Frequently asked Questions
1. Why are there two different prefixes for Music courses (MUSA and MUSC)?
MUSA courses are "applied" courses in which students are engaged in performance-oriented activities such as ensembles, private lessons, and group lessons.
MUSC courses are "academic" courses Involving lecture, classroom, and/or lab activities in subject matter such as music theory, history, literature, appreciation, electronic music synthesis, etc.
2. Who may register for music ensembles?
Both Music majors (Curriculum Code 1019) and Non-Music majors may register for ensembles, provided that they meet the course-specific entrance criteria defined in the College catalog. Attendance at concerts and rehearsals is mandatory.
3. What is the difference between Major-level lessons and Minor-level lessons and who is eligible to take them?
Major-level lessons are worth one credit hour and meet once weekly at an arranged time for one hour. Piano, Voice, and Instrumental Major-level lessons are available to Music majors (code 1019) only. Students who intend to register for Major-level lessons must also be concurrently enrolled in additional MUSC and MUSA courses. Usually, full-time Music majors are concurrently registered for the appropriate level of Harmony, Aural Perception, a music history/literature course, an ensemble, and perhaps Electronic Music Synthesis and/or Minor-level lessons, while enrolled in Major-level lessons. Registration requires Music Area permission.
Minor-level lessons In Piano and Voice at both level one and level two meet as a class (i.e. group Instruction) for one 50-minute session weekly for one credit hour. Piano and Voice Minor-level lessons at the first and second levels are available to both Music majors (code 1019) and Non-Music majors. Piano and Voice Minor-level lessons at the third and fourth levels are private lessons meeting for an arranged one-half hour weekly session for one credit hour. Third and fourth level Minor-level lessons are generally for Music-majors (code 1019), but those Non-Music majors who have taken Minor levels one and two, or who have the appropriate background (as determined by the applied Music faculty) may enroll with permission of the Music Area. Enrollment in both Instrumental Minor-level lessons and Piano/Voice Minor lessons at the third and fourth levels requires Music Area permission. Usually students registered for Instrumental Minor lessons or Piano/Voice Minor lessons at the third or fourth levels should concurrently be in at least one other MUSC or MUSA course.
4. What is the difference between Introduction to Music and Music Fundamentals?
Introduction to Music is a listening-based music appreciation course which satisfies a Cultural Perspective core requirement In most programs of study at Bucks and is transferable to other Institutions. It is available to both Music majors (code 1019) and Non-Music majors. No music reading skills, music performance skills, or prior background is necessary for enrollment. Introduction to Music is a survey course covering composers, instruments, history, forms, styles, and genres of Western music from antiquity through the 20th Century.
Music Fundamentals is a course in developing elementary music reading skills, rudimentary theoretical concepts such as scales, triads, key signatures, time signatures, terminology etc., and basic musicianship. It is intended as a remedial course to prepare those Music majors having insufficient music reading and theory skills for entrance into Diatonic Harmony I, the first music theory course in the Music major curriculum. It may be taken by Non-Music majors whose goal is to learn basic music reading and rudimentary theory concepts.
5. Does the Music Area require auditions for entrance into any Music course, ensemble, or to enter the curriculum as a Music major?
Although BCCC has an open admission policy, students should contact the Music Office (215-968-8088) to schedule an audition. Students who may be lacking in background will be required to register for developmental courses (such as Minor-level lessons, Music Fundamentals, etc.) to attain the prerequisite skills for required Music courses.
6. Are there extra fees or surcharges associated with any Music courses?
No. Students are not charged lesson fees or additional fees for any Music courses. Payment is determined solely by the standard per-credit-hour charge.
7. Is the Music Major Curriculum accredited, and are the courses transferable?
Yes. The Music Major program is a transfer degree program equivalent to the first two years of music study at a 4-year institution, and BCCC is an accredited institutional member of NASM (National Association of Schools of Music). Associate degree graduates of the Bucks Music program are accepted as transfer students to area colleges and universities. Check with your intended transfer school for specifics.
8. Is it possible to get an Associate Degree in Music by going to class at night, in the summer, or by distance learning?
No. Although Introduction to Music is offered at night, in the summer, by distance learning, and on all five days of the week, the core Music theory, history, literature, lesson, ensemble, etc. format is primarily a Monday-Wednesday-Friday morning/afternoon schedule during fall and spring semesters.
9. What does "By Arrangement" mean regarding lessons and ensembles?
Registered students will be asked to submit their academic schedules to the appropriate applied Music faculty during the beginning of the semester. Signs will be posted throughout the Music Area buildings detailing the exact procedure. Often an orientation meeting for new Music majors is held during the first full week of classes to discuss scheduling, locker assignments, lessons, ensembles, musicale recitals, etc. Lesson/ensemble meeting times will be posted by the appropriate applied Music instructors generally by the end of the first full week of classes.
10. Do Music Majors need to see a Music faculty member for advising?
It is strongly encouraged. Since Music Area permission is required for registration in private lessons (via the "Hotcard" signed by a Music faculty member) and the requisite background for entrance into theory courses, for example, is best determined by faculty in the Music Area, it is ultimately the best solution for a student to be advised by Music faculty.
11. How do students get performance exposure while in the Music program at Bucks?
Most large and small ensembles participate in the Musicale recital series (generally on Wednesdays at 3:30-4:30 pm) which is open to the public and held in the Persser Music Room. Some ensembles also give evening performances in the Kevin and Sima Zlock Performing Arts Center. Students enrolled in Major-level lessons may perform in Musicales as well, along with faculty and guests.
12. What course would be a good, non-threatening starting place for a Non-Music major to gain musical experience at Bucks?
Introduction to Music satisfies a core cultural perspective requirement, is transferable, and does not require any musical background at all. This course deals with basic music appreciation.
For those who wish to perform and who have prior musical experience and music reading skills already, any ensemble commensurate with background and interest would be a good choice.
If a student has always wanted to learn how to play the piano or to sing, then Piano Minor I/II or Voice Minor I/II would be appropriate.
If a student wants to learn to read music, he/she should take Music Fundamentals.