This is the first step in pursuing your music career.
The audition and interview process is a key part of applying for admission to our School of Music.
Scheduling Your Audition + Interview
Every student applying to the College of Performing Arts must pass an entrance audition or interview. This measures not only the student's creative and expressive facility, but also the level of skill acquired. Students are asked to select their preferred audition or interview date when completing the application.
You will receive an email confirming your requested audition date within 48 hours of submitting the application. Please do not make travel arrangements until your audition date is confirmed. An application for admission must be submitted to the Office of Admissions at least 2 weeks prior to the requested Audition/Interview day.
Distance Auditions + Interviews
We prefer that you audition in person, unless extenuating circumstances preclude traveling to our on-campus or off-campus dates. In the event you can't make it to one of our audition dates, you may request an exception from the Office of Admission. In this instance, you may submit a video recording of your audition. Recorded auditions should be submitted via the GetAcceptd online submission platform.
Distance Audition Guidelines for the School of Music
Repertoire for recorded auditions is the same as for in-person auditions. Please include a repertoire or program list (also clearly marked with your name and major) outlining titles, authors, composers and descriptions of the pieces being performed.
Videos of recitals or concerts are not acceptable, and the video should not exceed 15 minutes. Musicians must show full-body frame with close-up shots of embouchure, hands and face. Musicians should also include information about the instrument being played.
The University reserves the right to re-audition or interview any applicant admitted on the basis of a video audition. In such cases, we also reserve the right to reconsider and to withdraw, if necessary, the original offer of admission or scholarship.
Music Audition Requirements
We look forward to meeting you and observing your musical aptitude. Explore audition requirements by program. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Office of Admissions anytime.
The performance audition process varies, depending on your chosen area of study. Explore the unique requirements for our instrumental performance programs.
1. Guitar Audition Requirements
- Major and Minor scales, two octaves, two fingerings in various keys.
- Major 7th, Minor 7th and Dominant 7th arpeggios, two octaves from 6th and 5th strings in various keys.
- Several voicings of Major 7th, Minor 7th, and Dominant 7th chords.
- Prepare TWO selections from the Jazz Standard repertoire. One selection must be performed as an original chord melody arrangement (non-published or transcribed). One selection must show the ability to improvise over chord changes and also show familiarity with “comping” through those chord changes.
- Sight-reading (An ability to read melodic and rhythmic notation and chord symbols in treble clef) Example: Rhythms Complete by Bugs Bower, Jazz Fake Book, etc.
What to bring: For on-campus auditions, accompaniment and guitar amp will be provided (or you can bring your own play-along CD). Please bring your own cable. For regional auditions, you must bring your own guitar amp, accompaniment and cable.
2. Acoustic & Electric Bass Audition Requirements
- Major and minor scales, two octaves.
- Major 7th, minor 7th and Dominant 7th arpeggios, two octaves.
- A classical or jazz etude, or jazz transcription from a published method book.
- A prepared jazz standard (i.e. Autumn Leaves, Blue Bossa or any blues or tune based on rhythm changes). Be prepared to play melody, walk a bass line and solo at least one chorus.
3. Drum Set & Percussion Audition Requirements
- Snare Drum; rudimental study or orchestral solo (Wilcoxon, Firth, Cirone, Lepak)
- Drum Set: play a swing feel, latin (bossa nova, songo and samba), rock (slow-funk and moderate fast-fusion) and ballad (swing with brushes and rock with sticks). Students may be asked to accompany a piece.
- Improvisation: 2s, 4s, or 8s in one of the above styles
- Sight-reading (single line rhythms) example: “Syncopation” by Ted Reed
Optional percussionist audition activities:
- For mallets: all major scales and arpeggios, two octaves; solo or etude from the standard repertoire
- For timpani: tune perfect 4th and 5th; solo for two drums from the standard repertoire
4. Hand-drumming Audition Requirements
- A prepared piece performed on a hand drum (e.g. conga, bongo, djembe, etc.). Students may bring an accompanist, a play-along CD, or an iPod. (No longer than 5 minutes.)
