Undergraduate Music Placement Exams


  • Students seeking exemption from first year theory and musicianship courses can take placement tests online between July 2 and 15, 2021.
  • All students interested in taking theory (MUTH) courses must take the mandatory diagnostic test for MUTH 100 Music Theory Fundamentals.
    All other placement exams are optional.

Late fees of $50 per exam (to a maximum of $150) will be incurred by those who fail to complete the exams within the assigned examination period. Late placement tests must be completed before mid-August.


Placement Exams

Depending on the admitted program, you may take placement exams to seek exemption from first-year core courses in Theory, Musicianship or Jazz if you wish to register for 200-level courses in these subjects.

The diagnostic placement exam for MUTH 100* is mandatory for all new students in B.Mus. or L.Mus. programs (except Jazz streams), and for students in B.A., B.Sc., or other degree programs who wish to add a music major or minor.

*Conditions to be exempt from the MUTH 100 placement test is listed in the description for “Placement Exam Information by Program”.

All other placement exams are optional.

All undergraduate music placement exams in 2021 will take place remotely.

  • Written exams for Theory courses will use MyCourses, McGill’s online learning management system.
  • Individual interviews for Musicianship and Jazz courses will take place in Zoom meetings.

 

Written Placement Exams Available on MyCourses Zoom Individual Interviews

MUTH 100

MUTH 150

MUTH 151

MUSP 140

MUSP 141

MUSP 240

MUSP 241

MUSP 170

MUSP 171

 

MUJZ 160

MUJZ 161

MUJZ 170

MUJZ 171

MUSP 123

MUSP 124

Who may write these exams?
For students who are admitted to B.Mus. Performance Orchestral Instruments, B.Mus. Piano Performance, B.Mus. Performance Guitar/Organ, B.Mus. Voice Performance, B.Mus. Early Music, B.Mus. Faculty, B.Mus. Faculty Jazz, B.Mus. Composition, B.Mus. History, B.Mus. Theory, concurrent B.Mus./B.Ed., L.Mus. except Jazz, and students from other faculties who wish to pursue a music minor or major. For students who are admitted to B.Mus. Performance Orchestral Instruments, B.Mus. Piano Performance, B.Mus. Performance Guitar/Organ,B.Mus. Voice Performance, B.Mus. Early Music, B.Mus. Faculty, B.Mus. Composition, B.Mus. History, B.Mus. Theory, concurrent B.Mus./B.Ed., L.Mus. except Jazz, and students from other faculties who wish to pursue a music minor or major. For students who are admitted to B.Mus. Jazz Performance, B.Mus. Faculty Jazz and L.Mus. Jazz.
Placement Exam Dates
Between Monday, June 21 and Thursday, July 15, 2021 Between Monday, July 5 and Thursday, July 15 Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Or

Thursday, July 8, 2021
How and when to sign up for exams

There is no sign ups for theory placement exams.

Students can take the exam via MyCourses anytime during the assigned examination period.

The deadline to complete the theory placement test is at 11:59 pm on Thursday, July 15, 2021.

Students can sign up for musicianship placement exams between early June and Monday, June 21, 2021.

Sign up instruction will be provided here around late May.

Students can sign up for jazz placement exams between early June and Monday, June 21, 2021.

Sign up instruction will be provided here around late May.

 

Information about preparation for each placement exam subject is found under “Placement Exam Information by Program” below.

Register for Placement Tests

Theory placement tests (MUTH 100/150/151)

  • Students can take these tests via MyCourses.
    MyCourses is a Learning Management System at McGill. Course syllabus and contents for most courses are posted on MyCourses.

Ready to take the placement tests? Access MyCourses here.

If you are unable to access the placement tests on MyCourses, email studentaffairs.music [at] mcgill.ca


Musicianship and Keyboard placement tests (MUSP 140/141/170/171/240/241)

Placement exams in Musicianship and Keyboard take place in individual five-minute Zoom interviews.

  • Sign up instruction for these exams will be posted here in late May.

Once you sign up, you will receive an invitation to a Zoom meeting via your McGill email address.


Jazz placement tests (MUSP 123/124 & MUJZ 160/161/170/171)

Jazz placement exams take place in individual 15-minute Zoom interviews.

  • Log into McGill 365 with your McGill username and password.
  • Find an excel file located in One Drive labelled “2021 Jazz Placement Exams Sign-Up Sheet”. The sign-up sheet will be available between early June and June 21, 2021.
  • Insert your full legal name on the spreadsheet.
    You may sign up for ONE 15-minute time-slot ONLY.
  • Once you sign up, a member from the Jazz Area will contact you to confirm the Zoom ID for your placement test.

