Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance Student Handbook

For Music, Theatre, and Dance Majors and Minors

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


This Student Handbook for Music, Theatre, and Dance Majors and Minors contains important information, some of which is not found in other university publications. It has been prepared to facilitate entry into the Music, Theatre, and Dance degree programs and to provide a guide for future degree planning. While every effort has been made to achieve complete accuracy in this handbook, students are encouraged to seek advice and clarification of specific details from their music or dance faculty advisor.


A current list of faculty and staff is available online at

Grand Valley State University offers four undergraduate programs in music: the Bachelor of Music degree, the Bachelor of Music Education degree, the Bachelor of Arts degree in Music, and the Minor in Music. Sample plans can be found in the degree charts located online at The student's advisor can also provide further information.

All music majors and minors play an entrance audition to gain admission to their respective degree program. A Mid-Program Review (MPR), or evaluation of overall progress determined by a faculty committee, is required at the end of the sophomore year for BM and BME students. Successful completion of the MPR is necessary for admission to upper-division courses. For a detailed description of the MPR, see the relevant sections below.

Bachelor of Music (BM)
The BM is designed for students who demonstrate exceptional preparation for college-level applied music and for whom graduate school in performance is a realistic goal. Instruction in guitar, organ, piano, voice, and band and orchestral instruments is offered. For students with abilities in composition and/or jazz studies, there is opportunity to develop these skills as well.

Bachelor of Music Education (BME)
Students who successfully complete the BME degree will be certified to teach K-12 vocal, instrumental, and general music at any elementary or secondary school in Michigan. Because of the many skills required of a school music teacher, care should be taken in planning and undertaking the course of study in this program. Many of the required courses, including teacher assisting and student teaching, are in the College of Education. It is imperative that all candidates for the BME degree work with their advisors to become knowledgeable about College of Education requirements and deadlines. All music education coursework must be completed prior to teacher assisting and student teaching.

In the final year, following a semester of teacher assisting, each student will be assigned a semester of student teaching in a school which offers good opportunities within the student's specialty. Pre-service teachers have regular meetings with music education faculty. Student teachers are given a minimum of three observations by the music faculty during the student teaching semester in addition to observations by the College of Education faculty.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The BME degree program is given in collaboration with the GVSU College of Education (COE), and the COE's minimum requirements for admission to the Teacher Education program (as they apply to music majors in the BME degree program) should be carefully consulted by interested students. The regulations concerning academic achievement, prerequisite courses, recommendations, experience (25 hours of experience with children or youth), academic progress, university basic skills, TB Test Report, Felony Conviction Statement, Current Degree Analysis, Resume, as well as application deadline dates, and College of Education Advancement and Exit Requirement can be found online at:

Bachelor of Arts in Music (BA)
The BA degree in music provides a course of study for students interested in a liberal arts degree with a major in music. This degree, with its foreign language component, offers an appropriate background for prospective advanced-degree candidates who are preparing for careers in composition, technology, music history, music theory, jazz studies, library science, or independent studio teaching. It also works well for students who want to study music but are aiming at careers in other fields, and for students with double majors. There is sufficient flexibility within the B.A. to provide an opportunity for acquisition of those skills that are necessary in the current technological environment. The culminating event of the BA is a senior project planned and carried out with the help of a faculty advisor. Students electing a BA in music must complete a minimum of 42 credit hours in music planned with the approval of a faculty advisor in the department.

In the final year of the BA degree, each student designs and completes a senior project. Each BA student should consult with his or her advisor in the junior year to begin planning the project. Once the project topic has been selected, the department chair will assign an appropriate advisor for the project. Since some projects are difficult to complete within a semester, a student may take an independent study in one semester to begin exploring a topic and then sign up for the project itself in the following semester.

Each BA project will be evaluated by the project advisor. Students are strongly encouraged to invite at least one other faculty member to be on a committee. Experts from other departments or from outside GVSU may also be included on the committee as appropriate to the project. Committee members will attend the final presentation and consult with the project advisor about an appropriate grade for the project. This project has a good deal of flexibility. The plan should be designed to meet one of the following descriptions; a detailed research paper on a musical topic; a BA senior recital of at least 30 minutes; a BA composition recital; the organization and direction of a musical performance; an internship that involves music. BA projects must include a public presentation of some kind. For projects that do not culminate in a performance, the student must present the material in a talk, either to the general community or to a GVSU class (if appropriate). A BA senior recital should be linked by an overarching theme, such as geography, history, or subject matter. Examples might be pieces that trace the history of an instrument, or pieces from one city/time period, or songs that share a topic (such as the seasons). It must also have a verbal component: thus it can either be a lecture-recital or include detailed program notes.  An internship that involves music must include interesting tasks that are music-related. The internship must continue throughout the semester with a tota amount of time equivalent to at least 14 hours (minimum 1 hour per week). The student must keep an internship journal and show it regularly to the GVSU project advisor.

Any adjustments to the BA project require the consent of the project advisor. Note that a recital is not permitted as a project unless the student is enrolled in applied lessons. Also, a project funded by the Student Summer Scholars program cannot double-count as a BA project.

Music Minor
The music minor program is designed for students with previous training in music seeking non-music degrees who desire to increase their knowledge of music or further develop their skills in music. A checklist of required courses can be found at under the "Current Students" navigation item. Selection of elective hours in the music minor program should be made in consultation with Professor Alex Wilson who can be reached at (616) 331-3393 or [email protected].

Piano Pedagogy Certificate
Overview of Courses

Performance Honors in Music
The faculty of the music department encourages all students to achieve their highest possible development in performance. Performance Honors allows students in the BA or BME degree program to audition to enter the BM series of applied study (MUS 144/145, etc. one hour lessons, in place of the MUS 141/142, etc. half-hour lessons). This option is especially good for students with strong performance skills who enter college uncertain of career goals and wish to keep open the option of transferring to the BM degree program especially during their first two years. Students can audition for the Performance Honors program during their initial audition or any subsequent jury. If Performance Honors is carried into the third and fourth years, junior- and senior-year recitals are required. Students in performance honors lessons will be expected to perform a half recital for MUS 345 and a full recital for MUS 445. Students may relinquish the Performance Honors option simply by returning to the standard applied study courses for their degree (MUS 241-242 rather than 244-245, etc.). Students are strongly advised, however, meet with advisors and performance faculty before finalizing any decisions.

