Audition Requirements

All prospective music majors will take the Basic Music Qualifying Exam on New Student Audition Day. The test will cover the fundamentals of music theory: major and minor key signatures, interval qualities, triad qualities, all forms of scales and rhythmic values. Aural skills tests will also be administered. These test results may be considered as faculty make acceptance decisions. The music theory help website may be useful in preparing.

All prospective music majors must be able to read music, a skill which needs to be demonstrated through sight-reading in the audition.

Bringing supportive material to your audition is highly recommended. This can include letters of recommendation, a repertoire list, a statement of career goals or any other material that further supports your application.

  • Accompanists are not required for instrumental auditions; one will be provided for voice auditions.
  • Flutists should be prepared to play either the first or last movement of a Mozart concerto or a piece from Flute Music by French Composers.
  • Oboists should prepare a Barret or Ferling etude, along with a solo of their choice that best demonstrates their playing ability. Be prepared to play scales throughout the practical range of the oboe (i.e. low Bb to high F.)
  • Clarinetists should prepare two solo works of contrasting style. In addition, please be prepared to play either an etude or several standard orchestral excerpts. The material that you select should demonstrate your highest level of proficiency, both technically and musically. You may be asked to play full range scales—chromatic and all major and minor. Please bring a brief essay that includes your career goals, what you have done to prepare yourself for your profession and significant accomplishments. Because of the limitations of repertoire, bass clarinet is not allowed as a primary instrument of study. All clarinetists must audition on B-flat soprano clarinet (or A clarinet when appropriate).
  • Bassoonists should prepare two contrasting movements of a sonata or concerto of moderate difficulty, plus one slow, melodic etude (preferably by Milde, Orefici or Weissenborn).
  • Saxophonists should prepare from memory all major and harmonic minor scales, each extended to the complete normal range of the instrument. You should also perform one of the following works: Paul Creston Sonata (movements I & II), Pierre Max Dubois Concerto (movement I), Jacques Ibert Concertino da Camera (either movement), Alexander Glazounov Concerto, Bernhard Heiden Sonata (movement I or III), Paule Maurice Tableaux de Provence (movements I & IV), Darius MilhaudScaramouche (movements I & II, or II & III) or (for tenor) Hector Villa-Lobos Fantasia. Other major works of similar scope and difficulty may also be performed.
  • Trumpeters should perform one or two solo movements or etudes which demonstrate their current and highest level of technical and musical development. Multiple tonguing and scales to demonstrate range may also be requested at the audition.
  • Hornists should prepare a brief work or movement from the standard repertoire, as well as a contrasting solo or etude, demonstrating both lyrical and technical playing. You may be invited to demonstrate other techniques, such as multiple tonguing and lip trills.
  • Tombonists should prepare a representative solo demonstrating both lyrical and technical playing or two etudes of contrasting style. Trombonists may also be asked to demonstrate multiple tonguing (both double and triple), as well as one or two scales to demonstrate both high and low range.
  • Tuba and Euphonium players should prepare a representative solo demonstrating both lyrical and technical playing or two etudes of contrasting style. Examples for tuba might include Hindemith Sonate (first movement), Galliard Sonata 1 or 6, Haddad Suite for Tuba, or Gregson Tuba Concerto (first movement). Representative solos for euphonium might include Marcello Sonatas, Grafe Grand Concerto, selections from a Rochut Melodius Etudes Book 1 or a technical etude from the Voxman book. Major, minor and chromatic scales to demonstrate both high and low range, are required. Students must provide an instrument for the audition.
  • Pianists should prepare three memorized pieces. One from the Baroque era, one from the Romantic era or 20th century and a movement of a Classical sonata (Haydn, Mozart or Beethoven).
  • Percussionists should prepare two pieces. One on snare drum and the other on timpani or a mallet-keyboard instrument.
  • Singers should prepare two memorized art songs or arias. One in English and one in a foreign language. An accompanist will be provided. Note: To be successful in the vocal performance major, the ability to memorize music and perform in foreign languages is required. Study in foreign languages and two foreign language diction courses are required for this major, and a student must be able to be successful in that coursework. Thus, an essential audition requirement for the vocal performance program is to sing from memory in a foreign language in addition to demonstrating sight-reading skills in music.
  • String players should prepare two works that best represent technical and musical abilities. A first movement from a major concerto and a contrasting work, such as a movement of a J.S. Bach Solo Sonata-Suite or two stylistically contrasting works from the major solo repertoire. Memorization is highly recommended.
  • If you are a guitarist, only the jazz studies major is available to you. Guitarists should prepare a 12-bar blues head with two or three solo choruses to follow, a jazz standard with improvised choruses and sight reading of jazz pieces.

Jazz audition

If you have a strong background in jazz, you may audition separately with the jazz area faculty for jazz admission and scholarship consideration. The jazz audition will be in addition to the classical audition.

If electing to do a jazz audition, you should be prepared to play or sing:

  1. A piece of your choice in 12-bar blues form (such as Billie's Bounce or Straight, No Chaser) with two or three improvised choruses to follow
  2. A jazz standard of your choice (such as Autumn Leaves, All the Things You Are, Oleo) with improvised choruses to follow
  3. Sight reading of jazz pieces

An accompanist will be provided, if necessary.

Jazz Drummers should be prepared to play the following:

  1. Swing time at various tempos
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of 12-bar blues and 32-bar AABA (rhythm changes) song forms
  3. Trade 4s, 8s and choruses with a rhythm section over these forms
  4. Demonstrate various Afro-Cuban and Brazilian rhythms (Mambo, 6/8 Afro, Songo, Samba, Bossa Nova and others)
  5. Demonstrate swing and ballad playing with brushes