Placement exam results

Placement exam grades will not appear on your McGill transcripts. The results are used for course assignments. Credit will be given for courses for which an exemption is granted and will count towards the total number of credits required for the program.

  • For B.Mus. and L.Mus. students, after results are compiled, you will find out if you are exempted from one or more course(s) on your Online Program Audit (OPA) by mid-August.
  • For students from faculties outside of the Schulich School of Music, we will email you the results (pass/fail) to your McGill email account by mid-August.

Placement exam information by program

The information in this section is divided into two program streams:

B.Mus., L.Mus. (except Jazz streams)/Students in B.A., B.Sc., or other degree programs outside of Music pursuing a minor or major in Music

All new students in B.Mus. or L.Mus. (except Jazz streams), and students in the B.A./B.Sc. or other degree program from other faculties who pursue a music major or minor, must take the following mandatory diagnostic exam for MUTH 100, regardless of previous college or university courses and credits.

Note for B.A./B.Sc. (or other faculty outside of Music) students who wish to take MUTH and MUSP courses:

  1. Verify with your Home Faculty Advisor if you are permitted to add a music minor or music major to your program.
  2. If yes, contact dino.dutz [at] mcgill.ca (Ms. Dino Dutz) at the Schulich School of Music to discuss whether this is the right program for you.
  3. If yes, you may be required to add the minor or major to your program before registering for placement exams.

All new students from out-of-province are placed in the following freshman/prerequisite courses. Students coming from music programs in CEGEP, or from another university music program, may choose to seek advanced standing by taking the optional placement exams to test out of the required courses, MUTH 150 and 151.

List of placement tests available:

  1. Music History MUHL 186
  2. Theory MUTH 100/150/151
  3. Musicianship MUSP 140/141/240/241

*Note: B.Mus. and L.Mus. students whose main instrument of study at McGill is piano, organ or harpsichord are automatically exempt from MUSP 170 and 171


1. MUSIC HISTORY (MUHL 186)


There is no placement test for MUHL 186.

Those students who have successfully completed History I, II, III & IV from a Music DEC at CEGEP or post-secondary courses in Western Musical Traditions, or passed RCM Level 10 History exam, will be given advanced standing for MUHL 186 (determined by transcript record.)


2. THEORY (MUTH 100/150/151)


MUTH 100* Music Theory Fundamentals, is MANDATORY and must be completed before July 15, 2021. Those who wish to place out of freshman/prerequisite MUTH Theory courses and proceed to the next level may take Optional placement exams for MUTH 150/151.

*Note:

  • If you come from high school, or have completed a DEC outside of Music, or transfer from a bachelor program outside of Music, you must write the placement test for MUTH 100.
  • If you have completed a Music DEC, or have successfully completed first-year theory courses in a B.Mus. program prior to starting a music program here at McGill, you need not take the placement test for MUTH 100. You may proceed to register for MUTH 150 without passing the MUTH 100 placement test.

DETAILED EXAM INFORMATION:

MUTH 100 Music Theory Fundamentals (Mandatory)

All new students should have mastered the following concepts before arriving at the Schulich School of Music:

  • Reading treble and bass clefs
  • Intervals (all qualities, identifying and constructing)
  • Key signatures (major and minor)
  • Scales (major and all forms of minor)
  • Scale degree (tonic, supertonic, mediant, etc.)
  • Triads and seventh chords (all qualities and inversions)

To prepare, it is recommended to visit websites such as MusicTheory.net or Teoria.com for tutorials and drills.

Students wishing to have advanced standing and be exempted from prerequisite courses may do the following OPTIONAL exams by July 15:

MUTH 150 Music Theory and Analysis 1 (Optional)
Content includes all of the above for MUTH 100, plus

  • Resolution of dominant and diminished seventh chords
  • Principles of four-part writing in keyboard and chorale styles
  • Harmonic analysis with Roman numerals and figured bass
  • Labeling nonharmonic tones (passing, neighbor, suspension, anticipation, echappée, incomplete neighbor)
  • Labeling cadence types (PAC, IAC, HC, DC)

To prepare, you may consult any standard undergraduate music theory textbook, such as The Musicians’ Guide to Theory and Analysis (Marvin/Clendenning), The Complete Musician (Laitz) or Concise Introduction to Tonal Harmony (Burstein/Straus).

