Theory and Aural Skills Assessments

Music theory image

Incoming Freshmen and Transfer Students

All prospective students will take the Theory Placement Exam (TPE) on the day of their entrance audition. This exam is administered to determine whether a student’s prior study has sufficiently prepared them for Theory I. The result of this test does not have an impact on a student’s admission into the School of Music.

For students who submit a video audition, the TPE is postponed until arrival on campus. Please contact the School of Music at music-ug@osu.edu or 614-292-2870 for more information.

All students who are admitted into the School of Music will take the Aural Skills Assessment (ASA), which will be administered during orientation to assess skills such as the ability to match a pitch, sing a scale and subdivide a pulse.

Music Minors

All prospective music minors must take the Theory Placement Exam on one of the following testing dates in 2018–19.

Upcoming Theory Placement Exam dates:

  • Monday, August 20, 2018 at 1:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 9:45 a.m.
  • Friday, January 11, 2019 at 9:45 a.m.
  • Saturday, January 19, 2019 at 9:45 a.m.
  • Saturday, February 9, 2019 at 9:45 a.m.

The TPE is held in Hughes Hall Auditorium, 1899 College Rd, Columbus 43210. Allow up to 1 hour to complete the exam. Please bring two (2) sharpened #2 pencils to your exam. You do not need to register or check in prior to this exam.

Music minors interested in taking an aural training course should contact the School of Music at music-ug@osu.edu or 614-292-2870 for information on how to take and submit the Aural Skills Assessment.

Directions and Parking


How to Prepare

 

The Theory Placement Exam will test skills such as reading notation in treble and bass clef, matching rhythms to time signatures, scales and intervals, and identifying the quality of triads and seventh chords.

The Aural Skills Assessment will test skills such as matching pitch, determining contour of a melody, subdividing rhythms by dupals and triplets, Dyad singback (matching the pitch of each tone in an interval), singing a major scale.

Sample Test Items

Resources to Help You Prepare

Free websites:

Books:

  • Andrew Surmani, Karen Farnum Surmani, and Morton Manus, Alfred’s Essentials of Music Theory: A complete Self-study Course for All Musicians (Book and two CDs) Alfred Music, 2004. ISBN-13: 978-0739036358
  • Joseph N. Straus, Elements of Music. Prentice Hall, 2008. ISBN 0-13-034341
  • John Clough and Joyce Conley, Scales, Intervals, Keys, Triads, Rhythm, and Meter. W.W. Norton & Co., 1999. ISBN 0-393-95189-8

Music Theory Software:

  • MFun by Elisabeth Sayrs

What Happens Next?

 

If you pass both exams, you will be automatically enrolled in Theory I and Aural I in the autumn semester of your first year and you will be on track to complete your Theory and Aural Skills sequence at the end of your second year.

If you do not pass the Theory Placement Exam, you will receive instructions for the following options:

OPTION 1. Enroll in Music Fundamentals Online (MFO), an online platform that provides instruction during the summer to prepare students for Theory I. The cost for this online course is $70. In the spring, you will receive detailed instructions on how and when to register for the MFO.

  • Before beginning MFO, students take an adaptive, online placement test that evaluates their current competencies. This placement test serves to personalize a student’s MFO experience: he/she need only complete MFO topics where additional instruction and practice are needed.
  • Music Fundamentals Online provides guided feedback as students are led through written theory fundamentals.
  • Visit Music Fundamentals Online

OPTION 2. You may take Ohio State's Fundamentals of Theory course in the autumn semester of your first year at Ohio State. With this option, you will not be able to enter Theory I until the spring semester and you will complete the two-year theory sequence in your third year. Your academic advisor will help you to determine your adjusted academic plan.

 


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