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2012-2013 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Music - Program Description

For additional information about opportunities your college offers, please refer to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences section in this catalog.

Chair: Phipps. Assistant Chair: Tutt. Professors: Campbell, Feurzeig, Martin, B., Norris, Phipps, Schuster-Craig, Stoelzel; Associate Professors: Copenhaver, Duitman, Mahave-Veglia, Marlais, Pool, Ryan, Schriemer, Stieler, Tutt, Vavrikova, Williams; Assistant Professors: Gibbs, Lupis, Martin, J., Maytan, Nichol.

In addition to the full-time faculty, 40+ distinguished musicians and educators teach applied music and courses in music on a part-time basis.


The Department of Music offers curricula leading to the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music, and Bachelor of Music Education degrees, as well as the B.A. with a major in dance. These degree programs present professional training in music in the context of a broad liberal education. They provide courses of study for gifted students who are interested in performance, composition, music technology, jazz studies, preparing for advanced study in graduate school, and vocal and instrumental music education, for those who seek careers in elementary and secondary school teaching. Additionally, in the tradition of liberal education, the department is committed to providing the experience of music for students in all departments and to serving the university community by providing appropriate musical support for all facets of academic life.

Grand Valley State University is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music.

Career Opportunities

Music provides many career opportunities-from playing in a symphony orchestra to becoming a recording studio musician, from teaching privately or in a college to being a band leader or an organist and church choir director. For the talented and versatile music educator, there are many opportunities to teach music in public and private schools.

In addition to careers in performance and teaching, there are numerous other challenging opportunities that demand thorough music training. These include being a music therapist, copyist, conductor, performance manager, composer, arranger, librarian, journalist, church musician, instrument repair person, studio musician, or fine arts broadcaster. Persons who combine training in music with one of the other arts, such as theatre, dance, or communications, are prepared for still other career possibilities.


In addition to the formal admission to Grand Valley, each applicant wanting to major or minor in music is required to arrange for a personal audition with the music department. When considerable geographical distance or extreme hardship prevents a personal audition, the applicant may, with the permission of the department, submit a tape recording of an appropriate performance. Arrangements for auditions may be completed only after the applicant has been admitted to Grand Valley. Audition appointments should be made at least 3 weeks in advance. Entering freshmen and transfer students will be required to take a theory placement exam and a keyboard placement exam. Recommended audition repertoire and an application can be found at

In addition to completion of a successful audition prior to admission, a second screening occurs before admission to upper-division courses. This evaluation includes performance, faculty recommendations, a brief essay, an interview, and, for music education majors, a profile of teaching competencies.

Scholarship Opportunities

In addition to a generous array of academic scholarships and awards based on financial need, the Department of Music annually awards nearly $260,000 in talent scholarships to students in music and dance who show exceptional talent as performers and composers. Department of Music scholarships are awarded on the basis of achievement and potential in music and dance performance (by audition) and composition (portfolio).

  • Ensemble Performance Awards - For Majors and Non-Majors

Gierst-Egler Awards up to $500 to band instrumentalists. These awards require an audition and participation in an ensemble. Students may also elect private study on an instrument.
Branstrom Awards up to $500 to outstanding musicians, with special consideration given to pianists and singers. These awards require an audition and participation in a major choral ensemble. Students may also elect private study.

  • Individual Music Scholarships

Edith Blodgett Piano Scholarship: Awards to outstanding pianists in either the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Music degree program. Required are an audition, self-evaluative paper, and letter of recommendation.
Eitzen Voice Scholarship: Awards to outstanding freshman voice majors. Required are an audition, self-evaluative paper, and letter of recommendation from voice instructor or high school choir director.
Arthur C. Hills Music Scholarship: Awards to music majors to be used during the junior or senior year by a music major. Requires audition, nomination by a GVSU music faculty member, self-evaluative paper, 3.0 GPA, and two letters of recommendation from GVSU faculty members, including one from the performance instructor. The deadline is February 1.

Student Organization

Collegiate Chapter of the National Association for Music Education (CMENC) is the only national association that addresses every aspect of music education - band, chorus, orchestra, general music, teacher education, and research. CMENC's more than 70,000 members represent all levels of teaching, from pre-kindergarten through postgraduate. Since 1907, the national association for music education has worked to ensure that every student has access to a comprehensive sequential and high-quality program of music education. The collegiate chapter at GVSU offers the future music educator - B.M.E candidate -opportunities to serve music education needs of the surrounding area and experiences that facilitate professional growth and development. Further information is available from Professor Charles Norris, who serves as faculty advisor.

Kappa Kappa Psi (KKP) is a national fraternal organization that accepts men and women and is open to all students of any academic major. It was founded in 1919 at Oklahoma A & M College (now Oklahoma State University) and is presently located in over 150 colleges and universities, including Grand Valley State University. The common bond of this organization is that its members have a love of music as an instrumentalist and also participate in various band activities. Visit their website at or for more information about the GVSU Mu Kappa chapter of KKP, please email: [email protected]

Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia was organized in 1898 at the New England Conservatory and became a national fraternity in 1900. Since that time Sinfonia has grown into the largest music fraternity in the world, with more than 150,000 initiates and chapters on over 200 college and university campuses across the nation, including the Rho Xi chapter at Grand Valley State University. "The object of this fraternity shall be for the development of the best and truest fraternal spirit, the mutual welfare and brotherhood of musical students; the advancement of music in America and a loyalty to the Alma Mater." We seek musician men to strive for brotherhood amongst their peers in order to improve both their own lives, and the lives of those in the community and beyond. For more information about Sinfonia, visit the national website at or for information about the Rho Xi chapter at GVSU, please email Alex Carpenter at: [email protected]

Sigma Alpha Iota is an organization which promotes interaction among those who share a commitment to music. Members of SAI are active in areas of campus music and campus life, working closely with faculty, administration, campus and community groups, music professionals and patrons. In addition to personal encouragement and support, members may receive scholarships, loans and awards in many areas and at all levels of music-related study. Sigma Alpha Iota has long been recognized as a leader in the field of music and provides a lifetime of fraternity contact.

Requirements for Major and Minor Programs

In addition to requirements outlined in the programs, all music majors must fulfill the department recital and Music Major Seminar attendance requirements, fulfill the keyboard musicianship requirements, and perform one or two faculty-approved recitals, as appropriate to the degree program selected. Music majors and minors should consult the music and dance department student handbook for additional information and helpful suggestions.

Transfer students are required to complete a minimum of 30 hours at Grand Valley, which includes at least eight hours in applied music, three hours in major ensembles, and nine additional hours in music to be determined by the advisor. Any exceptions to these requirements are left to the discretion of the music department.

The following programs are available:

Bachelor of Arts in Music

Bachelor of Music

Music Minor

Bachelor of Music Education

If you are in need of assistance please submit any questions or comments.