Carroll McDaniel Petrie School of Music

  • SUSANA LALAMA, Director
  • VALERIE MACPHAIL, Assistant Director

Department Programs


The Petrie School of Music is a charter member of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and has been continuously granted accreditation. All degree programs are approved by NASM. The College has attained CAEP accreditation for all professional education programs. Students who fulfill the requirements of the music education degree can meet the certification requirements for teachers in South Carolina as well as several other states. The music therapy program is accredited by the American Music Therapy Association.


The mission of the Petrie School of Music is to provide a comprehensive program that meets the needs of the following:

  1. students who wish to prepare for careers in the music field;
  2. students who wish to enhance their liberal arts studies through courses in music;
  3. citizens of Spartanburg and the region who look to the College for education and enrichment opportunities through music and the other arts.

The Petrie School of Music is characterized by: quality academic programs;

  1. innovative interdisciplinary programs;
  2. a dynamic internal and external internship program;
  3. international research and performance by students and faculty;
  4. leadership and interaction with external constituents;
  5. programs enhanced by technology.

Degree Programs

The Petrie School of Music offers the professional Bachelor of Music degree, the Bachelor of Musical Arts degree and the Bachelor of Arts degree. Bachelor of Music degrees are conceived as intensive preparations for careers in music. The Bachelor of Arts degree is designed for students who wish to combine music study with more broad-based studies in the arts and sciences, perhaps even leading to a second major or minor. Alternative career options are made available through unique programs designed to meet the interests and goals of students.

A minor in music is available for students pursuing a non-music major. A Certificate in Music Business and Technology is available to music and non- music majors while a performance certificate is available for music majors in Music Education, Music Therapy or Music Composition and the Bachelor of Arts in Music.

Calculation of GPA for the Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Musical Arts, and Bachelor of Arts with a major in music:

The GPA for the Bachelor of Music with a major in Music Education is calculated using all Music courses taken at Converse. Students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 to enter the Teacher Education Program and a minimum GPA of 2.0 in Converse music courses and in the Converse cumulative GPA to graduate.

The GPA for all Bachelor of Music with Performance majors, the Bachelor of Music with a Composition major, the Music Therapy major, the Bachelor of Musical Arts in Contemporary Music (Media Applications), the Bachelor of Arts with a music major, as well as the Music Minor, and all Music Certificate programs is calculated using all music courses taken at Converse. Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.0 in all Converse Music courses to graduate.


To be admitted to the Petrie School of Music, a prospective student must satisfy the admission requirements of Converse University and pass a performance audition. Prospective students are encouraged to visit the campus for an interview and audition. A recording may be submitted in lieu of an audition if circumstances prohibit a live audition.

All students must audition. Non-keyboard instrumentalists are encouraged to audition with an accompanist (recorded accompaniment is not permitted). Composition majors must also submit examples of original compositions; Bachelor of Musical Arts candidates may use a combination of the audition procedures. Students may be asked to sight-read during the audition.

Audition requirements:

  • Piano: Two pieces, memorized, from contrasting style periods.
  • Organ: Two pieces from contrasting style periods.
  • Voice: Three solos, memorized, from contrasting style periods. One selection should be in Italian.
  • Strings: Two solos from contrasting style periods. Memorization is encouraged, but not required.
  • Winds: Two solos in contrasting styles.
  • Percussion: Percussionists should provide their own sticks, mallets, and music. Performance on two of the following areas is required:
  • Snare drum: Rudiments and a prepared solo or etude.
  • Timpani:.Two solos in contrasting styles.
  • Marimba: Major scales and arpeggios, two solos in contrasting styles.
  • Composition: Examples of original compositions are submitted to faculty for review Bachelor of Musical Arts in Contemporary Music (Media Applications) may present examples of original compositions.

Music Therapy

A student auditioning for the Music Therapy major must complete TWO individual auditions. One of the auditions should be performed in one of the above performing areas and must satisfy all of the audition requirements for that instrument or voice. The prospective music therapy student must also complete an interview with the Coordinator of Music Therapy and sing a memorized popular song while accompanying herself on either piano or guitar.


Faculty members in the Petrie School of Music are teacher/artists committed to quality teaching and continued performance. They are in demand as solo recitalists, members of chamber and large ensembles, conductors, and clinicians. Faculty members are also active in research.


Upon enrolling at Converse College, students in the Petrie School of Music are assigned a freshman mentor. By the end of the freshman year, students are assigned an adviser who will work with them for the remaining years of their degree program. Normally, the adviser is in the student’s major area of music (e.g. major instrument, music education, music therapy, etc.) The role of the adviser is to facilitate the student’s completion of an academic program. Although every effort will be made to provide assistance, it is the ultimate responsibility of the student to satisfy all degree requirements.

