Music Degree Requirements

West Valley College offers two Associate degrees in Music:

  • 70-unit Associate of Arts Degree
  • 60-unit Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT or AA-T)

Successful completion of the lower unit AA-T in Music guarantees admission to a CSU campus, though not necessarily of the student's choice. In addition, this degree does not guarantee acceptance into the specific program of specialty.

The higher-unit AA in Music provides a comprehensive music education in music history, piano and additional elective units in music above and beyond the music theory, musicianship, applied music and ensemble provided by the AA-T.

The Music faculty strongly recommends students pursue the 70-unit degree, which provides a complete music education, equivalent or exceeding the experience at a four-year institution. The Music faculty also recommends simultaneously applying for the 60-unit degree, the requirements of which will automatically be completed with the completion of the 70-unit degree.

Following these recommendations will give students the advantage of a comprehensive music education from the AA in Music that prepares students for transfer auditions and placement tests, with the fallback of guaranteed CSU acceptance from the AA-T.

Associate of Arts Degree

The Music Department offers a comprehensive program designed to provide a wide variety of musical experience for the student seeking to transfer to a baccalaureate program in performance or music education for a career as a musician or music teacher. The Associate in Arts in Music will prepare students to succeed upon transfer to a School of Music or conservatory to pursue a BA or BM in Music. Courses required in Associate in Arts in Music lay a foundation for success in upper division music coursework.

Students who complete the Associate in Arts in Music will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate proficiency on voice or instrument in transfer auditions, incorporating accurate performance practice based on historical eras and diverse musical styles.
  2. Perform standard solo and ensemble repertoire appropriate to the performance area.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to hear, identify and work conceptually with the elements of music, through sight-reading and musical analysis in placement exams;
  4. Critique musical performances with an awareness of vocabulary, musical style, performance practice, and interpretation suitable for transfer to a school of music;
  5. Create derivative or original music in extemporaneous and/or written form in placement exams.
  • Music Teacher (Vocal, Instrumental, General Music)
    • Community School
    • Parks & Rec Program
    • Public/Private K-12 School
    • College or University
    • Private Music Teacher
  • Band, Orchestral, Choral Music Director
    • K-12 school ensemble director
    • College, Conservatory & University ensemble director
    • Community ensemble director
  • Church or Synagogue Music Director
    • Cantor (Church, Synagogue)
    • Church Organist
  • Conductor (Vocal or Instrumental)
    • Educational Settings (K-12, College, University)
    • Church & Community Settings
    • Community Choirs
  • Music Director (Musical Theater)
    • K-12 school musical theater director
    • College, Conservatory & University musical theater director
    • Community musical theater director
  • Collaborative Pianist (Accompanist)
  • Composer or Arranger
    • Film, TV, Gaming, Commercial jingles
    • Songwriter
    • Lyricist
  • Symphony Orchestra musician
    • Ballet: orchestra musician, conductor
    • Concertmaster (Orchestra)
    • Section Leader (Orchestra)
    • Section Member (Orchestra)
    • Orchestra Manager
  • Musical Theater Singer
    • Broadway, Off-Broadway, Touring Shows
      • National, Regional, Local
    • Concerts and Recitals: performer, producer
    • Floor Shows (Hotels, casinos, clubs)
    • Band Member (Vocalist)
  • Opera Singer
    • Productions, Concerts and Recitals
      • National, Regional, Local
  • Music Librarian
  • Music Therapist
  • Sound Designer
  • Sound Technician
  • Recording Artist
  • Studio Musician
  • Music Publisher
  • Music Copyist
  • Music Licensing Consultant
  • Music Producer
  • Radio Music Director
  • Music Store Manager
  • Music Instrument Sales Representative
  • Music Instrument Repair and Restoration Specialist
  • Music Instrument Builder/Designer
  • Piano Tuner/Technician

Music majors should meet with a full-time faculty member for advising and planning for timely completion of the AA degree in Music.

