The Setnor School of Music offers nine graduate programs that lead to a master of music (M.M.) degree: composition, conducting, the six performance programs (organ, percussion, piano, strings, voice, and wind instruments), and voice pedagogy. Application information and audition requirements for these programs are listed below.
Additionally, in conjunction with Syracuse University's School of Education, the Setnor School of Music offers M.M. and master of science (M.S.) degrees in music education. Admission to music education is through the School of Education.
If you are a current SU student, or if you recently completed a graduate program at SU, you may qualify for the internal admission process.
Application deadline: February 1 for fall admission
- Setnor School of Music programs currently do not offer spring admission.
- To be considered for merit-based awards, please submit your application by February 1.
Completed applications must include:
- Online application.
- Audition. Refer to the bottom of this page for audition submission information and requirements.
- Three letters of recommendation. Consult online application for details.
- Academic transcript. Unofficial transcript uploaded to the online application. If you are admitted, an official, degree-bearing transcript must be mailed to the University. Applicants must complete a U.S. bachelor's degree (or its equivalent in another country) before starting a graduate program.
- Personal statement/essay. Describe in approximately 500 words your main academic interests, why you wish to study for the degree you have chosen, why you wish to study at Syracuse University, how you expect to finance your studies, and your plans for the future after you receive your degree. Upload directly to the online application.
- Resume. Upload directly to the online application.
- Application fee. A non-refundable application fee of $75. See online application for details.
For international students:
All graduate international applicants to Syracuse University whose first language is not English must prove they are proficient in the English language. The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is required of all graduate applicants whose native language is not English.
Use DI code 2823 when requesting your TOEFL scores to be sent to Syracuse University.
- The recommended minimum TOEFL score required on the internet-based (iBT) test is 90 for all programs except the M.A. in audio arts and the M.F.A. in design, which require a score of 100 on the iBT.
- The minimum IELTS score is 6.5 for all programs.
- A student may be admitted with scores lower than those listed above as determined by the individual departments/school in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Under those circumstances students will be admitted provisionally with the need for developmental English language education. Students may satisfy the English language proficiency requirement by attending our English Language Institute (ELI) and completing Level 4 at the institute. Find out more information on the ELI website. If students are conditionally admitted for English proficiency, it is not mandatory for them to attend the ELI. The ELI is an alternative option for students who do not wish to retake the TOEFL or IELTS.
The TOEFL or IELTS requirement may be waived in certain situations:
- An applicant who has attended an undergraduate institution in the U.S. or one outside the U.S. that is based on the American system of education where the language of instruction for a student's entire schooling has been the English language.
The decision to waive the standard requirement is at the discretion of the department to which you are applying. Email email@example.com to see if you may qualify.
International students must show proof of sufficient funding for the first year of graduate study in order to have a student visa authorized. For detailed requirements and instructions, see the instructions in our online application and the instructions on the Graduate School website.
Submitting Your Audition
Applicants may audition in person or online. Auditions may be submitted before or after your application.
1. In Person
It is recommended that you audition in person to be considered for Setnor School of Music merit awards. Instrumentalists audition without accompaniment. An accompanist will be provided free of charge for voice auditions. To schedule an audition, please submit an online audition registration form on our audition registration website. (Note: the registration site will re-open in fall 2018.) If you are unable to attend a regularly scheduled audition day, you may submit your audition online, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about scheduling an individual audition date. Once you have registered for an audition, you will receive a link to the Music Audition Form in Acceptd. This link will be found in your confirmation email. Please submit the audition form to Acceptd at least two weeks prior to your audition date. There is a $15 fee to submit this required form when auditioning in person.
We encourage applicants who cannot audition in person to submit their audition materials to us online at at Acceptd. To complete an online video submission, you must first register for an online audition. (Note: the registration site will re-open in fall 2018.) Once you have registered, you will receive a link to submit your audition video through Acceptd. The online portal offers additional instruction for submitting materials. There is a $30 fee for each video submission you make through Acceptd. Graduate auditions must be submitted by February 1.
Applicants for the graduate program in wind performance should choose three works in contrasting styles. Sight-reading will also be required as part of the audition. Contact: Professor Bradley Ethington, winds and percussion area coordinator and director of bands, email@example.com.
