It’s been said that music is the language of the soul. At Fresno Pacific University you’ll learn not only to speak in notes, but also the history behind music. You’ll gain a lifelong appreciation for and participate in a rich variety of musical forms of expression. You’ll learn the many facets of music history, theory, technique and application to help you become the musician you want to be. Our major emphasizes performance and combines theory with practical participation in a variety of musical activities, moving you from student to performer.


  • Focus on participation and performance
  • Smaller classes allow for focused attention
  • Top-tier faculty

Career opportunities

Our curriculum for the music major is designed to prepare skillful musicians, effective communicators, creative teachers and responsible servant/leaders in the church and the community. Through the study of music theory and history, and the practice of music performance, you will be prepared for lifelong exploration of music through teaching, performance, leading worship or composition.

Program director

Milt Friesen
Milt Friesen, M.A.

Instructor of Music

Course listing

General Education Or Other Prerequisites (6 Units)

MUS-101Elements of Musicianship*3
MUS-103Introduction to American Popular Music3
or ART-110Art Appreciation3

* Prerequisite for MUS 110L Music Theory and Aural Skills. Requirement may be waived by passing the theory placement exam.

Students who demonstrate sufficient background (by exam) may waive MUS-101 Elements of Musicianship and proceed directly to MUS-110L Music Theory and Aural Skills. For students who require foundation studies in preparation for the theory course sequence, music faculty recommends MUS-131 Piano Class or MUS-135 Private Instruction in Piano, followed by MUS-101 Elements of Musicianship.

Required Courses (31-33 Units)

MUS-110LMusic Theory and Aural Skills4
MUS-210LMusic Theory and Counterpoint4
MUS-310Music Theory and Analysis4
MUS-410Music Theory Since Debussy4
MUS-349Music Research1
MUS-350Early Music History3
MUS-351Music History: 1725-19003
MUS-352Music History and World Music Since 19004
MUS-400Music in the Church3
MUS-495Senior Project1-3
or MUS-497Senior Project in Composition1-3

Successful completion of Level 1 on the student's primary instrument is a prerequisite for Music 310 Music Theory and Analysis. Music history courses should be preceded by MUS-349 Music Research and MUS-110L Music Theory and Aural Skills.

Applied Music (private Instruction) (8 Units)

Enrollment in private music instruction in the student’s primary instrument is required each semester of attendance, totaling at least 8 units (including at least 4 upper- division units) on the same instrument.

Ensemble (12 Units Minimum)

Participation in a performance ensemble is required each semester of attendance. This requirement includes all music students regardless of primary instrument. All ensemble participation units may be taken in any of these ensembles:

MUS-115/315Vocal Performance Workshop2
MUS-116/316Concert Choir2
MUS-123/323Symphonic Band2

Up to 50 percent of all required ensemble units may be taken in any of these ensembles:

MUS-117/317San Joaquin Chorale2
MUS-118/318Vocal Ensemble (women's chorale, men’s chorus or other approved vocal ensemble)2
MUS-119/319Pacific Chamber Singers2
MUS-120/320Instrumental Ensemble (brass choir, hand bell choir or other approved instrumental ensemble)2
MUS-121/321Jazz Band2
MUS-125/325University String Quartet2
MUS-127/327Woodwind Choir (flute choir, sax quartet)2

Additional Requirements

  • All music majors must pass a piano proficiency exam. Enrollment in Piano Proficiency Class (MUS-132) or Private Piano Instruction (MUS-135) is required until the exam is passed. Transfer students who have passed the piano proficiency test at another institution are required to pass the FPU piano proficiency exam as well.
  • Level Exams: Passing the Level 1 exam signals official admittance into the music department as a music major and is a prerequisite for admittance to Music Theory and Analysis (MUS 310). The Level 2 exam must be passed at least one semester prior to the senior recital (MUS-495 Senior Project, MUS-497 Senior Project in Composition).
  • During the final year of study, graduating music majors are required to present a senior performance recital. Students will register for MUS-495 Senior Project or MUS-497 Senior Project in Composition during the semester of the scheduled recital.
  • A portfolio chronicling the student’s activities in music is due the semester of graduation. The portfolio is especially important for music education majors.
  • Voice performance majors are required to complete the equivalent of one year of study in a second language–Italian, French or German–as determined by the faculty mentor or private music instructor.
  • Voice performance majors are required to participate in four semesters of MUS- 115/315 Vocal Performance Workshop. Two semesters are required for music education majors whose primary instrument is voice.
  • Keyboard majors and church music majors are encouraged to take one semester of organ instruction during their years of college study. Keyboard majors may be asked to accompany voice or instrumental students for rehearsals and student recitals.