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School of Music

Auditions

Audition requirements by instrument

Audition materials deadline extended to February 15! 

Submitting Auditions
Due to COVID-19 precautions, admissions and scholarship auditions for Spring 2021 and Fall 2021 will not be conducted in person at the School of Music.  To submit your recorded audition please complete the 3-steps below.

  1. Submit an application for admission to the University of South Carolina.
  2. Submit a Music Application. The Music Application will be accessible through the University Admissions portal 24 hours after submitting your University application.
  3. Submit your audition materials using the Music tab in the University Admissions portal. The Music tab will be accessible through the University Admissions portal 24 hours after submitting your Music Application.

The audition recordings should be prepared based on the below audition requirements, which varies by area. In some areas, a follow-up interview and/or lesson appointment will be required to complete the audition process.  If a follow-up is needed, you will be contacted by the School of Music for scheduling.  

*If you did not list music as your desired first or second major in your UofSC Admisssions application but wish to complete an audition for music scholarship review or approval to take private lessons (applied lessons) for course credit, please contact Jennifer Mitchell, assistant director of music admissions at jmitchell@mozart.sc.edu, 803-777-4281. If you are already a student at UofSC and wish to audition, please contact Jennifer Mitchell.

*Please note, this information is not for ensemble auditions.  Ensemble auditions and School of Music auditions are handled separately.  Please contact the ensemble directors for more information on how to audition. 

Bassoon
Bassoonists should prepare two movements from different compositions from the standard solo repertoire that show a contrast in style, one fast and the other slow and lyrical. (Two single movement works are also acceptable.) Accompaniment is not required. Major scales should be prepared; sight-reading is required.

Clarinet
Clarinet candidates should prepare at least two selections that demonstrate contrasting styles, one fast and technical and the other slow and lyrical. These should include prepared pieces selected from standard repertoire and etudes. Two single movement works or individual movements from multiple movement works are acceptable. Considerable flexibility is permitted in the choice of audition material, although All-State/Region band audition music is discouraged. Also, it is preferred to select two works from standard repertoire or one from standard repertoire and one from a standard etude book. Having two works from only etude books is also discouraged. Clarinetists admitted to the undergraduate program must demonstrate a degree of technical fluency and musical awareness appropriate to the level of the audition literature. Some appropriate audition pieces include standard etudes by C. Rose or the Melodious Studies/Hite book, etc., standard repertoire by Mozart, Saint-Saens, Stamitz, Weber, Tartini, Cavallini, Schumann, Osborne, etc., or pieces chosen from collection books such as the Sixteen Grand Concert Pieces. Auditions will include sight reading and a short ear training test where one is expected to sing pitches played on the piano. Major and minor scales will be asked along with their respective arpeggios. Accompaniment is not required.

Classical Guitar
Considerable flexibility is permitted in the choice of audition material. Guitarists admitted to the undergraduate program should demonstrate a degree of technical fluency and musical awareness appropriate to the level of audition literature. The School of Music recognizes that some talented students may lack the benefit of substantial previous classical guitar training. These students may be offered a conditional acceptance into the program to pursue remedial study (for credit) and work toward a formal audition. More information on USC's guitar studio page.


Guitar Area Application Process:
Videos will be pre-screened for follow-up auditions on the following dates: Dec. 5, Jan. 23  and Feb. 13.
Qualified applicants will be contacted by the School of Music to schedule a follow-up audition.

Materials must be submitted as follows:
UofSC application due December 1
Music application and audition materials due by Nov. 20 for follow-up audition on Dec. 5
Music application and audition materials due by Jan. 15 for follow-up audition on Jan. 23
Music application and audition materials due by Feb. 1 for follow-up audition on Feb. 13

Composition
Composition applicants should demonstrate creativity and musical ability and promise, and they should have completed all of the requirements of the UofSC application process. Students should submit the following when completing the School of Music Application:

1.  Composition Portfolio: Written musical examples from 1-3 works; audio or video recordings of those works are not necessary but would be helpful.
2.  A brief personal statement about your musical experience and interest in composition and aspirations in the field of music.
3.  1-2 letters of recommendation from teachers or other mentors familiar with your musical and/or academic background. These can be submitted via the application portal or emailed directly to Jennifer Mitchell at jmitchell@mozart.sc.edu.

All prospective composition majors must also successfully complete a music audition.

More information can be found on our Bachelor of Music Composition Audition page.

Composition Application Process:
Audition Materials will be reviewed for composition interviews on Dec. 5, Jan. 23 and Feb. 13.  
Qualified applicants will be contacted by the School of Music to schedule an interview. 

