Music Advising

We provide various levels of advising for incoming and current music students. We encourage all new students to read the FAQ's below and the University Catalog to have preliminary information before sending inquiries. 


Unlike most programs at Western, there are no course prerequisites needed to begin a major or minor in music. Instead, students must complete an entrance audition on their primary instrument or voice as a prerequisite to all coursework and declaration. Students cannot enroll in core music courses without first being accepted to the program through an entrance audition. Please visit the University Catalog for more information regarding core music coursework and requirements. 

Beginning Sequences

Due to the sequential nature of our curriculum, students are strongly encouraged to begin a music major during their first quarter at WWU. Core sequences begin each Fall quarter and will not repeat until the following year. Those that miss the beginning sequence may delay their graduation by one full year. Please visit the University Catalog for more information regarding core music coursework, requirements, and placement exam eligibility. 

Frequently Asked Questions

We hold entrance and scholarship auditions each winter season for acceptance as a major and minor the following Fall. We will offer dates in January, February, and March on both Friday and Saturdays. All students who complete an audition on primary audition dates are automatically eligible for a music scholarship. Students who miss our primary audition dates will be considered on a space-available basis and will no longer be eligible for music scholarships for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Admission to the university and acceptance into the music department are handled independently. There is no additional application for the music department and students will not need supporting materials for the WWU application as a music student. All students interested in a major or minor must complete an audition on their primary instrument or voice along with the completion of the WWU Admissions application. Acceptance to the Music Department does not guarantee admission to the general university. Decisions related to general admissions are completed independently by the University and contingent on the completion of a WWU Application.

An AA or DTA is beneficial to a music student by reducing quarterly course loads and general undergraduate university requirements. Due to the sequential nature of the music curriculum, the completion of an AA or DTA may not accelerate your graduation timeline. However, students who complete college courses in music theory, aural skills, and class piano, or those who complete the AP theory exam are eligible for placement exams which may reduce core degree requirements. Eligibility for placement exams does not guarantee accelerated degree completion. Students in BMus degree programs must meet benchmarks in private lessons that cannot be determined through previous coursework or placement exams. Please visit see the University Catalog for more information regarding each degree and its requirements.

The Department of Music will accept credits for courses in music theory, aural skills, class piano, as well as ensembles, private lessons, and general music survey courses.  Courses in music theory, aural skills, and class piano will be initially accepted as a general XX transfer equivalency until a placement exam has determined the correct course equivalency. Ensembles, private lessons, and survey courses will transfer according to admissions office guidelines and at the level in which it was earned. However, students must complete the minimum degree requirements in applied private lessons and ensembles at WWU regardless of the number of credits taken at another institution.

Students can double major with any music degree program. Students who are considering a double major should be aware that this can lead to large quarterly course loads, and a possible extension in the graduation timeline. We recommend the Bachelor of Arts in Music for those who wish to double major. This degree is structured around a core curriculum that takes approximately three years to complete. Along with half the credits required in comparison to the BMus, there are fewer quarterly requirements during the third year of the sequence and electives that can be completed online or during the summer quarter. Students within the Department of Music have completed a double major in many STEM fields as well as Languages, Business, English, Theatre, Dance, and Design.

Musical theater falls under the Department of Theatre & Dance. Please visit their website for more information.

Students interested in these subjects are encouraged to look at the Audio Technology, Music and Society Minor in the Fairhaven College. While BMus Composition students may elect to take a course in computer or electroacoustic music, this is not the primary focus of the degree program.

Looking for more information?

If you have any questions, we're happy to find you an answer. Call the Music Department Office 360-650-3130, or view the directory of faculty and staff.