Course Offerings

At the first meeting of a class, students receive a syllabus from the instructor which details the expectations for the course.

The University reserves the right not to offer courses for which the enrollment is less than seven. If a course is cancelled, an effort will be made to accommodate the student.

Courses are offered in a sequence. Courses are offered every term, once a year, or once every two years. In collaboration with advisers, students must carefully select courses when offered. Normally, courses will be offered only when scheduled. Music majors are required to earn grades of C- or higher in all core music history, music theory and piano classes (see course descriptions) in order to advance to higher levels. In addition, a grade of C- or better must be earned in all major courses leading to specific music degrees.

Fees for Performance Studies courses are not refundable after the University drop-add period.

Advanced Placement

Advanced Placement credit is available in Music Theory based on CEEB Advanced Placement tests. Students with a minimum score of four receive credit for MUT 101.
Students wishing to receive additional theory credit do so by taking the diagnostic exam administered by the Petrie School of Music during the summer before matriculation (this applies even to those having Advanced Placement credit); further exemption testing may be required.

Freshman Seminars

All freshman music students are required to enroll in a freshman year seminar class. MUH 125: Music History I serves as the freshman seminar class for most music students.

Honors in Music

Honors recognition in music is available to students of high achievement. Students should consult the Petrie School of Music Student Handbook for guidelines.

Transfer Students

To be eligible for the bachelor’s degree with a major in music, the student must complete not less than the last 42 semester hours of coursework at Converse.

Credit in performance studies is determined by the standards established in the Petrie School of Music. For students majoring in performance, credit for previous study is determined by audition with the faculty, either at the time of registration or with the approval of the Director of the Petrie School of Music, during the first term of study at Converse.

Placement examinations in music history and theory are normally required to determine whether equivalent standards have been met. Credit toward graduation is not given for courses taken to satisfy deficiencies.

The application of transferred music credits to the Converse degree program remains tentative until all auditions and examinations have been satisfactorily completed.

For students transferring to Converse, all coursework attempted prior to enrollment at Converse will be evaluated to determine if the coursework is eligible to be transferred. Only coursework taken at Converse will be used to determine the cumulative grade point average. If these admission requirements are not met, the student may be denied admission to the Petrie School of Music. A student who does not meet the entry requirements is advised to declare another major.

Students transferring to Converse with fewer than 24 credit hours will be required to enroll in a freshman seminar course.


The Petrie School of Music is housed in the Blackman Music Hall, one of the finest music facilities in the southeastern United States. Daniel Recital Hall, a 340-seat hall, is also located in Blackman. Large scale performances are presented in Twichell Auditorium, an excellent 1500-seat concert hall which serves not only the School of Music and the College, but also the upstate region. The collection of music books and recordings is housed on the first floor of the Gwathmey Wing within the Mickel Library. This 50,000 volume resource is supervised by professional library staff.

Music for the Non-Major

Academic courses in the Petrie School of Music are open to all Converse students regardless of major or area of study. Courses which have prerequisites are identified in the Courses of Instruction.

The Petrie School of Music offers music courses which may be used to satisfy the Fine Arts Requirement in the University's General Education Program.

Performance studies (private lessons) are available for all Converse students, subject to the approval of the Director of the School of Music. Enrollments are limited by available resources. There is an additional fee for private lessons above the cost of tuition.

Music ensembles are open to all students based upon audition and approval of the ensemble director.

Brevard Music Center

Students in good standing in an accredited college, or students who have been accepted for admission to an accredited college, may enroll for Converse College credit in the Advanced Division of the Brevard Music Center, Brevard, North Carolina. Brevard offers a summer session of six weeks in which the normal workload for students taking credit consists of one course, private lessons, and their major ensemble. Any exception must be approved by the Center’s Education Director.

Lawson Academy of Arts

The mission of the Alia Lawson Academy of the Arts is to welcome the community to the arts experience through instruction and creative participation in music, dance, and drama. The program is open to all ages and the curriculum includes special activities for the young child. Activities take place at the Academy located in the wing of Twichell Auditorium and in Blackman Music Hall.

The Alia Lawson Academy of the Arts is accredited by the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts and holds membership in the South Carolina and National Federation of Music Clubs. The philosophy is focused toward providing programs of high quality, low cost, and deep commitment to life- enrichment and development.

Degrees and Certificates