The theatre program provides quality student centered education and performance experiences within Grand Valley State University's liberal education environment. The theatre program enables students to fully explore their potential as productive, literate, articulate, humane, and culturally engaged members of a global public through a close study of theatre theory and practice. Students so educated are able to bring highly developed aesthetic and critical skills, flexibility, and creativity to a wide range of graduate school and career opportunities.

Students may use the major as a preparation for graduate or professional work; the required courses provide basic training in essential theatre areas, and students planning to pursue more advanced work should take well-chosen electives in areas designed to increase specific skills. All theatre majors are required to participate in university theatre productions as actors, designers, production technicians and managers; academic credit is given for all such involvement. The program also supports students pursuing regional, national, and international internships as managers, publicists, technicians, and production assistants with major professional theaters and arts organizations. Theatre courses from overseas schools can substitute for GVSU theatre requirements for those students pursuing international studies.

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Theatre
A bachelor's degree in theatre requires completion of (1) B.A. or B.S. degree requirements, (2) theatre core, (3) theatre electives, and (4) a theatre Capstone. The Bachelor of Arts requires between 50 and 62 credit hours depending on the number of courses required to demonstrate language proficiency, while the Bachelor of Science requires 59 credit hours.

Theatre minor
Theatre minors must complete 20 hours of theatre coursework. Minors must complete one course in the design/tech/management area, one in the theatre studies area, and one in the performance area. Most of these select courses also serve as prerequisite courses for more advanced theatre study. Minors must complete additional courses in any theatre area to fulfill the 20 hours minimum credit requirement.


Bachelor of Arts in Dance (BA)
The BA in Dance is designed for students who demonstrate exceptional training for college-level dance. Students will focus their conservatory-like experience on ballet and modern training while refining technique in various other dance styles such as jazz and pointe. Students will also focus their academic experience on dance history, technology, composition, improvisation, pedagogy, and theoretical perspectives to ensure their success as educated members of the dance community. The BA degree prepares students for many careers, such as performance, teaching, choreography, and also for further study in a master's degree program.

Dance Minor
The dance minor program is designed for students with exceptional training in college-level dance interested in continuing their dance education. The student choosing to minor in dance must complete 23 credit hours in the field. Students will focus on performance in the styles of ballet, modern, and jazz with additional courses in dance history and composition. Students also have the opportunity to tailor their degree program while meeting the requirements of the Dance Minor through dance electives such as ballet partnering, pointe, Dance Company, pedagogy, and men's technique.

Dance Majors/Minors have the opportunity to participate in the GVSU Dance Company, the resident fine arts dance company of Grand Valley State University. Students are encouraged to participate in student choreographed and produced dance concerts and the American College Dance Association conferences.

Performing/Classroom Facilities
The Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance is located in the Haas Center for Performing Arts (HCPA) on the GVSU Allendale campus. The original building was finished in 1971. In 1997 the building underwent major renovations and expansion. Further renovations of the building were completed in 2017 with the addition of a Black Box theatre, theatre classroom space, small ensemble rooms, faculty offices, and an expanded lobby.  You will find the HCPA a pleasant and attractive home for Music, Theatre, and Dance. The Haas Center for Performing Arts is in close proximity to the Mary Idema Pew library, Cook-DeWitt Center, Kirkhof Center, the Cook Carillon Tower, and campus housing. Available facilities include the Louis Armstrong Theatre, which seats 500, and the Sherman Van Solkema Recital Hall, which seats 100, along with 14 teaching studios for individual performance instruction, and a total of 26 practice rooms. Four large rehearsal rooms for instrumental ensembles, choral ensembles, percussion teaching and rehearsing, and chamber sectionals occupy the south wing of the HCPA. In addition, a new dance wing was added in 2001 and includes two spacious studios with sprung marley floors, a quadraphonic sound system, large locker and dressing rooms, and four faculty offices. A third concert auditorium, which seats 250 in the neighboring Cook-DeWitt Center, is also often used for student and faculty performances. This hall houses the Jay and Betty Van Andel 28-rank Reuter pipe organ used for lessons and organ recitals. The Cook Carillon Tower houses the 48-bell Cook Carillon cast by Royal Eijsbouts Bell Foundry in the Netherlands. The Beckering Family Carillon is the focal point of the Pew Campus in downtown Grand Rapids.

Music Technology and Keyboard Lab
The Music Technology Lab (PAC 1206) is a large multi-user facility with 22 workstations. Each lab workstation contains a Yamaha keyboard and a Macintosh computer with professional-level software, ranging from music editing programs to music notation programs . All workstations are linked to additional outboard audio gear in a shared rack at the front of the lab. Students can work with MIDI, software synthesis, digital signal processing and editing, physical modeling, sampling, algorithmic composition, a variety of music theory and ear-training programs, and other applications. The lab is open to all students.

At certain hours the Lab is used as a classroom to introduce music technology and theory applications. A schedule is posted on the lab door.

Dance Studios
Dance studios are located in the 1600 wing of the PAC. Please do not eat or drink in the studios. No street shoes are to be worn on the marley floor and items that may be damaging to the floor (ex. sharp heels, shoes that scuff, props with nails and screws protruding) are strictly prohibited. Sound, lighting, and musical equipment are to be used only with permission from a faculty member. Due to limited space, the dance studios are off limits to non-dance majors/minors and student groups/clubs/organizations.

