Non-Music Majors

A UT student, hanging out on a staircase on the UT Campus

The Butler School welcomes non-music majors to take coursework, register for lessons, and audition for ensembles.

Welcome

Thanks for visiting the Butler School of Music's webpage for non-music majors at The University of Texas at Austin. Information for Spring 2022 is listed further below.

The Butler School does not offer a music certificate or music minor, but for students who are interested in pursuing a Fine Arts related certificate/minor, please see Undergraduate Certificates & Minors below.

Registration overview

Finding Music Courses

  • You may search Butler School of Music course offerings in the online schedule.
  • Lecture and group instruction courses are under the MUS field of study.
  • Ensembles are under the ENS field of study. Ensembles are open to any university student who can qualify via audition. Additional information is available below.
  • A list of private lesson courses available to non-music majors is available below. Private lesson courses do not appear under the MUS or ENS fields of study and are instead listed under their instrumental course prefix.

Taking Music Courses for Degree Purposes

  • Music course(s) taken to fulfill degree requirements must be approved by an advisor for your major.
  • The Butler School of Music neither makes approvals for degree credit for non-music majors' degree programs nor advises non-music majors.

Minors and Certificate Programs

Obtaining Permission for Restricted Coursework

An instructor’s emailed permission is required for courses with a status listed as "closed" or "open; reserved" and for which there is no online waitlist.

To request permission:

  • Email the instructor of record. Include your UT EIDcourse number and titleunique number, and semester that the course is offered. See further below regarding who to contact for private lesson courses.
  •  If your registration request is approved by email, verify that Stephen Wray, Butler School Registrar, has been notified. He may already be copied on the email granting permission. If he is not, forward the email to him directly at sjw@austin.utexas.edu.
  •  For reserved courses: Stephen will lift the reserved status. The student must then add the course by the fourth class day of the fall or spring semesters, or second class day for summer sessions.
  •  For closed courses: Stephen will add the course on behalf of the student.

NOTE: Fall semester MUS 302L and MUS 307 VAPA courses with a status of “open; reserved” have some seats reserved for incoming freshman/transfer students. All MUS 302L/307 seats are open in the spring semester.

Lecture/group instruction music courses for all majors, for course credit

Below is a list of music courses that are typically offered in the fall and spring semesters, unless otherwise noted, and are available to all undergraduate students at The University of Texas at Austin. Also included below are the Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) core curriculum music courses, marked with an asterisk (*), which are also open to all students. Information for ensembles and private lessons courses is listed further below.

NOTE: Fall semester MUS 302L and MUS 307 VAPA courses with a status of “open; reserved” have some seats reserved for incoming freshman/transfer students. All MUS 302L/307 seats are open in the spring semester.

  • MUS 101Q Beginning Guitar Class
  • MUS 101V Beginning Violin Class
  • MUS 302L *Introduction To Western Music
  • MUS 303C *Fundmntl Mus: Classrm Instrmnt
  • MUS 303D *Fundamentals Of Music: Guitar
  • MUS 303E *Fundamentals Of Music: Piano
  • MUS 303M *Intro Mus In World Cultures
  • MUS 306M *Elements Of Music
  • MUS 307 *Topics vary - recent offerings: 1-Music Of African Americans; 2-History Of Rock Music; 3-Jazz Appreciation; History of Film Music
  • MUS 312C *Music and Culture [spring only] - Most seats in this class are reserved for music majors.
  • MUS 334 *Topics vary - recent offerings: 1-Music of Mexico & Caribbean; 2-Music Of Latin America; 5-Music of African Diaspora; History of Mariachi Music

Additionally, although the courses below are reserved for music majors or are completely restricted, there are usually some openings for non-music majors. Follow the instructions in the Registration Overview section above to request permission to register.

  • MUS 214C Beginning Composition
  • MUS 319D Foundations Digital Sound/Mus
  • MUS 329E Intro To Electronic Media [fall only]
  • MUS 329J Introduction To Computer Music [fall only]
  • MUS 329G Intermediate Electronic Comp [spring only, as group class]
  • MUS 329M Intermediate Computer Music [spring only]

Ensembles for Course Credit

Most Butler School of Music ensembles (field of study: ENS - Ensemble) are open to all students from across the university. Some ensembles are available by audition only, but many welcome anyone with a passion for music.

