Prospective Students FAQ

Frequently asked questions pertinent to incoming students and parents

If you do not find your question here, contact the main office at (408) 924-4673 or email


How do I gain admission to the School of Music and Dance?

Admission to the SMD is a two-step process. The first step is to apply to the University online through CSU mentor. The next is to fill out an application to audition for the School of Music and Dance. 

How do I apply?

Undergraduate students:  please visit the music application page.

Graduate students must fill out the graduate application to the School of Music and Dance.

When are auditions held?

We recommend that all prospective students audition during the regularly scheduled scholarship auditions.  If you live beyond the 250-mile radius of San José, or cannot attend the regularly scheduled auditions, please contact the Area Coordinator for your area of emphasis.

May music minors audition for scholarships?

SJSU awards annual merit-based scholarships ranging from $200-$9,000 per year. All music majors are eligible, while minors can receive scholarship assistance dependent upon the needs of the school.

How often do I receive lessons?

Lessons are scheduled weekly.  Bachelor of Music Performance majors receive one-hour lessons; Music Education and Jazz Studies majors receive half-hour lessons as freshmen and sophomores, and one-hour lessons as juniors and seniors. Composition majors receive half-hour lessons as freshmen and sophomores in both their major instrument and in composition, and one-hour lessons in composition as juniors and seniors.  

How many students are enrolled in the School of Music & Dance?

Approximately 300 music majors and 100 dance majors are currently enrolled in the School of Music & Dance.

How many ensembles do you have?

The SMD offers the following major ensembles: Chamber Choir, Concert Choir, Women’s Chorus, Gospel Choir, Opera Workshop, Spartan Marching Band, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Spartan Pep-Band, Orchestra, Jazz Orchestra, Latin-Jazz Band, and Collegium Ensemble. We also have several smaller ensembles: Jazz Combos, Saxophone Ensemble, Guitar Ensemble, Brass Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, Trombone Choir, and String/Chamber Music Ensemble. In addition, we have a Piano Master Class, a Composition Master Class, and a Music Technology Master Class. 

May non-majors play in the ensembles?

Yes, all ensembles are open to all majors on an audition basis.

Am I assigned to a specific teacher?

When you audition, you will be placed into a specific studio based on the size and availability of each individual program area instructor.

Can I double major in two instruments/voices?

This usually is not possible, but a few exceptions have been made to gifted students.

Are chamber music opportunities available?

Several small ensembles are available in each area. Students are encouraged and supported in their collaboration with other artists, both within the School and in the community at large.

  • Brass: brass quintet, trombone choir, trombone quartets, trumpet ensemble, and brass ensemble.
  • Woodwinds: saxophone ensemble, saxophone quartets, and flute choir.
  • Strings: chamber orchestra, string quartets, and mixed chamber music with winds, voice, and piano.
  • Voice: Chamber Choir and Collegium - an early music ensemble.

May I visit the school?

Yes! You are invited to tour our campus, meet with faculty, and sit in on classes and ensemble rehearsals. Please contact us to set up a visit. Additionally, Be a Music Major for a Day provides an opportunity for prospective students to take a look at the campus, sit in on classes, play in the music ensembles, and experience a little of what it is like to be an SMD student. 

Is there a marching band?

Learn all about the Spartan Marching Band, directed by Scott Pierson.

May students check out school-owned instruments?

Yes: instruments are available to music students and may be used for any of the School ensembles or fundamentals classes.

Are lockers available?

Yes: lockers are available for music students based on the size and number of instruments needing to be stored.

May I play in more than one ensemble?

Yes, you may play in more than one ensemble.

What degrees do you offer?

The SMD offers a Bachelor in Music degree in several areas: Performance (piano, harp, organ, violin, viola, cello, string/double bass, flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, saxophone trumpet, horn, trombone, euphonium, tuba, percussion, voice); Music Education; Composition/Electro-Acoustics; and Jazz Studies. We also offer a Bachelor of Arts degree in general music and music technology. The SMD offers Master of Music degrees in Performance, Conducting, Education, Composition, and Jazz.

What music organizations are on campus?

The SJSU Music Department has two large organizations: Mu Phi Epsilon and International Music Fraternity. We also have a fraternal honor society, Kappa Kappa Psi. In addition, the School hosts chapter of the California Music Educators Association,  the American Choral Directors Association, and the American String Teachers Association.

How many full time faculty members do you have?

There are currently seventeen full-time faculty members in the Music Department in addition to thirty-five part-time faculty members.

What is the faculty-to-student ratio?

There are seventeen students to every one faculty member. This excellent faculty/student ratio means that professors are more readily accessible, and private instruction is provided only by experienced faculty members rather than graduate students or teaching assistants.

Do you have a large library of music available to students?

SJSU and the city of San José jointly operate the eight-story Martin Luther King Jr. library, which has a large selection of materials available to students. In addition, located on the fifth floor of the library is the world-renowned Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies, which contains the largest number of Beethoven artifacts outside of Europe. The music building also houses a resource center, which contains an abundance of music available to students.

What performance opportunities are available on campus?

Most major ensembles perform a minimum of two concerts per semester. All smaller ensembles perform at least one concert per semester. In addition, SMD students are featured in weekly Listening Hour performances, open to the public every Tuesday and Thursday.

What performance opportunities are available in the surrounding community?

The Silicon Valley is home to numerous professional musical organizations that often hire SMD students.

What live music venues are in the San José area?

Opera San José and Symphony Silicon Valley are located only a few blocks from San José State University. The downtown area—home to SJSU's Hammer Theater—is a thriving community of live concerts featuring both classical and jazz performances. San Francisco, located only one hour north of San José, features some of the best live music in the country.

Do the ensembles tour throughout the year?

Major ensembles typically tour each year.  The Concert Choir and Choraliers travelled to Ireland in summer 2016.



What time can I buy tickets?

Tickets may be purchased online, and typically go on sale about 6 weeks before the event.  For purchases at the door, the Box Office opens about a half-hour before the concert begins. Most concerts start at 7:30pm.

Is photography allowed in the Concert Hall?

No flash photography is allowed during the concert.

Are special priced student or senior tickets available?

Yes—see the online ticket sale website for details.

Where is the SJSU campus located?

Directions to SJSU.

How do I find the concert hall?

The concert hall is located on the west side of the music building, directly across the hall from the main entrance. The music building is in the center of campus.  The closest parking structure is the 7th St/San Salvadore Garage.  For special accommodations, contact the main office at (408) 924-4673 or email