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School of Music

Graduate Audition Information

All applicants for graduate music programs with applied studies are required to complete an on-campus audition in their major area as part of the application process. The audition usually takes no more than 20 minutes, with the audition committee selecting portions of the applicant’s audition repertory. Audition slots are limited for each audition day and on a first come, first served basis. A prescreening audition is not required, except for DMA voice candidates.  International students currently living outside the U.S. may submit an audition recording for provisional admittance.  However, an on-campus audition is required before initial registration.

Applicants in the conducting areas should not reserve an audition slot, but instead submit high quality video recordings in DVD format, or email a link to a video recording to Music Graduate Admissions. Each submission should contain the name, address and performance area of the applicant and a list of compositions performed and the date of the recording. Once recordings have been reviewed, conducting applicants will be invited to campus for a live audition and interview.

An applicant should submit all necessary application materials (including a repertory list and copies of recital programs) at least two weeks before the audition date. When necessary, an accompanist will be provided for voice auditions. Priority for graduate assistantships will be given to those who have auditioned by March 7.

Register for Graduate Audition


2019-2020 School of Music Audition Schedule

Friday, December 6, 2019
*Piano only
Saturday, December 7, 2019
*All areas except piano
Friday, January 24, 2020
*Graduate percussion only
Saturday, January 25, 2020
*Jazz, strings, voice and classical guitar only
Saturday, February 1, 2020
*All areas except clarinet
Saturday, February 15, 2020
*Woodwinds, brass, voice, piano, jazz and undergrad percussion only
*Band Clinic participants may audition while attending Band Clinic.
Saturday, February 22, 2020
*Strings, piano and clarinet only

All auditions are held on the UofSC campus in Columbia, SC.

Specific audition times, room numbers, and other pertinent information will be emailed to you the week leading up to the date you select on the Graduate Audition Form.

Audition and admission are required by March 7 for Graduate Assistantship consideration.

If needed, please contact faculty in your applied area to schedule a different date and time to audition.

COMPOSITION
a.  Bachelor's degree for Master's admission; Master's degree for DMA admission. Applicants must demonstrate experience and promise as a composer through the submission of scores, recordings, and a list of performances.
b.  Two or three compositions that display an understanding of different media; if possible, include complete recordings (CD or DVD preferred; MIDI realizations discouraged).
c.  A resume or curriculum vitae that includes a typed summary of educational and professional experience.
d.  A list of completed compositions that includes the following information: date of composition, duration, instrumentation, and a list of all performances.
e.  A sample of your writing in the form of a published article or term paper.
f.  A brief, 1-2 page essay outlining your goals, ambitions, and interests as a composer, as well as what you hope to accomplish while at USC.

Note for Master's Applicants
Applicants without a Bachelor's degree in music must take either the Music GRE or Graduate Music Diagnostic Examination before admission. Applicants with deficiencies in music theory, orchestration, score reading, counterpoint, keyboard skills, or conducting will be required to remedy those deficiencies. Necessary courses will be determined by the student's academic advisor before the student enters the program via the results of the Graduate Music Diagnostic Examination. It is important to understand that these courses must be completed in addition to the normal requirements for the degree, and that all such courses must be completed before the student registers for MUSC 799. (For example, a student required to take basic orchestration may not count that course toward the completion of the music theory or free electives requirement.) In the event that a necessary course is not offered before the end of a candidate's second year, additional arrangements must be made with the candidate's academic and thesis advisors.

CONDUCTING

Master's CHORAL CONDUCTING applicants: At least three works (or movements of works) of varied style and mood.
Doctoral CHORAL CONDUCTING applicants: Preliminary audition (video recording due by January 15) should include at least three major works (or movements of works) of varied style and mood recorded in a rehearsal or live performance (preferably with the camera facing the conductor). 
Final audition (by invitation) - On-campus; repertory to be determined.

Master's and Doctoral Instrumental (Wind and Orchestral) applicants:
Pre-screening video (due by January 15): All instrumental conducting applicants must submit a pre-screening video of at least 20 minutes which includes conducting in both rehearsal and performance. For all videos, the camera should be placed at the back of the ensemble with the focus on the front of the conductor. Include the date(s) and name of the performing ensemble(s).
Final audition (by invitation) - On-campus; repertory to be determined.

