MUSC 166 entry requirements

To be eligible to enrol in this course, you must have passed one of the following:

  • Classical theory entrance test
  • MUSC 160 Basic Musical Techniques with a grade of B or better
  • Grade 5 Theory from Trinity Guildhall, ABRSM or AMEB
  • Grade 3 Theory from NZMEB*
  • one of NCEA Scholarship Music, NCEA Standard AS91420 ("Integrate aural skills into written representation”), or NCEA Standard AS91421 ("Demonstrate understanding of harmonic and tonal conventions in a range of scores").

Students who have not passed any of the above requirements may still commence study by enrolling in MUSC 160 Basic Musical Techniques.

* The entrance requirements for MUSC 166 are aligned with Grade 5 Theory from Trinity Guildhall, ABRSM or AMEB. There are a few minor differences in coverage between Trinity Guildhall Grade 5 and NZMEB Grade 3. Students entering MUSC 166 with NZMEB Grade 3 are encouraged to review the course requirements listed below and ensure they are familiar with them before the course begins. In particular, note that MUSC 166 assumes familiarity with all major and minor keys, and all four commonly used clefs (treble, alto, tenor and bass). Contact the Course Coordinator for MUSC 166 with any questions or concerns.

Course requirements MUSC 166

The entrance requirements for MUSC 166 are aligned with Grade 5 Theory from Trinity Guildhall, ABRSM or AMEB. At the beginning of MUSC 166 it is assumed that students have a knowledge of, and quick facility with:

  • Reading treble, alto, tenor and bass clefs
  • Major, minor, augmented and diminished intervals
  • All major and minor key signatures and scales
  • Major, minor and diminished triads and their inversions in all keys
  • Simple and compound time signatures, and the correct use of note values, rests, beaming and grouping in these time signatures
  • Perfect, imperfect, plagal and interrupted cadences
  • Scale degree names (tonic, supertonic, etc.)

Classical theory entrance test

The following self assessment tests are intended to give students practice material of a level similar to the classical theory entrance test. The answers are available here also, so that you can judge your preparedness.

For further details, please contact us—music@vuw.ac.nz, regarding making arrangements to sit the classical theory entrance test.

Advanced placement in classical theory

Students who have studied theory at a level beyond the entrance requirements for MUSC 166 may be eligible for advanced placement.

Students who wish to see if they are eligible for advanced placement should contact music@vuw.ac.nz to arrange a 1-hour advanced placement test and brief interview. This can be arranged either before Trimester 1 begins (strongly encouraged) or during the first week of classes.

Students who pass the advanced placement test will have the requirement for MUSC 166 waived, and begin their study of classical theory in trimester 2, with MUSC 167. If a student attempts but does not pass the advanced placement test, s/he will enrol in MUSC 166.