Music Major FAQ
How does Major Ensemble work for my specific program?
All undergraduate music majors will be assigned to the applicable major ensemble (Major Instrumental Ensemble [Orchestra/Wind Ensemble] or Major Vocal Performance Ensemble/Chorus).
If you are an undergraduate or graduate instrumental music major, you will be assigned to Major Instrumental Ensemble [Orchestra/Wind Ensemble/Contemporary Ensemble]. All positions will be assigned by faculy. Some instrumental areas will have ensemble auditions. If you area area has an audition, you will be informed. Principal strings and Concertmaster auditions will take place ofter the opening concert.
If you are an undergraduate voice major, you will audition for Major Voal Performance Ensemble.
If you are an undergraduate bagpipe, composition, guitar, organ, or piano major, you may choose to audition for Chorus. If you wish yo be considered for assignment to Major Instrumental Ensemble, please inform Sharon Johnston.
Graduate degree students: if you are not an instrumental major, you may choose to audition for Chorus for elective credit. If you wish to be considered for assignment to Major Instrumental Ensemble, please inform Sharon Johnston.
When do the different Major Instrumental Ensembles rehearse?
The schedule of classes lists the Major Instrumental Ensemble as TWRF 8:30-9:50am, TWRF 4:00-6:30pm.
The Contemporary Ensemble rehearses every week in the morning. The Orchestra and Wind Ensemble alternate rehearsal periods in the afternoon. A detailed Rehearsal/Concert Calendar is available here.
What is concert dress?
Orchestra and Wind Ensemble
V. Dress code and decorum:
Rehearsal dress is casual; however, no bare feet, short-shorts, inappropriate clothing, jangly bracelets or jewelry, NO HATS, or any clothing with offensive mottos, sayings, etc. Respectful and tactful appearance is protocol.
Musicians will dress according to the following specifications for all CMU Philharmonic related concerts:
Black tuxedo, black bow tie, white tuxedo shirt, black socks, black dress shoes
Solid black elegant skirt/dress/dress pants (ankle length to floor length when seated), solid black elegant blouse/top with full or ¾ length sleeves, plain black hose, black dress shoes.
Concert Choir and Repertory Chorus
For men, a tuxedo. For women, a floor-length black dress or a black blouse with a floor-length black skirt. Dresses should not have sequins or be strapless.
Instructors will determine if any attire is unsuitable for the specific class. For safety considerations, jewelry and gum chewing are not permitted.
Ballet, Modern, Fundamentals, Pilates, Partners & Props – tights or yoga/jazz pants (any color), leotards, unitards, or solid-colored form-fitting tops
Jazz, Tap, Stage Combat – form-fitting dance/yoga pants and tops
Ballet, Tap – Appropriate shoes are required
Hair/Jewelry – Hair should be secured. No jewelry is permitted.
Where can I find information about campus jobs?
For more information, see the university Student Employment Website.
Where can I find information about finding graduate housing or a graduate roommate?
For more information, see the university Graduate Housing Website.
Where can I find information about health services and health insurance?
If you have questions about what health history and health insurance forms you need to submit or how you can request a waiver of the university health insurance charge, for more information, see the university Student Health Insurance Website.
Where can I find information about parking on campus?
For more information, see the university Parking & Transportation Services Website.
Where can I find information about degree requirements?
What computer is required for the School of Music?
Can I forward my CMU email account to my personal email account?
Yes. Go to Computing Services >Client Configuration and Basics>Email Tools and follow the directions. (If your CMU email account is not Cyrus, you will be redirected to the correct page.)
How can I use a locker?
School of Music lockers are available on A level of the College of Fine Arts and Hall of the Arts buildings.
How can I use the practice rooms?
I’ll be a part-time student, but I received a bill charging me for more tuition than I expected. Why?
What is the payment deadline?
For more information, see the Billing & Payments website. If you anticipate difficulty in paying your bill, contact the Assistant Directors of Enrollment Services at The HUB for counseling prior to the deadline.
Are there charges in addition to tuition?
Is there a charge if I register for more than 36 units?
How can I find out what financial assistance is available from Carnegie Mellon for graduate students?
If you need financial aid or student account counseling or assistance, please contact the Assistant Directors in the HUB. The HUB is located in the basement of Warner Hall. The Assistant Directors can be reached via phone at 412-268-8186 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also go to the HUB Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:30-4:30 and Tuesday and Thursday from 10:30-4:30 for walk-in assistance.
