Musicianship Placement

The required music theory/aural skills course sequence for music majors is:

MHIS 145: Music Theory and Aural Skills I (4 credits)
MHIS 146: Music Theory and Aural Skills II (4 credits)
MHIS 245: Music Theory and Aural Skills III (4 credits)
MHIS 256: Musicianship Practicum (2 credits)

APPM 173: Keyboard Skills I (1 credit)
APPM 174: Keyboard Skills II (1 credit)
APPM  273: Keyboard Skills III (1 credit)

All incoming freshmen will automatically be placed into MHIS 145 and APPM 173. 
If incoming students have a robust background in music theory/aural skills and/or piano and want to inquire about testing out of MHIS 145 or APPM 173, they should contact Prof. Taylor Barnett at to discuss the process, including what knowledge and skills are required to begin in later courses in the sequence.

All students are encouraged to start working on their theory and aural skills fundamentals prior to the beginning of the semester. A good source of free lessons and exercises can be found at:

As part of the advising process for incoming transfer students, the Department of Music will evaluate the music theory, aural skills, and keyboard skills credits earned at other institutions to potentially substitute for one or more of the required VCU music courses. If a transfer student has earned credits that are approved to substitute for VCU courses, they can begin their coursework at VCU with the subsequent course in the sequence. All transfer students are encouraged to contact Prof. Taylor Barnett to discuss where their skills and experiences line up with the VCU Music curriculum, and to help the student have the best start possible to their VCU musicianship coursework

Contact Prof. Taylor Barnett at with any questions.