Entrance Audition Requirements

In response to COVID-19 health and safety concerns, University of Puget Sound and the School of Music will not host in-person auditions for the 2020-2021 application year. Instead, auditions will be held in a hybrid format including a recorded audition and a virtual interview. In the coming weeks we will release instructions and deadlines for students interested in auditioning for the School of Music. In the meantime, please review the below Entrance Audition Requirements to learn about audition repertoire.

Questions? Contact the Music Recruitment Coordinator for more information.


All auditioners are required to complete a Music Audition Application. Please note: we do not accept the arts supplement from the Common Application.

Auditions will be 10-15 minutes in length and involve performance of the required repertoire and scales, as well as a short interview with faculty. Vocalists will be asked to sightsing and instrumentalists may be asked to sightread. Composers submit a portfolio of compositions, as specified below. 

The School of Music offers music scholarships for all band and orchestral instruments, voice, piano, organ, guitar, and jazz instruments. Audition requirements for entrance into a major/minor program and/or scholarship consideration are below:

Keyboard

All Keyboard Applicants:

In addition to the playing requirements below, each candidate’s application should include a list of solo piano and collaborative repertoire studied. Please indicate which pieces have been performed in concert and year of the performance. Candidates attending a live audition may be asked to sightread a short excerpt.

Bachelor of Music (B.M. in Piano Performance) applicants:

Prepare a varied program of at least three solo pieces that display contrasting characters and demonstrate technical facility from the following list below. The repertoire is to be performed from memory and should include:

  1. Bach: Sinfonia or Prelude and Fugue
  2. Classical: First or Last movement of a Beethoven, Haydn, or Mozart Sonata (excluding Op. 49, first movement of Op. 27 no 2)    
  3. Other: one piece from the Romantic, Impressionist, or 20th century

Other Piano Applicants:

Prepare a varied program of at least two solo pieces that display contrasting characters and demonstrate technical facility from the following list.  The music does not need to be memorized.

  1. Bach: Invention, Sinfonia or any contrapuntal work or Classical: first or last movement of a sonata by Beethoven, Haydn or Mozart
  2. Other: one piece from the Romantic, Impressionist era or a piece composed after 1900

Organ Applicants (on-campus only):

Students who are currently studying organ should prepare a 15-minute audition consisting of pieces from the organ literature. Organ applicants with no previous organ training will be expected to demonstrate keyboard ability in piano performance.

Percussion

Prepare one selection demonstrating your technique and control on each of the following instruments that you play: snare drum, xylophone or marimba, and timpani. Drum set is strongly encouraged, but not required. You may be asked to sight-read.

Due to limitations of available equipment, we are unable to provide any percussion equipment at our regional audition locations in Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and San Francisco. If you are unable to audition on-campus, please contact music.admission@pugetsound.edu or submit a video-recorded percussion audition.

Strings

Bachelor of Music (B.M. in Performance) Applicants:

  • Cello: One movement (a Prelude, Allemande, Courante, or Gigue) from any of the Bach Suites; one movement from the standard concerto repertoire; one etude demonstrating your current technical development; a three octave scale and a three octave arpeggio in the key of your choice. Memorization of at least one piece is strongly recommended.
  • Double Bass: one movement from a Baroque sonata or suite; a movement or piece with contrasting tempo from a later period; two standard excerpts from Mozart Symphonies 35, 39 or 40; a three octave scale and a three octave arpeggio in the key of your choice. One of the pieces must be from memory. 
  • Harp: One etude demonstrating current technical development, such as Pozzoli, Bochsa, LaRiviere, or a prelude from Salzedo, Method for the Harp or Modern Study of the Harp; two solo works, in contrasting style, tempo, and period. Memorization of at least one piece is strongly recommended.
  • Viola: one or two movements from Bach Cello Suite no. 1, 2, or 3; a movement of a major work (Bloch, Vaughan Williams, Brahms, Schubert) or a concerto by Stamitz, Hindemith, Walton; one etude by Kreutzer or Campagnoli. Memorization of at least one piece is strongly recommended.
  • Violin: a movement from an unaccompanied Bach Sonata or Partita; a movement from the standard concerto repertoire (other than a Bach Concerto); an etude or caprice demonstrating your current technical development; a three octave scale and a three octave arpeggio in the key of your choice. Either the Bach or the concerto movement must be from memory.

Other String Applicants:

  • Violin, viola, cello, or double bass: Two contrasting pieces or movements that are representative of technical ability, one selection preferably from a concerto. Include a selection or movement in a slow tempo as well as one in a lively tempo. Memorization is highly recommended.
  • Harp: Two solo works of contrasting style, tempo, and period. Memorization of at least one piece is strongly recommended.
  • Guitar: Two contrasting selections at least one of which should be a classical guitar piece. You may also choose one instrumental guitar piece in another genre that demonstrates your level of ability with fingerstyle or flatpicking techniques. Total playing time should be between 3 and 7 minutes. Suggested repertoire: Luis de Milan - 6 Pavanes; Fernando Sor - 20 Studies, op. 60 (any 2); Francisco Tarrega - Lagrima or Adelita; Villa-Lobos - 5 Preludes (choose one), Leo Brouwer - Simple Etudes (choose one). Other pieces can be checked by contacting the guitar instructor Abe Landa.

Voice

Prepare at least two selections with piano accompaniment representing the Classical genre, i.e., art songs or arias. The selections should contrast in style and in tempo.

One selection should be in English, and the other in a foreign language. (Note: The English selection may be from the musical theatre repertoire.) Memorization is required.

You will be asked to sing vocal exercises, tonal memory exercises, and/or to sight-read. If you audition on-campus, an accompanist will be available. If you audition in a regional location, please provide your own accompanist (we do not accept recorded accompaniments).

Winds & Brass

Prepare two selections that are representative of your current repertoire. Include a selection or movement in a slow tempo as well as one in a lively tempo. The selections should demonstrate your tone quality, expressiveness, technique, and range. You should be prepared to play a chromatic scale and all major scales. You may be asked to sightread.

Composition

Students applying for entrance to the Bachelor of Music in Composition degree must submit a portfolio of at least two compositions. At least one of the compositions should be for five or more instruments, and one of the compositions must include piano.

Jazz

Eligible Instruments: double bass, guitar, percussion, piano, saxophone, trumpet, trombone

Please note: jazz auditions are not eligible for a music major and auditioners can only be considered for scholarship. If you are interested in majoring in music, you will need to complete a classical audition. We encourage you to complete two auditions: one for a jazz (scholarship) and one for classical (see requirements above/scholarship).

All Jazz Instruments:

  • Two contrasting pieces
  • Be prepared to improvise on a blues or a jazz standard of choice
  • You may be asked to sightread

While Puget Sound does not offer a major in Jazz, its offerings include Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Combos, Jazz Theory & Improvisation, and Jazz History.   

Ensemble Auditions

Auditions for performing ensembles are held during Orientation each fall. 

Non-auditioned opportunities

Many opportunities in the School of Music are available to all Puget Sound students without audition including the Concert Band, Chorale, and various classes.