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Undergraduate Application and Audition Requirements

(Please note that this page is for information about the Undergraduate application and audition process ONLY. For information about the Master of Music (M.M.) and Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) programs, please visit those respective programs' application pages.)

The School of Music offers a comprehensive undergraduate program which strives for the highest quality in music performance and academic study. All entering freshmen, transfer students and previously enrolled students seeking re-admission must complete the following steps, IN THIS ORDER, to be considered for undergraduate admission to JMU and the School of Music:

1. Click here to submit a University Admissions Application to the JMU Office of Admissions.
2. Click on one of the audition dates below to apply to the School of Music via online application. Auditions may not be scheduled by telephone and you must register for an audition no later than 6 days before the scheduled date.

3. Submit additional materials prior to your audition to the School of Music Admissions Office.

All supplemental materials should be sent via email or regular mail.

Mail: James Madison University
School of Music, MSC 7301
880 S. Main Street
Harrisonburg, VA 22807

4. Audition with the School of Music on your selected date. (You'll find more information about the audition process below.)

Undergraduate Program and Degree Information

Additional Information

Application Deadlines (2015 - 2016)
Additional Audition Information
Recorded Auditions

For more information, please contact:

Dr. J. Michael Priester
Undergraduate Music Admissions

School of Music, MSC 7301
James Madison University
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
Phone: 540.568.3851

Application Deadlines (2015 - 2016)

Entering Freshmen

  • Early Notification Program: October 31, 2015
  • Regular Decision: January 14, 2016

Transfer Students

  • Spring 2016 Admission: October 14, 2015
  • Summer 2016 Admission: January 14, 2016
  • Fall 2016 Admission: February 29, 2016

International Students

  • Spring 2016 Term (January - May): September 31, 2015
  • Summer 2016 Term (June - July): December 31, 2015
  • Fall 2016 Term (August - December): March 31, 2016

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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. Singers may bring their own accompanists, which is most desirable, or they may opt to request an accompanist. If a JMU accompanist is requested, rehearsal time 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 clarinetists MUST play his/her audition on B-flat soprano clarinet. Please DO NOT audition on e-flat, bass clarinet or contra-bass clarinet or prepare any repertoire for these instruments. The B-flat soprano clarinet will be the primary instrument of study in the clarinet curriculum. Audition repertoire for B-flat soprano clarinet will consist of the following: All major scales in two octaves, three octaves where appropriate (ex: F, G, E and F-sharp Major), ascending/descending chromatic scale beginning on low E through altissimo G, two contrasting pieces one demonstrating slow, lyrical playing and one demonstrating technical agility. Appropriate etudes would be selections from the Rose 32 or 40 etudes; Appropriate solo repertoire: C. M. Weber: Concertino for clarinet op. 26, Concerto no. 1 in f-minor, Mozart: Clarinet Concerto K. 622, Finzi: Five Bagtelles or similarly standard concerti, sonatas, or solo works for clarinet.

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.

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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 RECEIVED 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. The recording submission can be made by physical media (DVD, flash card, etc.) mailed to the address below, or by emailing a link to a securely-uploaded video to

Dr. J. Michael Priester
Undergraduate Music Admissions

School of Music, MSC 7301
James Madison University
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
Phone: 540.568.3851

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The School of Music is pleased to be able to announce a number of new large awards, including several that cover full tuition for the first year and approximately half tuition for years two, three and four. Scholarships – including the new “Excellence in the Arts” awards ($20,000, paid out at $5,000 a year) – are assigned based on an evaluation at your live audition. Other new awards include a major book allowance ($4,800 spread out over eight semesters) and a two year free housing prize. Additional awards include admission to the Wayland Arts Learning Community.

Most awards are renewable for multiple years. Awards are determined by studio faculty members and coordinated with the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships; no separate application is needed. Please note that if you are a transfer student on scholarship at another school, you will only be considered for an award at James Madison University if the music executive of your current school sends a written release to the director of the School of Music.

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