  1. Music majors with prior piano experience may meet the Piano Proficiency requirement (MUSC 031A/B) via credit by examination. Music majors with no prior piano experience should enroll in Beginning Piano (MUSC 030A/B) using elective units, to remediate prior to enrolling in Intermediate Piano (MUSC 31A/B).
  2. Music majors deficient in knowledge of scales, key signatures, intervals and chords are advised to take Fundamentals of Music (MUSC 005) to remediate prior to enrolling in Theory Level 1 (MUSC 003A).
  3. Audition is required for admission to large ensembles (MUSC 42, 48, 49), and the Applied Music program (MUSC 039A-G). Admission is based on the skill level and likelihood the student will be able to meet transfer audition requirements two years hence.
  4. This is a high-unit program due to multiple, sequential subject matter courses beginning in the first semester in accordance with NASM standards. It will require the student to take classes during Winter and/or Summer intersessions in order to complete the program including all transfer GE requirements in two years.

The Associate of Arts in Music provides students the lower division coursework required for transfer to CSU and other NASM-accredited schools for the goal of a baccalaureate degree (Bachelor of Arts in Music, or Bachelor of Music, or Bachelor of Music Education). A BA, BM or BMusEd is the minimum degree required to teach music in accredited K-12 schools, in addition to an additional year to obtain a credential to teach in public schools. The Associate of Arts in Music is the first step toward reaching those milestones.

Students who complete the Associate in Arts in Music will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate proficiency on voice or instrument in transfer auditions, incorporating accurate performance practice based on historical eras and diverse musical styles;
  2. Perform standard solo and ensemble repertoire appropriate to the performance area;
  3. Demonstrate the ability to hear, identify and work conceptually with the elements of music, through sight-reading and musical analysis in placement exams;
  4. Critique musical performances with an awareness of vocabulary, musical style, performance practice, and interpretation suitable for transfer to a school of music;
  5. Create derivative or original music in extemporaneous and/or written form in placement exams.

The Associate of Arts in Music is a 68-70 unit program which provides students the lower division coursework required for transfer to CSU and other NASM-accredited schools for the goal of a baccalaureate degree (Bachelor of Arts in Music, or Bachelor of Music, or Bachelor of Music Education. Students must complete the California State University General Education Breadth pattern (CSU GE-Breadth) OR the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) pattern AND the following 37 semester units in the music major, with a minimum grade point (GPA) of 2.0, while earning a grade of C or better in all courses required for the major.

Core Requirements: Music Theory, Musicianship, History, Piano, Digital Notation (22 units)

Complete four semesters each of Music Theory and Musicianship (MUSC 003A and 020A, 003B and 020B, 004A, 004B); two semesters of Intermediate Piano class (MUSC 031A, 031B); one semester of Music History (MUSC 001); one semester of Digital Notation & Audio (MUSC 066). NOTE: Credit by examination is authorized for MUSC 031A and/or MUSC 031B to those students possessing prior piano experience. See Credit By Examination protocols in the College Catalog of Classes.

Core Requirements: Applied Music (4 units)

Complete four semesters of the same Applied Music course (MUSC 039A-G) based on major instrument of study. NOTE: Changing instrument and/or course will delay completion of this requirement.

Core Requirements: Large Ensemble (4 units)

Complete four semesters of the same Large Ensemble course (MUSC 042, 048, 049) appropriate to major instrument of study, as determined by music faculty.

Electives: Music Electives (7 units)

Complete seven units from the list of approved music courses.

