Music and Theatre
The Department of Music and Theatre at California State University, Chico offers excellent curricular programs, high quality facilities, performance ensembles, productions and opportunities to help meet a variety of career objectives.
We provide a learning environment, which nurtures student creativity, scholarship, diversity, and entrepreneurship, enhanced by the collaboration of students, faculty and staff.
The Department of Music and Theatre offers three separate BA programs, three minors, and two certificates.
The BA in Music.
Students take a core of classes intended to give them a basic understanding of music theory, history, ear training, keyboard proficiencies, and technologies. The degree options allow students to choose areas of specialization.
The option in music education is a comprehensive program for students planning careers in music education for grades K-12. The Single Subject Credential in Music is part of our dynamic music education program.
The option in music industry prepares students for the many challenging opportunities in the vast music industry. Courses in business and music are designed to give students the knowledge and skills needed in the commercial music industry, entrepreneurial development, and positions in the public art sector.
The option in recording arts is designed to offer enhanced career opportunities in the recording, sound reinforcement, performance audio, and entertainment industries. Students in this option receive intensive hands-on instruction and experience utilizing state-of-the-art electronic equipment and labs.
The option in general music allows a student (with an advisor) to develop a more wide-ranging course of study including; music composition, jazz studies, performance and more.
The certificate in keyboard pedagogy is a specialized course of study intended for those who will teach private or group piano lessons.
The certificate in vocal performance and pedagogy is a specialized course of study for those whose career goals include either vocal performance or teaching.
Students are provided focused, pre-professional training within the context of broad, liberal arts study. Through a program of applied studio courses, workshops and full productions, students learn an immediately useful set of theatre skills to prepare them for entry-level professional theatre employment or advanced study in professional theatre training programs and graduate schools. Study of textual analysis, literature and theatre history helps students place the theatre within its larger cultural context, and to think critically, reason clearly, imagine creatively, and communicate effectively about theatre and the world of which it is a part.
Two BA programs that share a common foundation of history, literature, and aesthetic principles:
BA in Theatre is a well-balanced degree. After completing the common core classes, students select a mix of lower and upper division electives in performance, technical theatre/design, and dramatic literature/history.
BA in Musical Theatre is a prescribed degree. After completing the common core classes, students focus their studies specifically on musical theatre performance in the areas of acting, singing, and dancing.
Theatre and Musical Theatre Dance Minors provide courses and production opportunities for students in other majors who wish to add intellectual and practical understanding of theatre and dance to their college experience.
Auditions/Proficiency Exams Requirements
Assuming all other University requirements are satisfied, students must audition for studio instruction (private lessons). These auditions are conducted the week prior to the beginning of classes each semester. This requirement applies to all entering freshmen, and transfer students.
Proficiency exams for music theory, aural musicianship, and piano are required for all entering freshman and transfer students that have previous skills.
Visit the Music and Theatre Department online or contact the department office for specific requirements.
Performances and Productions
The Department of Music and Theatre offers a wide variety of performance opportunities for students. Faculty directed music ensembles include the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Acappella Choir, University Chorus, Chamber Singers, Jazz X-Press, and Jazz II. Music ensemble auditions occur at the beginning of each semester and are open to any CSU, Chico student, regardless of major. These ensembles perform on a regular basis and play and sing music of all historical periods and styles. Numerous small ensemble opportunities are available as well, directed by both faculty and exceptional student leaders. We produce five faculty directed theatrical productions annually. Our selection of comedies and dramas cover a wide range of historical periods, genres, and production styles, including musicals in the fall and spring semesters. Opportunities exist for students to act, stage manage, fill various technical positions, and assist faculty in direction, design, and choreography. Theatre auditions are open to any CSU student as well as community members at the beginning of each semester. Many students work as paid assistants for the School of the Arts in the shops and on touring shows that use the University facilities.
The Department of Music and Theatre is located in the Performing Arts Center (PAC). The PAC has three theatres equipped with advanced lighting and sound equipment, a recital hall, fully equipped scene and costume shops, a small dance/rehearsal studio, make-up and dressing rooms, practice rooms equipped with pianos, recording facilities, an extensive costume collection, excellent mediated classrooms, large rehearsal rooms, a music and script library, and a computer lab. Our large dance/rehearsal studio is in Acker Gymnasium. The new Arts and Humanities Building will also provide an additional recital hall, recording studio, dance and rehearsal studio and several large and small lecture halls.
In addition to the regular academic program and production season, the department either directly sponsors or supports participation in other exciting professional organizations and student interest groups: The Audio Engineering Society, National Association for Music Education, School of the Arts Productions, Songwriters Guild, National Band Association, The "Off-Broadways" (Musical Theatre Touring Troupe), Ink Blot Arts, Momentum Dance Collective, CSU Summer Arts, and Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival. Faculty also participate in professional and national theatre organizations (and students may be invited to participate in presentations at conferences).
The Department of Music and Theatre offers over $50,000 in scholarships to students in its majors, including general music, theatre, music industry and technology, musical theatre, and recording arts. Some scholarships are awarded to non-majors with successful auditions/interviews. The application period is January through the middle of February every year and applicants must be full-time students (12 units minimum), and maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA (a higher GPA is required for some scholarships). Scholarship recipients must be significantly involved in departmental concerts and productions during both semesters of the academic year for which they receive their award. Incoming freshman and transfers are encouraged to audition and apply for the scholarship opportunities and should complete the audition/interview request form on the department website.
The Department of Music & Theatre encourages student participation in internships through out their college career. Experiential learning through an internship is one of the best ways to investigate whether or not a career area is appropriate for you. These opportunities provide you with insight into career fields of interest to you and also serve as resume builders and sources of professional references. Professional experience with positive letters of recommendation and references set you apart from those who only are able to show academic proficiency via transcripts and GPA. Students participating in pre-approved internships are eligible to receive course credit upon successful completion. Concurrent enrollment is required. Advance consultation with Department Internship advisor is required for approval.
Qualified graduating seniors are able to take classes which provide them with extensive faculty coaching in preparation for various national unified audition/interviews held each year for professional companies and graduate schools.
The Department of Music and Theatre graduates from California State University, Chico have found places at prestigious graduate training programs through out the country and abroad. Graduates with a BA in Music have gone on to work across the United States and internationally for major studios, independent studios, touring the country and world with major tours, A&R for the record labels, composing, performing on the national and regional stage, and much more. Graduates with a BA from the theatre programs work professionally as actors, designers, technicians and stage managers in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, on national tours, in various regional theatres, theme parks/cruise lines, and in film and television. Students from all degree programs have found careers as teachers at universities, colleges, high schools, and in the elementary schools.
The Department of Music and Theatre is accredited through the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and the National Association of Schools of Theatres (NAST).