Dr. Lonny Benoit, Department Head
The W. A. and Dorothy Hanna Department of Performing Arts offers the opportunity for students to develop their talent and potential as creative artists in music, theatre, and as music educators. The department offers curricula, coursework, and experiences in music and theatre performance, music technology, and technical theatre production that prepare students for professional careers and graduate study in music, music education, and theatre arts. Additionally, curricula and coursework emphasize the development of effective critical thinking and communication skills and an understanding of the artist's role as a productive member of the global community.
To students with other majors, the department offers minors in music and theatre, performing arts service and performance courses, and opportunities that enhance the quality of the liberal arts education and enrich the lives of all students.
To the University and region, the department offers musical and theatrical performances at appropriate functions and ceremonies that enrich, entertain, and enhance community and institutional spirit.
Information regarding the Bachelor of Art in liberal studies with a concentration in theatre arts can be found on the Department of History page.
McNeese State University is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. The requirements for entrance and for graduation as set forth in this catalog are in accordance with the published regulations of the National Association of Schools of Music.
Each new student who desires to specialize in music must complete the following entrance requirements:
- Theory Diagnostic Examination. A first-time freshman must demonstrate entrance-level proficiency in the fundamentals of music including notation, rhythm, scales, key signatures, intervals, and chords through a diagnostic examination given prior to the student’s first semester of enrollment. In the case of a transfer student, following an attained-level diagnostic examination administered prior to the first semester of enrollment, the student will be placed in the theory and sight singing/ear training courses appropriate to the demonstrated level of knowledge and skills with consideration of the student’s transfer credits in these areas.
- Major Performance Area Audition. A student must demonstrate entrance-level proficiency, or in the case of a transfer student an attained-level of proficiency on a major instrument or in voice before the appropriate performance board prior to the first semester of enrollment. A freshman student who shows inadequate preparation will be required to enroll in the appropriate major performance area course 100, credit for which may not be used to fulfill degree requirements, until in the judgment of the performance board, the student is ready to begin credit study at the 101 level. A transfer student will be placed at the major performance level deemed appropriate by the board, with consideration of the student’s transfer credits in major performance study.
- Functional Piano Audition. A freshman student (non-piano major) who has had no previous experience in keyboard study will be placed in PIAN 115. A student who has had some training and wishes to be granted advanced placement must audition before the keyboard performance board. Following the audition, the board will recommend an appropriate level of study and that advanced placement to this level be awarded. A transfer student will audition and be placed in the functional piano course deemed appropriate by the board, with consideration of the student’s transfer credits in functional piano study.
A music or theatre student must earn a grade of C or higher in each required course for the minor or major and meet all graduation requirements listed in the Degree and Graduation Requirements section of the Academic Regulations page. A student concentrating in music education must also meet all requirements for admission and progression through the teacher education program, student teaching, and graduation as stated on the Burton College of Education page.
Music Ensemble Participation
Major Ensemble. All full-time music majors are required to participate in the appropriate major ensemble, as indicated in each degree plan, during each regular semester in which they are enrolled. During the semester in which a student pursuing a music education concentration is enrolled in MUED 442 (Directed Observation and Student Teaching), that student may be exempt from the major ensemble requirement.
Small Ensemble. Students majoring in any concentration of the Bachelor of Music degree are required to successfully complete small ensemble experiences as indicated in each concentration degree plan. Programming for all MUSC 490 and 492 required recitals must include at least one small ensemble work.
Private instruction is available in piano, voice, harp, guitar, and all band and orchestral instruments. Courses in these areas of performance are designated by the instrument’s course abbreviation plus the numbers 101-102, 201-202, 301-302, and 401, corresponding to the freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior levels. Courses must be taken sequentially and the numbers at any level may be extended (103, etc.) should the student not achieve the appropriate level of advancement. An undergraduate student may earn one, two, or three credit hours each semester, or he/she may register without credit.
- To earn one credit, a student must receive a minimum of one-half period (25 minutes) lesson per week with a minimum of five hours of practice per week.
- To earn two credits, a student must receive a minimum of one period (50 minutes) lesson per week with a minimum of 10 hours of practice per week.
- To earn three credits, a student must receive a minimum of one period (50 minutes) lesson per week with a minimum of 15 hours of practice per week.
When teacher time is available, music performance is open to non-music majors. Courses for the non-music major are designated by the instrument’s course abbreviation plus the number 125. Non-major performance study at the 125 level does not require an end-of-the semester applied board. Performance study at the 125 level will be taken for one credit hour and may not be audited. A non-major may enroll in the regular performance study track upon successful audition before the appropriate performance board and approval of the department head. A non-major student who is accepted into the regular performance study track will be subject to its requirements and policies.
McNeese Bayou Player Productions
All full-time students enrolled in the theatre arts concentration of the Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies program are required to audition for all McNeese Theatre Bayou Players Productions each semester in which they are enrolled. All theatre arts concentration students will enroll in two theatre laboratory courses (THEA 291, 292, 391, and/or 392) each semester, as deemed appropriate by the coordinator of theatre following that semester’s performance auditions. Only one credit of theatre laboratory courses may be applied to degree requirements each semester. Theatre minors are required to participate in one production each semester in which the minor is pursued, including all workdays and strikes. All minors will enroll in a minimum of four theatre laboratory courses (THEA 291, 292, 391, and/or 392) prior to graduation.
Each year, students have the opportunity to participate in the state and regional Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival and, if they choose, stage their own laboratory production of an original or published script on the McNeese campus.
The McNeese Bayou Players began staging theatrical productions on the McNeese campus in the early 1950s. This time-honored tradition of providing McNeese students, the University, and the regional community with provocative, high-quality theatre is the mission of the theatre program. Students enrolled in the theatre arts concentration are members of and contributors to this group of theatre artists through their required participation in all productions each semester. Involvement in the McNeese Bayou Players prepares a student for professional work as a creative theatre artist.
ProgramsBachelor of Music