Department of Music

Music Student Handbook

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General Policies and Procedures

Building Regulations

The use or sale of any form of tobacco products is prohibited in any Delta State   University owned or leased buildings and vehicles.

A limited number of lockers are available for rental each semester thru the Band Director.  Students with several large instruments may rent two or three lockers per semester.

Please regularly check the departmental bulletin board by the music office and faculty bulletin boards. Information, telephone messages, lesson changes, etc. are posted in these locations.

Music facilities are not available as practice areas for bands and combos not organized by the Department of Music without permission from the department chair.

Do not place anything other than a metronome or music on pianos.  Extensive damage has occurred through carelessness in this matter.

Keep all personal items in your possession.  A school instrument that has been assigned for your use will be charged to you if lost or stolen, or damaged through negligence or vandalism.  Be sure that you have insurance (homeowners) on your personal instrument.  The University does not provide this.

The recital hall is available on a limited basis to students preparing a recital.  Practice times should be scheduled through the Music Office.

Lobbies And Concessions Area

The lobbies and the concessions area in Room 155 of Zeigel Hall and the small lounge in Bailey are open for student use as sitting areas. However, students using these areas during the day must remember classrooms and offices are in the same vicinity. Excessive noise and congregating can become a distraction to those working or needing to walk in the hall.  Please be respectful of others by keeping the noise level to a minimum and by keeping these spaces neat, clean, and free of litter for the benefit of all who use it.  The department asks that furniture not be moved and that the furnishings that are provided be treated appropriately, as designed.  Also be aware that these spaces may be reserved periodically by faculty for special events that are taking place in the department at which time students would need to find other spaces to sit, work, and relax.

Computer Laboratory

The music computer lab is located in ZE 204.  Hours of operation are posted on the door.  The computers have music software available for music theory, aural theory, music education, music notation, etc.  Computers have word processing software available and internet access.

MUS 104: Recitals And Activities

MUS 104 Recitals and Activities, also known as “Convocation,” affords students an opportunity to perform repertoire studied in applied lessons and to come into contact with a much larger body of literature.  In addition, by giving the music and its performance your careful attention, you will increase your abilities to critically evaluate music for quality and preference.  Finally, it will offer you the chance to become accustomed to performing before an audience.

Senior recitals and evening concerts are especially important events.  The performers are often well-known professionals, outstanding music students, or seniors whose parents are in attendance.  Long hours of preparation have gone into these programs and they represent the finest we have to offer.  As a result it is appropriate that the audience show a high degree of respect for the performers and for other members of the audience by dressing in a manner that is suitable for such a special occasion.  Persons whose attire is distracting will not be admitted.

Enrollment in MUS 104:  Recitals and Activities is required for 7 semesters for B.M.E. candidates and for 8 semesters for B.A. and B.M. candidates.  Students who have extenuating circumstances concerning the requirements for this course should see the instructor of record, usually the department chair, for resolution of the problem.

Grading will be based upon the following scale:

  • “CR” – To earn this grade you must attend 17 activities which will include 5 non-Convocation/evening events including the Honors Recital in the spring semester. Attendance is required for the Honors Recital to earn credit every spring.
  • “NC” – Failure to meet the minimum requirements for “CR” will result in a grade of NC (No Credit). Not attending the Honors Recital will result in grade of NC regardless of other events attended that semester.
  • Attendance is taken at each recital or concert. You must be scanned in and out for each performance. Failure to comply will result in ‘no credit’ for that recital. Events in which you participate are credited toward the semester’s requirements.
  • Because of campus policy, various campus and off-campus concerts which charge admission are not included in the required list. However, those who wish to attend will receive credit by presenting evidence of having attended.  Prior approval must be obtained from the department chair or instructor of record and evidence must be presented to the secretary for your file in a timely manner.

Honors Recital

The Honors Recital is scheduled late in the spring semester to acknowledge excellence in scholarship and performance. To be eligible, a student must have a cumulative average of 3.00 or better in DSU music courses, the permission of the applied instructor, and have been in a studio at DSU at least one semester prior to that of the spring audition.  Performers are selected at a formal audition before the entire music faculty held four weeks prior to the recital.  The selection performed in the audition must be the same selection the student expects to perform on the recital.  A minimum of five students and a maximum of 10% of the music population will be selected to perform on the Honors Recital.  Students appearing on the Honors Recital will have their names engraved on a plaque in the music building in memory of former music educator Donny Adams, a gift from an alumnus, the late Jim McCutcheon.

