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Music Theory & Composition

Graduate Teaching Assistantships

The Music Theory area of the University of Tennessee School of Music offers three graduate assistantships. We strive to give one assistantship to a student in the M.M. Music Theory program, one to a student in the M.M. Composition program, and the third to a student in either program.

  • First year music theory GTAs teach ear training courses and monitor the computer lab.
  • Second year GTAs may also teach Music Theory 100: Fundamentals of Music or another written theory class depending on area needs
  1. Apply to the School of Music Graduate program. Send the following required documents to the School of Music. These materials can be uploaded to the Graduate School admissions site.
    • Application to the School of Music (electronic application)
    • Scholarly writing samples: All applicants must submit a scholarly writing sample considered to be representative of their writing skill on a music research topic.
    • A one-page typed personal statement of education and career goals. Please include information on how this graduate teaching assistantship would support your career goals.
    • Recommendation Form: At least one letter must be from a professor in the academic area.
    • Complete the Application for Graduate Assistantship form.
    • Send a curriculum vita (CV). For more information on writing a CV, click here.
    • Composition majors: send at least two (preferably three) compositions with recordings (midi files are acceptable). Include pieces that show your ability to write for diverse instrumentations.

  2. Set up an interview (for GTA).
    At your virtual interview, you will:
    • Interview:  We will ask you some questions about your background, your interest in teaching aural skills, your experience as well as your interest in our program and your area of research/composition.
    • Discuss a mock teaching demonstration:we will discuss your already submitted (deadline December 15, 2020) approximately 10-minute teaching demonstration video on melodic dictation for a beginning aural skills class. You can choose a melodic dictation example. Do not feel that you have to finish the whole example. If you can get a friend or two to sit in as mock students in the video this might help but it is not required. We encourage you to include some singing in the teaching. Use any technology and techniques you like; we appreciate any creative teaching ideas with technology.
      In the room for your interview/teaching there will be a projector that hooks to your computer, a piano, a whiteboard with manuscript lines, and a plain whiteboard.
    • Take a short theory test: This test covers topics on theory and ear training. The test is multiple choice and more information will be forthcoming should your application advance to the interview.

  3. Apply to the UT Graduate School by submitting the following materials directly to the University of Tennessee Graduate School Admissions Office:
    • Graduate Application for Admission
    • Application fee (see UT Graduate School Admissions website for amount)
    • One official transcript from all colleges and universities attended. Transcripts must be official transcripts sent from school to school.
    • If your native language is not English, send official scores from Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
    For more information on admission procedures, see the School of Music Graduate Admissions website or the Graduate School website.
Decisions regarding assistantships will be made and offers will be sent by April 1.

You will be expected to pass the ear training diagnostic test or MUTH 410 Ear Training Review in your first semester at UT. If you do not finish one of these, you will not be renewed as a GTA for the second year.

You will also be required take the Theory and Musicology diagnostic tests before classes start for placement in those areas.

What does the GTA cover?

If you are a GTA, you will receive a tuition waiver, health insurance and a stipend (your monthly pay).

What will I owe?

Your GTA cover your tuition as well, but not fees.
Current tuition and fees can be found here.

Your health insurance is also covered by your GTA.

When do I have to pay the fees?

The University will let you know when payment is due. You can always check dues dates on MyUTK. You can pay online at One-Stop.

What is the stipend?

For theory GTAs the stipend is $10,500 paid in 12 monthly installments starting in August and ending next July.

Your monthly gross salary will be about $875/month.

Your monthly take home salary approximately $839/month.

How many hours should I take per semester?

Full time for GTAs is 6 hours but most students will take 9 hours (full time for graduate students) each semester.

When do I register?

You will register after you take your diagnostic exams. These exams are the Monday before school starts. You will receive the results and register for classes on Tuesday. Classes start on Wednesday. You should see your advisor for help with registering.

Who is my advisor?

For the first semester, you should see Dr. Murphy for advising.

After that, your advisor will be one of the theory/comp faculty. Your advisor is usually dependent on your major and who you want as head of your graduate committee. You get to choose your advisor!

When will I receive my teaching assignment for Fall?

As a theory GTA you will teach ear training. Most GTAs teach 2 classes (and monitor the computer lab). What you do not know is which level of ear training you will teach.

Your teaching assignment is based on your class schedule so will be made Tuesday. You ear training classes will not meet until Thursday so you have a little time to prepare! You will have a meeting with Dr. Murphy and/or Dr. McConville before school starts to talk about your teaching.

How do I prepare to teach?

Example syllabi for the following classes will be provided for you:

  • MUTH 130: Ear Training I
  • MUTH 140: Ear Training II
  • MUTH 230: Advanced Ear Training III
  • MUTH 240: Advanced Ear Training I

You may alter these a bit. Please do not change the grading scheme!

We use the Ottman's Music for Sight Singing text. We will provide a copy of the text for you.

For the dictation portion of the class, we are now using a program called Auralia. They will send you information about downloading a copy to your own computer.

How do I get access to the lab?

As a GTA we can get you keys to the rooms you need. See Irene Carney to fill out the paperwork for the key to the Computer Lab (room 11 HMC).

How do I know when I will monitor the lab?

If you teach 2 ear training classes, you will monitor the lab for 12 hours per week. Our head GTA and you will get together in the first day or so of classes and make up a schedule of when each of the GTAs will be monitoring the lab.

Your lab schedule is, once again, dependent on your class schedule and your teaching schedule. Do not worry about when you will monitor the lab when you are scheduling for classes.

When do I need to be on campus and for what?

Dr. Batey will contact you about the meetings before school starts. Look for her email and take notes.

Dr. Murphy and Dr. McConville will also set up a meeting before school starts. Please let them know when you will arrive in Knoxville.

What about technology at UT?

Here is some info for new students from OIT:

OIT created a video to introduce students to our services and updated the Are You New website. This site gives students a step-by-step guide to technology at UT.

Some FAQs answered below:

    Q:  Do I really get Microsoft Office for free?
    A:  Yes! Check out for details

    Q:  I've seen a lot of Mac's around here, do you still support PC's?
    A:  Absolutely!

    Q:  Can you help me set up my email on my phone?
    A:  Yes! (And online instructions are available at

    Q:  How do I log into my email online?
    A:  Go to

    Q:  Where is wireless available?
    A:  Everywhere! Well, almost everywhere…Wireless is available in all of the academic & administrative buildings, the residence halls, and select outdoor locations.

What if I have more questions?

You may ask:

You can also ask the head GTA questions. If we do not know the answer, we will find out!

You can also ask the office staff questions!

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