Cook Carillon & Carillon Study
Since 1994, the GVSU Allendale campus has been enhanced by the Cook Carillon and Tower presented by Peter and Pat Cook. The instrument has 48 bells and was cast by Eijsbouts Bellfounders and Clockmakers in Asten, The Netherlands. In 2000, a second carillon, the Beckering Family Carillon and Tower, was dedicated at the Richard DeVos Campus in downtown Grand Rapids. It is possible for students with keyboard or percussion skills to study carillon with the University Carillonist in the same manner as other applied instrument study is available. Interested individuals can contact the University Carillonneur through the Department Office to arrange for an interview/audition. In order to study carillon performance for credit, a student must have sufficient keyboard skills to be able to read and play four parts at sight with accuracy and musicality.

Theatre classrooms and spaces
Theatre classroom and rehearsal spaces are located in rooms 1721 and 1506 in the Haas Center for Performing Arts.  The costume workshop is located in room 1755.  Additionally, theatre students will have the opportunity to work with the Scene Shop and the Linn Maxwell Keller Black Box Theatre, also located in the Haas Center for Performing Arts. 

Department Office
The Department Office is located in Room 1300 of the Haas Center for Performing Arts. The Administrative Assistant, Department Secretary, and student workers can assist with department procedures and answer many questions.


In addition to the formal admission to GVSU, each applicant wanting to major or minor in music or dance is required to arrange an on-campus audition with the department. A successful entrance audition must be completed prior to being accepted as a music or dance major or minor and being given permission to enroll in music and dance major courses.

Music auditions generally consist of the performance of a prepared piece(s), sight-reading, and appropriate technique material. 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 under "Future Students > Audition Information."

Auditions for performing ensembles--bands, choirs, and orchestras--take place immediately prior to Fall semester and as needed prior to Winter semester. For information, contact the department office at (616) 331-3484 or the appropriate ensemble director. A list of ensemble directors is available online at

For the Dance Program there are five auditions which emphasize ballet and modern technique. Students will also perform a 1-2 minute solo in any idiom. Information can be found online at under "Future Students > Audition Information."

When considerable geographical distance or extreme hardship prevents an on-campus audition, an applicant may, with the permission of the department, submit an audio/video recording which reflects the audition requirements listed online at for auditions may be completed only after an application to GVSU has been submitted. To arrange an audition, applicants can go online at or call the department office at (616) 331-3484 to request an audition application and audition requirements. Return the completed audition application no later than three weeks prior to the requested audition date. Audition times are arranged through the Music, Theatre, and Dance Department Office at (616) 331-3484.

Theatre is not an auditioned major, but auditions are held for theatre productions.  More information is available about theatre production auditions online at

MUS 130 is the first course in the music theory sequence for all music degrees at GVSU. To be successful in the course, you must have an understanding of music fundamentals (such as pitch and rhythm notation, scales, key signatures, intervals, and triads). For this reason, all incoming music students take a theory placement test to determine their readiness for MUS 130. Transfer students are not exempt from placement testing.

The link below will take you to an online placement test. You must successfully pass the placement test in order to register for MUS 130 (Music Theory 1), MUS 133 (Aural Perception and Sightsinging 1), and MUS 263 (Keyboard Musicianship 1). Enrollment in MUS 130 is prerequisite for both MUS 133 and MUS 263 because the music theory content knowledge is essential for success in these courses. If you do not pass the placement test, you will register for MUS 129 (Fundamentals of Music) in order to build a solid foundation in music fundamentals before beginning your theory, aural perception, and keyboard musicianship course sequence.

If you don’t pass the placement test on your first try, you may retake it up to 5 more times. You can take the test whenever you like (and spend some time studying between retakes); however, you must have a passing grade prior to your orientation and course registration in order to register for MUS 130/133. If you have any questions about the placement test or the theory sequence at GVSU, please contact Dr. Anna Fulton ([email protected]).

Link to placement test: 

(Note: our placement test is run through the online service uTheory. You do not need to purchase a uTheory plan in order to take the test. )

Keyboard Musicianship Placement
Also on audition day, all new students must take a Keyboard Musicianship Placement examination with Professor Helen Marlais or Professor Sookkyung Cho. For keyboard musicianship requirements in the various degree programs see the Music Program Requirements module on this page.

For more information, see our transfer student information online at:

Transfer students are required to complete 30 hours at GVSU. Because backgrounds and requirements differ considerably, transfer students should consult their advisor during their first two weeks.

Transfer music students must fulfill by audition or placement the following requirements:

1. Performance audition to determine competency level on major instrument
2. Keyboard musicianship assessment
3. Ear training assessment based on Music 234 (fourth semester ear training) exit standards
4. Theory assessment based on Music 231 (fourth semester theory) exit standards
5. Degree analysis beyond the above assessments to compare applicant's course work to GVSU requirements, from which a determination of an applicant's standing and deficiencies if any will be made.

Additional requirements for students seeking music teacher certification or transferring to the BME degree from another institution:

1. Successful completion of the BME Review (if beyond sophomore music standing)
2. Consultation with the College of Education regarding core courses and requirements

Students graduating from Grand Rapids Community College are governed by the articulation agreement between our two institutions.  For more information about this transfer agreement, please visit:

Transfer students in Dance are required to complete 30 hours at GVSU, which includes at least 8 hours in ballet, 8 hours in modern, 2 hours in Dance Company, and 3 hours in choreography. Students should consult their advisor early in the program.

Transfer dance students must fulfill by audition or placement the following requirements:

1. Ballet and Modern class auditions to determine competency level in technique
2. 1-2 minute solo performance in the idiom of their choosing
3. Degree analysis beyond the above assessments to compare applicant's course work to GVSU requirements, from which a determination of an applicant's standing and deficiencies if any will be made

Note: If transferring dance history credits, a transcript grade of "B" or better is required, otherwise a comprehensive history exam is required to determine transfer.

Transfer theatre students should submit transcripts from prior institutions to the Registrar and to the Music, Theatre, and Dance department for evaluation to determine which theatre courses can receive THE transfer credit.