Materials must be submitted as follows:
UofSC application due December 1
Music application and audition materials due by Nov. 20 for interview on Dec. 5
Music application and audition materials due by Jan. 15 for interview on Jan. 23
Music application and audition materials due by Feb. 1 for interview on Feb. 13

Euphonium
Candidates in the brass area should prepare two movements from different compositions from the standard solo repertoire that show a contrast in style, one fast and the other slow and lyrical. Two single movement works are also acceptable. Accompaniment is not required. Major scales should be prepared; sight-reading is required.

Flute
Candidates in flute should prepare two movements from different compositions from the standard solo repertoire that show a contrast in style, one fast and the other slow and lyrical. Two single movement works are also acceptable. Accompaniment is not required. Major scales should be prepared; sight-reading is required.

Horn
Candidates in the brass area should prepare two movements from different compositions from the standard solo repertoire that show a contrast in style, one fast and the other slow and lyrical. Two single movement works are also acceptable. Accompaniment is not required. Major scales should be prepared; sight-reading is required. Suggested solo repertoire may include:

  • Richard Strauss, Concerto No. 1, op. 11 - first or third movement
  • Franz Strauss, Concerto, op. 8 - any movement
  • W.A. Mozart, Concerti 2, 3, or 4 - any movement
  • Arthur Frackenpohl - Largo and Allegro
  • Paul Hindemith - Sonata for F Horn

Jazz
Students must complete a jazz audition for the jazz faculty, but will also be expected to audition for the teachers of your primary instrument (applied area). Look for specific audition expectations by the appropriate area:  Piano, Woodwinds, Brass, Percussion, Strings (Guitarists contact Bert Ligon).
Contact Bert Ligon or 803-777-6565.
Prepare 3 "standard" tunes:

  • Medium Swing
  • Ballad
  • Straight eighth (bossa nova, samba)

Be prepared to play melody and improvise on each tune.

  • Play "Blues" in any key of your choice. Be able to play a blues melody (head) and improvise.
  • Major and minor scales and arpeggios
  • The audition will also consist of sight-reading different styles of music. Jazz, Latin, Straight 8th (Latin or rock). 

Pianists and Guitarists are expected to play the melody and improvise and will be asked to "comp" the chord changes as well. 

Bassists will be asked to play basslines that outline the harmony and reflect the rhythmic style of the selection. Bassists may also choose to improvise. Bassists are encouraged to experience acoustic/upright and electric bass, and may audition on either or both. Some part of the audition should be on upright bass. Bassists should contact Craig Butterfield prior to audition.

Drums and Percussion
Contact Scott Herring at 803-777-2155.
Demonstrate various styles including:

  • Swing: Medium to fast swing and shuffle
  • Straight Eighths: bossa nova, mambo, salsa, samba, songo, funk, pop, etc.

Be prepared to play Etude: Drum Audition No. 1
Sight-reading: Be prepared to trade 4s and 8s on all of the above styles.

More information can be found on our Jazz Auditions and Scholarships page.

Application Requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Music Industry Studies

Essay
Applicants will submit a well-written essay about their experiences in the Music Industry so far, why they believe The University of South Carolina can help them achieve their goals in the Music Industry, and what the student believes that they can offer The University of South Carolina.  Consideration should be given to the breadth of the Industry when responding to this prompt.
Students should include all relevant experience, including but not limited to:

  1. Producing music and artists
  2. Learning and digital audio software (Logic, Pro Tools, Cubase, Garage Band, Fruity Loops, Reaper, Audition, etc)
  3. Playing in a band
  4. Booking and/or promoting shows
  5. Writing a music focused blog
  6. Hosting a radio show
  7. Song writing and/or composition
  8. Building musical instruments/accessories
  9. Live sound engineering
  10. Managing social media
  11. Running lights and/or sound for drama or high school performing groups
  12. Recording other musicians
  13. Job shadowing industry specialists
  14. Music industry internships (radio station, recording studio, label, venue, booking agents, etc).

Digital Portfolio
Applicants will submit a digital portfolio that demonstrates their experiences in the Music Industry.  Due to the expansive nature of the field, no two students will submit similar portfolios.  Consider all the aspects of the experiences mentioned in your essay and provide examples of as many as possible.
This may include:

  1. Audio recordings
  2. Videos of live performances
  3. Compositions
  4. Songs you have written
  5. Video clips for which you have composed music
  6. Flyers for concerts you have booked/promoted
  7. Newspaper articles about your music/compositions/concerts
  8. Social media presence (Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, etc)
  9. Any other material that you feel shows your capabilities in the Music Industry field.

