Department of Music, Theatre and Dance

Why Choose Music at Chico State

The Department of Music, Theatre and Dance 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. The music faculty of CSU, Chico provide a quality learning environment which nurtures student creativity, scholarship, diversity, and entrepreneurship, enhanced by the collaboration of students, faculty and staff.

Graduates with a BA in Music have gone on to work in various music professions across the United States and internationally. Our recording arts and music industry majors work for major and independent studios, tour the country and world with various artists, and serve in the area of artist and repertoire recruitment for numerous record labels. Graduates with a music degree also work as performers and composers on a national and regional level, and our music education majors have found careers as teachers at universities, colleges, and K-12 schools in Northern California and throughout the state.

  • Curriculum

    The Department of Music, Theatre and Dance offers a BA in Music with a choice of four different options, as well as the option of a music minor.

    All students enrolled in the BA in Music complete a core of classes intended to give students a basic understanding of music theory, history, ear training, keyboard proficiencies, and technologies. The degree options allow students to choose areas of specialization.

    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. NAfME (National Association for Music Education) has a club on campus designed specifically for future music educators.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Minor in Music provides opportunities for students in other majors to take courses and ensembles within the department broadening their college experience.

    Certificate in Keyboard Pedagogy is a specialized course of study intended for those who will teach private or group piano lessons.

    Certificate in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy is a specialized course of study for those whose career goals include either vocal performance or teaching.

  • Performances and Productions

    The Department of Music, Theatre and Dance offers a wide variety of performance opportunities for students.

    Faculty-directed music ensembles include the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Concert Band,  A Cappella Choir,  Chamber Singers,  Jazz X-Press, and Jazz Too. Music ensemble auditions occur at the beginning of each semester and are open to any Chico State 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.

  • Scholarships

    The Department of Music, Theatre and Dance 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. 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.

  • Auditions, Proficiency Exams, Requirements

    Assuming all other University requirements are satisfied, students must audition for studio instruction (private lessons) for all music degrees. These auditions are conducted the first week of classes each semester. This requirement applies to all entering freshmen and transfer students. Placement/Challenge exams for music theory, aural musicianship, and piano are required for all entering freshman and transfer students that have previous skills.

Areas of Interest

Students in our degree programs have the opportunity to study and participate in:

  • Directing
  • Music Composition
  • Music Education
  • Music Industry
  • Music Performance
  • Recording Arts


We welcome students across campus to participate in our many ensembles, which include:

  • Acappella Choir
  • Chamber Singers
  • Symphonic Wind Ensemble
  • Concert Band
  • Jazz X-Press
  • Jazz Too
  • Pep Band
  • Various Small Ensembles
  • North State Symphony