After successful audition and acceptance as a music, theatre or dance major or minor, students will declare their major or minor during the summer orientation/registration experience. Students may change their decision at a later time. Music students who switch from one MUS major or minor to another, should complete a Major Declaration Form which can be found online at

Once registered, the department assigns an official departmental faculty advisor, based on degree program and the following list. Theatre students may change advisors depending on their area of concentration. While students are free to seek advice from various members of the faculty, the official departmental faculty advisor plays a special role as mentor. Students should contact their advisor at their first opportunity. 

Faculty advisors

BA Music Degree Program

A-H                                       Lisa Feurzeig
I-P                                         Barry Martin
Q-Z and Composition            Bill Ryan

BM Degree Program
Vocal                                      Dale Schriemer
Clarinet and Flute                  Arthur Campbell
Oboe and Bassoon                Marlen Vavrikova
Saxophone                             Dan Graser
Strings                                    Pablo Mahave-Veglia 
Trombone                               Mark Williams           
Trumpet                                  Alex Wilson   
Tuba, Horn, Percussion          Paul Carlson
Piano                                      Helen Marlais / Sookkyung Cho

BME Degree Program

A-M                                        Chuck Norris
N-Z & Composition                John Martin

Transfer Students
BA                                          Lisa Feurzeig 
BM                                         See BM List
BME                                       Beth Gibbs       

Music Minors                         Alex Wilson

A-J                                         Carrie Brueck Morris 
K-Z                                         Hannah Seidel

Dance Minors                       Hannah Seidel

A-H                                         James Bell                                  
I-P                                           Allison Metz                              
Q-Z                                         Al Sheffield                               

Theatre Minors                      James Bell                                 

From semester to semester, faculty advisors assist students with organizing their programs, completing courses of study, interpreting requirements, and answering other questions. To assist in planning, the student and his/her advisor should maintain a Degree Checklist. These forms are available on the Department website ( under “Current Students > Student Forms”.)

Advising on program content: The availability of good advice on a student's life and on academic and professional matters in a student's major field constitutes an important element in university education. Although final choices will always be up to the student, a student is encouraged to talk through plans, requirements, possibilities, goals, problems, strategies, etc. with members of the music, theatre, and dance faculty at Grand Valley State University. Faculty members are committed to providing their best advice and support.

Advising on program completion: Students should meet with their advisors on a consistent basis, with a minimum of once per year prior to registration.  Regular meetings will help to ensure that students are on track to meet degree requirements for graduation. As a student nears completion of their degree program, their academic advisor will perform a degree audit to ensure all course and program requirements are being met.

 Students needing extra academic support may seek assistance from The Tutoring Center. More information is available online at

Performance Opportunities

A list of Music ensembles is available at:

Ensemble Auditions
Auditions for performing ensembles--bands, choirs, and orchestras--take place immediately prior to Fall semester and as needed prior to Winter semester. For information, contact the department office at (616) 331-3484 or the appropriate ensemble director. A list of ensemble directors is available online at

Chamber Music
GVSU music students are strongly encouraged to explore the playing and singing of chamber music. To get ideas on repertoire, learn the names of other interested students, and make arrangements for coaching, a student should contact his/her applied music teacher

The GVSU Dance Company together with the Freshman Company are the resident dance companies of the Dance Program and perform two mainstage productions per year. Guest choreographers and performers from national and international modern and ballet companies are invited every year to set work on the Dance Company and Freshman Company and each provides one week of master classes. Students also have the opportunity to perform in works choreographed by GVSU Dance faculty and local dance educators. The Freshman Company is only open to dance majors and minors.  The Dance Company is only open to dance majors.  Participation in the Dance Company and the Freshman Company meet the performance requirement for the Dance Program and is a total of 4 credit hours.

Details about theatre performance opportunities can be found online at

Regular attendance at a variety of performances each semester is a vital component of a good music, theatre, or dance education. In the midst of daily practice times, ensemble rehearsals, and other study and analysis, the magical qualities of live performance and the high artistry of creative practitioners provide models and expand awareness as they give pleasure and inspire. They provide connection to a larger worlds of music, theatre, and dance, without which the weekly round of practice and academic study may become isolated and routine.

Music Student Policies and Resources

"Applied Music" is individual instruction on an instrument or in voice. Lessons begin the first week of classes. Returning students should consult their applied teacher for lesson time and place. New students will be assigned an applied teacher at the music major orientation. Students may also inquire in the department office for applied teacher assignments. Once new students have been assigned an applied teacher, they will be given the opportunity to sign up for lessons. Applied Music 445 (BM students), 441 (BME students), or 242 (BA or Music Minor students) must be completed successfully prior to graduation.


GVSU music students are strongly encouraged to explore the playing and singing of chamber music. To get ideas on repertoire, learn the names of other interested students, and make arrangements for coaching, a student should contact his/her applied music teacher.

Equipment/Instruments: String and wind students are expected to own instruments of suitable quality. Occasionally, students who are members of the GVSU bands and orchestras may ask to use, and must assume responsibility for, professional-quality instruments owned by the University. These tend to be the large, less portable, instruments. For information on the use of these instruments, see one of the band staff or the instrumental ensemble conductors.

Upon entrance, all students with the exception of keyboard majors and minors will be placed in the appropriate keyboard musicianship class. Students who are beginners or relative beginners on piano are placed in Music 263 or 264. A group lesson is given in a digital Yamaha Clavinova lab which seats 20 students. Unless they place out, based on prior study, students must pass the appropriate terminal Keyboard Musicianship course for their program as follows:

VOCAL MAJORS in the BM and BME degree programs must complete Keyboard Musicianship IV (MUS 284);

INSTRUMENTAL MAJORS in the BM and BME degree programs must complete Keyboard Musicianship III (MUS 283)

BA MAJORS (MUSIC) and MUSIC MINORS must complete Keyboard Musicianship II (MUS 264).

BME STUDENTS: Without exception, students in the Bachelor of Music Education program must pass the appropriate terminal course during the semester prior to submission of the application to the College of Education. No student will be recommended by the music faculty to COE before completion of the piano requirement.

Music lockers and practice rooms are reserved for students playing in ensembles, taking private lessons, and/or pursuing a major or minor in music and have need for storage. Preference for space goes to students who cannot easily transport their instrument from their living space.  

Practice Rooms: Practice Rooms are located in the 1400 and 1500 hallways of the HCPA, as well as eight rooms in the basement of Murray Living Center.

Practice Room Reservations: On a designated day during the first week of classes each semester, music majors and minors must make reservations for practice room times in the Department Office, Room 1300 HCPA, between 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. During this sign-up time, students can sign up for a total of two hours each day during the peak time of 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday - Friday, and a total of one hour during all other times. The following day, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., in the Department Office, all Music Majors and Minors may reserve time in any practice rooms that are left open. There are four vocal practice rooms (HCPA 1401, 1403, 1413, 1415) and four piano practice rooms (HCPA 1405, 1407, 1409, 1411). Piano or voice students using these rooms must obtain a practice room key from the office.

Practice Room Rules: There is no eating in practice rooms. The "Ten-Minute Rule" is in force for all practice rooms at GVSU. This means that any music student may take a practice room that is not occupied by ten minutes past the hour. NOTE: Leaving books, equipment, etc., does not ensure holding a room.

When time permits, students may be able to use a faculty studio--written permission is required--for rehearsals. There are also grand pianos located in the large rehearsal rooms, which can sometimes be reserved through the department office.

To schedule regular, small-ensemble rehearsal times, students may request the use of unscheduled studios and/or classrooms. See the Secretary in the Department Office to check availability and to schedule the rooms

The following ensembles are automatically scheduled for recording: MUS 101-MUS 103, MUS 105, MUS 109-MUS 118. Any student performance needing additional recordings should make a request using the Audio/Video Recording Request Form on the Student Forms page of the MTD website. 

Consult with the Equipment Coordinator at least two weeks prior to the event to make sure all needs are met and responsibilities delegated. Please provide exact numbers for everything you need. Last minute requests may or may not be fulfilled based on availability.

Student Recital Hour (SRH) is held the first Friday of the semester and resumes the second half of the Fall and Winter semesters on Fridays for one hour starting at noon. Signs will be posted to announce the restart of the SRH each semester. During the first Friday of the semester and on other occasions, this hour may be utilized for a meeting to provide important information to students. Attendance policy is at the discretion of the applied instructor.

SRH provides students a forum to take performance-ready works out of the practice room and teaching studio into a live performance environment. With the approval of their applied lesson instructor and accompanist (if applicable) students can test new repertoire as a step toward a jury or recital. As SRH performances are open to the public, appropriate performance attire is required for all performers.

To perform on SRH, students should  print and fill out a SRH Request available online at, have it signed by their applied lesson instructor or chamber music coach and accompanist (if applicable) and submit it to the SRH Coordinator, Professor Alex Wilson, a minimum of one week prior to the desired performance date. Recital performances are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, so early submission is highly encouraged to ensure the requested performance date is available. Any questions regarding SRH can be directed to the SRH Coordinator, Professor Alex Wilson at (616)-331-3393 or [email protected].

In order to respect colleagues who are performing, and to demonstrate proper audience etiquette, it is strongly recommended that attendees stay for the duration of the recital.

Studio classes are required of all students enrolled in applied music. Studio classes are held each week for all instruments. The studio class is typically run by an applied teacher for his or her own students or the students of other teachers in their area. The purpose of the class, as determined by individual faculty, can include providing an additional performance venue for students, providing an informal occasion for trying out works in progress, introducing new ideas, or hosting guest teachers/artists.


The Mid-Program Review for Bachelor of Arts in Dance students consists of the following:

1. A one to two page typewritten statement that includes an outline of the student's career goals, an evaluation of the student's strengths and weaknesses, and a plan for addressing the student's weaknesses. This statement must be signed by the student's advisor no later than the end of the 7th week of the semester in which the Mid-Program Review will take place.

2. Once the advisor has received the statement from the student, he/she will check the student's academic records to confirm that the following criteria has been successfully met:

- Completion of or current enrollment in two semesters of ballet (DAN 241, 341, or 441), two semesters of modern dance (DAN 251, 351, or 451), DAN 175, DAN 275, DAN 211, and DAN 245.

- Minimum overall GPA of 2.7.

The student’s advisor will contact the student the 10th week of the semester to confirm his/her acceptance as a candidate for Mid-Program Review and forward the student’s statement on to the appropriate area faculty.

3. An interview with the student and, if the student is not currently enrolled in technique and/or performance classes, a performance demonstrating the student’s current performance level. These normally take place during the week of final exams. The interview will be on the topics presented in the student’s statement.

The BA Dance Advisors will be responsible for:

  • Pulling the student's academic record and filling out the MPR form.
  • Collecting the student's statement.
  • Disseminating the student's statement to the appropriate faculty before the interview.
  • Notifying the student of the faculty decision.
  • Filing the student's form and statement.

In the senior year of the dance program, students present their own fully-produced dance performance by enrolling in DAN 495. Students gain the ability to work collectively with other artists in their discipline to produce a concert of original choreography. Senior students are categorized into two groups:

1) Presentation of a Fall Performance or 2) Presentation of a Spring Performance

The following steps are required for dance performances:
1. Confirmation of performance date takes place
2. Students begin to develop the context and content of their concert. All students must choreograph at least two original dances
3. Students schedule/publicize/hold a formal audition to select performers for their original choreography
4. A rehearsal schedule is developed (at least 2 rehearsals per week are required) at least 2 months prior to the concert
5. Students fulfill the functions of technical theatre requirements i.e. stage manager, house manager, sound board operator, light board operator, etc. and all stage crew by delineating responsibilities among each other
6. Press/Marketing materials are established and implemented to promote their event

Students are graded on the amount of participation in all aspects of the production process and by peer reviews of each other's contribution to the concert as well as the completion of a professional portfolio. Dance faculty determine the final grade a student receives for the course.

