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Auditionees should be prepared to perform the following in a live audition:

  • 2 or 3 contrasting works totaling 10-15 minutes. Auditionees are encouraged to contact Professor of Cello Carl Donakowski ( to discuss their audition repertoire selections in advance.
  • Accompaniment is not required or encouraged.

Some examples of repertoire from past successful auditions:

  • Prelude or Gigue from a Suite for Unaccompanied Cello by J.S. Bach
  • The first or last movement of a concerto such as those by Haydn, Elgar, Saint-Saens, Dvorak, Schumann, or Shostakovich
  • A movement from a Baroque or Classical Sonata such as those by Vivaldi, Marcello, or Boccherini
  • A short piece such as Bruch Kol Nidrei, Summer Julie-O, Haydn Divertimento
  • An Etude such a Popper High School of Cello Playing Op. 73 or Studies Preparatory to the High School of Cello Playing, Op. 76, Duport 21 Etudes, Lee 40 Melodic and Progressive Etudes

For more information, contact Dr. Carl Donakowski at 


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Double Bass

Auditionees should be prepared to perform the following: 

Share a snapshot of your musical progress, creative identity, and professional preparation through two or three contrasting selections (totaling 10 minutes or less) performed on double bass and chosen in consultation with Dr. Suggs.

Although not a determinant factor for acceptance into the double bass studio, the electronic submission of supplemental musical work beyond double bass performance is welcomed if it aligns with creative or career motivations (i.e. secondary instruments such as bass guitar, piano, and voice; or compositions, arrangements, or electronic productions; or academic writing).

Auditions for the double bass studio are not weighed against other applicants or arbitrary standards, but considered on their own merits with the goal of identifying students with the passion and perseverance necessary for a life in music. In other words, worry about preparation and authenticity, not perfection.

Please set up a free consultation in advance of the audition. Free consultations as well as audition clinics for prospective double bass students will be available remotely - send an inquiry to Dr. Suggs ( Suggestions for families and prospective double bassists visiting campus can be found here.

Successful applicants in the past have performed:

  • a movement of an unaccompanied work contrasted by a movement of a concerto


  • a scale exercise or etude demonstrating left hand facility contrasted by a lyrical selection demonstrating tone


  • an original composition contrasted by a few short professional orchestral audition excerpts


  • a transcription of an improvised solo by an acclaimed jazz artist with a selection of chamber music (2 or more musicians including duo with piano)

Specific examples from previous successful applicants included:

  • Movement(s) of Baroque sonatas or suites written or adapted for the double bass by Eccles (G minor), Vivaldi (A minor), Marcello (E minor), J.S. Bach (recommendations: Suite no. 1 in G major: Allemande, Courante, Menuets, Gigue; Suite no. 3 (transposed into G major, Sterling Edition): Allemande, Courante, Bourrées, Gigue). Free public domain sheet music available at IMSLP.
  • Selections from the Charlie Parker Omnibook; or transcriptions of solos by Ray Brown, Paul Chambers, or other jazz bassists or instrumentalists; multiple choruses of a 12-bar blue demonstrating solid intonation, walking feel, solo improvisation, and playing the head
  • First movement (exposition and cadenza) of a concerto by Dragonetti (Nanny), Dittersdorf, Vanhal, Bottesini, or Koussevitsky and orchestral excerpts from recent professional orchestra auditions such as: Movement III from Beethoven’s Symphony no. 5; Act IV double bass solo from Verdi’s Otello; Movement III from Mahler’s Symphony no. 1; Movement 1 from Mozart’s Symphony no. 35; Richard Strauss’ Don Juan. Free excerpts available here.

For more information, contact Dr. Sam Suggs: 


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Prospective students auditioning for the JMU School of Music Guitar studio, with either a focus on Jazz or Classical guitar must prepare and perform TWO pieces of contrasting style or period from memory, be prepared to sightread a short excerpt, play 2-3 octave major scales in at least 2 positions, show knowledge of simple triad or seventh chords and arpeggios, and/or play an original piece of music of their own selection. It is highly encouraged, but not required, that Jazz students play one piece on classical guitar from the classical repertoire as they will be taking classical lessons and performing on classical guitar in Guitar Ensemble during their first semesters at JMU. 

Students with a focus on classical guitar should consider pieces from any of Frederick Noad's method books or repertoire series, as well as expect sight reading selections to come from Book 1 of Julio Sagreras' