Gain professional-level training

An audition is required for all students seeking admission to the Setnor School of Music.

Students are responsible for submitting an audition form online via Accept’d. The final audition may be completed in person or online via Accept’d. All students are responsible for meeting Syracuse University's general requirements as well as our deadlines.

TRANSFER STUDENTS: Transfer applicants are responsible for meeting Syracuse University's general requirements and deadlines for transfer students. You are encouraged to complete the application and transcript review as soon as possible as space is limited in some programs. It is strongly recommended that transfer applicants to VPA follow the first-year application deadlines. Please note:

  • Please include with your audition materials submitted to Accept’d an unofficial college transcript. This is in addition to the official college transcript you send with your application for admission.
  • Include a paragraph explaining why you wish to study music, what major you hope to pursue and why, what you expect from the major, and your career aspirations.

Audition Requirements

Listed below are specific Setnor School of Music audition requirements for each instrument. Each category also includes a list of recommended audition literature.

PLEASE NOTE: An audition on your primary instrument is required if you are applying to any of the following majors:

  • B.A. in music
  • B.M. in composition*
  • B.M. in music education
  • B.M. in music industry
  • B.M. in performance
  • B.M. in sound recording technology

*Students applying to the composition program must also submit the scores to two to three original compositions. These should be submitted online via Accept’d before you arrive for your audition or as part of your online audition.

If your first-choice major is something other than one listed above, but you have listed one of the B.M. degrees or the B.A. in music as either your second- or third-choice major on the Syracuse University supplement, you should also consider submitting an audition. If you do not get into your first-choice program, you will need to have an audition on file to be considered for any of these majors. Please see Audition Registration for details on how to do so.

Jazz and commercial auditions: Students may choose a course of study in jazz and commercial music in one of the majors listed below. Jazz/commercial auditions are only accepted when applying to these majors:

  • B.A. in music
  • B.M. in music education
  • B.M. in music industry
  • B.M. in sound recording technology

REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL AUDITIONERS (CLASSICAL AND JAZZ/COMMERCIAL)

  1. Register for an in-person or online audition submission.
  2. Complete the Music Audition Form online via Accept’d. A link to the form will be provided once you have completed audition registration.
  3. Prepare audition requirements for your primary instrument as described below.
    • Those students coming for an in-person audition will take a theory test and short ear training exam.
    • Transfer students should also provide a copy of their unofficial transcripts and course descriptions. If auditioning in person, bring these materials with you to your audition; if submitting online, please upload along with your other materials.

Classical Music Audition Requirements (All majors can audition with these requirements)

Woodwinds and Brass

  1. Be prepared to play all major scales and a chromatic scale in two (or three where possible) octaves.
  2. Sight-reading may be included as part of the audition.
  3. Prepare two contrasting works. If either of the two works is a multi-movement work, prepare only two movements per multi-movement work. Solo repertoire may be supplemented with (but not replaced by) etude or orchestral excerpt literature. View a list of recommended woodwinds [PDF] and brass [PDF] literature.

Percussion

The audition requires demonstrating proficiency in three areas of percussion: snare drum, timpani, and mallet keyboards. Prepare at least one solo, etude, or concerto from each area. You are also encouraged to demonstrate basic techniques on the following accessory instruments: cymbals, tambourine, triangle, and bass drum. View a list of recommended percussion [PDF] literature.

Please be advised that we offer drum set as a primary instrument in the B.A. in music, the B.M. in music education, the B.M. in music industry and the B.M. in sound recording technology only. For more information on the drum set audition requirements, see the “Jazz and Commercial Music Audition Requirements” section below.

Strings

Violin

  1. First movement of a standard concerto
  2. One movement of a BACH solo sonata or partita
  3. One etude or caprice (KREUTZER, RODE, DONT, PAGANINI, GAVINES)
  4. Three octave scales and arpeggios in the following keys:
    Major: C, G, D, A, E, B flat, and E flat
    Minor: A, D, and G

Viola

  1. Two contrasting movements of a BACH Cello Suite (or one of the Preludes)
    OR
    One movement of a BACH unaccompanied violin sonata or partita
  2. First movement of a concerto (J.C. BACH, STAMITZ, HOFFMEISTER, HANDEL, WALTON)
  3. One etude (KREUTZER, CAMPAGNOLI, GAVINIES)
  4. Three octave scales and arpeggios

Cello

  1. Two contrasting movements from J.S. BACH's Six Suites for Solo Cello
  2. First movement of a standard concerto
  3. One etude from DAVID POPPER: High School of Cello Playing