- Demonstrate basic tones on the conga drum (closed tones, open tones, “heeltoe”, hand rocking motion, slaps muted and slaps open)
- Demonstrate basic “Martillo” rhythm with the bongo at a slow tempo. If possible, include some basic variations and improvisations
- Demonstrate the basic “Son” rhythm on the conga drum
- Demonstrate ability to perform basic Bossa Nova rhythm in a hand percussion instrument of the student’s choice
- A listening test where the student identifies basic Cuban, Brazilian, Caribbean, and African rhythms and musical styles
- A test where the student identifies basic hand percussion instruments
- Sight-reading of basic rhythms (quarters, 8ths, 16ths, etc.)
- An interview of approximately 15 minutes in order to review the student’s experience and goals
5. Piano Audition Requirements
- Scales: Major, harmonic and melodic minors, four octaves, two hands, ascending and descending using standard “Hanon” fingering
- Arpeggios: Major and minor triads, four octaves, two hands, ascending and descending using standard “Hanon” fingering
- An etude or short solo piece from the classical repertoire performed by memory; the level of difficulty should be determined by the applicant’s technical and interpretive ability. (examples: Bach, Two-Part Invention; Bartok, Mikrokosmos; Clementi or any Sonatina)
- Improvisation on standard 12-bar blues progression
- One ballad and one up-tempo piece from the standard jazz repertoire, demonstrating both melodic interpretation and improvisational skill
- Seventh chords in all keys: major 7th, minor 7th, dominant 7th and diminished 7th
- Sight reading (An ability to read chords and individual melodic lines in treble and bass clefs). Example: Bach’s “Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach”. Fake Book style lead sheets with given chords and melody. Example: Real Book, Hal Leonard Corporation.
6. Audition Requirements for Sax, Trumpet, Trombone & all other instruments
- Major and minor scales, two octaves
- Major and minor arpeggios, two octaves
- A prepared technical study, etude, classical or solo piece from repertoire appropriate for the instrument
- An improvised jazz solo on a standard tune, or a twelve-bar blues progression
All vocal applicants must perform their repertoire memorized. An accompanist will be provided. Students must bring copies of their audition music for the accompanist. No recorded accompaniment or a cappella singing will be accepted.
- Repertoire: All applicants must perform 3 selections total representing at least two of the following styles:
– Classical song in English
– Musical Theater
– Classical song in a foreign language
- Sight reading
We ask applicants of our Composition program to compile a portfolio of six original compositions and present it at your audition. These should be notated scores, either by hand or by using computerized notation, and in hard copy form so as to leave with the faculty. Pieces may be vocal, instrumental or MIDI and should demonstrate your best work in a variety of styles. Applicant must be able to provide links to recordings of his or her recorded music on the internet at the time of the audition. Please upload your music to Soundcloud or Youtube so Composition Department faculty can assess it during the audition. There will be a laptop for your use at that time.
You will be interviewed by composition faculty and should be prepared to demonstrate your proficiency as an instrumental or vocal performer with either recorded or live performances during the interview. Prior to the interview, you will be given time to complete a short music theory/composition assignment.
Applying to the Music Business, Entrepreneurship + Technology (MBET) program? We can't wait to meet you. In advance of your interview, please submit transcripts and the following materials.
- Essay: Tell us about your educational and professional goals, including your past experience and knowledge in music, technology or business. Your essay should be submitted at least two weeks prior to the scheduled interview via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to the Office of Admissions at the University of the Arts, 320 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102.
- Information Form: We ask applicants to complete a questionnaire in advance of the interview. Time will be allotted to fill out the form on the day of your interview, but you may also download the applicant information form and bring the completed form with you on the day of your interview.
- Interview: Students are required to register for an audition or interview date after completing the application. You will receive an email with further instructions on how to register for your audition after your application has been processed. The application must be submitted two weeks prior to the selected date.
- Portfolio: During the interview, you will be expected to present a portfolio of any work produced, which may include recordings, videos, documentation of business experience or promotional work like show flyers and website links. Please be prepared to leave portfolio materials with the faculty for review after the interview.