Required Core: Theory, Musicianship, History & Applied Music (26 units)

Course Number Course Title Units
MUSC 1 Music History 3 units
MUSC 3A Music Theory Level 1 3 units
MUSC 3B Music Theory Level 2 3 units
MUSC 4A Music Theory Level 3 4 units
MUSC 4B Music Theory Level 4 4 units
MUSC 20A Musicianship Level 1 1 unit
MUSC 20B Musicianship Level 2 1 unit
MUSC 31A Intermediate Piano, Level 3 1 unit
MUSC 31B Intermediate Piano, Level 4 1 unit
MUSC 39A Applied Music: Brass 1 unit
MUSC 39B Applied Music: Woodwind 1 unit
MUSC 39C Applied Music: Strings 1 unit
MUSC 39D Applied Music: Percussion 1 unit
MUSC 39E Applied Music: Piano 1 unit
MUSC 39F Applied Music: Guitar 1 unit
MUSC 39G Applied Music: Voice 1 unit
MUSC 66 Digital Audio and Notation 1 unit

Required Core: Large Ensemble (4 units)

Course Number Course Title Units
MUSC 42 Concert Choir 4 units
  OR  
MUSC 48 Symphony Orchestra 4 units
  OR  
MUSC 49 Symphonic Band 4 units

Recommended Electives (6 units)

Course Number Course Title Units
MUSC 2 Music History: Classical, Romantic and Contemporary Periods 3 units
MUSC 5 Fundamentals of Music 3 units
MUSC 6 Introduction to Music Education 2 units
MUSC 7 Film Music Appreciation 3 units
MUSC 9 Jazz - Past and Present 3 units
MUSC 10 Music Appreciation 3 units
MUSC 26 Techniques of Jazz - Rock Guitar 2 units
MUSC 27 Introduction to Jazz Piano 2 units
MUSC 30A Beginning Piano, Level 1 1 unit
MUSC 30B Beginning Piano, Level 2 1 unit
MUSC 32A Beginning Voice, Level 1 1 unit
MUSC 32B Beginning Voice: Level 2 1 unit
MUSC 33A Intermediate Voice, Level 3 1 unit
MUSC 33B Intermediate Voice, Level 4 1 unit
MUSC 35A Diction for Singers: Italian, English, and Latin 1 unit
MUSC 35B Diction for Singers: German, French, Spanish 1 unit
MUSC 36A Beginning Guitar, Level 1 1 unit
MUSC 36B Beginning/Intermediate Guitar, Level 2 1 unit
MUSC 36C Intermediate Guitar, Level 3 1 unit
MUSC 36D Intermediate/Advanced Guitar, Level 4 1 unit
MUSC 39H Applied Music: Composition 1 unit
MUSC 40 Chamber Singers 2 units
MUSC 43A Techniques of Jazz Improvisation 2 units
MUSC 43B Techniques of Jazz Improvisation 2 units
MUSC 44A Musical Theater & Opera Scenes: Comic 2 units
MUSC 44B Musical Theater & Opera Scenes: Verismo 2 units
MUSC 44C Musical Theater & Opera Scenes: 20th Century 2 units
MUSC 44D Musical Theater & Opera Scenes: Modern Musicals 2 units
MUSC 51 Jazz Band 2 units
MUSC 52A Ensemble Performance - Jazz and Pop 2 units
MUSC 54 History of Rock & Roll 3 units
MUSC 55 World Music 3 units
MUSC 56 Percussion Ensemble 1 unit
MUSC 57 History and Culture of Hip Hop 3 units
MUSC 61 Vocal Jazz Ensemble 2 units
MUSC 62A Solo Performance in Jazz and Popular Music 1 unit
MUSC 63A Introduction to Music Technology 3 units
MUSC 63B Commercial Music Production 3 units
MUSC 64 Sound Design 3 units
MUSC 65A Recording Arts I 3 units
MUSC 65B Recording Arts II 3 units
MUSC 65C Recording Arts III 3 units
MUSC 67A Creating Music for Film, TV and Gaming: Foundations 3 units
MUSC 67B Creating Music for Film, TV and Gaming: Techniques 3 units
MUSC 68 Cinematic Orchestration for Film, TV and Gaming 3 units
MUSC 69B CSongwriting, Level 2 3 units
MUSC 70 Music Business 3 units

Required Major Total: 37 units

Completion of Transfer GE pattern (CSU or IGETC): 37-39 units

(Double counting: 6 units)

Total Units: 68–70 units

Fall, Year 1 (7 units)

