If you are an accomplished musician who doesn’t want to give up your passion after high school, this is the program for you.

The Marianopolis Music program allows you to continue mastering your craft and performing, plus you receive the professional training that will help you get the university experience and the professional career of your dreams. Studying Music in college leads to a Diplôme d’études collégiales or DEC.



A DEC in Music opens up all arts-based university programs, especially those leading to a Bachelor’s degree in Music or in a music-related program. As a Marianopolis Music student you have many options open. Our graduates enter the world’s most prestigious Music faculties and have such diverse jobs as:

  • Composer
  • Concert soloist
  • Educator
  • Jazz musician
  • Music critic
  • Music Historian
  • Music technology researcher
  • Music therapist
  • Opera Singer
  • Orchestral performer
  • Producer
  • Radio host
  • Sound recording engineer


Thanks to a unique partnership of over half a century between Marianopolis and the Schulich School of Music of McGill University, you benefit from personal instruction by Marianopolis and McGill Music professors in Classical or Jazz streams.

You also get the opportunity to play in the McGill choir, orchestra and jazz ensembles. Only at Marianopolis can you study at McGill as a college student.

Another reason to choose Music at Marianopolis is the size of our program. As a Music student at Marianopolis you are part of an intimate and supportive group of a few dozen students. You also get individualized attention from the professional musicians who are your teachers and coaches and whose main goal is to prepare you for a career in various music-related fields, from performance and recording to management, composition and more. And you are at a college that supports music in every way and gives you many opportunities to perform in formal and informal settings. We provide transportation to and from your McGill Schulich ensembles and courses and our campus.

As a Music or Music Double DEC student you can audition for either the Jazz or the Classical stream. Whatever you choose, at Marianopolis you study Ear Training, Theory, Music Literature and Music Technology and you also participate in sight-reading labs and small ensembles. At McGill you take private lessons with Schulich professors and have the opportunity to audition for the university’s highly regarded orchestra, choirs, wind symphony and other ensembles.

Another wonderful thing about Marianopolis is our wide range of opportunities to practice your main instrument of study. For classical musicians, a weekly one-hour lab, held in small groups separated by instrument family, complements a weekly hour of private instruction. This lab builds your sight-reading skills and deepens your knowledge of your primary instrument. You also have regular practice with or as an accompanist. Instead of labs, jazz students participate in jazz combos and take the Jazz Materials class, where they learn about jazz theory and improvisation.

You also have access to professional-quality recording facilities, including our integrated recording studio/music technology classroom and portable recording rig for use in our Auditorium and elsewhere. We have the latest Pro Tools and Digidesign software for mixing and editing audio, as well as Auralia for ear training and Finale for score writing and editing. Our recording facilities are fully digital and include top-notch equipment from Mackie, Furman, Klein+Hummel, Whirlwind, DBX, Neumann, AKG and Sennheiser.

Our Music Technology course covers important topics beyond sound recording; it includes sampling theory, sound synthesis, MIDI, acoustics and more. Whether you are interested in creative mixing, making in-studio audition demos or recording live recitals, Marianopolis has the tools you need.



As a Music student at Marianopolis, you are part of a college with a stellar record of academic achievement. For over 100 years, Marianopolis has been supporting motivated young people and helping them get into their first-choice program at the world’s top universities. Year after year, about 90 percent of our students are accepted by their first-choice university.

No other school can match our dedication to student success in the classroom and beyond or our on-time graduation rate (most Marianopolis Music students finish the program in two years and all are exceedingly well prepared for university). Welcoming students from all cultures, faiths and social and economic backgrounds is part of our Mission. We provide scholarships and financial aid to students, based on both need and merit.


At Marianopolis you can choose among four Music options: a two-year Music program and three Double DEC programs that allow students to graduate with a DEC in Music and a DEC in Science, Social Science or Arts, Literature and Communication in three years and keep their options open.

To be admitted to a Double DEC, you must fulfill entrance requirements to both programs of study.