At the end of each semester, all applied music students perform before a faculty jury to demonstrate what has been achieved during the term. The applied teacher will assist with requirements and preparation for the jury. Students are responsible for completing a Repertory Sheet that includes repertoire assigned and completed, technical studies, solo performances and small ensembles from the semester. The Repertory Sheet must be completed and signed by the applied teacher prior to submitting it at the jury. Final term grades are not predicated on the jury performance entirely, but the performance and Repertory Sheet should reflect the student’s achievements for the term.

Approximately three weeks before the end of the semester, available jury times will be posted on the department bulletin board and students may sign up for the time best suited to their schedule. Students are responsible for coordinating a pianist for their jury (if deemed necessary by their applied teacher). Please do not sign up for a jury time until you have secured your pianist’s availability. 

Students completing a required recital for MUS 345, 441, or 445 do not perform a jury examination at the end of the semester.  Students who performed a non-required recital during a semester are required to perform a jury examination that semester unless they arranged for a faculty committee for their recital.

At the middle and end of each semester all students enrolled in dance technique courses are required to perform a jury as demonstration of achievement throughout the semester.  Each faculty member will choose three combinations to be performed, focusing on technical aptitude, musicality, and performance quality.  Results of the faculty performance jury determine level assessment for the next semester’s course in the respective idiom.

Bachelor of Music Mid-Program Review

The Mid-Program Review for Bachelor of Music students consists of the following:

1. A one to two page typewritten statement that includes an outline of the student's career goals, an evaluation of the student's strengths and weaknesses, and a plan for addressing the student's weaknesses. This statement must be signed by the student's applied teacher and delivered to the student's advisor no later than the end of the 7th week of the semester in which the Mid-Program Review will take place.

2. Once the advisor has received the statement from the student, he/she will check the student's academic records to confirm that the following criteria has been successfully met:

      - Completion of or current enrollment in MUS 119, 120, 130, 131, 133, 134, 263, 264.

The BM Advisors will be responsible for:

  • Pulling the student's academic record and filling out the MPR form.
  • Collecting the student's statement.
  • Disseminating the student's statement to the appropriate faculty before the jury.
  • Notifying the student of the faculty decision.
  • Filing the student's form and statement.

The Mid-Program Review for Bachelor of Music Education students consists of the following:

1. A statement concerning reasons for choosing music education as a major. Students must outline career goals and identify those skills, knowledge and understanding they must develop as they prepare for student assisting, student teaching, and eventual full-time public school music teaching. This statement must be delivered to the Coordinator of Music Education and the student's applied teacher no later than the end of the 7th week of the semester in which the Mid-Program Review will take place.

2. During the 10th week of the semester in which the Mid-Program Review takes place, all BME students must present themselves for a preliminary, BME Pre-Professional Review (for admission to upper-level courses in music education) by the faculty Music Education Committee. The requirements are:

  • Completion of MUS 119, 120, 130, 131, 133, 134, 263, 264 and one class instrument course by the end of the semester in which the student takes the Mid-Program Review.
  • Minimum overall GPA of 2.7.
  • Interview on statement (see 1 above).

3. Students who pass the BME Pre-Professional Review must also complete a performance in the student's major applied area and an interview. These normally take place during regularly scheduled end of semester juries and are conducted by the appropriate area faculty. The student should sign-up for two consecutive 10-minute jury time slots. The performance consists of repertoire demonstrating the student's current performance level. Following the student's performance, questions may be asked about the performance, career goals, philosophy of music education, or their statement (see 3 above).

NOTE: Students must complete MUS 200, MUS 231, MUS 234, MUS 283 or MUS 284 as required prior to enrollment in upper level music education courses (MUS 354, 456, 461, 465, 320, 370). It is also highly recommended that students complete at least two class instrument course (MUS 253, 255, 257, 258) prior to enrollment in upper level music education courses.

The Music Education Coordinator will be responsible for:

  • Pulling the student's academic record and filling out the MPR form.
  • Collecting the student's statement.
  • Scheduling the Pre-Professional meetings with students and appropriate faculty and disseminating the statement and other information to the faculty before the meeting.
  • After the meeting, notifying the student of the faculty decision.
  • Filing the student's form and statement.


Bachelor of Arts in Music Extended Jury for 300 Level Lessons
Students enrolled in a BA in Music degree program may proceed on to the 300 level lessons by playing an extended jury in the student's major applied area. These normally take place during regularly scheduled end of semester juries and are conducted by the appropriate area faculty. The student should sign-up for two consecutive 10-minute jury time slots. The performance will consist of repertoire demonstrating the student's current performance level.* Faculty on the jury will determine if the student has demonstrated adequate skill to enroll in 300 level lessons.

*Students of voice need only sign up for one 10-minute jury time slot and sing three prepared pieces of repertoire demonstrating the student's current performance level.

Music Recitals and Programs

Recital Planning: A student should schedule the recital date and plan the recital program with his/her applied teacher and collaborative pianist well in advance. Students giving a half recital are strongly encouraged to share a recital with another student giving a half recital. The same faculty committee (applied teacher plus two additional faculty members) would serve both students giving the recital.

Required performance times are as follows:

Half Recital: at least 30 minutes of music
Full Recital: at least 60 minutes of music

Required recitals are part of the regular applied lesson curriculum as follows:

MUSIC 345, 441: Half recital
MUSIC 445: Full recital *Individual faculty may have additional requirements and these requirements must appear in the applied lesson syllabi.

Performance Times: Monday through Friday: 5:30pm or 7:30pm
Saturday & Sunday: 12:00pm, 2:30pm, 5:30pm or 7:30pm

1.BME students may not schedule a degree recital during semesters in which they are student teaching (EDI 431/432).
2. Students may not schedule a recital during the last week of classes or finals week.