Double Bass

  1. The first movement from a concerto for bass by BOTTESINI, DITTERSDORF, DRAGONETTI, KOUSSEVITZKY, or VANHAL
    OR
    Two contrasting movements from a Baroque sonata by ECCLES, HANDEL, MARCELLO, or VIVALDI
  2. One etude from a methods book by FRANZ SIMANDL or ISAIA BILLE or the first movement of Symphony No. 1 in C Major by BEETHOVEN
  3. Two octave major scales and their relative minor scales (melodic/harmonic/natural) in the keys of E-F-G and A.
  4. Possible sight-reading from the orchestral literature

Harp

  1. Be prepared to play all major scales and a chromatic scale in two (or three where possible) octaves.
  2. Prepare two contrasting works. In the case of multi-movement works, prepare only two movements per multi-movement work. Solo repertoire may be supplemented with (but not replaced by) etude or orchestral excerpt literature. View a list of recommended harp [PDF] literature.

Classical Guitar

In addition to all the diatonic major and minor scales edited by ANDRES SEGOVIA, candidates auditioning on the classical guitar should prepare three categories from the four listed below.

  1. One movement from a Lute Suite, Cello Suite or Unaccompanied Solo Violin Sonata/Partita of JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH.
  2. One etude by CARCASSI, SOR, GIULIANI, SAGRERAS or LEGNANI
  3. One prelude by VILLA-LOBOS or PONCE
  4. Two contrasting etudes by LEO BROUWER

Emphasis will be placed on a solid technical foundation that allows for ease of execution and control over musical elements such as tone quality, dynamics, rhythm, vibrato and phrasing. Sight-reading will also be required.

Classical Keyboard

Be prepared to play all major and minor scales and arpeggios. Sight-reading will be required at all auditions.

Piano

Prepare from memory three contrasting works. One of the works must be by J.S. BACH, such as a Three-Part Sinfonia, three to four movements from a French Suite, or one Prelude and Fugue from the Well-Tempered Clavier. In lieu of this, you may present three movements from a French Suite, English Suite, or Paritia.

Your remaining repertoire should come from two of the following three categories:

  1. One movement of a sonata by HAYDN, MOZART, or BEETHOVEN
  2. A work from the Romantic period
  3. A work composed after 1900, contrasting in style to the other works chosen

Contact Professor Ida Tili-Trebicka at ttrebick@syr.edu with specific repertoire questions.

Organ

Prepare three contrasting works from the categories below, together with a hymn. Contact Annie Laver, assistant professor and University Organist, at alaver@syr.edu with specific repertoire questions.

Categories:

  1. A work by J.S. BACH or a work by another Baroque period composer
  2. A work from the Romantic period
  3. A work composed after 1900, contrasting in style to the other works chosen

Classical Voice

Four songs of contrasting styles and historical periods should be prepared and memorized. View a list of recommended voice [PDF] literature.

A minimum of one song must be in English, and there should be at least one song in a foreign language. Please select classical vocal repertoire from a broad cross-section of historical periods. Musical theater repertoire is not acceptable for your English selection.

An accompanist will be provided for voice auditions held both on and off campus. Taped accompaniment is not acceptable. Please bring original piano scores for your music in the key in which you will sing.

If you have not studied privately, please bring a letter of recommendation from your high school music teacher or someone who has observed your musical progress and potential in a sealed envelope to your audition date.

Jazz and Commercial Music Audition Requirements (B.A. music, B.M. music education, B.M. music industry, B.M. sound recording technology majors only)

Audition Requirements (All Instruments and Voice)

All applicants will prepare the following FOUR selections in addition to their instrument/voice-specific requirements:

  • THREE with Setnor-provided backing tracks as follows (download pre-recorded tracks below): ONE of the selections must be prepared using the slow tempo version. At least TWO selections must be prepared with improvised solos.
    • “Summertime Changes” (based on "Summertime"-melody/lyrics must be performed in first chorus)
    • “Rhythm Changes” (based on "I Got Rhythm"-melody/lyrics must be performed in first chorus)
    • “Blues Progressions” (standard 12 bar blues-an applicant-selected melody/blues lyrics must be performed in first chorus)
  • Applicants will also prepare a FOURTH selection of their choice (original or cover) in a contrasting musical genre such as pop, rock, R&B, jazz, folk, gospel, country, electronic, etc., demonstrating appropriate stylistic elements. This selection can be performed solo, self accompanied, or with a backing track provided by the applicant. This selection should showcase what you believe is your particular strength, originality, and personal style.
  • Applicants will be asked to sight-read in notation and chord-chart formats as appropriate.

