The School of Performing Arts is comprised of the music, theatre, and dance disciplines. The goal of the School is to provide the highest quality education and performance activities to those whom it serves. We are located in the Stephens Performing Arts Center, as well as the Fine Arts building (for most music courses), and the Red Hill Building (for most dance courses).

Music, B.A. or B.S.DegreeB.A. or B.S.
Music, B.M., Commercial OptionDegreeB.M.
Music, B.M., Instrumental OptionDegreeB.M.
Music, B.M., Piano OptionDegreeB.M.
Music, B.M., Voice OptionDegreeB.M.
Music Education, B.M.E.DegreeB.M.E.
Music, MinorMinor

Music Program

The Department of Musicoffers programs leading to Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Music in Commercial Music, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Music Education, and Masters of Education in Music Education degrees. Students who major in music take courses that provide a broad cultural background for careers in music teaching, performance, audio technology and production, graduate study, and other music-related work. Membership in organized music groups is open to all university students, including Wind Ensemble/Symphonic Band, Marching Band/Basketball Band, Idaho State-Civic Symphony, Chamber Orchestra, Chamber/Concert Choir, Opera Workshop, Jazz Big Band, and Video Game Music Ensemble, and a variety of chamber woodwind, brass, percussion, string, vocal, and keyboard ensembles. ISU’s music department provides a wide variety of experiences and opportunities to work with dedicated and expert faculty and guest artists, in the L. E. and Thelma E. Stephens Performing Arts Center, an unparalleled state-of-the-art performance facility known as one of the best in the nation.


The Idaho State University Department of Music is an ­accredited institutional member of the ­National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). The music education program is also accredited by regional and state accrediting agencies.

Goals and Objectives

The Department of Music at Idaho State University has the following goals:

  1. To offer instruction of the highest possible quality to music students;
  2. To provide an atmosphere of professional experiences in music to the ISU community, including concerts, master classes, and guest ­artists;
  3. To prepare professional musicians for careers in teaching, performance, and/or production;
  4. To offer courses and musical experiences as an element of cultural enrichment for students who do not major in music;
  5. To provide opportunities for continued participation by all university students in various performing ensembles and other musical activities; and
  6. To exhibit a strong posture in community service through co-sponsorship and promotion of music cultural events.

The student-related outcome objectives relating to these goals are as follows:

  1. Students will gain professional level performing and/or production experience in a variety of settings including large ensemble, chamber ensemble, and solo performance. These performance experiences will culminate in the presentation of a solo recital or the production of a full-length commercial album in the senior year.
  2. Students will gain a broad understanding of the history of music, focusing primarily upon Western musical culture, but also including an overview of world musics. Students will gain an understanding of how music functions within society and culture.
  3. Students will gain a broad understanding of music theory, including part writing, analysis, and composition.
  4. Students will develop ear training skills, including the abilities to hear and notate pitch, intervals, chords, and rhythms. Students will be able to hear and identify procedures and large scale structures that are used in music.
  5. Students, especially those in the Bachelor of Music Education degree, will gain knowledge and experience in the art of teaching music.
  6. Students will gain and be able to display basic competencies on piano, including performance, sight reading, transposition, harmonization, and proper piano technique.

Performing Organizations

Membership in organized music groups is open to all university students subject to approval of the respective directors. All ensembles listed below may be repeated at any time without limitation. However, only 8 credits of music ensembles can be counted toward graduation credit hour requirements. All music majors are required to participate in a large ensemble (band, orchestra, choir) as a portion of their applied music study. **Separate participation in chamber ensembles is expected during the degree program, and a chamber ensemble performance is required as a portion of the student’s senior recital program.

Applied Music—Private Lessons

Private lessons are offered in band and orchestral instruments, voice, piano, percussion, and guitar for 1-3 credits each semester.

A special music fee is charged for enrollment in applied music. Students taking applied music lessons pay fees currently set at $175, $240, and $350, depending on the level and length of the lessons. Please see the Class Schedule for the applicable fee under Applied Music Lessons.

