Jan 24, 2022  
University Undergraduate Catalog 2013-2015 
University Undergraduate Catalog 2013-2015 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


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Dr. Ralph Barrett, Chair
Telephone: (919) 530-7213
Fax: (919) 530-7979
Main Office:  Ruth B. Edwards Music Hall, Rm 212
E-mail: rbarrett5@nccu.edu


The Department of Music at North Carolina Central University is dedicated to preparing students to excel as leaders in the music professions, through innovative teaching methods, individual attention and excellent facilities. Our undergraduate and graduate programs are committed to cultivating complete musicians, able to think critically, compete in the professional marketplace and creatively enrich a wide spectrum of artistic and educational environments. We strive to help our students embrace technology and comprehend the evolving roles of music in society. We also seek to promote greater understanding of the history and traditions of American music and the rich diversity among the world’s musics.


The Department of Music offers a strong, diversified curriculum leading to the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees.  The Bachelor of Arts is offered as a Liberal Arts degree, and with concentrations in Music Industry, Music Education (with North Carolina licensure), Ethnomusicology and Sacred Music. The Bachelor of Music and Master of Music are offered in Jazz Studies.  In addition to the traditional degree programs listed above, the NCCU Department of Music offers an online Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in Ethnomusicology, as well as undergraduate minor in music.  The curriculum provides a major in music that emphasizes thorough musical preparation, professionalism and the development of appreciation of aesthetic diversity. Music studies at NCCU include research opportunities and internships with business and professional organizations.  Such opportunities help build the foundation for the student’s practical knowledge, employment prospects, and graduate study.

Students who intend to major in music are required to audition before they register for core music courses.

With the exception of students concentrating in Music Industry and Ethnomusicology, all music majors must take applied lessons every semester they are enrolled. Music Industry and Ethnomusicology majors must take four successive semesters of applied lessons. Workshop/Recital class (MUSL 1600) is required each semester that a student is enrolled in applied primary courses.  Each student is required to perform in MUSL 1600 three times each semester (twice in Workshop and once in Combined Recital).

Music majors are required to participate in music ensembles each semester (See “Ensembles” below).  Jazz Studies majors must take 8 semesters of Jazz Ensemble.  The large ensemble requirements for students seeking Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music are:

Music Liberal Arts: 8 semesters

Music Education: 7 semesters

Sacred Music: 8 semesters

Music Industry: 4 semesters

Ethnomusicology: 4 semesters.

Students double-majoring in Jazz (BM) and Music Education with licensure (BA) must complete at least one semester of University Choir, Symphonic Band, or Marching Band.

In the senior year, a music major must perform a Senior Recital on the primary instrument or voice, with the recital program approved in a hearing before a panel of music faculty.  Faculty  accompanists must have the music at least two weeks before the (first) scheduled hearing if they are to accompany students in recital. The faculty member guiding the student (applied teacher in most cases) will make sure that the music gets to the accompanist. If faculty do not receive the music in this timely manner, the student will have to hire an outside accompanist. (For pieces of extraordinary difficulty, more than two weeks is desired.) Music Industry and Ethnomusicology majors produce a significant project in lieu of the Senior Recital, but they may elect to present a Senior Recital in addition to the required project.

All music majors are required to pass the Piano Proficiency Examination as partial fulfillment of graduation requirements.

All students are required to perform 15 hours of community service each semester.

The Piano Proficiency Examination

All music majors are required to pass a piano proficiency examination by the senior year, demonstrating proficiency in the following areas:

  1. Performance of an appropriate independently prepared piece, for general musicianship. The chosen selection should be at the minimum of Level 4 Piano Solos in the Jane Smisor Bastien Piano Series. Performances are evaluated on pitch and rhythmic accuracy and on observance of interpretive detail.
  2. Sight reading at the minimum of Level 3 of the James Bastien Sight Reading Series.
    Guideline: no more than 3 errors (pitch or rhythm) per line of music.
  3. Harmonization and improvisation of a simple accompaniment to a given tune using basic chords. Students will be expected to be able to respond to standard harmonic indications (I, IV, V7, etc.) as well as to common lead sheet notation (Dm, AM, E7, etc.).
    Guidelines: no more than 3 errors (pitch or rhythm) per line of music.
  4. Transposition of similar melodies and harmonization’s up or down a major or minor second.
    Guideline: no more than 3 errors (pitch or rhythm) per line of music.
  5. Play all scales and arpeggios (triadic) in two octaves, hands together, at M.M. 40 = quarter note, scale to be played in eighth notes.
    Guideline: no more than 2 errors (pitch or rhythm) per scale or arpeggio.

The Piano Proficiency Examination is administered once at the end of each semester during the regular school year. Sign-up sheets are posted and students sign for specific time slots.

Students are urged to take the Piano Proficiency Examination at the end of the sophomore year. If not passed at the first attempt, the examination or any portion of it may be repeated the end of the following and later semesters until the examination is passed. The student must demonstrate evidence that work had been undertaken to improve any deficiencies (such as enrolling in secondary piano classes) in any of the areas (sight reading, harmonization, etc.) before sections may be repeated. Music Education majors must have passed all parts of the Piano Proficiency Examination before the semester of student teaching.


Music majors are required to participate in University vocal or instrumental ensembles (large and small) appropriate to their major area of concentration. Voice and piano majors must perform in the University Choir and voice majors will perform a minimum  of one semester in the Operatorio Performance Studies Ensemble; string majors must perform in the String Ensemble; jazz majors are required to perform in the Jazz Ensemble and the Jazz Combo; guitar majors must perform in Guitar Ensemble; and percussion majors in Percussion Ensemble. Students may also elect to perform in any other ensembles offered by the department.

Applied Music

Applied music courses (private lessons) are open to all music majors and to other students in the university upon permission of the instructor. With the exception of Music Industry and Music Education majors, students with a major in music must complete eight semesters of applied primary courses.  Music  Education majors must complete seven semesters of primary applied courses,  and Music Industry majors must complete four semesters of primary applied courses.  Applied music lessons are offered in piano, organ, voice, and the various string, woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments. All primary applied music courses consist of one fifty-minute lesson per week. Such courses carry one semester credit hour. Secondary applied courses consist of one thirty-minute lesson per week and carry one-half semester credit hour.

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