Chord Charts

Summertime [PDF]
Rhythm Changes [PDF]
Blues Progressions [PDF]

Pre-Recorded Tracks

Mix (Entire)

Summertime

Am 100 bpm [MP3] | Am Latin 120 bpm [MP3]
Dm 100 bpm [MP3] | Dm Latin 120 bpm [MP3]

Rhythm Changes Bb

180 bpm [MP3] | 240 bpm [MP3]

Bb Blues

80 bpm [MP3] | 200 bpm [MP3] | Funk [MP3]

E Blues

80 bpm [MP3] | 200 bpm [MP3] | Funk [MP3]

Mix Minus Bass

Summertime

Am 100 bpm [MP3] | Am Latin 120 bpm [MP3]
Dm 100 bpm [MP3] | Dm Latin 120 bpm [MP3]

Rhythm Changes Bb

180 bpm [MP3] | 240 bpm [MP3]

Bb Blues

80 bpm [MP3] | 200 bpm [MP3] | Funk 112 bpm [MP3]

E Blues

80 bpm [MP3] | 200 bpm [MP3] | Funk 112 bpm [MP3]

Mix Minus Drums

Summertime

Am 100 bpm [MP3] | Am Latin 120 bpm [MP3]
Dm 100 bpm [MP3] | Dm Latin 120 bpm [MP3]

Rhythm Changes Bb

180 bpm [MP3] | 240 bpm [MP3]

Bb Blues

80 bpm [MP3] | 200 bpm [MP3] | Funk 112 bpm [MP3]

E Blues

80 bpm [MP3] | 200 bpm [MP3] | Funk 112 bpm [MP3]

Mix Minus Piano

Summertime

Am 100 bpm [MP3] | Am Latin 120 bpm [MP3]
Dm 100 bpm [MP3] | Dm Latin 120 bpm [MP3]

Rhythm Changes Bb

180 bpm [MP3] | 240 bpm [MP3]

Bb Blues

80 bpm [MP3] | 200 bpm [MP3] | Funk 112 bpm [MP3]

E Blues

80 bpm [MP3] | 200 bpm [MP3] | Funk 112 bpm [MP3]

Instrument/Voice-Specific Requirements

Instrument/voice-specific requirements must be completed in addition to the live audition requirements listed above.

Trumpet

  • Perform major and minor scales and chords.
  • Prepare two contrasting works or etudes. If either of the two works is a multi-movement work, prepare only two movements per multi-movement work.
  • Applicant must demonstrate ability to play with a good sound and strong time feel as a soloist.

Saxophone

  • Perform major and minor scales and chords.
  • Prepare two contrasting works or etudes. If either of the two works is a multi-movement work, prepare only two movements per multi-movement work.
  • Applicant must demonstrate ability to play with a good sound and strong time feel as a soloist.

Trombone

  • Perform major and minor scales and chords.
  • Prepare two contrasting works or etudes. If either of the two works is a multi-movement work, prepare only two movements per multi-movement work.
  • Applicant must demonstrate ability to play with a good sound and strong time feel as a soloist.

Guitar (Electric or Acoustic)

  • Perform major and minor chords and scales in various positions.
  • Show technical facility through typical routines and exercises.
  • Show technical facility with pick and finger-style techniques.
  • An electric guitar amp will be provided for auditions held on campus.

Bass (Electric or Acoustic)

  • Perform major, minor and pentatonic scales in various positions.
  • Show technical facility through typical routines and exercises.
  • Applicant must demonstrate ability to play with a good sound and a strong time feel both as a soloist, and with a rhythm section.
  • An electric bass amp will be provided for auditions held on campus.

Drum Set

  • Applicant will be asked to solo in various settings: trading fours, filling, and improvising over an ostinato figure provided at the audition.
  • Applicant will be asked to sight-read drum charts and rhythms.
  • It is recommended that applicants demonstrate their ability on other concert percussion instruments.
  • A standard drum set will be provided for auditions held on campus.

Piano/Keyboards

  • Perform from memory two contrasting works or etudes. If either of the two works is a multi-movement work, prepare only two movements per multi-movement work.
  • Selections may be performed on an acoustic grand piano or synthesizer keyboard with sounds other than acoustic piano. An acoustic grand piano and a synthesizer keyboard will be provided for auditions held on campus.
  • Applicant may be asked to demonstrate his/her ability to perform major and minor chords and scales in various keys and show technical facility through typical routines and exercises.

Voice

  • Two songs of contrasting styles should be prepared and memorized. It is recommended that applicants select one jazz standard (from any Real Book or collection of jazz standards) and one classical art song, preferably a selection from the G. Schirmer edition of Twenty-Four Italian Songs and Arias of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (book with CD accompaniment).
  • An accompanist will be provided for voice auditions held on campus. Please bring original piano scores for your two musical selections in the key in which you will sing.
  • Applicant may be asked to demonstrate his/her ability to harmonize, embellish, improvise, and show his/her range and technical facility through typical practice routines and exercises.
  • If you have not studied privately, please bring a letter of recommendation from your high school music teacher or someone who has observed your musical progress and potential in a sealed envelope to your audition date.