Interview
The interview will occur after Music Industry faculty has reviewed the prospective student’s essay and portfolio. The interview will be largely based on discussing the topics of the essay as well as any questions the faculty has about the portfolio.  This interview will be conducted via web conferencing.

Optional Audition
As this is not a performance degree, an audition on your instrument of choice is not required.  
Should you wish to be considered for applied lessons and/or scholarships, please consult the audition requirements found here

Oboe
Candidates must prepare at least two selections that demonstrate contrasting styles. These can include etudes as well as solo pieces. Considerable flexibility is permitted in the choice of audition material. Oboists admitted to the undergraduate program should demonstrate a degree of technical fluency and musical awareness appropriate to the level of the audition literature. This means it is better to play easier pieces well than to play difficult pieces poorly. Some appropriate audition pieces include standard etudes by Barret or Ferling, concertos by Marcello or Haydn, and sonatas by Hindemith or Handel. Auditions will include sight reading and scales. Music scholarships are available to qualified applicants. Scholarship candidates are strongly encouraged to apply early.

Organ
Audition repertory should consist of one contrapuntal work by Bach or Buxtehude, a work from the nineteenth century, and, if possible, a piece from the twentieth century. Memorization is not required.

Percussion
Undergraduate Auditions - if you have questions about your audition repertoire or are unable to complete an audition on each of the instrument below due to COVID-19, please contact Dr. Scott Herring

Students must audition in the three areas below. 

Snare Drum:  A snare drum solo from Advanced SD Studies by Mitchell Peters, Advanced Etudes for Snare Drum by Keith Aleo, or Douze Etudes by Jaques Delecluse

Marimba:   A four-mallet solos suited to the student’s abilities.  Examples could include Restless by Rich O’Meara, Gitano by Alice Gomez, Preludes for marimba by Michael Burritt, Michi by Keiko Abe, Preludes for marimba by Ney Rosauro.

Timpani:  A solo or Etude from Etuden fur Timpani by Richard Hochrainer, Modern Method for Timpani by Saul Goodman, or Etudes, Exercises, and Solos for Timpani by Raynor Carroll.

Sightreading may be requested on marimba and snare drum.

Piano
Students auditioning to be considered for a performance degree should prepare a balanced program of three memorized works from contrasting style periods. The program may involve either complete works or individual movements from larger works. Students auditioning for entrance to other music degree programs or auditioning for a minor in music should prepare two works from contrasting style periods. Students majoring in areas other than music, but wishing to pursue elective study in piano, should prepare one piece that best represents their skills. In the case of non-performance degrees, memorization is encouraged but not required. There is no examination of technical rudiments, but sight-read is required.

Piano Area Application Process:
Videos will be pre-screened for follow-up auditions (sight-reading exam) on the following dates: Dec. 4, Jan. 22, Feb. 5 and Feb. 19
Qualified applicants will be contacted by the School of Music to schedule a follow up audition.

Materials must be submitted as follows:
UofSC application due December 1
Music application and audition materials due by Nov. 20 for follow up audition on Dec. 4
Music application and audition materials due by Jan. 8 for follow up audition on Jan. 22
Music application and audition materials due by Jan. 22 for follow up audition on Feb. 5
Music application and audition materials due by Feb. 1 for follow up audition on Feb. 19
Videos submitted after the February 1 deadline will be reviewed on a space available basis and considered for scholarship funds depending on budgetary availability. 

Saxophone
Saxophonists should prepare two movements from different compositions from the standard solo repertoire that show a contrast in style, one fast and the other slow and lyrical. Two single movement works are also acceptable. Accompaniment is not required. Major scales should be prepared and sight-reading is required.

Strings:

Double Bass

Bachelor of Music in Performance, Bachelor of Music Education, and Performance Certificate

  • First movement from a standard double bass concerto – Dragonetti, Koussevitzky, Dittersdorf, or similar
  • A Standard Etude – Simandl, Bille, Storch-Hrabe, or similar.

 These are suggested pieces only – any standard works of comparable quality are acceptable.

 

Violin

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

Bachelor of Music in Performance and Performance Certificate

  • One movement from a solo sonata or partita by J.S. Bach
  • One movement of a standard concerto from the Classical, Romantic or 20th Century periods
  • One additional piece (such as a challenging etude or a caprice, or character/virtuoso work) that best reflects the applicant’s playing ability.

