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Additional Audition Information

For Vocalists

All voice students are required to present two selections of contrasting style with a comfortable level of difficulty. These selections should be of classical nature, either art songs or arias, and one must be in a foreign language. An audition specifically intended to qualify for the music theater program may include one selection from a Broadway musical. Pop and/or folk songs are not acceptable for an audition for any vocal concentration.

Vocalists must sing with a live accompanist at the piano. Taped accompaniments are not acceptable. A JMU accompanist will be present at your audition, but singers may choose to bring their own accompanists. If the JMU accompanist is used, rehearsal time with that accompanist will not be available, and singers must provide copies of the music at the audition. Vocalists may be asked to sight sing as part of the audition.

Click here for more information on the School of Music Voice Program.

For Pianists

All piano students must prepare a minimum of two contrasting selections that will demonstrate their technical and musical ability. Pieces should be at the level of Beethoven, Mozart or Haydn sonatas; Bach preludes and fugues; and similarly representative works from the 19th and 20th century. Memorization is encouraged. Students should be prepared to play various scales and/or arpeggios. All auditioning piano students must provide a thorough repertoire list that will be placed in the candidate's file. Students interested in Jazz Studies must perform piano literature that includes both jazz and classical styles.

Click here for more information on the School of Music Piano Program.

For Composers

In addition to a required applied area audition, students who wish to gain entrance into the composition program must also submit two new musical works and request a composition interview on their admission application.

Click here for more information on the School of Music Theory and Composition Program.

For Guitarists

The purpose of the audition is to evaluate musicianship, disposition and the ability to play classical guitar, weighed against the standards and needs of the School of Music. To make the audition a useful means of evaluation, it is of utmost importance that students choose pieces they can play well and that are well within their musical and technical abilities. Students are required to perform three pieces of classical guitar literature on a nylon-string instrument. Each selection must be chosen from a different style period (Renaissance, Baroque, Romantic or 20th century). Pieces selected must demonstrate the following techniques: slurs, arpeggios and scales.

For Harpists

Harp students should perform two contrasting solos and one standard orchestra excerpt of choice.

Click here for more information on the School of Music Strings Program.

For Clarinetists

All major scales in two octaves, three octaves where appropriate (ex: F, G, E and F# Major), full range chromatic scale  (through altissimo G or G#), two contrasting pieces or etudes, one demonstrating slow, lyrical playing and one demonstrating technical agility.  Piano accompaniment or memorization is not required.

NOTE: All clarinetists MUST play his/her audition on B-flat soprano clarinet. Please DO NOT audition on e-flat, bass or contrabass clarinet or prepare any repertoire for these instruments. The B-flat soprano clarinet will be the primary instrument of study in the clarinet curriculum, while additional opportunities to study and perform on auxiliary instruments will be available.

Click here for more information on the School of Music Woodwinds Program.

For Percussionists

Snare Drum – One concert solo and one rudimental solo

Recommended literature level:
Garwood Whaley – Musical Studies for The Intermediate Snare Drummer
Anthony Cirone – Portraits In Rhythm
Jay Wanamaker – Championship Corps Style Contest Solos
Charlie Wilcoxin – All-American Drummer
John Pratt – 14 Modern Contest Solo

Timpani – One solo

Recommended literature level:
Muczynski –Three Designs for Three Timpani
John Beck – Sonata
Saul Goodman – Modern Method for Timpani, Exercises 35 and beyond
Eckehardt Keune – Schlaginstrumente -Pauken, Exercises 33 and beyond

Mallets – One two-mallet solo and one four-mallet solo. Can be done on Xylophone, Marimba, and/or Vibraphone as appropriate by literature choice.

Recommended literature level:
Garwood Whaley – Musical Studies for The Intermediate Mallet Player (two mallets)
George Hamilton Green – Ragtime Robin (two-mallets)
Alice Gomez – Rain Dance (four-mallets)
James Moyer – Four-Mallet Method for Marimba, solos from Bartok, Kabelevsky Luther, Goedicke, Bach, Beethoven, Diabelli

**Candidates will be asked to perform light sight-reading on snare drum and a mallet instrument of choice (two-mallet).

Please contact Casey Cangelosi ( with any questions. 

Click here to download a PDF of the Percussion Audition Requirements.

Click here for more information on the School of Music Percussion Program.

For Jazz Studies

All students auditioning for any degree program in the JMU School of Music must prepare a classical audition consisting of two contrasting selections that demonstrate technical and musical ability.  Students interested in pursuing the Concentration in Jazz Studies should also perform repertoire (written big band parts or improvisation on a jazz standard) that demonstrates familiarity with the jazz canon.  In order to develop solid fundamentals, all Jazz Studies students must take classical applied lessons in addition to Applied Jazz Study the freshman and sophomore years, with optional classical applied study the junior and senior year.  

Click here for more information on the School of Music Jazz Studies Program.

For Other Instrumentalists

Instrumental students must prepare a minimum of two selections of contrasting styles and character that will demonstrate their technical and musical ability. These selections should be of a classical nature such as the standard solo repertoire listings on the state and national level, grade IV or above. Other comparable works are acceptable, such as movements of a sonata or concerto, or a classical etude. Memorization is not required. Students should be prepared to perform various scales and/or arpeggios. Instrumentalists may bring their own accompanist or perform without accompaniment.

Recorded Auditions

While an on-campus audition is highly encouraged, we understand that circumstances may prevent an applicant from attending an on-campus audition. Please note, though, that ONLY IN-PERSON AUDITIONS WILL RECEIVE SCHOLARSHIP CONSIDERATION. If you are unable to attend an on-campus audition, please register for a Recorded Audition, and submit a high-quality video recording of your performance of the required audition materials.

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