Double DECs increase your university and career choices. In addition to the Music-based careers our students have studied:

  • Architecture
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Communications
  • Computer Science
  • Dentistry
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • English Literature
  • Fine Arts
  • Linguistics
  • Mathematics
  • Medicine
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Political Science
  • Psychology

As a Music student at Marianopolis you may also participate in a certificate in Environmental Studies, International Studies, Law and Social Justice, Native Studies, Gender and Sex/uality or Third World Studies.



The application deadline is March 1 and you can apply online at bemarianopolis.ca.

The basic entrance requirement for admission to the Music program is the Quebec Diploma of Secondary Studies and the following:


  • Prerequisite: No specific prerequisites beyond the general CEGEP entrance requirements
  • Grades:
    • Overall average: 70%

Double DECs in Music

  • Prerequisite: See each Double DEC program
  • Grades: See each Double DEC program


  • Pre-audition during the months of November to January. Sign up for a pre-audition.
  • Placement tests in March
  • Final Audition in March

Select Music or a Music Double DEC as your first-choice program in your application. You may also select a second-choice program. Students applying from the IB-MYP Program automatically receive a 2% bonus in the calculated admission averages.


Marianopolis has a two-stage audition process. The first stage is a pre-audition at the College. There is no application fee and no obligation to apply to Marianopolis after your pre-audition. The pre-audition gives us a chance to meet you and to evaluate your level to see if we think you are ready to proceed to the audition at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University, which is the second part of the audition process. The pre-audition gives you a chance to see Marianopolis and to tell us about your background and training in performance, theory and ear training. Pre-auditions last 20 minutes and take place weekdays after school hours. You can sign up for a pre-audition here. The requirements for the auditions at McGill are below.

Sign up for a pre-audition.

The second stage of the audition process, the formal audition at McGill, determines whether you are accepted into the Music Program. After you successfully complete your pre-audition we schedule your  audition at McGill. They last 15 minutes and usually take place around the third week of March, typically on the weekend. Occasionally they take place weekdays. Classical instrumentalists and singers must provide their own accompanists. Jazz performers may bring supporting musicians or a backing track.

Theory and Ear Placement Tests

When you successfully complete both auditions you are scheduled to take placement tests in Theory, Ear Training and Sight-Singing. The tests are held at the College in mid-March, usually on a Saturday morning. You must receive a grade of 70% in order to pass. We don’t exclude you from the Music Program if you don’t get this grade. We re-test you in August to ensure that you meet the program requirements. In order to pass the tests, you should have the equivalent of McGill Conservatory Secondary V, RCM Grade 2 Rudiments or Vincent d’Indy 6e année. You must take the placement tests even if you have completed any of these levels independently.

Theory Test

You must get a mark of 70% on the theory test in order to be accepted without qualification. If you get less than that on any part of the test we have you re-take the test or parts of the test in August.

Ear Training

The skills required for the ear-training test include:

  • identifying major and minor (natural, harmonic and melodic) scales
  • identifying melodies for quality (major or minor) and for type of motion (conjunct or disjunct)
  • identifying scale degrees (1, 2 , 3 … 7) after the scale has been heard
  • identifying intervals and their qualities (major 3rd, perfect octave, etc.) and be able to write them
  • notating short heard melodic fragments (two to three notes)
  • simple melodic dictation
  • identifying the quality of major and minor triads
  • identifying the root notes of simple chord progressions
  • rhythmic dictation from pitched and unpitched examples

Sight-Singing or Solfège

You are tested on your ability to:

  • sing back simple melodies which the instructor will play or sing
  • clap back simple rhythms
  • sing from written examples of simple to more complex melodies, using solfège syllables, numbers or note names

Advanced Placement

If you are more advanced, you can write an advanced theory placement test if you want. This test includes questions on:

  • dominant seventh chords and their inversions
  • writing in four parts using chords in inversions, from figured bass, from a melody or using Roman numerals
  • harmonic analysis using chord symbols and Roman numerals
  • formal analysis of simple forms (binary, rounded binary, ternary)
  • cadences
  • non-chord tones (passing, appoggiatura, etc.)

