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Musicianship Placement Exams

Please select the appropriate option below to learn more about the Music Placement Exams available.

Incoming Freshmen

All incoming freshmen (and transfer students with no previous music theory experience), should register for Music 172 (Musicianship 1). These students will then participate in a pre-assessment administered online before class. Those students who do not meet the minimum threshold of proficiency will be dropped from the course and need to remediate themselves before re-registering in a following semester.

The singing exam consists of matching pitch (in the student's most comfortable range), singing a major scale (ascending and descending; solfege syllables preferred but not required), and singing a provided melody (mostly stepwise with chordal leaps and basic rhythms). Specific instructions about submitting the singing exam video will be emailed to the BYU-Idaho email address of all students enrolled in Music 172.

Written Entrance Exam

RixStix Percussion dress rehearsal in the Barrus Concert Hall. Directed by Kevin Myers

The written entrance exam (administered on campus) covers the following:

  • Pitch identification on a staff (treble and bass clefs)
  • Identification of notes on a keyboard
  • Key signatures
  • Intervals
  • Major and minor scales
  • Major, minor, diminished, augmented triads
  • Inversions of triads
  • Barlines and rhythm


To help students prepare, three practice exams (with the answer keys) are provided for you, along with sample sight-singing melodies. It is highly recommended that all prospective students prepare in advance by developing these rudimentary musical skills.

There are many sources that can help student prepare for this exam. Some of these include:

Below are some textbooks for reference:

  • Roig-Francolí: Harmony in Context (McGraw Hill)
  • Benjamin, Horvit, and Nelson: Techniques and Materials of Music (Thompson-Schirmer)
  • Benward and Saker: Music in Theory and Practice (McGraw-Hill)
  • Kostka and Payne: Tonal Harmony (McGraw-Hill)
  • Turek: Theory for Today's Musician with Musical Example CD-ROM (McGraw-Hill)

Transfer Students

All prospective music students who desire to register for any level in the Musicianship sequence of classes will need to take an exam before they can continue (or enroll in) any of those classes.

Transfer Students

Chamber Orchestra

All transfer students who have had coursework in music theory and ear training must demonstrate their proficiency in these areas in order to determine whether their prior coursework will apply towards their BYU-I music degree. The exam is administered before the beginning of each semester, after which the student will be advised as to which courses in the BYU-I theory/ear training sequence they still need to complete. The dates of the exam are as follows:

Spring 2024: Friday, April 19, 2:00 PM Snow 185

Fall 2024: Friday, September 13, 2:00 PM Snow 185

Winter 2025: Monday, January, 2:00 PM Snow 185

Spring 2025: Friday, April 18, 2:00 PM Snow 185

Fall 2025: Friday, September 12, 2:00 PM Snow 185

Winter 2026: Monday, January 5, 2:00 PM Snow 185

Transfer Student Study Guide*

Solfege Hand Signs*

It is strongly recommended that all potential transfer music major students contact the Academic Advising (Advising Center) directly and prior to making final plans to transfer to BYU-Idaho. An individual assessment of the student's transfer situation can be determined at that time.

For Specific Questions, Please Contact:

Michael Cornick College of Performing and Visual Arts Coordinator
(208) 496-9870
MC 102
Mon-Fri 8:00am to 5:00pm (closed Tues. & Thurs. 11:30-12:30 pm)