  • Visit our Ensembles webpage to learn more about our groups and how to join.
  • Ensemble courses are repeatable for additional course credit.
  • Ensembles do not fulfill the VAPA (Visual and Performing Arts) core curriculum requirement.
  • A small number of ensembles help fulfill flag requirements for undergraduates; see the listings in the course schedule under the field of study "ENS - Ensemble".
  • Most of our undergraduate ensemble courses are cross-listed with graduate ensemble courses with similar titles.
  • If you still have questions about a particular ensemble after viewing the information at the ensembles link above, please contact the instructor listed in the Online Course Schedule.

 

Private lesson courses (and group instruction courses for some instruments) for course credit

Private lesson (Instrument/Voice 201) and group instruction courses are available in the areas listed below. 

  • All students requesting to register for one of the 201 private lessons courses are expected to know how to read music notation.
  • Most instructors expect a student to provide their own instrument, although some instruments may be available for checkout.
  • Please read closely for any additional prerequisites or requirements listed, such as audition dates, registration deadlines, etc.
  • Private lesson courses are repeatable for additional course credit.
  • Private lesson courses do not fulfill the VAPA (Visual and Performing Arts) core curriculum requirement.

Alternatively, if you are interested in taking private lessons for an instrument or voice as non-curricular lessons (no course credit), email Dan Seriff, Butler School Community Outreach Coordinator, at danseriff@austin.utexas.edu for more information.

Bassoon - Private lessons for course credit

Students interested in taking BSN 201 lessons must contact Prof. Kristin Jensen at kwjensen@mail.utexas.edu to request permission to register. Be sure to include your UT EID!

Clarinet - Private lessons for course credit

Registration for CLA 201 is unrestricted, but enrollment is limited. Clarinets may be available for checkout from the Butler School of Music at the beginning of the semester, if needed. Contact Prof. Jonathan Gunn at jgunn@austin.utexas.edu for more information.

Double Bass - Private lessons for course credit

Students interested in taking D B 201 lessons should contact Prof. Joel Braun at joel.braun@austin.utexas.edu to request permission to register. Be sure to include your UT EID!

Euphonium (or Tuba) - Private Lessons for course credit

For those who have at least three years of experience playing euphonium: EUP 201.

(For those who have at least three years of experience playing tuba: TBA 201.)

Students interested in taking EUP 201 (or TBA 201) lessons must contact Prof. Charles Villarrubia at cvillarrubia@austin.utexas.edu to request permission to register. Be sure to include your UT EID! Euphoniums or tubas may be available for checkout from the Butler School of Music, but students are encouraged to provide their own instrument.

Flute - Private lessons for course credit

For those who have at least three years of experience playing flute: FLU 201.

Students interested in taking FLU 201 lessons should contact Prof. Marianne Gedigian's teaching assistant, Annabel MacDonald, at annabelm@utexas.edu to request permission to enroll, no later than the second class day of the semester of enrollment. An audition is required before approval is considered, and students are expected to provide their own instrument. Be sure to include your UT EID!

French Horn - Private lessons for course credit

Students interested in taking F H 201 lessons must contact Prof. Patrick Hughes at patrickhughes@austin.utexas.edu to request permission to register. Be sure to include your UT EID!

Guitar - Group instruction or private lessons for course credit

Please note: MUS 101Q and GUI 201 for guitar require that the student provide their own classical guitar, not an acoustic guitar. A classical guitar has six nylon strings (no steel strings) and a wider neck (fret board) than an acoustic guitar.

Group Instruction in Guitar

For those who cannot read music and who do not own a guitar: Register for MUS 303D Fundamentals of Music: Guitar (group instruction).

This is our most beginning level course for guitar for students who have no prior guitar experience and do not know how to read music. This course teaches music reading and basic guitar playing skills. There are no restrictions on the registration for this course; however, sections of this course fill very quickly. For information about MUS 303C Fundamentals of Music: Classroom Instruments, please see the Non-Major FAQs (below).