Your principal instrument can be:

  • Any traditional Jazz instrument such as saxophone, guitar, bass, piano, clarinet, etc.
  • Jazz Voice
  • Jazz Drums
  • Classical Piano
  • Classical Voice
  • Strings
  • Woodwinds
  • Brass
  • Percussion
  • Early Music Instruments
  • Harp
  • Organ




College-level programs are made up of two components, General Education, which is part of all programs, and Specific Education, which are your concentration courses.

MUSIC (30 Courses)


  • 4 English
  • 3 Humanities
  • 3 Physical Education
  • 2 French
  • 2 Complementary


The course profile of students in the Music Program differs from that of students in other programs. This two-year program follows this pattern:


Semester 1
  • Ear Training and Theory I
  • Music Literature I
  • Principal Instrument I
  • Large Ensemble and Complementary Instrument I


Semester 2
  • Ear Training and Theory II
  • Music Literature II
  • Principal Instrument II
  • Large Ensemble and Complementary Instrument II


Semester 3
  • Ear Training and Theory III
  • Music Literature III
  • Principal Instrument III
  • Music Technology


Semester 4
  • Ear Training and Theory IV
  • Music Literature IV
  • Principal Instrument IV
  • Small Ensemble and Complementary Instrument III


  • English Exit Examination
  • Comprehensive Assessment (Épreuve synthèse)

Note: For Double DEC programs, please consult bemarianopolis.ca for more information on diploma requirements and course sequence.



Nancy Berman

A teacher of Music Literature and Humanities at Marianopolis since 1999, Dr. Berman holds a PhD in Musicology from McGill and a B.F.A. in Piano Performance from York University. She has presented papers and written articles on early 20th Century music, and has given preconcert lectures for Montreal Symphony Orchestra concert-goers.

Ken Bibace

Jazz guitarist Ken Bibace has performed and recorded with many top Canadian jazz artists over the last 25 years and performed extensively as a sideman and leader in Montreal, across Canada and internationally. He also teaches small ensembles and private studies as well as adjudicates for performance exams and entrance auditions at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music. Widely recorded, he has been featured on numerous CDs, including Christine Jensen’s Juno-winning Treelines and Habitat. He has a Bachelor’s and Master’s in jazz performance from McGill, where he studied with Greg Clayton, Kevin Dean, Jan Jarczyk, Joe Sullivan and Andre White, among others.

Christopher Cargnello ’01

After graduating from Marianopolis with a DEC in Music in 2001, guitarist Christopher Cargnello received a Master’s in Jazz Performance from McGill University’s Schulich School of Music, where he studied seven-string guitar under Jon Gearey. He has also taken lessons and master classes with Kurt Rosenwinkel, Ben Monder, Joe Lovano and Slide Hampton. He is the guitarist for Juno-nominated folk-jazz singer Coral Egan, singer-songwriter (and brother) Paul Cargnello and Haitian world-music artist Vox Sambou. A member of Montreal music collective Kalmunity, he has played with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Charles Dutoit), reggae stars Alpha Blondy and Ken Boothe, The Cure keyboardist Roger O’Donnell, salsa singer Joe Bataan and steel-pan virtuoso Andy Narell.

Hugh Cawker

With degrees in Piano Performance from the University of Manitoba and McGill University, where his teachers were Charles Reiner and Dale Bartlett, Hugh Cawker has appeared widely in Canada and the United States as a pianist and accompanist, working with some of the finest singers and instrumentalists. A staff accompanist at McGill for the past two decades, he is a frequent performer on the Montreal musical scene on piano and organ. He is also known locally as a conductor and composer. His choral and solo works have been performed across Canada. In 2007 he premiered a piece for vocal ensemble commissioned by Ensemble Kô.