GUITAR

At least four compositions from different style periods (Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Contemporary) that demonstrate tone, technique, and musical proficiency. Considerable flexibility will be permitted in the choice of literature when stylistic areas seem to overlap. The following may serve as a guide:

  • A work by J.S. Bach
  • A sonata (or movement of a sonata) or a set of variations
  • A major 20th century work
  • One composition of the applicant's choice

Except for an avant-garde works, all compositions should be performed from memory.

JAZZ PERFORMANCE

Play and improvise in at least three different jazz idioms (Swing, BeBop, Cool, Fusion, etc.) and perform one work from the "classical" repertory.

ORGAN

  • One major work by J.S. Bach (such as a Prelude and Fugue or a trio sonata)
  • One work each from the 19th and 20th centuries
  • One work of the applicant?s choice

OPERA PERFORMANCE

By invitation only after admission to the MM-voice program, on-campus audition consisting of two contrasting arias or solo scenes, one of which should be staged.

OPERA STAGE DIRECTING

By invitation only, an analytical presentation of an opera for production that includes information on the composer and librettist, with period and historical references, character analysis, set and costume concepts, and comments on the musical style; presentation of an impromptu movement audition.

PERCUSSION

Prospective Students must audition in ALL areas listed below to be considered for admission into the percussion program. 

Masters of Music
If you have questions about your audition repertoire, please contact Dr. Scott Herring

Snare Drum:  A solo from Douze Etudes by Jaques Delecluse, Etudes for Snare Drum (purple book) by Mitchell Peters, or The Solo Snare Drummer by Vic Firth.  One orchestral except - examples may include Scheherazade (III and IV), Lt. Kije, Shostakovich #10

Marimba:  A movement of a Bach Cello Suite or a movement from the Sonatas and Partitas for Violin and an advanced work by composers including Burritt, Kopetzki, Schwantner, Mackey, Maslanka, among others.  

Xylophone:  One orchestral excerpt - examples may include Porgy and Bess, Harry Janos, Appalachian Spring, Polka, Colas Breugnon

Timpani:  A solo or Etude from Hochrainer, K. Gay, Lepak, etc.  Also an orchestral excerpts from Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Brahms.

Sightreading will be asked on marimba and snare drum


Doctor of Musical Arts
If you have questions about your audition repertoire, please contact Dr. Scott Herring

Snare Drum:  A solo from Douze Etudes by Jaques Delecluse, Keiskleiriana by Jaques Delecluse, or The Solo Snare Drummer by Vic Firth.  Two orchestral excepts - examples may include Scheherazade (III and IV), Lt. Kije, Shostakovich #10, etc.

Marimba:  A movement of a Bach Cello Suite or a movement from the Sonatas and Partitas for Violin and an advanced work by composers including Burritt, Viñao, Schwantner, Klatzow, Mackey, Maslanka, among others. 

Timpani:  A solo or Etude from Hochrainer, K. Gay, Lepak, etc.  Also two orchestral excerpts from Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Brahms.

Sightreading will be asked on marimba and snare drum

PIANO AND PIANO PEDAGOGY

Applicants for MM degrees should prepare a program 30 minutes in length; for DMA degrees, 45 minutes is needed. The audition program should feature works in contrasting styles from the standard literature. Except for avant-garde works, all compositions should be performed from memory.

STRINGS

VIOLA:

***Alternative repertoire will be approved on a case by case basis.***

Master of Music

  • Two contrasting movements from any of the Six Cello Suites by J.S. Bach
  • One movement of a standard concerto such as Bartok, Walton, Hindemith, Schnittke, or Penderecki
  • One movement of a standard sonata

Unaccompanied movements by Bach must be performed from memory.  The String Faculty recommends that the concerto be memorized.

Doctor of Musical Arts

  • Two contrasting movements from any of the Six Cello Suites by J.S. Bach
  • One movement of a standard concerto such as Bartok, Walton, Hindemith, Schnittke, or Penderecki
  • One movement of a standard sonata
  • A 20th or 21st century work of the applicant's choice

Unaccompanied movements by Bach and the concerto must be memorized.


