Music Theory at MSU

We Prioritize Integration.

We value scholarship and teaching equally, and our graduate theory majors leave our program equally accomplished at both. They develop skills in analysis, pedagogy, research, and musicianship as part of a vibrant, mutually supportive community of scholar-teachers with diverse interests and backgrounds. And students throughout the College of Music strengthen their musicianship in our courses by acquiring aural and analytical skills that apply to performance, conducting, composition, listening, and study.

In addition to developing my analytical skills, I grew so much as a teacher, musician, and person in the MSU music theory area. The invaluable hands-on teaching experience, in combination with learning from masterful faculty teachers every semester, inspired me. It also prepared me directly for several jobs in higher education, which otherwise would not have been available to me.

Travis Scott '17 (MM Theory), now Assistant Professor of Music Theory at Xavier University

And We Offer Exceptional Opportunities to Students.

Students take readings seminars, pedagogy courses, analysis classes, and intensive skills workshops in counterpoint and keyboard skills. They teach music theory and aural skills with the expert guidance of a faculty member. They interact with renowned scholars throughout the field as part of our monthly guest scholars program. They develop their own research projects within courses or in an independent study with a faculty mentor. They present their research at our music theory colloquium and then share it with a national audience at conferences. Above all, they grow and thrive in a community of supportive peers and approachable, student-centered faculty members.

What I appreciate most about the theory area is the passion and variety of specializations found in the faculty. The program provided me opportunities to further my existing skills and to explore new approaches to finding deeper levels of meaning in music. The pedagogy focus also helped me learn how to better convey those meanings to others."

Ben Montgomery '17 (MM Music Theory)

Are you a current student at MSU or a future student? Learn more!