VCU Music: Educating musicians to shape the stage, the classroom and the world
The Department of Music is committed to the advancement of Western art music and jazz as academic disciplines, as fields of professional endeavor and as significant expressions of culture. Entrance and graduation requirements comply with the National Association of Schools of Music guidelines. The department offers degree programs at the baccalaureate and master’s levels, and each of them is described in detail on individual program pages within the Bulletins website. Students in the VCU Music community are involved in a musically rich environment of studio lessons, small classes, independent study and performances. They hear outstanding professional performers in the classical and jazz traditions and attend on-campus master classes with major touring artists. Student soloists also may appear with regional and university ensembles. Through the Mary Anne Rennolds Chamber Concert Series and other events, the department is one of the region’s major sponsors of music performances. Approximately 250 students choose to major in music, with many other students from throughout the university taking courses and participating in ensembles. There are 26 full-time faculty, more than half of whom hold doctorates, in addition to 45 part-time instructors. Among the faculty are internationally recognized performers, composers, researchers and teachers — musician-educators who are active in all facets of the professional music world. The faculty includes members and regular performers with ensembles that include the Richmond and Virginia symphonies, the New York Philharmonic, the Virginia Opera, Rhythm and Brass, and the Atlantic Chamber Ensemble. The faculty maintains a high level of recognition through each individual’s publications, recordings, international performances and lectures. The department is housed in two buildings. The principal facility is the W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts, which includes the 502-seat Sonia Vlahcevic Concert Hall, faculty offices, rehearsal rooms and special studios for organ, percussion and piano. The James W. Black Music Center has a 347-seat recital hall, classrooms, practice rooms, rehearsal spaces, faculty offices and studios.
Admission and auditions
An audition and interview are necessary for admission to programs in the Department of Music. Students must also meet the general admission requirements of the university. For audition information contact Virginia Commonwealth University, Department of Music, 922 Park Ave., Box 842004, Richmond, VA 23284-2004; phone (804) 828-1169 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Music education candidacy
In order to achieve candidacy, music education majors must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8 and must demonstrate satisfactory completion of the Praxis I, ACT or SAT. Music education students who do not achieve candidacy will not be allowed to continue in the music education program, but may continue in one of the other music degree programs provided they meet the requirements.
Courses for non-majors
Students majoring in a field other than music are welcome and encouraged to register for ensembles, private lessons and a variety of classroom courses in music specifically designed for the non-music major. Some courses require an audition.
Grades and achievement levels
All music majors are required to maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 and pass at least one applied achievement level within any two-semester period (not including summers) in order to continue as music majors. Jazz studies majors must pass one applied achievement level of classical instrument study per two-semester period (not including summers) and at least one jazz applied music level within the first three semesters in order to maintain a jazz studies concentration. All music students also must pass MHIS 145-MHIS 146 by the end of the fourth semester. Any student who fails to meet or maintain these standards will not be allowed to continue as a music major. A student may audition for readmission into the department as a music major only with permission from the Department of Music.
A cumulative GPA of 2.8 is required for music education students to qualify for student teaching placement. Music education students who do not maintain a cumulative 2.8 GPA will not be allowed to continue in the music education track, but may continue in the Bachelor of Arts program or the Bachelor of Music performance track if they meet the minimum requirements that apply to those respective degree programs.
Electives in music
Students majoring in a field other than music may register for ensembles, private lessons and a variety of classroom courses in music. Classes in music appreciation, African-American music, introduction to writing music, basic music skills and special offerings in music are specifically designed for the non-music major.
Internship in music
Interested students should consult with a faculty member closely associated with the appropriate field. As the student approaches junior academic standing, he or she may apply to the department for participation in APPM 493. Applications will be reviewed on the basis of academic GPA, instructor recommendation(s), professional promise, and demonstrated interest and competence in the area of study. The student must possess a minimum 2.5 overall GPA with a minimum 3.0 GPA in major course work in music. All students (including transfers) must have completed a minimum of 60 credits.
All internships for credit are approved by the Department of Music. The experience may also be coordinated by VCU’s Cooperative Education/Internship Program. The latter office requires completion of an application and resume.
All undergraduate majors are required to pass four semesters of recital/convocation attendance for graduation. During each semester of enrollment, the student must attend a minimum number of concerts or recitals plus departmental convocations in order to pass the requirement.
This requirement consists of participation in weekly master classes in the student’s applied major area. For students in the Bachelor of Music program, enrollment in master class is required for each semester that students enroll for a two-credit lesson on their principal performing instrument. A minimum of eight semesters in the performance concentration (jazz studies majors take four semesters classical and four semesters jazz) and six semesters for the music education concentration are required. Students in the Bachelor of Arts in Music program must also enroll in master class each semester they take a two-credit lesson until they complete a minimum of four semesters of master class on the same instrument.
To ensure consistent skill development in ensemble settings, only one large ensemble credit per semester will be counted toward a student’s large ensemble requirements. Students whose principal instrument is a band or orchestral instrument must satisfy the large ensemble requirement by performing in a large ensemble on that instrument. Students whose principal instrument is voice must satisfy the requirement by performing in a large choral ensemble on voice. Those whose principal instrument is piano must complete four of their six elective credits by playing the piano in ensembles. Jazz studies majors must have ensembles approved in advance by their adviser or program director. Bachelor of Arts students must earn six credits in either large or small ensembles.