Confirm Date and Space: Because recital spaces are limited a student should confirm a date MONTHS before the recital. PLAN AHEAD and PLAN EARLY. Winter semester is especially filled with recitals.

Recital venues and contact information for reservations:
Rooms in the Haas Center for Performing Arts: Room Request and Event Support Form
Cook-Dewitt Center: Event Services

If the university harpsichord or organ is required, contact Professor Greg Crowell - [email protected] as soon as a date is confirmed to make special arrangements for moving and tuning the instrument(s).

Pre-Recital Hearing: All students preparing to perform a recital are required to complete a Pre-recital Hearing. Once the recital date, time and performance venue are confirmed, it is the student's responsibility to select a faculty recital committee.

A. BM or BA Recital Committee (3 faculty members): Student's applied teacher and 2 other faculty members.
B. BME Recital Committee (3 faculty members): Student's applied teacher and 2 other faculty members with one being a member of the music education area C. Students sharing a recital will share a faculty committee (3 faculty members): 1. 2 respective applied faculty members and 1 one other faculty member 2. If same applied teacher, then applied teacher and 2 other faculty members. D. The applied teacher(s) must attend the recital; the other recital faculty member(s)are not required to attend the recital.

1. Having invited faculty and received positive responses from three faculty members, the student will schedule a pre-recital hearing preferably in the performance space.

2. All three faculty committee members must be present at the Pre-recital Hearing.

3. The applied teacher(s) must attend the recital; the other recital faculty member(s)are not required to attend the recital.

4. The Pre-recital Hearing must be scheduled ONE WEEK in advance of the actual recital.

5. If other students are assisting the recital performer, these participants must be in attendance at the Pre-recital Hearing.

6. Performing students are responsible for confirming the availability of the collaborative pianist, faculty committee and any assisting performers for the Pre-recital hearing .

7. Students must have available at least one complete copy of the musical scores for use by the faculty recital committee at the Pre-recital Hearing.

8. Three (3) copies of the recital program are required for the committee members.

9. The recital committee may request to hear any or all of the prepared works that will be performed on the recital.

10. Students are notified immediately following the hearing concerning permission to continue with the recital performance.

11. If a student does not successfully pass the Pre-recital Hearing: A. The Pre-recital Hearing must be repeated/scheduled at a later date. B. The initial recital canceled and rescheduled after the repeated Pre-recital Hearing.

Recital Coordinator: After securing the recital date, venue and faculty committee, the student must:

1. Complete the RECITAL APPLICATION (available in the "Current Students" area on the Music, Theatre, and Dance Department website
2. Send the completed application to the recital coordinator, Prof. John Martin ( [email protected] ).
3. Application must be submitted 4 weeks before pre-recital hearing.

Dress Rehearsal: A dress rehearsal in the recital space should be scheduled as soon as possible after the committee has approved the recital. All performing personnel should be present. It is not necessary to include the faculty committee in this rehearsal with the exception of the applied teacher.

Recital Programs:
1. Students create their own recital programs with final editing by the applied teacher following the format of sample programs (available in the "Current Students" area on the Music, Theatre, and Dance Department website
2. Three (3) copies of the complete program draft will be given to the recital committee at the pre-recital hearing. 3. The program will include: titles, dates of composition, composers' and/or arrangers' birth and death dates, assisting personnel and their instruments, text translations for vocalists, and program notes if required by the applied teacher (but see no. 6 below). 4. Once the recital is approved, incorporate any final revisions in the program copy as suggested by the recital committee. 5. It is the performer's responsibility to print his/her own programs. 6. Recitals that are BA senior projects (that is, done under MUS 479 01) must either include program notes or be done as lecture recitals. See "Degree Programs" in the handbook for further details.

Recording Request: If the performer would like the recital recorded, please fill out an Audio Recording Request form available in the "Current Students" area on the Music, Theatre, and Dance Department website

Recital Checklist: The checklist for student recital planning is available in the "Current Students" area on the Music, Theatre, and Dance Department website

Non-required Recitals: If a student wants to perform a non-required recital, it is the applied professor's responsibility to ensure the student has scheduled the recital date and location no later than the fourth week of the fall or winter semester (the recital may take place at any time during the semester).

University/Department Resources & Policies

University Catalog
The primary source of information about GVSU, including degree requirements. It is available online at Students should refer to the catalog from their admission year. If curriculum requirements change, students are allowed to complete their degree under the catalog from their admission year.

A running account of grades and academic progress through a student's degree program is available online at under "Students" then "Banner." A Degree Evaluation report shows the requirements for a specific degree and details a student's progress towards his/her degree. It should be consulted by a student with his/her faculty advisor each semester as decisions are made for fulfilling requirements and choosing electives. The report lists courses completed and requirements still outstanding. The Degree Evaluation is the official university record on a student's eligibility for graduation and students are responsible for knowing its contents. Any discrepancies or questions should be discussed with the student's advisor.

Annual Class Schedule
A schedule listing courses, including course number, code number, time, place, and instructor, is available online at by the end of February for the following academic year. Working from this schedule and in consultation with an advisor, students are able to prepare academic plans for each new semester.

The Student Code
A handbook designed to outline student rights and responsibilities according to University policy. This publication is available online at or can be obtained from the Dean of Students Office in Room 202 of the Student Services Building.

GVSU Career Services
This website contains essential information to begin the career search process, including resources to assist the student. This is particularly important near the end of the degree program. It is available online at or you can stop by the Career Services Office located in Room 206 of the Student Services Building.

Students needing extra academic support may seek assistance from The Tutoring Center. More information is available online at

Wellness information for our Music, Theatre, and Dance students is available online at:

The University Counseling Center also offers a variety of services to support students including emergency and crisis service, group counseling, individual counseling, and more.  Information about the University Counseling Center can be found online at

Students seeking specific counseling to prepare for careers or to seek opportunities for the continuation of their students should meet with their academic advisor.  The academic advisors are best placed to either provide this information or refer students to faculty who may have information to help guide students’ inquiry. 