For those who can read music and own a classical guitar: Register for MUS 101Q Beginning Guitar Class (group instruction).

This is our beginning classical guitar class that requires that students know how to read treble clef music notation and can provide their own classical (not acoustic) guitar for the course. There is no restriction on the registration for this course; however, this course fills very quickly.

Private Lessons in Guitar

For those who have a minimum of two years of classical guitar training and own a classical guitar: GUI 201 (private lessons in classical guitar)

Interested students must contact Prof. Adam Holzman at aholzman@mail.utexas.edu to request permission to register. Be sure to include your UT EID!

Harp - Private lessons or harp ensemble for course credit

For registration in HAR 201 (private lessons in harp), non-music majors must have at least two years of prior formal training (lessons) in harp. Interested students must contact Prof. Delaine Leonard at delaine@austin.utexas.edu (via email only) to ask her permission to register. Be sure to include your UT EID! Please do not contact Prof. Leonard until the first day of classes. Harp students must provide their own harps.

Membership in the UT Harp Ensemble is restricted to those who have had at least two years classical harp training and who have their own instrument; placement is by private audition.

Oboe - Private lessons for course credit

Students interested in taking OBO 201 lessons must contact Prof. Andy Parker at aparker@austin.utexas.edu to request permission to register. Be sure to include your UT EID!

Organ - Private lessons for course credit

Students interested in taking ORG 201 lessons must contact Prof. Gregory Eaton at gregory.eaton@austin.utexas.edu to request permission to register. This course must be completed on campus. Be sure to include your UT EID!

Percussion - Private lessons for course credit

Students interested in taking PER 201 lessons must contact Prof. Tom Burritt at tburritt@mail.utexas.edu to request his permission to register. Be sure to include your UT EID! There is no audition required; however, a brief interview is required before a decision is made.

Note: No decisions regarding PER 201 are made until all music major assignments for percussion instruction have been decided, which is just before the semester begins, so it’s best to contact Prof. Burritt no sooner than a week before classes begin.

Piano - Group instruction or private lessons for course credit

Group Instruction in Piano

MUS 303E Fundamentals of Music: Piano is a group instruction class for piano for those who cannot read music and who have no prior piano experience. This is our most beginning level course for students who have no prior piano experience and do not know how to read music. This course teaches students how to read music and play chords in various styles of music. There are no restrictions on the registration for this course; however, sections of this course fill very quickly. For information about MUS 303C Fundamentals of Music: Classroom Instruments, please see the Non-Music Major FAQs below.

Private Lessons in Piano

PIA 201 is private lessons in piano for those who can read music and have at least one year of prior formal training in piano. Students who have not taken PIA 201 at UT Austin should read the information under the heading "Students who have not taken PIA 201" for required audition and registration information. Prof. Margarita Denenburg (m.denenburg@utexas.edu), the professor of piano pedagogy, oversees enrollment in PIA 201/251. For questions about private lessons in piano not addressed below, please email her.

Returning Students for PIA 201

For students wanting to take PIA 201 (or PIA 251) again: Students who were registered for PIA 201 for the Fall 2021 semester are not required to audition again for approval for PIA 201 for Spring 2022. They should send a request via e-mail to Prof. Margarita Denenburg to take PIA 201 again for Spring 2022. Be sure to include your UT EID! An email approval from Prof. Denenburg m.denenburg@utexas.edu and CC'd or forwarded to sjw@austin.utexas.edu is sufficient, but absolutely no later than Dec. 9, 2021, which is the last day of PIA 201/251 juries for the fall.

The restriction for returning PIA 201 students is expected to be lifted on the SECOND class day, Jan. 19, 2022. However, students who have the restriction lifted on the course must register for PIA 201 (or PIA 251) no later than the THIRD class day, which is Thursday, Jan. 20. Failure to register for the course by the deadline will result in cancellation of the approval to add the course.

