Feb 24, 2024  
2014-2015 Catalog-EXPIRED 

Associate of Music, A.M.

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(Codes 206AM, 207AM, 208AM, 209AM, 210AM)

GRCC Program:

Associate of Music

This program is designed for students wishing to major in applied music (performance areas) and/or those wishing to major in Music Education (public and non-public school music teaching areas), or music therapy and requires transfer to complete a baccalaureate degree.

High school preparation recommended: college preparatory curriculum plus the study of an instrument or voice. All students who are interested in a music degree must first take a music theory pretest, a piano placement test, and meet with the head of the music department. If deficiencies in music theory and/or piano are identified, the student must first pass MUS 112 - Basic Music Theory  and MUS 120 - Introduction to Piano  prior to beginning the college-level music theory and piano curriculum. Students with no prior background in music may be required to enroll in MUS 99 - Music Basics Immersion  prior to enrolling in MUS 112  and MUS 120 .

It is important to understand that if the Associate of Music degree is selected, the student will transfer with all of the freshman and sophomore level music classes completed but will have only two thirds of the general education courses completed for the sophomore level. Students are advised to contact their Transfer Insititution for further directions on General Education requirements.

Whether the student transfers at junior level is contingent upon many factors. Grades in classes are not the least of these. Students who earn less than a “C” in any music course must repeat that course to receive credit. Students who achieve “A/B” work at GRCC stand a good chance of transferring at the junior level. (This means in each music class.) Grades below this will mean that students may transfer at the sophomore or freshman levels. Music majors should expect to take music transfer examinations at the senior institution to determine their preparedness for junior-level course work.

Prior to transfer, most schools will require a battery of examinations. These examinations will be in the areas of music theory, aural comprehension, applied music, piano, and occasionally music history. Upon completion of these exams, the transfer institution will determine the level of each student. GRCC grades below “A/B” will usually mean transferring below the junior level.

Essential Abilities


The Grand Rapids Community College Music Department faculty has specified essential abilities critical to the success of students in any GRCC Music Departmentprogram. Students must demonstrate these essential abilities and technical standards to succeed in their program of study. Qualified applicants are expected to meet all admission criteria and matriculating students are expected to meet all progression criteria, as well as these essential abilities and technical standards with or without reasonable accommodations. 

1.      Essential judgment skills to include:

  • Time management – Students are expected to schedule no less than two hours each day in applied music private practice. Additional hours of individual practice toward proficiency in piano, aural skills and theoretical concepts will require daily practice.
  • Creative Problem Solving – Students are expected to resolve issues of practice room and lab scheduling, accompanist rehearsal schedule, additional sectional rehearsals and performances.

 2.      Essential physical/neurological functions to include: ability to use the senses of seeing, hearing, and touch to make correct judgments regarding performance. Behaviors that demonstrate essential neurological and physical functions include, but are not limited to observation, listening, understanding relationships, writing, and psychomotor abilities consistent with course and program expectations. Specifically this includes: 

  • Keyboard competency.
  • Ability to hear the notes on the page
  • Hear, identify, and work conceptually with the elements of music such as rhythm, melody, harmony, structure, timbre, and texture
  • Ability to read (musical literacy) at sight with fluency demonstrating both general musicianship and, in the major performance area, a level of skill relevant to undergraduate standards appropriate for the particular concentration.
  • An understanding of the common elements and organizational patterns of music and their interaction, the ability to employ this understanding in aural, verbal, and visual analyses, and the ability to take aural dictation.
  • In order to develop new ideas and skills that lead to improved abilities, students must be willing and able to explore and change cognitive and kinesthetic patterns.

3.      Essential communication skills to include: ability to communicate effectively with fellow students, and all members of the music department. Skills include verbal, written, and nonverbal abilities as well as information technology skills consistent with effective communication. Specifically this would include:

  • Knowledge and skills sufficient to work as a leader and in collaboration on matters of musical interpretation and performance.
  • Knowledge and skills sufficient to work as a leader and in collaboration on matters of research and class presentation.

4.      Essential emotional coping skills: ability to manage potential stressors that accompany tasks necessary to safely and effectively engage in live musical performance. Specifically this would include:

  • Mental and emotional preparation for artistic self-expression in at least one major performance area at a level appropriate for the particular music concentration.
  • Mental and emotional stability to demonstrate an ability to perform at a level that is appropriate to performance class or department recital.

5.      Essential intellectual/conceptual skills to include: ability to measure, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate competently in the study of music theory, music history and repertory. Specifically, students must demonstrate a basic knowledge of music history and repertories through the present time. Students must also demonstrate a rudimentary capacity to create original or derivative music. This may include but is not limited to:

  • An overview understanding of the repertory in their major performance area.
  • The creation of original compositions or improvisations and variations or improvisations on existing materials.
  • Imitation of musical styles, and manipulating common musical elements in non-traditional ways.
  • Growth in artistry, technical skills, collaborative competence and knowledge of repertory through regular ensemble experiences
  • Ability to comprehend musical forms, processes, and structures. To use this knowledge and skill in compositional, performance, analytical, scholarly, andragogical and pedagogical applications.
  • The ability to place music in historical, cultural, and stylistic contexts.

6.      Other essential behavioral attributes: ability to engage in group rehearsals and/or individual and small group practice without demonstrated behaviors of addiction to, abuse of, or dependence on alcohol or other drugs that may impair behavior or judgment. The student must demonstrate responsibility and accountability for actions as a student in the music department and as a developing professional in the music field consistent with accepted standards of practice. Respect for other music majors, faculty and staff – Students are expected to hold all members of the Music Department Community in the highest regard. Music majors are a unique cohort who must rely on the support and cooperation of all other members of the community.

Grand Rapids Community College strives to be more than ADA compliant. We strive to be accessible and welcoming to all students of all abilities. After reviewing the Essential Abilities/Technical Standards for this program; your responsibilities as a student entail determining if you can complete all associated coursework either:

A.     With Accommodation. I am otherwise qualified to meet the same academic standards as any other student entering the program. However, based on a medically documented condition or diagnosis, I would qualify for reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990). I will meet with Disability Support Services on campus to arrange those accommodations in an interactive process with the department of music.

B.     Without Accommodation. I am able to complete the program without need for reasonable accommodation or modification. In the event my medical documentation reveals otherwise or a condition manifests that would necessitate an accommodation; it is my responsibility to inform a responsible authority figure within the department of music and work with Disability Support Services to see if a reasonable accommodation or modification can be made.

If you have a medically documented condition or diagnosis, please contact the department of music office, or contact Disability Support Services (DSS) at disability@grcc.edu or by phone at 616.234.4140 to arrange accommodations through our interactive process. 

First Year

Second Year

Total Credits: 64

Transfer Opportunities:

The Transfer Guide for many bachelor’s degree majors offered at Michigan colleges and universities is available at the Counseling and Career Center and online at www.grcc.edu.

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