Course NumberCourse TitleUnits
MUSC 3A Music Theory Level 1 3 units
MUSC 20A Musicianship Level 1 1 unit
MUSC 39A–G Applied Music 1 unit
MUSC 42 Concert Choir 1 unit
OR
MUSC 48 Symphony Orchestra 1 unit
OR
MUSC 49 Symphonic Band 1 unit
MUSC electives 1 unit

Spring, Year 1 (7 units)

Course NumberCourse TitleUnits
MUSC 3B Music Theory Level 2 3 units
MUSC 20B Musicianship Level 2 1 unit
MUSC 39A–G Applied Music 1 unit
MUSC 42 Concert Choir 1 unit
OR
MUSC 48 Symphony Orchestra 1 unit
OR
MUSC 49 Symphonic Band 1 unit
MUSC 66 Digital Audio and Notation 1 unit

Summer, Year 1 (3 units)

Course NumberCourse TitleUnits
MUSC 1 3 units

Fall, Year 2 (10 units)

Course NumberCourse TitleUnits
MUSC 4A Music Theory, Level 2 4 units
MUSC 31A Intermediate Piano, Level 3 1 unit
MUSC 39A–G Applied Music 1 unit
MUSC 42 Concert Choir 1 unit
OR
MUSC 48 Symphony Orchestra 1 unit
OR
MUSC 49 Symphonic Band 1 unit
MUSC electives 3 units

Spring, Year 2 (10 units)

Course NumberCourse TitleUnits
MUSC 4B Music Theory, Level 4 4 units
MUSC 31B Intermediate Piano 1 unit
MUSC 39A–G Applied Music 1 unit
MUSC 42 1 unit
OR
MUSC 48 Concert Choirs 1 unit
OR
MUSC 49 Symphonic Band 1 unit
MUSC electives 3 units

MUSC 003A is an advisory for MUSC 003B

MUSC 003B is a prerequisite for MUSC 004A

MUSC 004A is a prerequisite for MUSC 004B

MUSC 020A is a corequisite with MUSC 003A

MUSC 020B is a corequisite with MUSC 003B

MUSC 039A or B or C or D or E or F or G must be taken 4 times concurrently with MUS 042 or 048 or 049

MUSC 042 or 048 or 049 are corequisites to MUSC 039A-G

Auditions and placement exams will be administered for Applied Music, Large Ensemble, and Theory classes. Please visit the Music Departmentfor more information.

Year 1, Fall

6 units + Music elective + GE

Year 1, Spring

7 units + Music elective + GE

Year 1, Summer

3 units

Year 2, Fall

7 units + Music elective + GE

Year 2, Spring

7 units + Music elective + GE

Total: 68–70 units

Associate in Arts Degree for Transfer (AA-T)

The Associate in Arts in Music for Transfer degree (AA-T in Music) is a 60 unit program which provides students the lower division coursework required for transfer to a CSU institution for the major in Music. Music 42, 48A and 49 are 1 unit courses that must be repeated 4 times to meet the requirement. Music 39 is a 0.5 unit course that must be repeated 4 times to meet the requirement. Students who complete the Associate in Arts in Music for Transfer degree (AA-T in Music) will be able to demonstrate the ability to hear, identify and work conceptually with the elements of music, through sight-reading and musical analysis; perform standard solo and ensemble repertoire appropriate to their performance area at a collegiate level; create derivative or original music in extemporaneous and/or written form; demonstrate a working knowledge of music history and performance practices within their area of specialization.

Students must complete the following requirements:

  • 60 semester or 90 quarter CSU-transferable units
  • the California State University-General Education-Breadth pattern (CSU GE-Breadth); OR the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) pattern.
  • a minimum of 18 semester or 27 quarter units in the major or area of emphasis as determined by the community college district.
  • obtainment of a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0.
  • earn a grade of C or better in all courses required for the major or area of emphasis

Students are not required to complete the information competency requirements, PE requirements or cultural diversity requirements found in other degrees at the College.