You can find more information on the Graduate Student Financial Aid Website.
What School of Music graduate orientation meeting must I attend?
What university graduate orientation meetings may or must I attend?
You are invited to attend the university graduate orientation meeting. Please see the Graduate Student Orientation Website for more information
If you are unable to attend this meeting, note that a member of the Graduate Student Assembly will be present at the School of Music orientation meeting to introduce you to the university graduate student activities. If you are an international graduate student, you are required to attend the international graduate orientation meeting. Please find more information of the Office of International Education's Website.
What do I need to know about placement in language classes?
What do I need to know about placement in undergraduate Keyboard Studies?
What is the difference between music support, general studies, and elective courses?
Music support courses can only be academic courses inside of the School of Music. Undergraduate students may register for some graduate classes as music support with the permission of the instructor. Graduate students must register for graduate classes as music support. See the Music Support Courses Rotation List.
General studies courses can only be academic courses outside of the School of Music. Search the CMU Schedule of Classes.
Elective courses can be courses inside or outside of the School of Music. Undergraduate students may register for physical education classes or applied classes in another College of Fine Arts school as electives but not as general studies. Graduate students may register for up to 12 units of undergraduate classes as electives - certain restrictions apply. Search the CMU Schedule of Classes.
MM (not MS) degree music majors: What do I need to know about the graduate placement tests?
All new graduate degree students must take placement tests in music history and music theory (harmony and counterpoint) before the beginning of the fall (or their first) semester. Voice majors must also take placement tests in French, German, and/or Italian. If deficiencies exist, you will be asked to take the applicable course or courses during your first and/or second semester(s). These courses do not count towards your degree requirements. If you wish to do independent work this summer to review for these tests, especially note the following information:
This test determines whether new graduate degree students possess sufficient knowledge of music history at the undergraduate level to successfully pursue their graduate curricula, to be completed in 90 minutes. Students who fail are required to enroll in Music History for Graduate Students I, Music History for Graduate Students II, or both. Results of the test will be emailed to each student.
Listening IDs: You will hear six excerpts of music characteristic of a composer or style and be asked for 1) the first and last name of the composer, 2) date of composition, and 3) stylistic reasons for your answer. Each excerpt will be played only once. 2 points each, 12 points total.
Score IDs: You will be shown four score excerpts and asked for 1) the first and last name of the composer, 2) date of composition, and 3) stylistic reasons for your answer. 2 points each, 8 points total.
Essays: You will write two brief essays, selected from given essay topics and write detailed responses. Budget 10 minutes per essay (20 minutes total). 10 points each, 20 points total.
Multiple Choice: You will answer 60 multiple choice questions that test composers’ stylistic characteristics, musical innovations, common compositional techniques, basic repertory and genres, terms associated with all of these, and broader knowledge of history and culture in which these musical developments occurred. Budget 1 hour. 1 point each, 60 points total.
For review, studying Richard Taruskin and Christopher Gibbs, The Oxford History of Western Music (College Edition) and/or another major music history textbook and/or online resources, is suggested.
Theory. This test determines whether new graduate degree students possess sufficient knowledge of music theory at the undergraduate level to successfully pursue their graduate curricula, to be completed in two hours. Students who fail are required to enroll in Music Theory and Analysis for Graduate Students. Results of the test will be emailed to each student.
You will be asked for a complete harmonic analysis of a piece of classical music.
For review, studying the current edition of Piston’s harmony text and/or another major music theory textbook and/or online resources, is suggested.
Language (voice majors only) These tests determine whether new graduate voice degree students possess sufficient knowledge of French, German, and/or Italian, to be completed in two hours for each test. You must take the tests for the languages (French, German, Italian) that you have not chosen to take during your graduate program. Students who fail are required to enroll in the applicable language course. Results of the test will be emailed to each student.
Each test contains a translation exercise. Dictionaries may be used.
For review, practicing with texts of your choice is suggested.
What is the procedure for transferring credit?
For undergraduate students, transfer credit may be granted according to Carnegie Mellon University guidelines for courses completed at another accredited university with a grade of "C" or better. For some music requirements, transfer credit is granted by special permission only. Submission of an official transcript is required.
AP/IB credit may be granted according to Carnegie Mellon University guidelines for AP/IB test scores as received by the university. The transfer credit process is completed during the first semester.
For graduate students, all transfer credit is granted by special permission only.