Welcome to the Music Department!

We look forward to your taking private lessons, participating in ensembles, and taking courses with our passionate faculty. We offer opportunities for students with all kinds of musical interests.

Whether you’re interested in  majoring in Music  or simply taking a  songwriting or production  course, you will need to begin by taking music theory courses. If you’ve already studied music theory, then you need to take the online  Music Theory Placement Exam , if you haven’t done so already. 

If your interest is in taking music lessons and/or participating in an ensemble, then you need to sign up for the Music Lesson Placement & Ensemble Scholarship Auditions . See more about the exam and the auditions below. 

Music Theory Placement Exam 

If you have already studied music theory, please take the online  Music Theory Placement Exam . If you have never studied music theory, please enroll in MUSC 101.

Music Major  

The Music major  is designed to allow students to focus on the area of study that interests them most, with concentrations in Music Production, Composition, Instrumental or Vocal Performance, Ethnomusicology or Popular Music, Musicology, or Music Theory and Analysis. 

Music Courses & Core Requirements  

Music courses may fulfill the following Core requirements: Fine Arts, Regional Focus, Global Connections, U.S. Diversity, and Pre-1800. Take a look at our offerings and look for the “Core requirement met” information. You may be able to fulfill up to two (2) core requirements with one Oxy course. 


We offer lessons for virtually every instrument, including voice, and our faculty are some of the finest professional musicians in Los Angeles, ranging from jazz instructors who perform with the top names in the industry to string faculty who all play with the L.A. Philharmonic. Students interested in taking voice or instrumental lessons should fill out the  sign-up form  by Friday, August 25 th .


We welcome all students to audition for Glee Club, Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music, and Jazz Ensemble. If you have no prior ensemble experience, check out Son Jarocho Ensemble (Fall 2023) the Afro-Cuban Drumming Ensemble (Spring 2024), or College Chorus, none of which require previous experience.


Do you have lessons for beginning and advanced players and singers?

Yes! We have lessons for all levels, beginner to advanced. Anyone interested in taking lessons should sign up for the  Music Lesson Placement & Ensemble Scholarship auditions on Sunday, August 27 , between 1pm and 6pm in Booth Hall to be placed with a teacher. Fill out the  sign-up sheet  online.

Do music lessons cost money?

Yes. Upon registering for your lessons, your student account will be charged. If you decide to no longer take lessons, you must drop the course by Friday,  September 15 . If you fail to do so, you will still have to pay the full semester cost for lessons.  You may, however, receive an Ensemble Scholarship to cover all or part of your lesson fee . Your eligibility for a scholarship is determined at the Music Lesson Placement & Ensemble Scholarship Auditions .

Will I be asked to perform if I take lessons? 

If you receive Ensemble Scholarships, you must give a jury each semester and participate in the designated ensemble. 

Are lessons for a letter grade or credit/no-credit?

Students receive one 1 unit of credit and a letter grade for lessons. Students receiving a scholarship for lessons can opt for 0-unit lessons to avoid going over the maximum units allowed per semester.

When is the latest I can sign up for lessons?

This is important. Music lessons run on a different schedule from the rest of Oxy’s courses. The deadline to register for music lessons is  September 8 . The drop deadline is  September 15 .

Will I need to audition for ensembles?

Glee Club, Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music, and Jazz Ensemble all require auditions. College Chorus, Son Jarocho Ensemble (Fall 2023) and Afro-Cuban Drumming Ensemble (Spring 2024) are open to students of all levels of experience. For more information and sign-up sheets, visit our  Ensembles  page.

What if I want to learn to read and write music?

Studying music theory is fundamental to all music-making because it enables you to understand how and why the music you love sounds the way it does. Start by taking Music 101 Music Theory I (offered only in the Fall semester), which will teach you how to read and write music notation. Successfully completing Music 101 will permit you to take Music 151 Music Theory II, which is the first course in the music theory sequence and required for taking music production courses.

How do I take advanced courses?

  • Advanced Music courses have music theory prerequisites. If you arrive at Oxy with prior music theory experience, you may be able to start the music theory sequence with MUSC 151 Music Theory II (offered only in the Spring semester). You need to take the  Music Theory Placement Exam  to see if that is possible.
  • Advanced production courses have music theory and production prerequisites. The starting music production course is MUSC 148 Introduction to DAW (offered only in the Spring semester), and its prerequisite (which may be taken concurrently) is MUSC 151 Music Theory II (offered only in the spring semester).
  • MUSC 257 Composition Seminar has MUSC 151 and MUSC 113 Learning to Compose as a prerequisite. MUSC 258 Introduction to Film Scoring has MUSC 148 as a prerequisite.