Student Orientation

Choosing Your SOAR Date

Meyerson“I would encourage new students to really work hard right off the bat. Make sure you get help as soon as you need it. If you find yourself beginning to struggle in a class, no matter how small the problem, talk to the professor or TA or a tutor (which are free to you), because most likely you will have to build from that knowledge in a later class.”—Emily Meyerson, music education

It is in your best interest to schedule your SOAR date as soon as you receive the packet from the Office of the New Student Orientation and First Year Programs. This packet will arrive in mid to late January or shortly after you've been admitted to BGSU. It will provide vital information about how to go online to schedule your New Student Orientation/Registration date. For more information, please visit the SOAR page

Theory Placement Exam Re-take and other options for better theory placement

You may choose to retake the theory placement exam (during SOAR) OR take a BGSU online theory class during the summer. Either option gives you the opportunity to improve your knowledge so that you can potentially be placed in Music Theory I (MUCT 1510) beginning fall semester.

Who needs to re-take the Theory Placement Exam or take the online theory test?

Music majors, minors and BAC (Musical Theatre) students who have passed the required entrance audition and initially placed into:

  • MuCT 1130 (Basic Musicianship)
  • MuCT 1510 and 1150 (Theory I and Accelerated Fundamentals), OR
  • If you submitted a recorded audition and have not taken the exam.

You will have the opportunity to take the exam during the on-campus SOAR program that takes place in May, June and July.

Note: Students who remain in MuCT 1130 (Basic Musicianship) will postpone the beginning of their theory core curriculum by one year. Thus, the undergraduate degree will take a minimum of five rather than four years.

When is the Theory Placement Exam given?

The exam will begin at 7:15 a.m. in the Moore Musical Arts Center, College Office Room 1031. Please come directly to the Moore Musical Arts Center and have a parent or guest who is with you go to Olscamp Hall to check you in while you are taking the exam. You will not have time to check in PRIOR to taking the theory placement exam. The theory exam precedes the opening 8:15 a.m. welcome meeting, so please be prompt. Your exam will be graded while you are here during SOAR and you will register for the appropriate Music Theory Class with the assistance of your music advisor.

How do I prepare for my Theory Placement Exam?

Please study for the exam by using the theory packet that was provided within your audition folder. Study materials can also be found online.

How do I take the online theory class?

Register for MuCT1100 Elements of Music, an online course on the fundamentals of music. This BGSU online course is being offered from beginning June 25. Contact the Office of Registration and Records at (419) 372-8441 to register. You will do so as a guest student. If you attend SOAR while you are enrolled in the online Elements of Music class, your advisor will work with you to add the appropriate theory class pending the outcome of the course-work for this class. Information about costs per credit hour.

Work with your private or high school music teacher.

Take a theory course at a local college.

Piano Placement

What is the piano placement assessment?

The piano placement assessment is a tool that helps you and your academic advisor determine the appropriate level of group piano class for you.  If you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with any of the following activities, let the assessor know.

You will be asked to do the following four activities. These activities are very similar to those you will learn during the first semester of group piano instruction.

1.     Major and minor 5-finger patterns beginning on white keys

        a.     If you would like to work on these in advance, please visit this link for more information:


2.     Chord progressions using correct voice leading

        a.     Some examples might include I V I, I V7 I, I IV V I, or I IV (I) V7 I.

        b.     If you would like to work on these in advance, please visit this link for more information:


3.     4-measure sightreading examples in major keys

        a.     The right hand will be in a 5-finger pattern and the left hand will have closest position primary chords.

        b.     If you would like to work on these in advance, you can work on examples at these links:


                        1.     Work up to Level 4 Piano.

                        1.     The first 18 exercises are the most helpful.

4.     An example similar to #3, except that you will transpose it to a different key.

What if I have very little or no piano background and want to get an early start on the material covered in group piano courses?

Though no prior piano experience is required at the beginning of the first semester group piano course, the ability to apply knowledge of music theory concepts is helpful.  In addition to the links above, here are some additional websites that provide information and practice for these concepts:





Music theory concepts that will be used in group piano classes early on include:

·      note and octave identification in both treble and bass clefs

·      rhythmic values and time signatures

·      major and minor keys, key signatures, and the circle of fifths

·      interval and triad qualities

What if I have lots of piano background?

Class piano is immensely beneficial for you as well!  If you are interested in testing out of entire class piano classes, please speak with the person doing your assessment for more information. You will most likely need to work with a piano teacher on the following:

·      Chord progressions in major and minor keys, using correct voice leading. The right hand plays the chords and the left plays bass notes.

·      Accompanying a song in your left hand while playing the melody in the right hand.  Also, playing a “boom-chuck” accompaniment in both hands while someone else plays the melody of the same song.

·      Improvising a melody and accompanying it with appropriate broken chords.

·      Sight reading and transposing examples similar to those above.

Additional Information

For more information, please visit the SOAR page here