Bachelor of Music: Composition

Audition Requirements 2021-2022

Last Updated: September 2021 
Prof. Jonathan Anderson, 
All music composition applicants must complete the following:
1) Complete a live audition or upload audition video on their primary instrument or voice meeting the requirements stated below.
2) All composition applicants must upload a composition portfolio meeting the requirements state below.
3) Particpate in an interview with members of the composition faculty. The interview component will focus on a discussion of your work, goals and a review of submitted portfolio materials. 

► Audition Requirements:

Prospective students interested in the Bachelor of Music in Composition program will complete a live audition OR submit video recordings of the requirements listed below for your prinicpal instrument. With your video submission, state your full name and the music program for which you are auditioning. You may also submit a resume or other materials that you feel are relevant for the Music Department Audition Committee. 

► Portfolio Submission:

Additionally, applicants to the Bachelor of Music in Composition program should submit a portfolio of 2-4 scores of compositions in contrasting styles. These must be uploaded as supporting documents in Acceptd along with your performance video (if not completing a live audition). In addition, please submit a list of completed compositions (including date composed, instrumentation, duration, and performances received). Please include recordings of the compositions (live recordings preferred, but MIDI versions are also acceptable). 

Woodwinds, Brass and Percussion Principal

Brass and Woodwinds

1. Scales: Select one 3-octave major, one 3-octave minor and chromatic scale throughout the range of the instrument 

2. Music Selections: Two prepared selections in contrasting tempo and historical styles: Selections can be chosen from: etudes, solo works, single movements of concertos, sonatas, suites, etc. 


Demonstrate percussion skills on snare drum, marimba or xylophone, and timpani, as follows:
Snare drum:
•    Long roll, open-closed-open, pp-ff-pp
•    5,7,9,13,17-stroke rolls
•    Flams, flam accent no. 1 & 2, ruff, paradiddles,ratamaque, flam tap
•    Solo piece (non-rudimental)

Marimba or Xylophone: 
•    Major scales, two octaves, keys of C, F, G, D, E, A, Bb, Eb, Ab
•    Chromatic scale
•    Major and minor arpeggios, two octaves, for each of above keys
•    Three or four-mallet solo

•    For two drums, tune major 2nds, 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, 6ths, 7ths; minor 3rds, 6ths; octaves
•    Perform page 19 in the Goodman Timpani Method plus any two exercises for two or three drums

Strings Prinicpal

Violin, Viola and Cello:

1. Scales: One 3-octave major and one 3-octove melodic minor scale, with arpeggios

2. Music Selections: 

  1. One movement from solo Bach sonatas and partitas
  2. One etude of applicant's choice
  3. One concerto movement or single-movement solo piece

Double Bass:

1. Scales: One 2-octave major and one melodic minor scale, with arpeggios

2. Music Selections: 

  1. One movement of solo Bach or an etude of applicant's choice
  2. One concerto movement or single-movement solo piece


1. Scales: One major and one minor scale with arpeggios (or representative etudes)

2. Music Selections: Two prepared solos in contrasting musical styles 

Piano, Guitar, or Organ Principal


1. Scales: Select one major scale and arpeggio, four octaves; one minor scale and arpeggio, four octaves; chromatic scale, four octaves 

2. Music Selections: Two prepared pieces in contrasting styles. The minimum acceptable level is early intermediate, standard compositions such as Bach, Little Preludes; Clementi, Sonatinas; Kuhlau, Sonatinas; short character pieces of the 19th and 20th centuries. "Self-composed" works are not acceptable for audition repertoire. 

Classical Guitar

1. Scales: Major and minor scales in several positions 

2. Music Selections:Perform two contrasting selections from memory. 

Applicants should demonstrate technical ability consistent with the satisfactory completion of method books such as Frederick Noad: Book 1 - Solo Guitar Playing, Julio Sagreras Book 1, or similar methods. Make sure to demonstrate knowledge of chord types in several positions. Some examples of repertoire could include etudes/studies from Aguado, Brouwer, Carcassi, Giuliani, Sor, and Tarrega. 


1. Scales: Chromatic, major and minor scales and arpeggios, two octaves (piano only) 

2. Music Selections: Two prepared pieces in contrasting musical style, performed on either organ or piano

  1. For organ, selections should be at the level of J.S. Bach's simpler Preludes or standard hymns
  2. For piano, selections should be at the level of Bach's two-part Inventions or a simpler sonata by Mozart


1. Music Selections: Three prepared pieces in different historical and contrasting styles. Song selections must be memorized. It is preferred that vocal applicants record with an accompanist or with a backing track.

  1. One English art song
  2. One foreign-language art song (preferably Italian),
  3. One other song (in any language) or aria appropriate to the auditionee's level. 

Jazz Principal

1. One Prepared Jazz Standard 

Requirements: All instrumentalist should prepare 1 jazz tune from the standard jazz lexicon. The tune should showcase the student playing a chorus of the melody and an improvised solo. 

*Live Auditions: Students will perform with live rhythm section. 

*Submitted Video Audition: Applicants must use a backing track as accompaniment to the selected jazz standard. There are many free and paid backing track options available by internet search. 

This list, yet not exhaustive, provides acceptable jazz standards of varying degrees of difficulty: Autumn Leaves, On Green Dolphin Street, All the Things You Are, Take the A Train, Song for My Father, So What or Impressions, All Blues, Billie's Bounce, Billie's Bounce, Au Privave, Sandu, Blues for Alice, Blue Monk, Isotope, Straight No Chaser, Tenor Madness Confirmation, Donna Lee, Moment's Notice, Stable Mates, Oleo, Anthropology, In Walked Bud, Yes or No, A Night in Tunisia, Bouncin' With Bud. 

Additional Requirement for Drummers: Please announce each style before you play. 

Demonstrate following examples:

  • (approx. 20 or 30 sec. length) ▪ Swing (slow, medium, fast) 
  • Bossa nova 
  • Latin 
  • Contemporary pop styles 
  • Jazz waltz time 
  • Straight time 

2. Sightreading

Those who choose to audition in person will be required to sightread during their audition. 

Those who submit an audition video will be contacted by the audition committee to set up an interview where sightreading will be conducted over Zoom. 

 For guideline and requirement questions please contact: 313-577-1783 or