NOTE: Majors will be required to pass a Piano Proficiency examination prior to graduation which includes sight reading a two-part grade 1 selection, and playing two stylistically contrasting pieces from Bartok’s Mikrokosmos Book II. Enrolling in MUSC 31A/B Intermediate Piano, using available elective units, is encouraged.

Required Core Courses (16 units)

Course Number Course Title Units
MUSC 3A Music Theory Level 1 3 units
MUSC 3B Music Theory Level 2 3 units
MUSC 4A Music Theory Level 3 4 units
MUSC 4B Music Theory Level 4 4 units
MUSC 20A Musicianship Level 1 1 units

List A (2 units)

Complete a total of 2 units taken over a minimum of 4 semesters of Music 39. (Music 39 is a 0.5 unit course that must be repeated 4 times to meet the requirement)

Course Number Course Title Units
MUSC 39 Applied Music 0.5 unit

List B (4 units)

Complete a total of 4 units over a minimum of 4 semesters from the following list (4 semesters, 1 unit each. Music 42, 48A and 49 are one unit courses that must be repeated four times to meet the requirement).

Course Number Course Title Units
MUSC 42** Concert Choir 1 unit
  OR  
MUSC 48A*** Symphony Orchestra 1 unit
  OR  
MUSC 49**** Symphonic Band 1 unit

MUSC 039 is now split into: MUSC 039A, 039B, 039C, 039D, 039E, 039F, 039G, 039H

**MUSC 042 is now split into: MUSC 042B, 042C, 042D

***MUSC 048A is not MUSC 048

****MUSC 049 is now split into: MUSC 049A, 049B, 049C, 049D

Major Requirements: 22 units

CSU GE Breadth or IGETC for CSU Requirements: 37 – 39 units

Elective Units As Needed To Total 60 CSU Transferable Units

Fall, Year 1 (6 units)

Course NumberCourse TitleUnits
MUSC 3A Music Theory Level 1 3 units
MUSC 20A Musicianship Level 1 1 unit
MUSC 39A–G Applied Music 1 unit
MUSC 42 Concert Choir 1 unit
OR
MUSC 48 Symphony Orchestra 1 unit
OR
MUSC 49 Symphonic Band 1 unit

Spring, Year 1 (6 units)

Course NumberCourse TitleUnits
MUSC 3B Music Theory Level 2 3 units
MUSC 20B Musicianship Level 2 1 unit
MUSC 39A–G Applied Music 1 unit
MUSC 42 Concert Choir 1 unit
OR
MUSC 48 Symphony Orchestra 1 unit
OR
MUSC 49 Symphonic Band 1 unit

Fall, Year 2 (6 units)

Course NumberCourse TitleUnits
MUSC 4A Music Theory Level 3 4 units
MUSC 39A–G Applied Music 1 unit
MUSC 42 Concert Choir 1 unit
OR
MUSC 48 Symphony Orchestra 1 unit
OR
MUSC 49 Symphonic Band 1 unit

Spring, Year 2 (6 units)

Course NumberCourse TitleUnits
MUSC 4B Music Theory Level 4 4 units
MUSC 39A–G Applied Music 1 unit
MUSC 42 Concert Choir 1 unit
OR
MUSC 48 Symphony Orchestra 1 unit
OR
MUSC 49 Symphonic Band 1 unit

Commercial Music Production Certificate of Achievement

The Commercial Music Production Certificate at West Valley College focuses on the recording arts, music technology, and commercial music production. This is a comprehensive curriculum covering electronic music/sound design, recording arts, songwriting, MIDI/Digital audio, and audio for visual media. Featuring state-of-art facilities and ‘cutting-edge’ hardware and software, the courses are designed for students of all levels, providing hands-on experience and thorough training in the creative and technical challenges specific to commercial music production. Upon successful completion of the requirements of this program the student will be able to demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary to arrange, record, compose, evaluate, and produce in a commercial music format and style. Potential careers specific to these skills include but are not limited to: Recording Engineer Assistant Engineer Pro Tools Certified Programmer/Technician Logic PRO Certified Programmer/Technician Composer Performer Producer Game Audio/Film and TV Sound Design Sound Editor Session Musician Audio Technician Songwriter Music Supervisor Backup Musician Arranger Live Sound/Front of House/Monitors Music Technician Design and Repair DJ Music Director.

