A solid understanding of music theory from the common practice period to the present, including both tonal theory (harmony, the rules of voice leading, and four-part writing), and post-tonal theory.
Aural skills sufficient for competent melodic/harmonic/rhythmic dictation and sight-singing—collectively necessary for a balanced understanding of music theory and the ability to learn music accurately and efficiently.
Knowledge of the basic history of Western classical music—its forms and styles, and its connections to Western culture; and more in-depth knowledge of a few special topics within this overarching history.
Excellence on a particular instrument or voice in solo and ensemble performance.
The ability to write clearly and meaningfully about music and subjects relating to them.