Please submit three scores (with recordings if available) of three works online through Acceptd. At least one score must be for large ensemble (orchestra, wind ensemble, sinfonietta). Contact: Associate Professor Joseph Downing, chair, composition department, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submit a 20- to 30-minute recording online through Acceptd, including at least 10 minutes of conducting in performance and 10 minutes rehearsing. The camera should be facing the conductor. Conductors who pass the video audition will be invited to campus to audition with one of the Setnor School of Music’s choral ensembles. Two selections will be conducted: one assigned by the director of choral activities that the ensemble knows, and one chosen by the applicant to teach the ensemble. Contact: Professor John Warren, director of choral studies, email@example.com.
Submit a 20- to 30-minute recording online through Acceptd, including at least 10 minutes of conducting in performance and 10 minutes rehearsing. The camera should be facing the conductor. Conductors who pass the video audition will be invited to campus to audition with one of the Setnor School of Music ensembles. Contact: Professor James Tapia, director of orchestral studies, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submit a 20- to 30-minute recording online through Acceptd, including at least 10 minutes of conducting in performance and 10 minutes rehearsing. The camera should be facing the conductor. Conductors who pass the video audition will be invited to campus to audition with one of the Setnor School of Music ensembles. Contact: Professor Bradley Ethington, winds and percussion area coordinator and director of bands, email@example.com.
Admission is through Syracuse University’s School of Education. Students must apply to and meet the admissions requirements of the School of Education as well as the Setnor School of Music. The GRE may be requested. For information and deadlines, contact Associate Professor John Coggiola, chair, music education department, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Speranza Migliore, the School of Education's Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment at 315.443.2505 or email@example.com.
Applicants have the option of submitting audition materials that focus on one of two emphases: piano performance (solo) or piano performance (collaborative arts) For the graduate emphasis in solo performance, applicants should present a representative recital program (a minimum of 40 minutes of music). International applicants may, in lieu of a live audition, provide high-quality video recordings online via Acceptd. Applicants auditioning for the collaborative arts emphasis should present a representative program of solo, vocal, and chamber music. Applicants should consult with the chair of the keyboard department to finalize repertoire choices. Please note that students interested in either emphasis should apply to the M.Mus. in performance for piano on their application to Syracuse University. Contact: Professor Ida Tili-Trebicka, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applicants for the graduate program in organ performance should choose three works in contrasting styles (approximately 30 minutes of music). Applicants will be expected to sight-read a short passage of music as part of the audition. Contact: Professor Annie Laver, email@example.com.
Voice (including performance and voice pedagogy)
Present a minimum of six selections; include at least one aria and one piece in English. All selections should be of varying styles, historical periods, and languages. In addition, present a resume documenting evidence of performance experience at the university or professional level along with a comprehensive repertoire list. An accompanist will be provided at no charge. You are encouraged to send copies of your music two weeks in advance if you believe the music is difficult to sight-read. Contact/send music to: Professor Janet Brown; voice area coordinator; Setnor School of Music, College of Visual and Performing Arts, Syracuse University; 304A Crouse College; Syracuse NY 13244-1010; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be prepared to play from memory the first movement of a major 19th- or 20th-century concerto, two contrasting movements of an unaccompanied Bach sonata or partita, and a caprice by Paganini or Dont (Op. 35). Contact: Professor Laura Bossert, string area coordinator, email@example.com.
Perform the following repertoire from memory.
- Three movements of a cello suite or two contrasting movements of a violin sonata/partita by J.S. Bach
- Two contrasting movements of a standard concerto OR one movement of a standard concerto and one movement of a sonata or a contemporary piece (sonatas may be performed with music).
Contact: Professor Laura Bossert, string area coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Play from memory, two contrasting movements from a major concerto (classical, romantic, or contemporary); three contrasting movements from a solo Bach suite; and one etude from Popper 40 etudes Op. 73 or Piatti 12 Caprices Op. 25, or an equivalent virtuoso piece. Contact: Professor Laura Bossert, string area coordinator, email@example.com.
In addition to all the diatonic major and minor scales edited by Andres Segovia, graduate candidates auditioning on the classical guitar should prepare three categories from the five listed below. All selections should be performed from memory.
- The first movement of a major 19th-, 20th- or 21st-century concerto
- A large-scale contemporary composition
- A large-scale 19th-century composition
- Two contrasting movements from a lute suite, cello suite, or unaccompanied violin sonata/partita of Johann Sebastian Bach
- Two contrasting etudes by Heitor Villa-lobos, Giulio Regondi, or Angelo Gilardino
Contact: Professor Laura Bossert, string area coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be prepared to perform a major concerto or equivalent work or works from the solo repertoire. Sight-reading will also be required as part of the audition. Contact: Professor Bradley Ethington, winds and percussion area coordinator and director of bands, email@example.com.