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Audition Information

Basic Musicianship Skills Test Audition Requirements For Instrumentalists Audition Requirements For Pianists Audition Requirements For Vocalists Audition Requirements For Theory/Composition Audition Requirements For Jazz Performance Majors

Undergrad Audition Requirements

The audition has 3 main parts (dictation, intonation & sight-signing, and major level proficiency on an instrument, piano/organ, or voice) that all prospective music majors must complete. Students interested in pursuing a major in theory & composition or jazz performance have additional audition requirements to complete in addition to those 3 main parts. As all School of Music degree programs require piano classes as a part of the curriculum, we offer a piano placement exam during the audition for those students who have piano experience and would like to place into a higher level piano class. The purpose of the audition requirements is to determine you potential for success as a music major.

DICTATION
You will listen to a simple, mostly step-wise melody played on the piano a few times. You will be given the time signature and the first note. You will be expected to notate the key signature, and then notate the rhythm and pitch of the melody. You should prepare for this part of the test by practicing notating the melodies given as samples. Please ask your music teacher to play the melodies on the piano so that you may practice notating them.

INTONATION & SIGHT-SINGING
You will be asked to sing intervals which are first played on the piano and to sing simple melodies from a printed page with melodic and rhythmic accuracy. You may sing on neutral syllables or use solmization. You should prepare for this part of the test by practicing singing major and minor scales, major and minor triads and simple melodies. Please ask your music teacher to help you prepare for these tests using these examples so that you will feel confident and comfortable when you arrive on campus, especially if you have limited singing experience.

PIANO PLACEMENT (optional)
All incoming freshmen will be placed in Piano Class I (PIA191). If you have piano experience, you may opt to take the piano placement exam as a part of your audition. You should come with a short piano piece prepared in advance, and to demonstrate proficiency in the following areas covered in the first semester: major scales hands separately with traditional fingering; cadence patterns (I - IV - V7); sight-reading both clefs (Piano Placement Criteria).

INSTRUMENTALISTS
The following are acceptable instruments on which to audition: Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass (not electric bass), Classical guitar (not steel strings), Percussion (including mallets), Trumpet, Trombone, Baritone, Tuba, French Horn, Flute, Oboe, Bb Clarinet, Saxophone, Bassoon, Harp. Transfer students must bring to the audition a list of repertoire performed in recital or at end of semester "juries".

  • Wind & String Instruments (except guitar & double bass): Two pieces/movements of your choice, in contrasting styles, which best show your proficiency. Be prepared to play all major scales & complete sight-reading of an example.
  • Guitarists: The two prepared pieces must be classical guitar solos (the melody and supporting parts are all played simultaneously on one guitar). Guitar solos by any of the following composers are acceptable: Sor, Guiliani, Carcassi, Aguado, Carulli, Tarrega, Sagreras, Villa-Lobos, Barrios, Brouwer, Dowland, Milan, Visee, Weiss and Bach.
  • Percussionists: Three pieces - one two or four mallet solo on a keyboard instrument (marimba, vibraphone or xylophone), one concert snare drum etude, and a short solo or etude on timpani. The audition will also include sight reading on marimba and snare drum, major scales, and snare drum rudiments.
  • Double Bassists: One movement from a Baroque Sonata (example: Bach, Marcello, Vivaldi, Corelli, Eccles, etc.) and one movement from a Classical, Romantic or Contemporary piece (example: Dragonetti, Dittersdorf, Vanhal, Koussevitzky, Proto, Rabbath, etc.

PIANISTS
For all degrees candidates (except Keyboard Performance):

  • Technique
    • Scales, major and minor (harmonic and melodic), four octaves
    • Arpeggios, major and minor, hands together, four octaves, at a fluent tempo.
  • Repertoire—All works are to be performed from memory. In certain cases, literature substitutions may be made upon request. Transfer students must bring to the audition a list of repertoire performed in recital or at end of semester "juries".
    • A two or three-part Invention of J.S. Bach, or Scarlatti Sonata
    • The first movement of a sonata by Haydn, Mozart, Schubert or Beethoven (excluding Op. 49 and Op. 79)
    • Any piece from the 19th, 20th, or 21st century, equivalent in difficulty to the sonata movement above
  • Sight Reading—a solo piano example

Keyboard Performance:

  • Technique
    • Scales, major and minor (harmonic and melodic), four octaves, hands together. Suggested minimum tempo, quarter note M.M. = 132 (4 notes/click).
    • Arpeggios, major and minor, four octaves, hands together. Suggested minimum tempo, M.M. = 112 (3 notes/ click)
  • Repertoire—All works are to be performed from memory. In certain cases, literature substitutions may be made upon request. Transfer students must bring to the audition a list of repertoire performed in recital or at end of semester "juries".
    • A Prelude and Fugue, Toccata, or several movements from a Suite or Partita by J.S. Bach.
    • A complete sonata by Haydn, Mozart, Schubert or Beethoven (excluding Op. 49 and 79).
    • A solo work of substantial length and difficulty from the 19th, 20th or 21st century
  • Sight Reading—a solo piano example

VOCALISTS
While it is not necessary to bring an accompanist, please choose your repertoire with the understanding that a voice faculty member will serve as your accompanist and no prior rehearsal is provided. Transfer students must bring to the audition a list of repertoire performed in recital or at end of semester "juries".

For all degree candidates (except in Vocal Performance):

  • Repertoire—Two art-songs, in contrasting styles, memorized. The pieces should show a variety of styles. No choral music excerpts or Musical Theatre, please.

For Vocal Performance candidates:

  • Repertoire—Three solo songs, memorized. English and a foreign language must be represented. The pieces should show a variety of styles. No choral music excerpts or Musical Theatre, please.

THEORY & COMPOSITION
In addition to the completing the 3 main audition parts listed above, prospective theory and composition majors will:

  • Demonstrate keyboard proficiency through the performance of any keyboard literature.
  • Aural skills will be evaluated, including: intervals, chord qualities and inversions, and harmonic progression.
  • Sight singing will be evaluated.
  • Composers—please bring three scores (and recordings, if available) of original compositions (no arrangements).
  • Theorists—please bring roman numeral analysis and written analysis in the form of short essays of three compositions from different eras (baroque, classical, romantic, etc...)

More information about the Theory & Composition course of study and audition information can be found here.

JAZZ PERFORMANCE
This major is ONLY offered for saxophone, trumpet, trombone, guitar, bass (double bass only), piano, and percussion.
ALL potential jazz majors must pass the 3 main audition parts listed above (including auditioning on the "classical" aspect of your instrument), PLUS the following additional requirements:

  • Tunes—perform three tunes in contrasting style with Jamey Aebersold (or other CD accompaniment). Original tunes accepted. Specifically the student must:
    • Interpret a melody in an effective and creative way.
    • Improvise on chord changes in a confident manner to perform an original solo that is creative and musically effective.
  • Scales (except percussion)
    • Knowledge, application and the ability to play all of the modes of the:
      • Major Scale
      • Harmonic Minor
      • Melodic Minor (modes from the ascending melodic minor only)
    • Knowledge, application and ability to play the following scales:
      • Diminished (half/whole & whole/half)
      • Whole Tone
      • Pentatonic