Music - Fountain School of Performing Arts
Location: Dalhousie Arts Centre
6101 University Avenue
Room 514
P.O. Box 15000
Halifax, NS
B3H 4R2
Telephone: (902) 494-3772
Fax: (902) 494-2801


The Fountain School of Performing Arts provides a wide variety of programs for those whose demonstrated talent and specific pre-university training qualify them for specialization in Music studies. Certain courses and ensembles are available to the non-specialist student who wishes to increase both musical awareness as a listener and involvement as a performer.

The Bachelor of Music Program offers intensive professional music training which prepares students for careers or further study in many areas, including performance, composition, theory, musicology, music criticism or music education. It also offers excellent preparation for professional studies in other areas, such as law or journalism.

The 120 credit hour BA in Music, the Honours BA in Music, and the BA or BSc Combined Honours with Music programs provide a strong foundation for various professions where a working knowledge of music is desirable, such as librarianship, media programming and production, music industry commercial studio and electroacoustic work, arts management, recreational and therapeutic work, to name only a few. You can complete a minor in Music or a minor in Musicology to enhance your degree.

Elective courses for non-majors are available, some of which require no musical background or training.

Elective Courses for Non-Majors

PERF 1000.03: Introduction to Performance Studies: The Performer in Society
PERF 1001.03: Writing About Music: The Performer Faces the Music
MUSC 2007X/Y.06: The Guitar: History and Techniques
MUSC 2008X/Y.06: Modern Guitar
MUSC 2016.03: Topics in Music and Cinema
MUSC 2018.03: Popular Music Until 1960
MUSC 2019.03: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Era and Beyond
MUSC 2020.03: The History of Jazz
MUSC 2022.03: The Art and Science of Drumming
MUSC 3060.03: Introduction to Music and Sound Technology
MUSC 3061.03: Electroacoustic Music
MUSC 3360.03: African American Vernacular Music
MUSC 3314.03: History of Opera
MUSC 4353.03: Music since 1945
MUSC 4354.03: Popular Music Analysis
MUSC 4355.03: Narrative Strategies in 19th-Century Music (cross-listed with GWST 4355.03)
MUSC 4356.03: Opera Studies
MUSC 4358/MUSC 4359: Studies in Medieval Music
MUSC 4360.06: Advanced Seminar in Baroque Culture
MUSC 4361.03/MUSC 4365.03: Topics in Musicology I
MUSC 4362.03: Topics in Canadian Music
MUSC 4363.03/MUSC 4367.03: Topics in Musicology II
MUSC 4380.03/MUSC 4381.03: Selected Composer Studies

Other courses in Music may be taken by special permission. Applied study (individual studio instruction) may be taken subject to an audition and available space.

Admission Procedures for all Music Programs

All Music programs require that candidates (including transfer students) apply to both the university and the Fountain School of Performing Arts and audition for Applied Study. See the website at for the full application process. Re-audition and testing may be required if enrolment is deferred, if a program is interrupted for a year or more, or if an applied study course is not successfully completed in one academic year.

Students who demonstrate outstanding potential at their audition, but who require further preparation for university level music study, will be required to pass the Fountain School of Performing Arts' musicianship skills summer program available via distance learning. Details will be communicated following the audition.

Ensemble Participation

All students (preparatory year, majors, non-majors and elective students) enroled in an applied study course (instrument or voice) must participate in ensembles, normally in a minimum of two per year.  Wind, brass, percussion and strings students will participate, as appropriate and as needed, in Wind Ensemble, Chamber Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, and chamber ensembles.

Piano, organ and guitar students will normally participate in the Dalhousie University Chorus, and in other ensembles as appropriate to the idiom. Voice students normally participate in the Dalhousie University Chorus and the Opera. Exceptions may be made for BMus Performance students in their fourth year of applied study. Voice students in the BMus Performance concentration may, for pedagogical reasons, with the agreement of the Voice Area, substitute choral participation with the performance of a significant solo or chamber composition for voice.

The Fountain School of Performing Arts will monitor the number and types of ensembles for each student. Note that most ensembles require auditions.

The Ensemble requirement is specific to each year of Applied Study and appears on the student’s transcript. Students will be given a Pass/Fail grade each year and must complete all required levels with a grade of Pass in order to graduate. The ensemble requirement is non-credit and will not count toward course load, but there is NO TUITION FEE for the Ensemble requirement.

Students must attend regularly and punctually the rehearsals and performances of their required ensembles.

Students should note that ensemble participation typically requires regularly occurring rehearsals and scheduled performances. Since rehearsals and concerts are often in the evening, students are advised not to undertake evening commitments that could conflict with these program and course requirements.

Membership in the various ensembles is open to the university and the community by audition. Please contact the director of each ensemble (listed below) or the School for further details.

Dalhousie University Chorus (C. Murray)
Dalhousie Wind Ensemble (J. Caines)
Dalhousie Chamber Orchestra (M. Lee)
Dalhousie Jazz Ensemble (C. Mitchell)
Dalhousie Percussion Ensemble (D. Gray)
Dalhousie Opera (G. Servant, M. Swanston)
Small Ensembles (staff coaches)
Collaborative Piano (staff coaches)
Dalhousie Symphony Orchestra (P. Allen)
Voice Chamber Ensemble (M. Swanston)

Applied Study

Individual studio instruction in voice or instrument is required for most music degree programs. These courses may be taken as electives subject to an audition and available space. Please note that all applied study courses require an audition. Please contact the Fountain School of Performing Arts for audition dates or visit website Auxiliary fees apply. Co-requisite ensemble participation is required. Students must achieve a minimum grade of C in first year applied study in order to advance to second year applied study. Idioms offered are 

  • Voice
  • Guitar
  • Piano
  • Organ
  • Violin
  • Viola
  • Cello
  • Double Bass
  • Flute
  • Oboe
  • Clarinet
  • Bassoon
  • Saxophone
  • French Horn
  • Trumpet
  • Trombone
  • Tuba
  • Percussion

Acceptance to the Performance Concentration applied study requires a written application, audition, and permission of the Fountain School of Performing Arts. Auditions take place at the conclusion of the second year of the Bachelor of Music program.