Your music theory level
Depending on your choice of courses and degree, you may be expected to have a certain level of musical theory or ability before starting your course of study.
There are a range of Music Studies papers that can be taken by interested students without prior musical knowledge.
For three of the BMus majors – Classical Performance, Jazz, and Composition (instrumental and vocal) – prior knowledge of musical theory is required. Students enrolling for these majors will take a theory placement test (which Performance majors can take at the time of their audition).
The first-year courses MUSC 164 Jazz Theory, or MUSC 166 Classical Theory and Musicianship are basic courses for most Music majors. Admission to these courses requires students to have already passed either the NZSM theory placement test or the course MUSC 160 Basic Musical Techniques with a grade of B+ or better.
Unless you will be taking the test at your audition, we are holding NZSM theory placement tests on the following Wednesdays between 12:00 noon and 5:00pm:
23, 30 October; 6, 13, 20, 27 November; 4, 11, 18 December 2013; 8 and 15 January 2014.
Allow one hour to take the test
If you are unable to attend on any of these Wednesdays, please Contact us regarding making alternative arrangements to sit the NZSM theory placement test.
MUSC 160 Basic Musical TechniquesTo help prospective students meet this requirement MUSC 160 Basic Musical Techniques is offered in Trimester 3, 2013 (actually January-February 2014). Applications for Trimester 3, 2013 close 1 November 2013. [It is offered again in Trimester 2 of 2014.]
MUSC 160 is designed to bring prospective music students who do not already have the required minimum level of theory knowledge up to the level required for entry into their first year of music study. The level of MUSC 160 is approximately that of Grade V Theory from Trinity Guildhall, ABRSM or AMEB.
PLEASE NOTE: Current Year 13 students can apply for Discretionary Entrance to MUSC 160 in Trimester 3 of 2013. You must apply online and also complete the paper form. Please look at the admission page (http://bit.ly/19YeacF). Note, however, that if you are applying for a Summer Trimester preparatory course (CHEM 191, MATH 132, or MUSC 160) before your NCEA results are available, your admission for 2014 will still depend on your getting University Entrance and meeting the Guaranteed Entry Score.
MUSC 164 Jazz Theory 1
To be eligible to enrol in this paper, you must either pass a diagnostic entrance test in theory, or have completed MUSC 160 Basic Musical Techniques with the minimal passing grade of B+. The paper 133.109 offered extramurally by Massey University also provides a way of getting up to speed in music theory. A B+ pass in this paper qualifies as a waiver of the entrance test for MUSC 164.
Course Requirements MUSC 164 Jazz Theory 1
At the beginning of MUSC 164 it is assumed that students have a knowledge of, and quick facility with:
- All note names in treble and bass clefs.
- All major key signatures.
- The order of sharps and flats as they appear in a key signature.
- Modern chord symbols for major 7, dominant 7, minor 7, half-diminished 7, fully diminished 7.
- Modes of the major scale (Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, Locrian).
- Other scales including the chromatic scale, whole-tone scale, half-whole diminished, whole-half diminished.
MUSC 164 Study Guide
To help you prepare for the Jazz theory entrance test, you can download the following Study Guide, which covers all of the theory concepts in the test.
Download MUSC 164 Study Guide [pdf: 145KB]
The following Self Assessment test is intended to give students practice material of the level of the MUSC 164 Entrance test. The answers are available here also, so that you can judge your preparedness for MUSC 164.
Download MUSC 164 Self Assessment Test [pdf:54KB]
Download MUSC 164 Self Assessment Test Answers [pdf: 63KB]
MUSC 166 Classical Theory and Musicianship 1To be eligible to enrol in this paper, you must either pass a diagnostic entrance test in theory, or have passed MUSC 160 Basic Musical Techniques with the minimal passing grade of B+. The paper 133.109 offered extramurally by Massey University also provides a way of getting up to speed in music theory. A B+ pass in this paper qualifies as a waiver of the entrance test for MUSC 166.
Course Requirements MUSC 166
At the beginning of MUSC 166 it is assumed that students have a knowledge of, and quick facility with:
- Major and minor key signatures up to four sharps and four flats.
- Transposing tunes in these keys.
- Triads and their inversions in these keys.
- Intervals found in these keys and an ability to distinguish between major, minor, augmented and diminished versions of these intervals when written down.
- Simple and compound time signatures, use of note values and rests including beaming of tails or grouping of notes.
- The technical names for degrees of the scale (tonic, supertonic, etc.).
- Musical phrases and the recognition of perfect, imperfect, plagal and interrupted cadences in written music.
- Reading with ease the treble, alto, tenor, and bass clefs.
Self Assessment testsThe following Self Assessment tests are intended to give students practice material of the level of the MUSC 166 Entrance test. The answers are available here also, so that you can judge your preparedness for MUSC 166
Courses that require no prior knowledge of music theoryWe welcome students who wish to take Music as a supporting subject for another major or for general interest. Many music courses may be credited to a BA degree, and there are a number of music courses for which no prior knowledge of music is required.
For more information or if you have any questions please contact us:
Phone: 04 463 5369
Facsimile: 04 463 5157
- Enrol now
- Search for people
- Contact us
- Prospective staff or faculty
- Career advisors
- Schools and educators
- Family and whanau
- International students
- Current staff
- Current students