MUTH 151 Music Theory and Analysis 2 (Optional)
Content includes all of the above, plus

  • Analysis and classification of sequences
  • Modulation and tonicization (secondary dominants)
  • Standard chromatic harmonies (augmented sixths, Neapolitan sixths)
  • Types of 6/4 chords (neighbour, cadential, passing, arpeggiating)

To prepare, you may consult any standard undergraduate music theory textbook, such as The Musicians’ Guide to Theory and Analysis (Marvin/Clendenning), The Complete Musician (Laitz) or Concise Introduction to Tonal Harmony (Burstein/Straus).


  1. MUSICIANSHIP (MUSP 140/141/240/241)

A. First Interview. This will determine possible exemption from Musicianship Training MUSP 140/141. You sight-sing (with or without solfège) a melody that appears on the screen and identify intervals and triads by quality (e.g., major, minor, diminished, augmented) and inversion (e.g., 6/3 or first inversion, etc.). If you succeed in these tasks you will be asked to take a second interview. If you qualify for a second interview, you will receive notification via your McGill email address shortly after your first interview.

B. Second Interview. This will determine possible exemption from Musicianship Training MUSP 240/241. You sight-sing atonal melodies and identify chromatic chords in a harmonic progression, including seventh chords, applied dominants, augmented sixths, and modal mixture, by quality and inversion.


  1. KEYBOARD PROFICIENCY (MUSP 170/171)

  • Sight read a short example in two parts.
  • Transpose a simple melody at sight
  • Construct chords at the keyboard (root position and inverted triads and 7th chords).
  • Resolve dominant and diminished 7th chords in 4 voices.
  • Play progressions from chord symbols (for example, I–V6/ii–ii–V6–I) in keys with up to 4 sharps or flats, or playing a similar progression from figured bass
  • Read a simple score in more than two staves using treble, bass and alto clefs.

B.Mus., L.Mus. Jazz Performance and B.Mus. Faculty Program (Jazz)

All incoming B.Mus. Jazz Performance, B.Mus. Faculty Program (Jazz) and L.Mus. Jazz Performance can seek advanced standing for first year core jazz courses by completing a Jazz Placement Exam interview to be held remotely by Zoom. This placement test is optional. The interview will be of 10 -15 minutes duration and will cover placement in Jazz Materials, Jazz Ear Training, and Jazz Keyboard Proficiency. Students will have to sign up for an interview time and day according to the published schedule.

If you do not wish to take the placement test, you are expected to register for the 100-level MUJZ core courses as shown in the sample first year course plan for your program.

By default, all new students are placed in the following prerequisite courses:

  1. Jazz Materials MUJZ 160/161
  2. Jazz Keyboard Proficiency MUJZ 170/171
    (Note: Jazz guitar and jazz piano students are automatically exempt from MUJZ 170 and MUJZ 171)
  3. Jazz Ear Training MUSP 123/124
  4. Jazz History MUJZ 187

*Note: Students in B.Mus. Faculty Jazz must take the mandatory diagnostic MUTH 100 placement test before taking MUTH 150. Detail info about the MUTH placement tests can be found under Placement Exam information by program for B.Mus., L.Mus. (except Jazz streams).

  • The level (and section assignment) for each prerequisite course will be determined by the results of the interview.
  • There is no placement exam for MUHL 187 Jazz History.
  • Students will be exempt from MUJZ 187 if they have successfully completed an equivalent course from Cegep and college/university.

Placement Test Format:

Each placement test takes between 10 and 15 minutes. It will be conducted by individual interview via zoom. You are required to have both audio and video functions for this placement test. Preparation for Placement Test: For placement in Jazz Materials MUJZ 160-161: You will be tested orally on your knowledge of scales, voicings and chord-scale relationships. For placement in Jazz Ear Training MUJZ 123-124: You will be asked to identify chords, sing various scales by ear and sight-sing a short passage.

Preparation for Placement Test:

For placement in Jazz Materials MUJZ 160-161: You will be tested orally on your knowledge of scales, voicings and chord-scale relationships.

For placement in Jazz Ear Training MUJZ 123-124: You will be asked to identify chords, sing various scales by ear and sight-sing a short passage.

For placement in Jazz keyboard proficiency, MUJZ 170-171: Your keyboard skills will be assessed according to both your prior experience in piano and your ability to identify chord voicings as presented to you on a keyboard during the interview.
Those who have a keyboard at home should try to do the interview in the same room, so that we can hear you play. But a keyboard will not be absolutely necessary for this part of the placement test.

 

Contact the studentaffairs.music [at] mcgill.ca (Music Student Affairs Office) if you receive a program or prerequisite restriction on Minerva when trying to add the music course(s) after receiving your placement exam results, or if you are inquiring about late placement exams. 

Back to top