Students desiring to major or minor in music will normally be classified as entering freshmen in the 1000 level of the series. All music majors must pass the department’s Junior Standing Exam in applied music (usually taken at the end of the sophomore year) and register for, and pass, a minimum of 2 semesters at the 3000 level and 1-2 semesters at the 4000 level. BME, BA, BS and lower-level BCM students will take applied music for 1 credit per semester; BM and upper-level BCM students will take applied music for 2-3 credits per semester. The courses in this section all use the MUSA prefix.

Department Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Piano 1121 2221 3321 4421
Voice 1131 2231 3331 4431
Organ 1141 2241 3341 4441
Strings 1161 2261 3361 4461
Brass 1165 2265 3365 4465
Woodwinds 1175 2275 3375 4475
Percussion 1185 2285 3385 4485
Commercial 3395 4495

Any student registering in any of the above course numbers except those at the 4000 level will be required to register for MUSC 1107 and attend the weekly General Recital Hours/Studio Classes and evening concerts until degree requirements for recital attendance have been fulfilled.

Applied Jazz Study: non instrument-specific applied lessons are also available in jazz. There are two levels based on the student’s year/standing in the department. Applied jazz is not a substitute for degree-sequence lessons on a student’s primary instrument, and does not have co-requisites for MUSC 1107 or any ensemble requirements. Enrollment in applied Jazz lessons requires the permission of the student’s primary studio teacher (as applicable). These lessons are for 1 credit only.

Jazz                    MUSA 2291                        MUSA 4491

A student who does not plan to attend the required recital hour/studio classes and evening concerts should register for one of the following secondary instruction course numbers.

MUSA 1120Music Lessons Secondary Piano1
MUSA 1130Music Lessons Secondary Voice1
MUSA 1140Music Lessons Secondary Organ1
MUSA 1160Music Lessons Secondary Strings1
MUSA 1164Music Lessons Secondary Brass1
MUSA 1174Music Lessons Secondary Woodwinds1
MUSA 1184Music Lessons Secondary Percussion1

These courses are an undergraduate ­classification for non-majors, for prospective majors who do not yet meet the level of proficiency expected of a major, or for majors who wish to study an additional applied music area other than their major area.


All prospective music majors/minors and transfer students must contact the music department office (208-282-3636) prior to their first semester’s registration to be assigned a departmental advisor, take diagnostic placement tests, and perform auditions. Acceptance as a music major/minor is dependent upon an audition and these examinations. Examinations should be taken before or during the week preceding a new semester.

Performance Auditions

These auditions will include technical demonstration and repertoire ­performance; please contact the music department at for specific requirements of your instrument/voice.

Theory Placement Exam

This exam will determine the specific semester of music theory to which a student will be assigned. We offer a free online, self-guided Music Theory Preparatory Course for those who are interested in supplementing their studies before taking the placement exam.

Piano Placement Exams

These tests serve to determine the specific semester and section of class piano or private instruction to which a student will be admitted. All music majors must successfully complete the department’s required piano proficiency to graduate. Credits in MUSC 1118MUSC 1119MUSC 2218MUSC 2219, or MUSA 1120 may be used toward passing the piano proficiency. The student must register either for applied piano or piano class each semester until passing the proficiency exam.

Special Graduation Requirements

  1. An overall accumulative grade point average of 2.0 for all University courses is required for graduation. The Music Department requires a Music GPA of 2.5 as a standard for graduation. An additional requirement is that a music major or minor must earn no less than a grade of “C-” in each music course. Furthermore, at least a grade of “C-” must be received to advance into a course for which the earlier course is a prerequisite, or to advance into the next level of a continuation course.
  2. All music majors must pass the department’s Junior Standing Exam (usually taken at the end of the sophomore year) and register for, and pass, applied music lessons, a minimum of 2 semesters at the 3000 level, and 1-2 semesters at the 4000 level.

Music Department Handbook

A handbook is available online at, which describes more completely our facilities, policies, course sequencing, and departmental operations. All prospective students and music majors/minors are highly encouraged to become familiar with its contents.


Music Courses (MUSC)

Music: Applied Lesson Courses (MUSA)

Music: General Education Courses (MUSI)

Music: Performance Courses (MUSP)