriculum. Further, instruction in class guitar (a state requirement) in 483 Elementary Methods.
Laboratory experience in teaching vocal techniques individually, in small groups, and in larger classes, through 352 Choral Conducting and Literature (especially in the lab choir experiences), 349 Vocal Methods and Pedagogy, and in student teaching. Instrumental track students may also have such experiences in class voice study.
Ability to teach beginning students in wind and percussion through 353 Woodwind Methods I, 354 Woodwind Methods II (for instrumental-track students), 355 Brass Methods, and 359 Percussion Methods. There is no requirement for string methods due to the few string programs in the region, but many students do, in fact, take the string methods class offered through the Tri-College system at Minnesota State University Moorhead.
Instrumental music content and components through EDUC 481 Instrumental Methods, for all students.
Experiences in instrumental performance and in instrumental ensembles. For instrumental track students: Seven semesters of applied lessons on the major instrument with juries, a senior recital, seven semesters of a major instrumental ensemble, and two semesters of a minor ensemble. For choral-track students: Experiences in 353 Woodwind Methods I, 355 Brass Methods, and 359 Percussion Methods; and two semesters of a major instrumental ensemble.
Laboratory experience in teaching beginning instrumental students individually, in small groups, and in larger classes: Through 351 Instrumental Conducting and Literature (especially in the lab band experiences), in peer teaching experiences in the brass, woodwind, and percussion methods classes, and in student teaching.
Teaching competencies are addressed both in the professional education component as well as the music education component. The professional education suite of classes and experiences consists of 28 credits. There are academic courses in pedagogy, psychology, planning and assessment, logistics and classroom management, diversity and multicultural topics. Further, four classes (EDUC 381 Early Experience, EDUC 485 Student Teaching Seminar, EDUC 487 Student Teaching, and EDUC 488 Applied Student Teaching) all directly relate to observed practical experiences, with student teaching of course serving as the capstone experience.
Professional procedures. The simplified certification (containing K-12 elementary/choral/instrumental) without categories is efficient and convenient. Students are therefore able to apply and be qualified for virtually all public school positions in the region. Requirements for licensure in North Dakota and Minnesota are fulfilled with successful completion of the Praxis II examination and graduation.
Methods courses (even though they do not carry the MUSC prefix) are taught by qualified music faculty members and, all of whom have extensive public school experience. There are opportunities for actual in-classroom observation experiences prior to student teaching itself, in EDUC 381 Early Experience and EDUC 483 Elementary Methods. The program has a structure of assessment for student progress—in addition to successful navigation of coursework before student teaching, students must maintain the 2.75 grade point average, compile an approved electronic portfolio, complete all EDUC coursework, have the recommendation of their advisors and department, and pass the piano proficiency examination. Finally, there are additional opportunities beyond requirements in advanced study, including analysis courses, directed studies in conducting, and composition.
The student teaching experience consists of three concurrent registrations: (1) EDUC 487 Student Teaching, a nine-credit pass/fail experience, divided equally between elementary and secondary segments, supervised and observed four times by music faculty members, (2) EDUC 488 Applied Student Teaching, a 3-credit graded experience supervised and graded by the School of Education, and (3) a 1-credit, once-per-week seminar, EDUC 485, taught in the School of Education, featuring a weekly meeting addressing a variety of topics.
In addition to graduation requirements, North Dakota requires successful passing of the Praxis II examination as well as a required course, EDUC 489 Native Americans and Multicultural Instructional Practices.
The B.S.Ed. has traditionally fulfilled the needs of the region through producing excellent musicians and competent music teachers.