Credit Hours And Academic Time

Credit hours for courses determine the weight of a course in regard to the hours needed to graduate. Most degrees require 124 hours, but the Bachelor of Music Education requires 130 hours in order to meet state and national standards for licensure and accreditation.

Credit hours are assigned to courses according to Federal, accreditation, and Board policy. An approval structure at the university ensures adherence to guidelines and regular review of the policy and of practice.

For purposes of the application of this policy and in accord with federal regulations, a credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates:

Not less than one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time, or

At least an equivalent amount of work as required outlined in item 1 above for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

According to IHL Policy 506, course requirements shall include at a minimum the following:

The Board required minimum of 2,250 minutes per three semester hour course, which may include final exam time.

The number of weeks must meet Federal financial aid requirements.

A three-hour course at DSU requires a minimum of 150 minutes of classroom or faculty-directed instruction per week for a period of 15 weeks. All courses offered on a different schedule or in alternative methods provide the equivalent per credit hour assigned.

Outside Commitments

The music program is a full and demanding one.  Students who for one reason or another are unable to fulfill departmental requirements are requested to give serious consideration to a change of major, or to drop out of school until full-time attention to the music program can be accomplished.  Students desiring to hold part-time jobs and positions as organists, choir directors, church soloists, and teachers of private lessons should weigh carefully the demands of such employment against the very limited free time they will possess.

Final Exams

The university sets a final exam schedule each semester with specified times for each daily class period. Instructors are expected to give a final exam in a course on the day scheduled by the University.  Do not ask an instructor to change or excuse you from the hour or day of a final exam unless there are dire extenuating circumstances. If you have foreseeable conflicts, they must be resolved by you in advance of the end of the semester.


The value of your degree and the future pride you will feel in it will depend upon the growth and well- being of the Department of Music.  To be the kind of unit that will make you a proud as alumni requires that we add increasing numbers of talented and dedicated music majors to our enrollment.  You and your success are some of the best recruitment tools we can have.  Often, one complimentary statement from you about Delta State University will carry more weight with those trying to decide where to pursue their college careers than anything the faculty and staff might do.  Please help us and our legacy by pointing out our strong points to others, by forwarding names of quality high school musicians to the faculty, and by representing the Department of Music in the outstanding manner that has become an expectation of Delta State students when in public.

Utilizing Your Time

In spite of your heavy academic load there will be sufficient time available to get your work done and still enjoy an adequate social life.  However, this is true only if you get maximum efficiency out of your day.

First, you should schedule your study and practice times as though they were classes.  Don’t let anyone or anything divert you from following your study and practice schedule to the letter.

Second, learn how to study and practice.  Your instructors will suggest approaches to learning that they have found successful.  Use them!!  If you feel your time is not producing the desired result, don’t hesitate to seek assistance from the faculty and staff.

Some general tips:

  • Divide your practice or study times into several segments.
  • Have a plan or goal to accomplish for each segment.
  • Pace yourself.
  • Work on your challenging spots and integrate that into more comfortable areas when rehearsing.
  • Assess and evaluate your progress—is what you are doing working?
  • Play difficult passages slower and methodically, isolating the most problematic areas.
  • Be consistent in your study/practice schedule.
  • Have both longer and short-term goals in your study/practice plan.
  • Ask for feedback, or record yourself. Be objective as if you are teaching someone else.
  • Reflect or think about what you studied or practiced to have a sense of the context or larger point of view.
  • Finally, set priorities. If you can’t get the very best grades in all of your classes, then you must decide how best to distribute your efforts.  Begin by recognizing that those who will later employ you are concerned with your abilities as a musician and your expert knowledge, so consequently, you should give your maximum focus to your music commitments.

