Music Department Overview – Asbury University
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Music Department Overview

Dr. Mark Schell, Chair

  1. The Bachelor of Science in Education, Integrated Music P-12 prepares students for positions as teachers of vocal, general, and/or instrumental music in the public and private schools.
  2. Within the Bachelor of Arts in Music, four emphases are offered: Church Music Leadership, Composition/Arranging, Performance and Pre-Music Therapy. Students may choose one of these, may minor in some subject outside music, or may use general electives to complete the degree requirements without an area of emphasis.

The faculty of the Music Department is committed to helping students gain a high level of performance proficiency, a firm theoretical and historical foundation, a solid preparation for a music career and a fusion of Christian faith and practice with the students’ musical pursuits.

Students accepted into the Music Department as a major or minor fulfill requirements listed both here and in the “Music Department Student Handbook”, which functions as a comprehensive addendum to this Academic Catalog.

Entrance and Audition Procedures

All students who wish to major or minor in music must have the approval of the music faculty, based on an entering performance audition. A student who successfully passes the entrance audition will be admitted to the music program through the sophomore level, at which time a second audition will determine eligibility for upperclassman standing. A student may also enter the program with a probationary standing. A student is removed from musical probation on the recommendation of his/her Area Coordinator and the Chairman of the Music Department after receiving a minimum of a B average in the semester jury examination combined with a minimum of a B average in the semester grade given by the private lesson instructor. A student may remain in the music degree program on musical probation for no more than two semesters.

Audition Requirements

Auditions on campus are generally held during prospective student visit weekends. Applicants may also submit a video audition (DVD or online). Audition requests may be submitted online at /academics/departments/music/auditions-scholarships. Students who desire consideration for Music Performance Scholarships (which are available to future music majors, music minors, and other musically gifted students as well) must complete a successful musical performance audition, and must complete the application for a Music Performance Scholarship: /academics/departments/music/auditions-scholarships.

The audition process for each specific vocal/instrumental type is described below.

  1. Instrumental Auditions
    1. Wind and Stringed Instruments:
      Students should be prepared to perform major and minor scales through four sharps and four flats, a chromatic scale covering the entire range of the instrument, and selected solos representing at least two styles of music (e.g.: Baroque, Classic, Romantic, Twentieth Century, or technical and lyrical styles). Students will also perform a simple sight-reading exercise.
    2. Percussion Instruments:
      Percussion students should be prepared to perform major scales through three flats and three sharps on bells, marimba or xylophone. Students with snare and/or timpani experience should also be prepared to demonstrate rudiments and/or timpani tuning and basic technique. Percussionists will also play two solos or solo movements demonstrating contrasting musical styles.
  2. Organ Auditions
    Students who wish to be admitted to the study of organ may or may not have had previous training on the instrument. For those who have had private organ studies, two contrasting pieces of repertoire from the following collections are suggested: Eight Little Preludes and Fugues by J.S. Bach (Krebs); Ten Trios by Josef Rheinberger, and Eleven Chorale Preludes by Johannes Brahms. Those who have little or no organ study should demonstrate proficiency on the piano in at least two stylistic periods (e.g.: Baroque, Classic, Romantic, Twentieth Century) with levels of difficulty equal to the following: a two-part invention by J.S. Bach; any standard sonata by Mozart, Haydn, or Beethoven; a waltz by Chopin; a piano composition by a modern composer such as Bartok or Kabalevsky.
  3. Piano Auditions
    Students should be prepared to sight-read a short piece, play several major scales (hands together, four octaves), and perform two pieces representing literature from two stylistic periods. The literature should either equal or exceed the level of challenge of works listed here: 1) Baroque–J. S. Bach, Two-Part Invention, No. 13, in A Minor; 2) Classic–Beethoven, Sonata in C Minor, Op. 13, movement III; 3) Romantic–Brahms, Rhapsody in G Minor, Op. 79, No. 2; 4) Twentieth- Century–Debussy, Arabesque No. 1 in E Major. Other appropriate literature might be found in anthologies, such as the following: 1) Agay, Denes, ed. Early Advanced Classics to Moderns, Volume 47, New York: Consolidated Music Publishers, 1969; 2) Bigler, Carole; and Lloyd-Watts, Valery, ed. Recital Winners, Volume Two, Van Nuys, CA: Alfred, 1993; 3) Olson, Lynn Freeman, Applause, Book Two, Van Nuys, CA: Alfred, 1986.
  4. Vocal Auditions
    Prospective students performing a vocal audition sing two selections – one in English and a second item in a foreign language. For scholarship consideration, the two songs should present contrasting styles of classical-tradition art songs from the Baroque, Classic, Romantic, and/or Twentieth-Century periods of music history. An accompanist will be provided for on-campus vocal auditions, though a student may bring his or her own accompanist if desired. (Recorded accompaniments are not acceptable.) Following the prepared solos, vocalists should also be prepared for two short sight-singing demonstrations.

Students who wish to submit a video audition will be asked to provide contact information for an accompanist or other music mentor who would be willing to administer the sight-singing portion of the video audition after the solo songs have been recorded.