Students who have taken PIA 201 prior to Spring 2022 but not during the 2021-2022 academic year must audition again.

All registered students for PIA 201 (or PIA 251) for Spring 2022 will be notified of who their instructor is on the fifth class day or a little later, but only if they have registered for the course.

Students Who Have Not Taken PIA 201

New students interested in taking PIA 201 cannot register for this course before auditioning, and only those students who pass the audition and are approved to enroll in PIA 201 may then register for it. Due to a limited number of available openings, not everyone is approved to enroll in this course.

PIA 201 auditions for Spring Semester 2022 are online, and students are required to submit a video recording of their audition and questionnaire via this Qualtrics survey https://utexas.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bkpnyVzownOQyUJ with a deadline of Jan. 7, 2022.

IMPORTANT: Students new to PIA 201 who passed the audition and are approved to take PIA 201 must register for PIA 201 no later than the THIRD class day, which is Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. Failure to register for the course by 4pm on Jan. 20 will result in cancelation of the approval to add the course. If you are approved to take PIA 201 but do not register for it, you will be required to audition again if interested in taking the course for a future semester.

All registered students for PIA 201 (or PIA 251) for Spring 2022 will be notified of who their instructor is on the fifth class day or a little later, but only if they have registered for the course.

PIA 201 Audition information

For the video recorded audition, students should prepare the following:

1. Video record a major scale in the key of your choice, for at least one octave, and hands separately.

If you are familiar with other forms of technique such as arpeggios and cadences, you may also

record these, in the key of your choice.

2. Video record one piece of your choice. Memorization is optional.

In addition, students must complete a questionnaire which is part of the Qualtrics survey linked above.

Saxophone - Private lessons for course credit

Students interested in taking SAX 201 lessons must contact Prof. Stephen Page at spage@austin.utexas.edu to request permission to register. Be sure to include your UT EID! Students must have their own saxophone and some previous musical training in saxophone.

Trombone - Private lessons for course credit

Registration for TRO 201 is unrestricted, but enrollment is limited. Trombones are available for checkout from the Butler School of Music at the beginning of the semester, if needed. Contact Prof. Nathaniel Brickens at brickens@austin.utexas.edu for more information.

Trumpet - Private lessons for course credit

Students interested in taking TRU 201 lessons must contact Prof. Billy Hunter at billy.hunter@austin.utexas.edu, to request permission to register. Be sure to include your UT EID!

Tuba (or Euphonium) - Private lessons for course credit

For those who have at least three years of experience playing tuba: TBA 201.

(For those who have at least three years of experience playing euphonium: EUP 201.)

Students interested in taking TBA 201 (or EUP 201) lessons must contact Prof. Charles Villarrubia at cvillarrubia@austin.utexas.edu to request permission to register. Be sure to include your UT EID! Tubas or euphoniums may be available for checkout from the Butler School of Music, but students are encouraged to provide their own instrument.

Viola - Private lessons for course credit

Students interested in taking VIA 201 lessons must contact Prof. Roger Myers at rogmyers@austin.utexas.edu to request permission to register. Be sure to include your UT EID! There is no audition required; decisions are made on a first come, first served basis, but not until the beginning of the semester.

Note: Although decisions are made on a first come, first served basis, email responses to student inquiries for VIA 201 are typically sent only just before the beginning of the semester.

Violin - Group instruction or private lessons for course credit

Group Instruction in Violin

For those who can read music and have no prior violin experience: Register for MUS 101V Beginning Music Performance: Violin. (This is group instruction.)

Students interested in taking this class are not required to have prior violin performance experience; however, they must be able to read treble clef music notation. There is no violin course for students who cannot read music. Due to a shortage of violins available for checkout form the Butler School of Music, students are strongly encouraged to provide their own violin.

Private Lessons in Violin

For those with at least four years of advanced violin playing experience, commensurate to Bach’s Violin Concerto in A minor, or higher: VIO 201

Auditions for VIO 201 will be held in the evening of the first class day of the fall semesters only. For the audition, please prepare three to four minutes of music. It can be any work of your choosing, and memorization is not required. Those successfully passing the audition will be allowed to register for the course. Lessons are taught by his graduate assistant; space is limited.

