Proficiency Exams

Theory Proficiency

The Department of Music maintains high standards in Theory and Keyboard Proficiency for Bachelor of Music (B.Mus.) and Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Education (B.Mus./B.Ed.) programs. Applicants must demonstrate an acceptable standard in these areas.

The Theory Placement examination covers the rudiments of written music theory, including key signatures and scales, intervals and inversions, triads, time signatures and transposition. Students must score a minimum of 70% on the Theory Placement exam in order to successfully fulfill this prerequisite.

B.Mus. and B.Mus./B.Ed. applicants who do not pass the Theory Placement Test on the day of audition will be required to take Music 100 - Rudiments of Music in Spring or Summer session and score a minimum of 70%.

Students who have successfully completed Royal Conservatory Advanced Rudiments or Conservatory Canada Level IV within two years of their application may have the Theory Placement exam waived upon presentation of certification of completion on or before the day of auditions.

For those applicants submitting a recorded audition, placement exams are to be written by the end of August. If the minimum theory placement requirement is not met, remedial theory will be required and may result in a delay in graduation.

Non-B.Mus. students who require the Theory Placement exam to qualify for Music 151, 155, or 313 should complete the test at least two weeks prior to the commencement of the applicable class.  

To write your exam, please contact the Undergraduate Advisor at musicug@ualberta.ca. Applicants should allow one hour for each test. 

Keyboard Proficiency

Students in the Bachelor of Music Programs who are not electing a keyboard instrument as a first practical subject are required to demonstrate proficiency at the keyboard by the beginning of the second year of the program. This is done by:

  1. Providing a copy of a Piano Grade VI Royal Conservatory of Music or Conservatory Canada certificate earned within three years of entering the program; or
  2. Passing the Keyboard Proficiency Examination, covering the following material:
  • A selection of scales (Hands together, 2 octaves followed by a perfect cadence in that key)
  • A selection of triad chords (Hands separate, solid or broken)
  • A prepared piece of their own choice of approximately Grade Four difficulty.
  • A selection of sight reading at about Grade One level.

All applicable students (non-keyboard) will be tested during the first week of classes. Those students who are not successful will be required to take Music 129 Fundamental Keyboard Skills as an Arts option during first year. Space for Music 129 is limited and therefore we must encourage students to prepare for this test prior to the start of classes in September.

The keyboard proficiency requirement must be met by the beginning of the second year in the program. Students with transfer credit in MUSIC 151 and/or 251 must complete the requirement at the beginning of the year in which they are admitted.