 (It is highly recommended that one selection be performed from memory)

Music Education

  • One movement from a solo sonata or partita by J.S. Bach
  • One movement of a standard concerto from the Classical, Romantic or 20th Century periods

Bachelor of Arts and Music Minor

  • Two contrasting movements from the standard violin literature

 

Cello

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

Bachelor of Music in Performance, Bachelor of Music Education, and Performance Certificate

  • One movement from any of the Six Cello Suites by J.S. Bach
  • One movement of a standard concerto
  • One additional piece of choice or another contrasting movement of a Bach Cello Suite. An etude is also accepted in this category. 

 (It is highly recommended that one selection be performed from memory)

Bachelor of Arts and Music Minor

  • Two contrasting movements from the standard cello literature

 

Viola 

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

Bachelor of Music in Performance, Bachelor of Music Education, and Performance Certificate

  • One movement from any of the Six Cello Suites by J.S. Bach
  • One movement of a standard concerto
  • One additional piece of choice or another contrasting movement of a Bach Cello Suite. An etude is also accepted in this category. 

 (The String Faculty recommends at least one selection be memorized)

 Bachelor of Arts and Music Minor

  • Two contrasting movements from the standard viola literature

Trombone

Trombonists should prepare two or three pieces in contrasting styles: lyrical/legato and technical/tongued. These varied styles can be different movements from the same work. Students may select etudes, solos (piano accompaniment is not necessary), or orchestral excerpts. In addition, each trombonist will read a short sight-reading excerpt during their audition.

*Candidates are free to select works of comparable difficulty to the suggested works below. Above all, auditionees should choose music on which they sound their best.

Suggested solos (tenor trombone):

Guilmant, Morceau Symphonique
Galliard, Sonata No. 1
Barat, Andante and Allegro
Rimsky Korsakov, Concerto (esp. mvts. I and II)
Saint-Saëns, Cavatine
Larsson, Concertino (esp. mvts II and III)


Suggested etudes (tenor trombone):

Bordogni/Rochut, Melodious Etudes for Trombone
Voxman, ed., Selected Studies

Suggested solos (bass trombone):
Haddad, Suite for Tuba (esp. mvts I and II)
Lassen/Bollinger, Two Fantasy Pieces
Jacob, Cameos (esp. mvts. I, II, or III)
Hindemith, Drei Leichte Stucke (Three Easy Pieces)

Suggested etudes (bass trombone):
Bordogni/Rochut, Melodious Etudes for Trombone (down an octave)
Bordogni/Ostrander, Melodious Etudes for Bass Trombone
Grigoriev, Studies

Trumpet
Undergraduate - BA/Music Minor

Candidates in the brass area should prepare two movements from different compositions of choice from the standard solo repertoire that show a contrast in style (one fast and the other slow and lyrical). Two single movement works are also acceptable. All-State materials are also acceptable for this degree only. Accompaniment is not required. Sightreading and scales may be asked.

Undergraduate - Music Education (BMUED, non-performance)

Please prepare movement I from the Kent Kennan Sonata for Trumpet and Piano. No accompaniment is required.
Sightreading and scales may be asked.

Undergraduate - Performance (BM & PC)

  • Kent Kennan, Sonata for Trumpet (Mvt I & II) or Halsey Stevens, Sonata for Trumpet (Mvt I & II)
  • Orchestral Excerpts:Mahler 5 (opening), Pictures (opening), Pines of Rome (off stage solo)
Sightreading and scales may be asked.

Tuba
Candidates in the brass area should prepare two movements from different compositions from the standard solo repertoire that show a contrast in style, one fast and the other slow and lyrical. Two single movement works are also acceptable. Accompaniment is not required. Major scales should be prepared; sight-reading is required.

Voice
Students should prepare three memorized selections in contrasting style. Examples of repertoire could include selections from the "Twenty-Four Italian Songs and Arias" collection or "The First/Second Book of SATB Solos," compiled by Joan Boytim. One music theater piece is also permissible. One selection must be in a foreign language. Due to COVID-19, taped accompaniments are permissible.  No pop songs or unaccompanied selections are allowed. Aural and sightsinging skills will be tested.

Students auditioning for the BA in Music (Musical Theatre Concentration) should prepare:
Two contrasting musical theatre selections
One aria or art song (foreign language recommended)
A one minute or less, memorized monologue from a play, musical, or theatre production

Voice Area Application Process:
Videos will be pre-screened for follow up auditions (interview, sight-reading/aural skills evaluation) on the following dates: Dec. 5, Jan. 23, Feb. 13
Qualified applicants will be contacted by the School of Music to schedule a follow up audition.

Materials must be submitted as follows:
UofSC application due December 1
Music application and audition materials due by Nov. 20 for follow up audition on Dec. 5
Music application and audition materials due by Jan. 15 for follow up audition on Jan. 23
Music application and audition materials due by Feb. 1 for follow up audition on Feb.13


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