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Music and Theatre

The mission of the Department of Music and Theatre at California State University, Chico is to provide our students with opportunities to excel through disciplined study and practice in high quality facilities, classes, performance ensembles and productions.

We seek to sustain the academic and artistic vitality of the performing and recording arts at California State University, Chico. We provide a fertile learning environment, which nurtures student creativity, Scholarship, diversity, and entrepreneurship, enhanced by the collaboration of students, faculty and staff. We promote the education, appreciation and enjoyment of the Arts on the campus and in the greater North State community.


The Department of Music offers excellent curricular programs and opportunities for a variety of career objectives. 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 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 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 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.

NOTE: Admission to the Option in Music Education is currently suspended. Please contact the Music and Theatre Department for more information.

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.

Entrance Requirements

Assuming all other University requirements are satisfied, students must audition/interview prior to acceptance into the program. These auditions/interviews are conducted the week prior to the beginning of classes each semester. This requirement applies to all entering freshmen, and transfer students. Contact the department office for specific requirements.


The music department is located in the Performing Arts Center (PAC). The PAC has excellent mediated classrooms, practice rooms, large rehearsal rooms, performance halls, a music library, excellent recording studios, electronic music studios, labs, and computer rooms.

Music Career Opportunities

For students interested in pursuing a master's degree at other major universities, the programs and course offerings within the music department offer excellent preparation. Music education careers are available both in California and throughout the country. Credentialing programs at CSU, Chico are outstanding. The number and diversity of opportunities in technology-related fields expand each year-ideal for students interested in the Recording Arts and Music Industry options. The Music Department is accredited through the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).


The Department of Theatre provides 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.

The department accomplishes its goals with two separate BA programs that share a common foundation of history, literature, and aesthetic principles:

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.

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.


Classroom experiences are coordinated with and supplemented by the department's extensive program of five or six annual productions. These productions include two major musicals and a selection of comedies and dramas that cover a wide range of historical periods, genres and production styles.

Student Participation

Alongside faculty mentors, students assume the bulk of production responsibilities in the department season. Opportunities exist for students to stage manage productions, act various roles, fill many technical positions, and assist faculty in the direction, design, and choreography. Exceptionally qualified students may occasionally direct, design or choreograph a major production. Many students work as paid assistants in the shops and on touring shows that use the University facilities.


Shows rehearse and perform in three theatres equipped with advanced lighting and sound equipment. The Performing Arts Center houses fully equipped scene and costume shops, a small dance/rehearsal studio, make-up and dressing rooms, a script library, a music library, practice rooms equipped with pianos, recording facilities, an extensive costume collection, and a computer lab. Our large dance/rehearsal studio is in Acker Gymnasium.

Special Opportunities

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 "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).

Career Outlook

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. Prior to their senior year, especially motivated students are actively supported in applying for internships and company positions with professional summer theatres. Theatre graduates from Chico have found places at prestigious graduate training programs through the country and abroad, and 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. They have found careers as teachers at universities, colleges and high schools. Businesses also seek employees with backgrounds in theatre arts because of their exceptional communication and interpersonal skills.

Catalog Cycle:13