Contact Prof. Brian Lewis at blviolin@aol.com if you have questions not answered above. Be sure to include your UT EID!

Violoncello (Cello) - Private lessons for course credit

Students interested in taking V C 201 lessons must contact Prof. Bion Tsang at biontsang@utexas.edu to request permission to register. Be sure to include your UT EID!

 

Voice - Private lessons for course credit

 

For those who can read music and with or without prior voice instruction: VOI 201.

Note: VOI 201 will offer in-person lessons. The number of spots available is limited, and approvals are made on a first-come, first-served basis.

College of Fine Arts students are given priority to register for this course.

Returning Students for VOI 201

Students who have taken VOI 201 before are generally not required to audition again. However, they must have email approval from Prof. Darlene Wiley dwiley@austin.utexas.edu or their TA (be sure to include your UT EID!) and forward this to Stephen Wray sjw@austin.utexas.edu, BSOM Registrar, on or before Friday, Jan. 14, 2021 (9am deadline) and register for VOI 201 no later than Friday, Jan. 14, 2022 (5pm deadline).

Approved returning students who have not registered by the deadline will have their approval canceled. Students registered for VOI 201 for Spring 2022 will be notified via email who their instructor is shortly after the fourth class day, which is Jan. 21, 2022.

Students Who Have Not Taken VOI 201

New students interested in taking VOI 201 cannot register for this course before auditioning. For the audition, students are required to submit a questionnaire and upload a video recording of themselves singing at least the first line of the US national anthem (The Star-Spangled Banner) at this Qualtrics link: https://utexas.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8GKql34xy5f7tOZ. 

Detailed instructions are included in the Qualtrics form online. The deadline for submitting the questionnaire and video recording for Spring Semester 2022 is Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. However, because there are a limited number of openings for students, it's best if students submit their questionnaires and videos as early as possible to increase their chances of being approved to register for VOI 201. 

Audition results are expected to be sent via email no later than 10am on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. Students who pass the audition are approved to register for VOI 201 and must register for the course by the third class day, which is Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. Students who have not registered for the course by the third class day will have their approval canceled.

Students will be notified via email who their instructor is shortly after the fourth class day, only if they have already registered for VOI 201.

Undergraduate Certificates & Minors

Completing a transcriptable certificate or minor can support and enhance your major, provide an opportunity to explore something new and cultivate a dynamic college experience.

Transcript-recognized certificates and minors are not required for music majors, but may be combined with a music degree.

Certificates

The University of Texas at Austin offers undergraduate students a wide variety of transcript-recognized certificate programs

Although the Butler School of Music does not offer a transcriptable certificate, students with an interest in fine arts might consider the certificates in Digital Arts & MediaInnovation, Creativity & EntrepreneurshipMuseum Studies and Textile Conservation and Museum Studies. Please direct inquiries to the appropriate department.

Minors

Students following the 2016-2018 catalog or later:

The University of Texas at Austin offers undergraduate students a wide variety of transcript-recognized undergraduate academic minors

Although the Butler School of Music does not offer a transcriptable minor in music, students with an interest in fine arts might consider the Minor in Arts Management and Administration, the Art History Minor and the Minor in Studio Art. Please direct inquiries to the appropriate department.

Students following the 2014-2016 catalog or earlier:

Transcriptable minors are not available to students following the 2014-2016 catalog or earlier catalogs. Non-music majors following the 2014-2016 catalog or earlier catalogs who are interested in taking music coursework to fulfill degree requirements should continue reading below and speak to an academic advisor in their major college or department. Music staff do not advise non-music majors on degree requirements.


Non-Music Major FAQs

 

What class should I take if I want to learn how to read music?

MUS 306M Elements of Music. It's usually offered in the fall and spring semesters.

If a music course appears as "open; reserved" in the course schedule, am I still able to register for it?

It depends. For organized (group instruction) music courses with the core curriculum indicator "VP" (Visual and Performing Arts), some of the seats have been reserved for incoming freshmen/transfer students, and only those students are allowed to add the course, dependent on their orientation session date. This occurs only during the summer for fall registration.

