Music Notes

Music Theory

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Fast Facts

Faculty: 5

Available for: Major

Popular second majors:
Music Performance

» Program Requirements

This program prepares students for teaching careers, beginning with graduate assistantships in theory at prestigious institutions..

Music theory majors often enter Stetson pursuing a different music-emphasis major, only to find they have an affinity for studying the intricacies and structure of many different types of music.

From the masterful counterpoint of J.S. Bach to the contemporary writings of Sydney Hodkinson, all music majors in theory receive thorough training in theories of tonal and contemporary music, counterpoint, orchestration, composition and pedagogy. Outside of our innovative and thorough curriculum, students are given personal attention towards advanced studies in music theory, including one-on-one study for senior research projects.

A Distinctive Program

At Stetson University, music majors in all areas focus on developing the complete musician. From academic studies in music theory to private one-hour lessons with a professional educator, the School of Music's degrees offer a unique education in the building blocks that will lead to a career as a professional musician.

Academics and Research

Independent Research

All music students at Stetson University complete a senior research project in some form through a recital, composition or research paper. Music theory majors take multiple upper-division theory courses that prepare them for work in an area of interest. Recent projects have focused on: advanced orchestration; chromatic counterpoint in the sixteenth century; studies of Debussy's piano music; linear analysis of jazz; and philosophy and organicism in the Cantata by Anton Webern. Whatever a student's interests, the music program offers guidance and support as students immerse themselves in a project that will prepare them for entrance into graduate study.

Facilities and Opportunities

The School of Music at Stetson University takes advantage of three buildings on campus: Presser Hall, McMahan Hall and Elizabeth Hall. Presser Hall serves as the core location for most music majors and houses all practice rooms, the majority of classrooms and faculty offices, select rehearsal rooms and the administrative offices of the dean and the associate dean. The newly-built McMahan Hall offers an expansive space for large-ensemble rehearsals like the band, orchestra and large choir as well as percussion practice facilities. H. Douglas Lee Chapel in Elizabeth Hall is the School of Music's primary performance space. This live acoustical room that houses approximately 750 in an audience is an ideal space for performances by organists, guitarists and choirs as well as solo and chamber groups. The chapel houses our notable Paul R. Jenkins Jr. Beckerath organ, one of six Beckerath organs housed at the university's DeLand campus.

Music Theory Placement

Music theory, aural training and functional keyboard placement tests are given at the beginning of the fall semester to students with prior experience in those areas. For information on the requirements and materials included on these tests, see the audition page and/or the placement exam preparation guide.

Preparation for Graduate Study

Students who major in music theory have continued their studies at outstanding graduate schools in multiple areas, including composition, music therapy and music theory. Recent graduates accepted graduate scholarship offers from the Eastman School of Music, Indiana University, Penn State, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Florida State University and Radford University. A number of those students have completed or are currently completing doctoral studies in music theory.

Awards and Recognition

Distinguished Faculty

Our program consists of professors specializing in areas such as theory, music culture, analysis, composition, theory pedagogy, twentieth-century theory, aural training, counterpoint and more. Two full-time faculty guide the music theory curriculum and its students:

  • Lonnie Hevia, D.M.A., Peabody Conservatory, music theory, aural training, keyboard
  • Noel Painter, Ph.D., Eastman School of Music; associate dean, director of music theory
  • Peter Smucker, Ph.D., University of Chicago, music theory

Grant-Funded Research

Students are encouraged to take part in the Stetson Undergraduate Research Experience. Each year undergraduate scholars are selected in a university-wide competition for grants to work with a faculty mentor on a summer research project.

Courses and Curriculum

» View the Stetson University Course Catalog for more information on the curriculum and courses for this academic program.

After Stetson

Diverse careers

The bachelor of music in theory prepares students for additional graduate study at stellar institutions. Completing a degree in theory does not limit graduate study to that field; students have continued on to be music therapists, composers, musicologists, music educators and collegiate music theorists.