Sheila Hannigan

Cellist Sheila Hannigan holds a Master’s in Performance from the Université de Montréal, where she studied under the direction of famed cellist Yuli Turovsky. She participated in Master classes in Banff and Switzerland and received a Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec bursary to study with Eugene Friesen of Berklee College. She can be heard regularly with Montreal ensembles such as l’Orchestre Métropolitain, l’Opéra de Montréal, I Musici de Montréal, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and La Piétà. She also frequently appears on film soundtracks and collaborates with popular and jazz artists such as Pierre Lapointe, Bia, Remi Bolduc Trio, Diane Dufresne and Claude Lamothe. She was a guest soloist for the Canada-wide tour of The Tea Party.

Lillian Heron

A teacher of Ear Training and Music Theory at Marianopolis since 1994, Ms. Heron holds an M.C.M (Southern Seminary), a B.Mus. and C.A.P.E.M. (Vincent-d’Indy), the A.R.C.T. (Royal Conservatory) and the Première Médaille in Solfège and in Dictée Musicale (Conservatoire de Musique). Her teachers have included Lucille Brassard, Maurice Hinson, François Morel and Jean Walkinshaw. She has directed numerous choirs and adjudicated music festivals.

Cory McKay

Dr. McKay graduated with a doctorate in music technology from McGill University’s Schulich School of Music. He holds M.A., B.A. and B.Sc. degrees in music, computer science and physics from McGill and the University of Guelph. In addition to teaching at Marianopolis and McGill, he is a music researcher with a publication portfolio that includes dozens of peer-reviewed journal and academic conference papers. He is also the conductor of the Marianopolis Laptop Computer Orchestra.

Mark Simons ’81

Performer, conductor and teacher, Mark Simons graduated from Marianopolis in 1981, received his Bachelor of Music in Performance from McGill University’s Schulich School of Music and pursued graduate studies at Temple University. He has been recorded by CBC, Société Radio Canada and Vermont Public Radio. He performs regularly with I Musici de Montréal and is a frequent guest with Ensemble Caprice and many of Canada’s leading string quartets. He has taught at McGill, Concordia University and UQÀM.

Anja Strauss

A soprano, graduated from the Juilliard School in New York City and from the Musikhochschule Lübeck, Germany. She has appeared in Master Classes of Christa Ludwig, Bernd Weikl, Ubbaldo Fabbri, Elly Ameling and Barbara Bonney. Ms Strauss has sung with Sacramento Opera, San Francisco Lyric Opera, Pacific Repertory Opera and the German companies of Luebeck, Kiel, Potsdam and Detmold. During her tenure at Juilliard, she performed Mozart’s Requiem for the September 11 Commemoration at Lincoln Center. A passionate Lied Singer, Ms. Strauss has performed in recitals at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Goethe Institute in New York City, the Mozart Society of California, in Lübeck (Germany), and at the Bach Festival in Roskilde (Denmark). She has also performed Schönberg’s “Pierrot Lunaire” with conductor Kent Nagano.

In addition to her active performing career, she has taught voice at the San Francisco State University and the San Francisco Conservatory. She has worked as a German diction coach at the San Francisco Opera, and currently teaches at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music and Marianopolis.



Semester 1
  • English
  • French
  • Humanities
  • Physical Education
  • Principle Instrument I
  • Music Literature I
  • Large Ensemble and Complementary Instrument I
  • Ear Training I


Semester 2
  • English
  • Humanities
  • Physical Education
  • Complementary
  • Principle Instrument II
  • Music Literature II
  • Large Ensemble and Complementary Instrument II
  • Ear Training and Theory II


Semester 3
  • English
  • French
  • Physical Education
  • Music Technology
  • Principal Instrument III
  • Music Literature III
  • Ear Training and Theory III


Semester 4
  • English
  • Humanities
  • Complementary
  • Principle Instrument IV
  • Music Literature IV
  • Small Ensemble and Complementary Instrument III
  • Ear Training and Theory IV


Create your own profile on the website that is just for high school students like you:
If you have any questions about the Music or Double DECs with Music programs, please contact:

Hugh Cawker
Music Program Coordinator
514.931.8792, ext. 380

For more information on applying:

Admissions Office
514.931.8792, ext. 300