Music Department Scholarship Audition Requirements

***NOTE: With an abundance of caution due to COVD-19, until further notice all music auditions will take the form of pre-recorded materials sent to the music department coordinator***

All students intending to major or minor in music are required to audition on their primary specialization for the music faculty prior to acceptance into the music degree program. The primary specialization may be chosen from the areas of brass, composition, guitar, percussion, piano, voice or woodwinds (i.e. a primary specialization in trumpet from the area of brass). Students intending to pursue the emphasis in music education may only select a specialization from the areas of brass, percussion, piano, voice or woodwinds.

Any incoming student wishing to be considered for a music scholarship must complete an audition prior to April 1. For a list of available scholarships visit the USAO Financial Aid page.

The audition includes the following components: 

  1. Completion of a scholarship application form
  2. Due to the pre-recorded video performances

Individual components of the pre-recorded performance audition are as follows:


  1. One art song, preferably in a language other than English
  2. An additional art song or musical theater song in any language
  3. Vocalizing


  1. Two musical selections in contrasting styles or from two different musical periods
  2. Scale: Concert Bb-major scale, two octaves ascending and descending. quarter note = 100 (minimum)
  3. Chromatic Scale: the full range that you can play on your instrument, both ascending and descending. Quarter note = 100 (minimum)


  1. Students wishing to specialize in composition must present a portfolio of their work in lieu of a performance audition. The portfolio should include scores for several compositions as well as audio examples. These items should be e-mailed to the music department coordinator at

Music Department Scholarship RecoRded Audition Best Practices

  • Record both audio and video. Send audition files that have video and audio of you performing.
  • Record in an area where you will not be disturbed. Choose a place where you can block exterior sounds.
  • Do not place your microphone too close to yourself. It will distort the audio. Think of placing it where the front row of an audience would be.
  • Use natural light, if possible.
  • Try to create the best audio/video possible within your means. There is no need to go buy specific equipment.
  • Dress as though you were coming to an in-person audition.
  • Test your files before you send them to make sure that they recorded properly.
  • Check your application form after you’ve saved/closed it to make sure your information actually saved.

Music Department Scholarship Recorded Audition FAQ

Do I need accompaniment?

Vocalists should do their best to perform with accompaniment. If an accompanist is not available, vocalists should use either a backing track or SmartMusic. SmartMusic is available for free through June 30, 2020. If none of these options are available, a cappella is appropriate. Instrumentalists do not need an accompaniment. For all auditions, if recording without accompaniment, cut all longer rests to two measures.

I am a vocalist. How will I complete the vocalization portion of the audition?

Based on your voice part, a backing track with a demonstration of, and accompaniment for, a vocalization will be e-mailed to you. Record yourself singing along with this vocal track. To receive this audio file, e-mail the music department coordinator at Do this in advance so that you can submit your vocalization along with all other audition materials.

I have a composition portfolio I want to submit. What is the best method for doing so?

Create .pdfs of any musical scores. Place them in a shared cloud folder, such as Dropbox, Google, etc. Add audio or video recordings of your work to the same folder. Make the folder shareable and send a copy of the link to the music department coordinator at

How do I submit my audition materials (non-composition)?

Attach all files, including your completed audition application, to an e-mail and send to the music department coordinator at

My audition files are too big to e-mail. How should I submit them?

Place all files, as well as completed audition application form, into a shared cloud folder, such as Dropbox, Google, etc. Make the folder shareable and send a copy of the link to the music department coordinator at

How should I name my audition files?

Name your file with your last name, primary instrument, and the title of the piece.

For example:

  • Sekula-Flute-Syrinx.mp3, or
  • Weber-Composition-GuitarSketch.mp3, or
  • Smithey-Bass-LasciaAmor.mp3, or
  • Hanson-Soprano-Vocalization.mp3

Should I record my audition materials in one take, or may I send separate files?

You may create a separate file for each element of the audition.