David L. Walters Department of Music

Guide to Music Theory for Incoming Freshmen

What do I sign up for? 

All incoming freshmen music majors should sign up for Music Theory (MU 101) and Aural Skills (MU 111).   Additionally, you should take the Online Music Theory Survey as soon as possible at


What is the Online Music Theory Survey? 

This online survey allows the JSU music theory faculty to have a better understanding of your knowledge of music.  No prior knowledge of music theory is needed to complete the survey and it will have no effect on enrollment to the department of music or music theory classes.  However, you may be contacted by the JSU music theory faculty and given additional information on ways to prepare for your upcoming music theory classes.

The survey is password protected.  When prompted, please enter the username:  Marching  and the password: Southerners  (case sensitive).

I'm having technical difficulties with the online survey.  Who do I contact? 

Please verify you have entered the username and password correctly (additionally, do not leave a space after the username "Marching").  If you still encounter problems, please email Dr. James Woodward at jwoodward@jsu.edu.


Is there anything I can do before I come to JSU to better prepare for the placement exam and my theory classes in general?

We encourage our incoming music majors and minors to enter the program with the following skills:

  1. A basic understanding of musical notation, particularly regarding time signatures, pitch, and rhythm
  2. The ability to read notes in both treble and bass clef
  3. General knowledge of the layout of a piano keyboard
  4. The ability to aurally differentiate between stepwise motion and leaps
  5. The ability to aurally differentiate between half steps and whole steps
  6. The ability to vocally match pitch

If you have access to a computer, you can learn and practice many of these skills at the following free website: http://www.musictheory.net/