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Doctor of Musical Arts Application Requirements

(Please note that this page is for information about the graduate application process ONLY. For information about the Undergraduate and Master of Music programs, please visit those respective programs' application pages.)

The Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) degree program is the most advanced course of study offered in the School of Music at James Madison University. The program has been designed to make graduates more marketable in higher education by emphasizing pedagogy and literature along with advanced performance or conducting skills. We are seeking candidates who have the potential to pursue the highest level of achievement in conducting/performance and teaching. The degree requires completion of a minimum of ninety (90) credit hours including:

  • 18 - 24 hours of Applied Instruction (if 18 are taken, 6 are approved electives);
  • 22 hours of Literature, Analysis, and Topical Seminars;
  • 18 hours of Recitals, Documents, and Research Methods;
  • 6 hours of Pedagogy; and
  • 20 hours of area-specific courses.
  • During the degree program, exceptionally qualified students may earn up to 30 credit hours by examination and/or transfer. After completion of all course work and three recitals, D.M.A. students must pass comprehensive written and oral examinations.

Click here to apply for the D.M.A. in Music.


Application Deadlines (2016)

  • Deadline for Assistantship Consideration*: December 1, 2015

All applicants who wish to be considered for an assistantship must have complete files by this date, which include application to the Graduate School and submission of all materials required on getacceptd.com including three letters of recommendation from recommenders qualified to write about the applicant. Applicants will be notified approximately by the end of the first week in January whether they have been invited to audition or interview at James Madison University. Auditions/interviews must take place by February 15, 2016. *MM Summer-Only Music Education applicants please note that there is no possibility of an assistantship in the summer.

  • Deadline for Admission Only (no assistantship consideration): March 27, 2016. 

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Mary Jean Speare
Director of Graduate Studies and Graduate Admissions
School of Music, MSC 7301
James Madison University
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
spearemj@jmu.edu


Entrance Examinations

Prior to the first week of classes, all applicants must take JMU School of Music diagnostic examinations in music history, written theory and ear training. The results are used for placement and advising.

Incoming graduate students in all concentrations are required to take diagnostic exams in music theory and aural skills. Topics covered on each include:

Music Theory (in three parts):

  • Part I: Analysis of a tonal work.
    • Students will complete a harmonic analysis of an excerpt that may include modulation and chromaticism such as tonicization, the Neapolitan, augmented-sixth chords, and modal mixture.
    • Students will analyze and answer questions about the form of a work. The forms covered may include: periods, sentences, binary, ternary, rondo, and sonata.
  • Part II: Writing.
    • Students will demonstrate their knowledge of voice leading in four-part chorale style through such exercises as: writing from Roman numerals, realizing figured bass, and filling in the blank with an expected chord of resolution.
    • Excerpts may include chromaticism such as tonicization, the Neapolitan, augmented-sixth chords, and modal mixture.
  • Part III: Twentieth- and twenty-first century materials.
    • This portion of the test is for departmental information only; a lack of familiarity with analytical techniques for modern music will not require the student to complete remedial work
    • Students will analyze a given passage using set theory and demonstrate their knowledge of common collections (octatonic, whole tone, pentatonic, and hexatonic) and operations (transposition and inversion).
    • Students will demonstrate familiarity with common compositional styles, techniques, or genres by naming a composer and/or work associated with a given term.

Aural Skills:

  • Interval identification
  • Melodic dictation (may include chromaticism)
  • Rhythmic dictation
  • Chord identification (triads, seventh chords)
  • Harmonic dictation (diatonic and chromatic chords)

Students who do not pass the first two parts of the music theory exam will be required to complete remedial work prior to taking any analysis course. Remedial work may include sitting in on MUS 142, 241, or 341, or taking MUS 576 as advised by the theory/composition area. Students who do not pass the aural skills exam will be expected to practice the necessary skills on their own or to informally audit an appropriate level aural skills course before taking the exam again.

Applicants for assistantships in areas related directly to these examinations may be required to take them before assistantships are granted. Removal of deficiencies is required before applying for graduation.


Assistantships

The chief source of aid for graduate study is through assistantships awarded by the school. Teaching assistantships are awarded each year on a competitive basis. In keeping with the pedagogical nature of the D.M.A. degree at James Madison University, all doctoral assistantships will include a variety of supervised teaching experiences; assisting professors in classes and/or being responsible for teaching a class, teaching applied lessons (for performers), and conducting ensembles (for conductors). In addition to a stipend, assistantships include a tuition award. Full or partial assistantships may be awarded. Full assistantships pay for 24 credits per year and are accompanied by a stipend of approximately 14,800 per year.”


Degree Objectives

Students graduating from the D.M.A. program (with Concentrations in Performance, Pedagogy and Literature or Conducting, Pedagogy and Literature) will be able to:

Performance, Pedagogy and Literature:

  1. demonstrate application of musical and technical mastery through the performance of advanced repertoire in the student’s area of specialization (instrumental or voice).
  2. create and deliver effective pedagogical instruction.
  3. analyze the standard solo, chamber and ensemble repertoire in the student’s area of specialization (instrumental or voice).
  4. communicate effectively about music through a) writing and b) speaking.

Conducting, Pedagogy and Literature:

  1. demonstrate application of musical and physical conducting skills through the performance of advanced repertoire in the student’s area of specialization (instrumental or vocal).

  2. demonstrate effective rehearsal techniques through the preparation of representative repertoire in the student’s area of specialization (instrumental or vocal).
  3. create and deliver effective pedagogical instruction.
  4. formulate advanced insights into the artistic and formal structure of music through score study in the student’s area of specialization.
  5. communicate effectively about music through a) writing and b) speaking.