Advising And Student Responsibility

All music majors will be assigned a faculty advisor, who will, in most cases, be the applied studio instructor. The faculty advisor can be very helpful in guiding a student in course selection and career planning.  Advisors will assist in scheduling and meeting requirements for graduation. Be sure to plan your program wisely to prevent delaying your progress toward graduation.

The student must accept full responsibility for knowing the policies and regulations relevant to the undergraduate degree programs.  These policies are contained in the Delta State University Undergraduate Bulletin. This handbook also has important information concerning finer details of Department of Music procedures.

Major Field Test

Upon successfully completing music history and form and analysis courses, usually at the end of the second semester of the junior year, B. M. and B.M.E. majors are asked to take a comprehensive examination called the Major Field Test in Music to assess retention of music theory, music history, and listening knowledge. The MFT is a timed, computer-based exam that takes approximately 2 hours to complete. There is no cost to students for taking the exam at this time. The score does not affect the outcome of any course grade or graduation sequence as the department uses the exam for program assessment and diagnostics. This exam is published by Educational Testing Service (ETS), which also publishes the Praxis and ACT exams.

Musicians’ Hearing Protection And Wellness

Students should be aware that prolonged exposure to sound over a certain decibel level while participating in music performance activities can cause both temporary and permanent hearing loss. Music students should be aware of the level and amount of exposure they experience regularly and take precautionary measures to protect hearing in ways recommended by hearing and music professionals.

Sound meters, also called decibel meters, can be purchased at electronics stores and other merchants online, as well as downloaded as an “app” for smart digital devices such as an iPhone. These devices or apps give you a reading of the volume level of the sound in your immediate area and provide guidance on safe and extreme levels of volume. Generally, staying below 70 decibels is safe, yet many instruments are measured at louder levels and especially when in ensembles.

Musician’s earplugs are available to help with decibel and frequency extremes. A popular product is the ETY Plug, available for purchase online.

The Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences on campus, located on the first floor of Kethley Hall in Suite B, provides hearing screenings at their Clinic in Kethley 110, often free-of-charge. Students are welcome to contact that office at 846-4110 to check into scheduling this painless procedure.

Music students must consider several areas to promote wellness and good health. For music majors, time is stretched late into the day and evening, so it is easy to become fatigued and feel depressed emotionally when not enough time is given for rest and recreation. Time management is required for music majors to be able to accomplish the required tasks of courses and performance, but also have personal time to rejuvenate and explore other interests. Your music professors are eager to help you develop a schedule to accommodate a fulfilling and efficient lifestyle as a college student in music; let any of them know that you would like their guidance.

Certain body movements, depending on the area of your performance, can result in injury or discomfort to your body, so it is best to try to avoid those that are not essential movements and know how to prepare for and manage those that may be crucial to your performance area.  Your applied instructor(s) will address these concerns for your area in your lessons and provide information to help you prevent a musician-type injury or condition.


Delta State University is committed to a policy of equal employment and educational opportunity. Delta State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, or veteran status. This policy extends to all programs and activities supported by the University

Rules For Use Of Performance Pianos In The Recital Hall

  • The pianos should remain on stage unless the stage is in use.
  • The pianos should be locked at all times that it is not in use.
  • The piano faculty will have keys, and there will be a key in the music office.
  • The pianos should be covered at all times that it is not in use.
  • The pianos will not be moved from its location by anyone other than the piano faculty without the express permission of the Department Chair.
  • The pianos must have the cover in place before it is moved.
  • There should always be two people present to move these pianos; one should be a faculty member.
  • Only those that will be performing on these pianos will play them. (These are NOT practice instruments.)
  • These pianos are for use in the Recital Hall. There must be permission from the department chair to be used in the Delta and Pine Land Theater or moved to another location on campus.
  • Any event other than that of the Department of Music must have permission of the department chair to use these pianos.
  • Do not place anything on the cabinet of the pianos.
  • The piano covers should not be placed on the harpsichord. Place the cover on the chair/bench provided in the storage room.
  • Do not stand on the pianos or the piano stools.
  • Manipulating the mechanical and physical attributes of the pianos (i.e. compositions for prepared piano) should be done only with the permission and assistance of DSU piano faculty.
  • Care should be given to all pianos, regardless of location, age, or value as they are very difficult and expensive to replace. They must be able to last for several years.