College Symphony Orchestra in King Concert Hall

Music Theory Placement

 Music Theory and Aural Skills Placement for Incoming Students

This page contains instructions for the Music Theory Placement Exam for students entering the Fredonia School of Music. Once you take the Music Theory Placement Exam, your scores will be emailed to you by musictheory@fredonia.edu the day after you complete the exam. If you have questions about the exam process, you may direct these to musictheory@fredonia.edu. 

For students who have already completed theory classes in the School of Music: you may NOT take the Theory Placement Exam or Aural Skills Placement Exam for Incoming Students in order to skip ahead into higher levels of theory or aural skills or to replace a D, F or a withdrawal in a theory or aural skills course that you have taken in the School of Music. The only way to remediate a non-pass or withdrawal is to retake the course and pass it. The Placement Exams for Incoming Students are taken only prior to the first semester of enrollment in the School of Music.


If you have taken AP Music Theory, two semesters of high-school non-AP theory with a B or above, or one semester of college level theory, you may take the Level I Music Theory Placement Exam. If you have not taken any of these courses, your default placement is Theory I (MUS 123) and Aural Skills I (MUS 121).

Here’s what’s on this page:  

  1. Placement Exam Instructions for Incoming Transfer Students

  2. Placement Exam Instructions for Incoming AP Music Theory Students

  3. Placement Exam Instructions for Incoming Musical Theater Students

  4. Placement Exam Dates

  5. Online Resources to Help You Prepare!

The music theory and aural skills placement assessments are administered online. In order to complete any of these exams, you must have a Google account. Create one for free here

Placement Exam Instructions for Incoming Transfer Students:

If you have taken some music theory in a college, you are eligible to test out of courses in the music theory sequence at Fredonia. AP Music Theory students should see the AP section of this webpage.

Here’s how you test out:

  • Take a theory or aural skills exam online during one of the scheduled time slots listed under “Placement Exam Times.” Note that the theory and aural skills exams are separate and have separate exam times.

What you’ll need:

  • A Google account. Create one for free here.
  • For theory exams:
    • Scratch paper and a pencil
    • Please do not use any other resources to complete the exam
  • For aural skills exams:
    • Headphones or speakers for sound files
    • Manuscript paper (you can find this for free online) and a pencil
    • Please do not use any other resources to complete the exam


To Place out of Theory Courses:

If you are currently enrolled in a music theory course, take the exam as if you have completed that course (i.e. if you are currently in Theory II, take the Level II exam).

Transfer students who have completed one semester of college-level music theory may take the Level I exam.

Transfer students who have completed two semesters of college-level music theory may take the Level II Exam.

Transfer students who have completed three semesters of college-level music theory may take the Level III exam.

Transfer students who have completed four semesters of college-level music theory may take the Level IV exam.

 

To Place out of Aural Skills Courses:
If you are currently enrolled in an aural skills course, take the exam as if you have completed that course (i.e. if you are currently in Aural Skills II, take the Aural Skills II exam).

Transfer students who have completed one semester of college-level aural skills may take the Level I exam.

Transfer students who have completed two semesters of college-level aural skills may take the Level II exam.

Transfer students who have completed three semesters of college-level aural skills may take the Level III exam.

Transfer students who have completed four semesters of college-level aural skills may take the Level IV exam.

 

Placement Exam Instructions for Incoming AP Music Theory Students:

Note to AP Music Theory students: Students having earned a score of 4 or higher on the AP Music Theory Test automatically enter into Music Theory II (MUS 124); students with a 4 or higher on the AP Aural Skills Test enter into Aural Skills II (MUS 122). Only take an online exam if you want to test into a level above MUS 124 or 122!

If you would like to place into Music Theory III and/or Aural Skills III, take the exams below.

Here’s how you test out:

  • Take the theory or aural skills exam online during one of the scheduled time slots listed under “Placement Exam Times.” Note that the theory and aural skills exams are separate and have separate exam times.

What you’ll need:

  • A Google account. Create one for free here.
  • For theory exams:
    • Scratch paper and a pencil
    • Please do not use any other resources to complete the exam
  • For aural skills exams:
    • Headphones or speakers for sound files
    • Manuscript paper (you can find this for free online) and a pencil
    • Please do not use any other resources to complete the exam

To place into Music Theory III (MUS 223):

Take the Level II Exam.

To place into Aural Skills III (MUS 221):

Take the Level II exam.
 

Placement Exam Instructions for Incoming Musical Theater Students

If you are auditioning for Musical Theater, have taken courses in music theory, and would like to attempt to test out of MUS 101 (Music for Non-Majors). You may take the Music 101 Fundamentals Exam during any of the Placement Exam Dates listed below.

At the time of the exam, please click on this link to the Music Fundamentals Exam to access the exam.

Additional testing to place out of MUS 102 can be arranged by request provided that you have passed the Fundamentals Exam with a score of 85% or higher, or that you have completed MUS 101 (Music for Non-Majors) with a B or higher.

If you have taken the AP Theory Exam and scored a 4, you automatically test out of MUS 101 and MUS 102. Additionally, if space permits, and you may enroll in Music Theory II (MUS 124). 

Placement Exams:

The exam links above will be live during these windows. You may use up to the full 90 minutes for whichever exam you take, but be sure to submit before the window closes. If you fail to submit before the window ends, we cannot guarantee receipt of your score.

Please note: the theory and aural skills exams are separate exams. If you are attempting to test out of a level of theory AND aural skills, we recommend that you divide the 90 minute test block as follows:

  • spend 60 minutes on the theory exam (then come back to this webpage, click on the aural skills exam)
  • spend 30 minutes on the aural skills exam

For students entering in Spring 2023, the theory and aural skills exams will be open on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, November 8, 7:00–8:30pm and Saturday, November 12, 9:00-10:30am
  • Tuesday, November 15, 7:00–8:30pm and Saturday, November 19, 9:00-10:30am

For students entering in Fall 2023, the theory and aural skills exams will be open on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, January 31, 7:00–8:30pm and Saturday, February 18, 9:00-10:30am
  • Tuesday, March 28, 7:00–8:30pm and Saturday, April 15, 9:00-10:30am
  • Tuesday, May 2, 7:00–8:30pm and Saturday, May 13, 9:00-10:30am
  • Tuesday, May 30, 7:00–8:30pm and Saturday, June 10, 9:00-10:30am
  • Tuesday, July 11, 7:00–8:30pm and Saturday, July 22, 9:00-10:30am
  • Tuesday, August 1, 7:00–8:30pm and Saturday, August 12, 9:00-10:30am

 

Online Resources to Help You Prepare:

There are currently dozens of free and inexpensive music theory tutorials available online, such as musictheory.net, Music Theory Flashcards, and teoria.com.

An excellent, current, and comprehensive bibliography of music theory texts and materials, maintained by Mary Winnerstrom and Garry Potter is available in PDF format from Indiana University here.

Another such bibliography is available from the Society for Music Theory here.

The Eastman School of Music offers pre-college courses in music theory, including the AP music theory program, at their Eastman Community Music School here.

Questions?

If you have questions about the exam process, please contact MusicTheory@fredonia.edu.

Take the next step