Music Theory & Ear Training

Our four-semester theory sequence begins with MUS 100 (Intro to Music Theory), and continues into three music major level theory courses: MUS 101, 102, and 201. There is also a corresponding Musicianship (ear training) course for each level of music major level theory (MUS 103 / 104 / 203). MUS 102 & 104 are co-requisities, as well as MUS 201 & 203.

If you feel you already have a firm understanding of music fundamentals (primarily major and minor scales, key signatures, intervals, triads, and rhythm), you can take a challenge exam to test out of MUS 100 and directly into MUS 101 (Theory I). (We recommend that you review these concepts at the free music theory web site

If you’d take the challenge exam, or feel like you should be in an even higher level of theory or ear training, please contact us here, or drop by the bottom floor of the Music Building on the Oceanside campus.

Theory Resource Access

The three music major level Theory courses (MUS 101, 102, and 201) all use the same textbook – “The Musician’s Guide to Theory & Analysis”, published by Norton. Online access for registered users is provided for two years from when you purchase the resource, and you can access the ebook & related activities here:

Challenge Exam

The challenge exam will be administered in person. You can attempt the exam a total of two times; if you do not pass, then you will need to take MUS 100 or the equivalent before taking MUS 101. You MUST submit a Challenge form in person at Admissions & Records after taking the test. The Music Department will only approve the Challenge form if you achieved 85% or higher. After the form is approved, you will be cleared to register for MUS 101.

Challenge exams for the upcoming semester will always be offered at 10 AM on the Wednesday of finals week (during music major juries), and also at 1 PM on the Wednesday right before the semester begins, at the Music Student Auditions. All challenge exams will be administered by Prof. Falker (Rm. 2206) or by Kathy Brown, Music Instructional Associate. Please email to find out more information or to schedule a different time to take the challenge exam.