VIOLIN:

***Alternative repertoire will be approved on a case by case basis.***

Master of Music

  • Two contrasting movements from a solo sonata or partita by J.S. Bach
  • One movement of a standard concerto such as Bruch, Barber, Mendelssohn, Saint-Saëns, Sibelius, Vieuxtemps, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, or Brahms
  • One movement of a standard sonata

Unaccompanied movements by Bach must be performed from memory.  It is highly recommended that the concerto also be performed from memory.

Doctor of Musical Arts

  • Two contrasting movements from a solo sonata or partita by J.S. Bach
  • One movement of a standard concerto such as Bruch, Barber, Mendelssohn, Saint-Saëns, Sibelius, Vieuxtemps, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, or Brahms
  • One movement of a standard sonata
  • A 20th or 21st century work of the applicant's choice

Unaccompanied movements by Bach and the concerto must be memorized.


CELLO: 

***Alternative repertoire will be approved on a case by case basis.***

Master of Music

  • Two contrasting movements from any of the Six Cello Suites by J.S. Bach
  • One movement of a standard concerto such as Haydn C or D, Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations, Elgar, Dvorak, Schumann, Shostakovich
  • One movement of a standard sonata

Unaccompanied movements by Bach must be performed from memory.  It is highly recommended that the concerto also be performed from memory. Please be prepared to speak about your selections.


Doctor of Musical Arts

  • Two contrasting movements from any of the Six Cello Suites by J.S. Bach
  • One movement of a standard concerto such as Haydn C or D, Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations, Elgar, Dvorak, Schumann, Shostakovich
  • One movement of a standard sonata
  • A 20th or 21st century work of the applicant’s choice (written after 1975)

Unaccompanied movements by Bach and the concerto must be performed from memory. Please be prepared to speak about your selections.


DOUBLE BASS:

Graduate Degrees

  • First movement from a standard double bass concerto – Bottesini, Vanhal, Dittersdorf, or similar
  • A movement from the Bach suites for solo cello.

These are suggested pieces only-any standard work of comparable quality is acceptable.

TRUMPET
Graduate - (MM & DMA
)

Graduate auditions are prescreened in the USC trumpet studio. Your video recording must be presented in a digital format through vimeo, youtube, or dropbox by Dec. 30 (please send link to Prof. James Ackley via email). Finalists will be chosen and invited to take part in a live audition (sometime between January & March). All finalist are considered for the TA position (if a TA position is available - please contact Prof. Ackley to see if a TA position is available in trumpet). Materials for both the video recording and the live audition must contain:

Masters audition requirements:

  • Longinotti Etude No. 7, complete
  • Haydn or Hummel Trumpet Concerto (Mvt. I, with cadenza)
  • Honegger Intrada
  • Orchestral Excerpts:  Mahler 5 (opening & lyrical solo - 1 before No. 13 through No. 14), Petroushka (Ballerina Dance), Pictures (opening), Pines of Rome (offstage), Leonore No. 3.  

DMA audition requirements:

  • Choice of a piccolo trumpet work (Mvt I only - Fasch, Tartini, Torelli, Corelli, Telemann, Richter, et al.)
  • Longinotti Etude No. 7, complete
  • Tomasi Concerto (Mvt. I)
  • Orchestral Excerpts: Mahler 5 (opening & lyrical solo - 1 before No. 13 through No. 14), Petroushka (Ballerina Dance), Pictures (opening), Pines of Rome (offstage), Leonore call No. 3.

Live audition durations are approx. 20-25 minutes in length. Sightreading and scales may be asked based on time allowed.  An "interview" may also be a part of the audition. No accompaniment required.

VOICE

Masters of Music 

  • Four pieces representing compositions from at least three of the following periods: Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th/21th Century.  At least one piece should be in English.
  • One operatic aria sung in the original language should be included
  • The following languages should be represented: English, French, German, and Italian

All repertoire should be performed from memory.

Doctor of Musical Arts on-site auditions:
If invited to an on-site audition, all candidates should prepare 30 minutes of repertoire.  This should include:

  • Art Songs from multiple stylistic periods (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, 20th Century/21st Century)
  • At least one operatic aria sung in the original language
  • Repertoire in at least three languages

All repertoire should be performed from memory.

 

WIND INSTRUMENTS

At least four significant compositions (or movements) of contrasting styles. The works should demonstrate a mature grasp of phrasing, tone, contemporary techniques, articulation, and general technique. Memorization is not required.


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