General Music Information

Non-Music Majors: Students not majoring in music are encouraged to enroll in music courses and to participate in the choral and instrumental ensembles. They may also take private lessons and other music courses with the department.


Primary ensembles at Asbury are those that exist in support of the degree requirements for music majors and minors. The Asbury University Orchestra is the primary performing ensemble for students whose instrumental area of study is an orchestral stringed instrument. The Concert Band is the primary performing ensemble for students whose instrument is a wind or percussion instrument. The Chorale is the primary performing ensemble for students whose major instrument is voice. Primary Ensembles are not specified for majors and minors who study other instruments; however, those students must meet ensemble credit requirements. Such additional ensembles as Handbell Choir, Jazz Ensemble, Men’s Glee Club, and Women’s Choir also meet ensemble requirements for music majors, minors, and students who receive Music Performance Scholarships. Students must not only register for an ensemble but also meet that ensemble’s membership requirements in order to participate. All ensembles, however, are open for participation by all students whether or not they are pursuing a major or minor in music.

Music majors, for whom a primary ensemble is required, must participate in that primary ensemble for the first 75% of the total ensemble semesters required for the degree. For example, majors who are required to receive 8 semesters of credit for an ensemble (MUS) must register for at least 6 semesters in Concert Band, Chorale or Orchestra, as defined above. Majors who are required to receive 7 semesters of credit for an ensemble (MUSE) must register for at least 6 semesters in Concert Band, Chorale or Orchestra, as defined above. Music minors, who are required to receive 4 semesters of credit for an ensemble, register for at least 3 semesters in Concert Band, Chorale or Orchestra, as defined above.

In some circumstances, a major or minor may be permitted to have an auxiliary ensemble count toward a primary ensemble requirement. All exceptions, however, must be recommended by the advisor to the Area Coordinator, and then presented to the music faculty for approval.

Depending upon such factors as student interest, faculty loads, budget, etc., the Music Department also offers a wide variety of other ensembles to enrich the musical life of the University and to offer additional performing experiences for students of all majors. The various instrumental chamber ensembles are offered for credit under the title of “Collegium Musicum” and may include such diverse offerings as Brass Ensemble, Flute Choir, Guitar Ensemble, Handbell Duets/Trios/Quartets, Percussion Ensemble, String Ensemble, Trumpet Choir, Woodwind Ensemble, etc.

Further information about Asbury University Music Ensembles may be found on our website:


Recital Requirement: All music majors must present a recital of high caliber in accordance with music department standards. These standards are found in the “Recital Requirements & Guidelines” document (

Recital Attendance: All music majors and minors are required to attend a minimum number of recitals. Students with majors in the Music degree program must pass eight semesters of recital attendance. Students in the Education, Integrated Music P-12 degree program must pass seven semesters, because the student teaching semester is exempt. Those in the Music Minor program must pass four semesters of recital attendance. Transfer music majors will be required to enroll in RCT 041 every semester.

Language Requirement: French and German are the languages of music; therefore these are the recommended languages for the Music majors. Music Education majors are exempt from the language requirement.

Piano Requirements for All Music Majors

  1. Non-keyboard music majors must enroll in Functional Piano (PNO 151, PNO 152, & PNO 251) concurrently with the freshman and sophomore music theory courses; this enrollment in Functional Piano must continue without interruption until all required courses have been passed.
  2. Keyboard music majors are required to take:  PNO 161, PNO 162, PNO 261, PNO 262. (Church music keyboard majors take PNO 130 instead of PNO 261, PNO 262).
  3. No student will be permitted either to register for student teaching or to request a senior recital hearing until he/she passes all Functional Piano requirements.

Private Lessons

Private music lessons are available on piano, organ, voice, handbells, all orchestral and band instruments, and guitar. A private lesson fee per credit is charged in addition to tuition credit. Students request private lessons by registering for INS 999 (Instrumental), ORG 999 (organ), PNO 999 (piano), or the appropriate VOC (voice) lessons number.

Vocal Lessons

Vocal faculty in the Asbury University Music Department approach the training of the singing voice primarily through repertoire and methodology associated with classical vocal study. Though students may bring in items of vocal literature for consideration by their voice teacher, the standard content, repertoire and methodology for voice lessons is determined by the teacher within the guidelines described for the various vocal lesson tracks. In the first semester of vocal study, at the discretion of the teacher, students may be given an optional assignment in place of the performance requirement, allowing a longer period to develop vocal technique in preparation for singing before an audience. Students with Opera or Musical Theatre roles may, if approved by and channeled through the private instructor, make prior request for evaluations during these performances, enabling them to fulfill part or all of the performance requirements for the semester. All voice lesson courses may be repeated. Students without prior training may first take VOC 100 or VOC 104 as a pre-requisite to voice lessons.

Juries and Public Performance Requirement: Music majors and minors participate in a jury exam for private instrument or vocal study at the end of each semester of required private lessons. The evaluation of the non-music major receiving private instruction can be an examination, a jury, or a studio or student recital performance. In addition, music majors and minors have an annual public performance requirement. Departmental recital performances in the last four weeks of the semester, or any public recital for which credit is taken, may substitute for either the entire jury examination or for part of the jury.


2020-21 Academic Catalog