For organized music courses without the “VP” core indicator, these are reserved for music majors only and would require that you have the instructor’s email permission to add the course.

For private lessons courses for non-music majors—these are the Instr/Voi 201 courses--please review the information for each instrument/voice located above.

Where can I find more information about a music course, such as a syllabus?

Course syllabi for undergraduate organized courses may be found at Access Syllabi and CVs. Once there, select the year and semester, type in the course number and any letters that are part of the course number, e.g. 302L, 303M, 306M, etc. (however, do not include the course prefix MUS or ENS), then after clicking on the search button, look for the course syllabus/syllabi in the list that appears. Keep in mind, syllabi for individual instruction courses such as PIA 201, undergraduate organized courses with enrollment less than 5, and graduate courses will NOT appear in this list. Additionally, courses with instruction type "Laboratory" are not required to have syllabi uploaded; this includes ensembles and performance-based organized courses such as group piano or group guitar classes. Lastly, many of the course syllabi to be uploaded for a given semester typically do not appear until just after the first class day of that semester. However, syllabi uploaded from previous semesters may provide some useful information for you.

Is performance instruction group-based, or are there options for individual instruction?

All of our 201 courses with a performance prefix, such as GUI (guitar), PIA (piano), VOI (voice), etc., are individual instruction, meaning private lessons. You and your instructor for a 201 course arrange a time to have a weekly lesson. Other courses, such as MUS 101Q and MUS 303E, are group classes and meet as organized courses as listed in the course schedule.

If I have other training in other musical instruments, can that be substituted for the training required in the instrument for which I want to take 201?

Except for the ability to read music, the answer is usually no.

I would like to take a 201 private lesson course in the summer. Is this possible?

Unfortunately, we do not offer any 201 private lesson courses for non-music majors in the summer.

What about other performance courses with higher numbers, such as 210, 312, etc. ?

The 210 and higher numbered courses in performance are reserved for music majors only. The only exception is 251 offered in the fall and spring semesters, which has as prerequisites the completion of four semesters of 201 and/or consent of the area faculty.

When will I find out about when the 201 class meets?

The 201 courses with a non-MUS abbreviation preceding it, such as BSN, CLA, etc., are not organized classes; these are private lesson courses. If you have registered or have been approved to register for one of the private lesson 201 courses, you will be contacted by your instructor during the first week of classes to set up a time for a private lesson, which is usually 30 minutes each week. If you have not been contacted by the first week of classes, please email Stephen Wray, Butler School Registrar, at sjw@austin.utexas.edu.

What does "secondary" mean?

Secondary in this context means not the primary instrument or major.

How do I get a minor in music?

The Butler School of Music does not offer a minor (or certificate) in music. However, if you are interested in pursuing a certificate and/or minor in a related fine arts field, more information is available above.

Can I take an examination to allow me to receive Fine Arts credit for a music performance course for my degree program?

The Butler School of Music does not offer credit by examination for music performance courses.

Does taking piano class in high school count as formal piano lessons?

In general, yes. Taking class piano in high school usually provides enough training for learning how to read music and for being familiar with very basic piano skills. It is okay if it has been a few years since you last played.

Are there ensembles just for non-music majors?

All of our undergraduate ensembles are open to any university student who can qualify by audition, and some of the smaller ensembles do not require an audition. ENS 108S is for non-music major saxophone players, and certain ensembles, in particular Longhorn Band, University Chorus, and University Orchestra, consist primarily of non-music majors. The Butler School does not have ensembles exclusively for non-music majors. Visit the Ensembles page for more information.

What instruments are taught in MUS 303C Fundamentals of Music: Classroom Instruments?

Students learn to play recorder, varying types of percussion instruments, and the ukulele, as well as the basics in reading and notating music. Instruments are provided, but the purchase of a recorder is required.

Can I rent an instrument from the Butler School?

The Butler School doesn't rent instruments but does allow instrument checkout. Keep in mind, music majors usually have priority for checking out instruments.