Music | Academic Advising Handbook

Each year the Music Department publishes a Music Student Handbook, which contains a great deal of information for students thinking about a major in music; the handbook includes suggested sequences of courses for progress in the best fashion though the accredited programs we offer. We also encourage anyone contemplating a major in music to talk with one of our full-time faculty members.

Please note: a student with little or no experience in music (exposure to music notation) and performance would find a major or minor in music very difficult, if not impossible. However, there are many opportunities for students with little or no experience to participate within the music department outside of the major and minor course sequences.

Any 2 credit or higher music course will count towards the “Arts” college core requirement credit along with the following 1 credit ensembles: MUS 151, 153, 158, 163, 165, 167.

Introductory Courses

The following courses require no working knowledge of music notation or theory, although such knowledge does help. Students who have played an instrument (even for a short time) or sung in a choir generally do better in these courses that those who have not.

  • MUS 101 Introduction to Classical Music 4cr.
  • MUS 102 History of Jazz and Rock 4cr.
  • MUS 110 Music Notation and songwriting 4cr.
  • MUS 121 Class Piano 1cr.
  • MUS 131 Into to MIDI Lab 1cr.
  • MUS 181 Class Voice 1cr.
  • MUS 187 Class Guitar 1cr.
  • MUS/ANTH 241 Intro to World Music* 4cr.
  • MUS/REL 341 Music and World Religions* 4cr.

*These courses also satisfy the International Diverse Perspectives (IDP) Core requirement.


For students who play an instrument or sing, we have many opportunities for group performance. In many cases, we already know which Pacific students have an interest in performing and may have already contacted them by letter or phone. In any cases, please feel free to contact us with questions about ensembles. The following is information about general requirements for specific ensembles:

Course Number Ensemble Requirements Directors
MUS 151/352 Jazz Band Audition Dr. Michael Burch-Pesses
MUS 153/353 Concert Choir No Audition Kristen Caldwell
MUS 158/358 Orchestra Audition Dr. Dijana Ihas
MUS 159/359 Chamber Ensembles Permission form Department Chair
MUS 163/363 Chamber Singers Audition Dr. Scott Tuomi
MUS 165/365 Symphonic Band Must have experience on winds or percussion Dr. Michael Burch-Presses


Private lessons (Applied Music) are available to all Pacific University students regardless of major or minor. These courses may be taken for variable credit (0.5 or 1 full credit). For each .5 credit taken, the student will be charged $325 (*bona fide majors and will have these fees waived). Music minors (beginning fall 2014) will be charged for the required 4 semesters of .5 credit hour lessons at the rate of $325 per semester). Students will receive twelve lessons over the course of a semester with each .5 credit equaling thirty minutes for each of the twelve lessons. While these lessons are intended primarily for music majors and minors, many non-music degree students do enroll. All students receiving music scholarships are required to take applied music lessons for eight semesters.

Each course number in the sequences MUS 171-472 is intended to be progressively more difficult and follows a specific semester sequence. Consult the syllabus for each specific program area (voice, winds, brass, strings, piano, guitar and percussion respectively) for more details All music majors and minors in applied music enrolled must perform a jury during final exams, and meet departmental objectives for their lesson levels. All other students may be asked to perform a jury at the request of their applied music teacher. Music lessons may be repeated for credit.

*Music majors and minors are defined as those students enrolled in music theory, an ensemble and applied music.

Rev 2019