Become a Music Major

Become a Music Major

New Student Orientation - TUESDAY, AUGUST 20, 2019

Holiday Spectacular Wind Ensemble

The Associate of Arts in Music prepares students to complete a Bachelor of Music degree in performance, sound recording technology, theory and composition and music education. The curriculum at Del Mar College seeks to challenge, empower, and inspire students while meeting their diverse needs as they strive to become performers, composers, educators, and integral members and leaders of the music industry and community.

If you are interested in becoming a music major or have any questions regarding any of our programs, contact the faculty member who mirrors your primary interest, as they will best be able to provide you with the information and academic advising you require. For example, if your interest is music performance and/or education, contact the faculty member who provides instruction on your primary instrument. They will serve as your academic advisor during the course of your studies at Del Mar College.

In addition, academic advising will also be available on site (The Fine Arts Center) the week prior to the first day of classes, as well as during the New Student Orientation. Faculty will be available to answer questions and provide academic counsel to ensure students register for the appropriate classes.

The Del Mar College Music Department welcomes new music students (music majors) during its annual day-long New Student Orientation, held at the Fine Arts Center usually on the Tuesday before the first day of fall semester classes. Students will have the opportunity to meet their applied music faculty and advisor, register for classes, modify their course schedule, check out instrument lockers, and take the Music Theory Diagnostics Exam.

New Student Orientation Schedule

  • 9:00-10:50 AM    Music Theory Diagnostics Exam – Wolfe Recital Hall

This test is designed to assess an incoming student’s musical pitch and rhythm reading and basic musical notation. More information about this test is included on the following pages.


  • 11:00 -11:50 AM      Locker Checkout – Music Office
  • Tour of Music Building – Departing from Patio Room

All instrumentalists at the college need a place to store their instruments when they are not being used for a rehearsal or individual practice. Lockers are provided for all college musicians and will be checked out during orientation. We will also be providing new students with a tour of the Department of Music Facilities. All students attending New Student Orientation will be divided into one of two groups to get their lockers as well as their facilities tour.


  • 12:00-12:50 PM        Refreshments – Patio Room
  • Results of the Theory Diagnostics Exam will be posted.
  • 1:00 PM-3:00 PM      Advising and Schedule Changes

If a change is needed in your schedule based upon the results of your Theory Placement Exam, we can help you make these adjustments at this time.

Diagnostics Exam Information

All music majors must take the core music courses as part of their major. This consists of Music Theory, Sight-Singing/Ear Training, and Piano. Basic music notation understanding (reading and writing) is necessary to succeed in these courses. It is not uncommon for students to take a preparatory course – Music Fundamentals (MUSI 1301) and Class Voice (MUSI 1183) – to prepare one’s self for their core courses. The Del Mar College Department of Music administers a short test, which is designed to assess an incoming student’s music reading, basic music notation, and sight singing so that students can have the best chance for success in their music courses


  • Any student may choose NOT to take the Music Theory Diagnostics However, in doing so, you are opting to take the music foundational courses, Music Fundamentals (MUSI 1301) and Class Voice (MUSI 1183).
  • The exam consists of three parts, the written theory, dictation, and sight signing Students who pass with a 70% or higher on all parts of the exam will take Theory I (MUSI 1211), Sight-Singing/Ear Training I (MUSI 1216), and Piano I (MUSI 1181). Students who don’t pass all parts of the exam will take Music Fundamentals (MUSI 1301) and Class Voice (MUSI 1183) to prepare them for Theory I, etc.
  • The Music Theory Diagnostics Exam should be taken prior to your first semester of music classes and may only be taken once.
  • The Music Theory Diagnostics Exam is administered during the Department of Music New Student Orientation (Tuesday, August 20, 2019) at 9:00 am in Wolfe Recital
  • If a student cannot or chooses not to attend the Department of Music New Student Orientation, the exam can be taken at the Testing Center, open Monday-Thursday, 8 AM-5 PM, Friday 8 AM-12:30 PM. For further information on this testing option, please call Anna Villegas at the Testing Center (698-1645).
  • If you have reregistered for Theory I (MUSI 1211), Sight-Singing/Ear Training I (MUSI 1216), and Piano I (MUSI 1181) and do not pass the exam, faculty within the Department of Music will help change your If you attend New Student Orientation, this will take place that same day (see schedule). Students who take the test it the Testing Center will need to make an appointment with their advisor to make the appropriate schedule changes.

Diagnostics Exam Study Guide

The theory diagnostics exam is not a measure of your innate musical talents, skills, or study habits. Every student has different degrees of musical experience and this exam intends to place students in classes that will ultimately lead to their successful development as a musician and student, regardless of past music education and experience.

The Music Theory Diagnostics Exam will assess some, if not all of the following content:

Part I Written Theory Portion

  • Note Reading (Treble and Bass clefs)
  • Rhythmic Values
  • Notating major and minor scales
  • Identify major and minor scales in a musical excerpt
  • Notate and identify key signatures (major and minor)
  • Notate intervals above and below a given pitch
  • Interval Identification

Part II and III: Dictation and Sight Singing

  • Match pitch
  • Sing a major scale
  • Perform a given rhythm
  • Rhythmic Dictation
  • Melodic dictation- Identify the contours or shapes of melodic lines.

Students are encouraged to prepare for the exam by using any number of ear training software programs such as Practica Musica or MacGamut. These programs will help prepare students for all parts of the exam through various exercises that consists of interval identification and spelling, notating and identifying scales, as well as ear training exercise such as melodic dictation and rhythmic dictation.

If you have further questions about the exam, please contact your major advisor or Dr. Roger W. Petersen at

Page last updated December 18, 2018.

Contact Information

Department of Music
(361) 698-1211
(361) 698-1620 (fax)


Fine Arts Center
101 Baldwin Blvd.
Corpus Christi, TX 78404