Admission to Professional Education (TCSA)

All candidates are required to complete and pass the Teacher Candidacy Skills Assessment (TCSA) to be formally admitted to the teacher education program, and be permitted to begin the final two years of coursework. The TCSA is designed to assess candidates’ musical and academic readiness for further work in music education. It also provides an opportunity for candidates to assess whether they want to continue working toward a career in music education.

The TCSA consists of components in Musicianship and Academic Readiness:


In addition to tests in aural and written theory and piano technique, candidates take an expanded jury examination that includes rhythmic reading, sight-reading and melodic sight-singing.

The TCSA jury occurs at the 212 level (4th semester of applied studies) and consists of two parts: scales and rhythm. Two minor scales with arpeggios and one major scale will be selected at random by the jury for the candidate to perform. Four rhythms will be selected for the candidate to demonstrate from the TCSA Jury Rhythm Component. The TCSA jury components must be passed to qualify for Professional Education classes.

Academic Readiness

Candidates must fulfill two requirements in this area:

  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5.
  • Pass the ISBE Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) that measures proficiency in language arts, reading, writing and mathematics. Passing this test is also required for music teacher licensure by ISBE.

TCSA Resources

TCSA Written Theory Guide

TCSA Aural Skills Study Guide

TCSA Piano Study Guide



VanderCook College of Music

3140 South Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616-3731
(312) 225-6288

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