After completing the Commercial Music Production Certificate, a student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate digital audio workstation skills specific to multi-track recording, mixing, sound design, sequencing, and composition.

Required Courses (18 units)

Course Number Course Title Units
MUSC 63A Introduction to Music Technology 3 units
MUSC 63B Commercial Music Production 3 units
MUSC 64 Sound Design 3 units
MUSC 65A Recording Arts I 3 units
MUSC 65B Recording Arts II 3 units
MUSC 69 Commercial Music Theory/Songwriting I 3 units

Fall, Year 1 (9 units)

Course NumberCourse TitleUnits
MUSC 63A Introduction to Music Technology 3 units
MUSC 65A Recording Arts I 3 units
MUSC 64 Sound Design 3 units

Spring, Year 1 (9 units)

Course NumberCourse TitleUnits
MUSC 63B Commercial Music Production 3 units
MUSC 65B Recording Arts II 3 units
MUSC 69 Commercial Music Theory/Songwriting I 3 units

Required Core: 18 units

Elective Units: 0 units

Total Units: 18 units

General education courses are NOT required for a certificate program

NOTE: The Recommended Sequence on eLumen shows the progression for a two year residency, but the certificate can be obtained in just one year.

Creating Music for Film, TV and Gaming Certificate of Achievement

The Creating Music for Film, TV and Gaming Certificate of Achievement requires the successful completion of 2 semesters, 18 units. This program provides Career Technical Education (CTE) opportunities in creating music for film, TV and gaming. This curriculum covers areas in, but not limited to, music theory, electronic and acoustic music composition, songwriting and arranging, cinematic orchestration, software music notation, MIDI sequencing, and digital audio sequencing and editing. Featuring state of the art facilities, industry-standard hardware and software, the courses are designed for students of all levels, providing hands-on experience and thorough training in the creative and technical challenges specific to creating music for film, TV and gaming. Upon completion, certificate students will have acquired skills in composing, cinematic orchestration, digital audio sequencing and editing, MIDI programming, and digital music notation.

These skills are specific to careers in, but not limited to, TV composer, commercial composer, film composer, video game composer, app composer, web composer, music editor, music supervisor, digital audio workstation operator, songwriter, orchestrator, copyist, and music licensor.

After completing the Creating Music for Film, TV and Gaming certificate, a student will be able to:

  • Compose a music cue for film, TV or gaming in a selected genre.

Required Courses (18 units)

Course Number Course Title Units
MUSC 5 Fundamentals of Music (Online) 3 units
MUSC 7 Film Music Appreciation (Online) 3 units
MUSC 30A Beginning Piano, Level 1 1 unit
MUSC 39H Applied Music: Composition 1 unit
MUSC 63A Introduction to Music Technology 3 units
MUSC 66 Digital Audio and Notation (Online) 1 unit
MUSC 67A Creating Music for Film, TV and Gaming: Foundations 3 units
MUSC 67B Creating Music for Film, TV, and Gaming: Techniques 3 units

Fall – Semester 1

Course Number Course Title Units
MUSC 63A Introduction to Music Technology (Online or Evening) 3 units
MUSC 67A Creating Music for Film, TV and Gaming: Foundations (Online or Evening) 3 units
MUSC 30A Beginning Piano (Online or Evening) 1 unit
MUSC 5 Fundamentals of Music (Online or Evening) 3 units

Spring – Semester 2

Course Number Course Title Units
MUSC 7 Film Music Appreciation (Online) 3 units
MUSC 66 Digital Audio and Notation (Online) 1 unit
MUSC 67B Creating Music for Film, TV and Gaming: Techniques (Online or Evening) 3 units
MUSC 39H Applied Music: Composition (Private Lesson) 1 unit
Last Updated 10/12/20