Additionally, students may visit the GVSU Career Center online at

Bachelor of Music Education students will have the opportunity for individual counseling during their Mid-program review interview (see section below). Additionally, B.M.E. students are also assigned an advisor in the College of Education The College of Education provides weekly seminars and dedicated professional development days for student teachers.

For guides to resources available through the University Libraries, please access links below:




Students wishing to file an academic or non-academic grievance should refer to the policies linked below.  Questions about the grievance process may be directed to Dr. Dan Graser ([email protected])

Student Non-Academic Grievance Process: 

Student Academic Grievance Process (see “Academic Grievance Procedures”):

To report a campus climate incident:

If a student needs to register for two courses which have overlapping meeting times, the student must fill out a Drop/Add form, have the Professors sign the appropriate form and then register in person at Student Services for the appropriate courses.

Students requesting a letter of recommendation from any faculty or staff member at GVSU must fill out a FERPA release form. The form is available online at:

Students interested in learning about working in arts management programs-both the business and artistic side of such organizations-are invited to consult with Professor Arthur Campbell concerning opportunities for internships with the GRSO and other organizations. Stipends for internships are pegged to the number of hours worked per week. An average of 12-15 hours per week may be expected as a minimum for such a position.

The Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance sponsors an annual writing competition that is open to all students enrolled in music or dance history, music literature, theatre history or dramaturgy, and Music, Theatre, and Dance theory/analysis courses or in independent study in music, theatre, or dance during that academic year. The purpose of the competition is to recognize and reward high-level thinking and writing about Music, Theatre, and Dance, just as other awards recognize and reward high-level performance and teaching potential. Students may submit a paper written for a course or independently; they may also revise and expand a course paper. Three prizes of $300, $200, and $100 are awarded. Papers are due in the Music, Theatre, and Dance Department Office by the Friday before spring break. They should be submitted with all indication of the author's name removed. Winners will be announced at the final Student Recital Hour of the Winter semester.

Affiliated Student Organizations

Alpha Psi Omega is a national honorary theatre society created to recognize exceptional work of the students at the university level. It serves to supplement the university's theatre education with additional opportunities and leadership development for its theatre students. The Phi Beta chapter hosts workshops and events throughout the year for the students of Grand Valley State. Membership is based upon participation in the university's theatre program.

American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) student chapter at Grand Valley State University. Together, we strive to expand the choral curriculum beyond the classroom and provide practical experience for students as conductors and choral educators. The purposes of this organization shall be those as set forth in the National Constitution of the American Choral Directors Association, and are state as follows:

The American String Teachers Association is a national professional organization dedicated to promoting string education and performance. As a student chapter of this organization, we hope to strengthen the string/orchestra community of GVSU and area schools, provide development opportunities for string players and teachers at GVSU, and much more.

Collegiate Chapter of the Music Educators National Conference (CMENC) is the only national association that addresses every aspect of music education--band, chorus, orchestra, general music, teacher education, and research. MENC'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 -- BME 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 Beth Gibbs ([email protected]) who serves as faculty advisor.

Collegiate Chapter of Music Teachers National Association

Opportunities for support, growth, and professional development to current and future private music teachers through university and community events and state and national MTNA conferences.

  1. To foster and promote choral singing which will provide artistic and spirited experiences for the participants.
  2. To foster and promote the finest types of choral music to make these experiences possible.
  3. To foster and encourage rehearsal procedures conducive to attaining the highest level possible in musicianship and artistic performance.
  4. To foster and promote the organization and development of choral groups of all types in schools, colleges, and churches.
  5. To foster and promote the organization and development of choral societies in cities and communities.
  6. To foster and promote the intelligent understanding of choral music as an important medium of artistic expression.
  7. To foster and promote significant research in the field of choral music.
  8. To foster and promote composition of superior quality in both music and text for all choral combinations.
  9. To cooperate with all organizations dedicated to the development of musical culture in America.
  10. To disseminate professional news and information about choral music.

The Mu Kappa chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, in its devotion to the five purposes of the fraternity, strives to simultaneously develop the character of its members, promote the advancement of Grand Valley State University Bands, and engage the music community at large, through: providing meaningful leadership opportunities, facilitating the development of holistic personal musicianship, and implementing worthwhile service projects for the entire band program in its diverse and ever-changing needs;  promoting intimate fellowship amongst musicians of all fields of academic study;  upholding an honorable representation of the brotherhood; All the while guided by an everlasting commitment to the love and appreciation of music; the value of brotherhood; the equal importance of all band members; a diverse musical experience; an unwavering professional attitude; and effective, passionate leadership; for the benefit of its members and society.

The purpose of this organization shall be to provide and encourage student participation in dance on campus. Its goal is to serve student needs while still upholding its standard of artistic excellence. MOMENTUM is committed both to experimentation and high artistic quality, and its activities shall reflect this commitment. The activities of MOMENTUM shall not be limited to a select few, but should reflect the wide variety of students interested in dance. Further information is available from Professor Carrie Morris ([email protected]), who serves as faculty advisor.

Formed to "uphold the highest ideals of a music education" and "to further the development of music in America", Sigma Alpha Iota continues to provide musical and educational resources to its members and the general public. Over a century old, Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity has been honored to welcome a multitude of women from all walks of life, including musicians, teachers, composers, and conductors who gain lifelong friendships and professional contacts through their fellow sisters. SAI seeks women who uphold the highest standards of music, shine as outstanding leaders in their community, and promote programs and activities that stress the importance of music at their university. The Mu Alpha chapter of SAI at Grand Valley seeks to contribute to the profession through community service, benefit projects, fundraisers, and yearly recitals and performances.

Page last modified April 4, 2022