I am starting a 2 year masters prep program for adults who have a college degree is something besides music but need to be brought up to speed in order to consider a masters degree in music. The program starts in the Fall, and it consists of one musicianship class (sight singing/dictation/rhythm exercises) and one theory class. Both classes are a little over an hour long and are back to back with each other, every week.

My question is, since I have no friends or resources, how many hours a week should I expect to dedicate to study outside the classroom? I understand everyone is different, however I am looking for a ballpark range (a few hours per week, or something much higher like 20-30 hours per week)?

I apologize if this question is not appropriate in this forum.

EDIT: The classes are standard undergraduate classes (Theory 1, Musicianship 1). The syllabus is below for both classes. I have composed heavily for about 5-6 years (haven't composed anything in about 3-4 years), and I am fully self taught in theory. Only had a year of piano lessons, but I have been playing for 9 years almost every day.

Syllabi are below:

Music Theory 1 syllabus
Musicianship 1 syllabus

  • 3
    I don't think this can be answered. It works different for every person. For instance, you might need 1 hour per week to study rhythm, but someone else might need 8. There isn't one answer to this. Also, it depends on what your goal would be. Apr 27, 2015 at 21:17
  • 1
    I mostly agree with @Shevliaskovic, this will vary between people and courses substantially. If these courses truly only meet once a week each—that would definitely be unusual for beginning courses, but that might be because beginning courses are usually undergrad—then I would anticipate the amount of outside reading and homework to be on the higher end. 20–30 hours a week is surely higher than most courses would require, but the real number is closer to that than a single hour definitely. Plan on the higher end, and that way it will be a nice surprise if it's less. Apr 27, 2015 at 22:12
  • Agreed with @PatMuchmore. To take it a step further, it depends on how proficient you want to be. If you study for an hour or two a week, you could probably pass the class, but your skills would be very weak. You will never learn all there is to learn, so always learn as much as you can for as long as you can, and opportunities will follow. Apr 28, 2015 at 6:20
  • As you are considering a masters in music, presumably you are musically active - you play an instrument, take part in ensembles etc.? Maybe you also compose, and will have discovered plenty of "things that work" even if you haven't codified the theory behind them. The classes should just be consolidating what you are experiencing in these real-world musical activities.
    – Laurence
    Apr 28, 2015 at 9:25
  • When I was doing self-study, I nitpicked at everything with theory and spent quite a lot of time on specific topics just to work out any ambiguity, so I will probably desire to learn everything 100% rather than just passing the class. If I really do need to devote 20-30 hours a week, it will be tougher than I thought juggling it with my work life.
    – lobi
    Apr 28, 2015 at 17:04

1 Answer 1


Since this is a prep program, rather than the actual masters program itself, my guess would be that you should think in terms of spending an hour per day for each of your two classes, with one, maximum two, days off per week. Regularity of practice is probably going to be the most important thing.

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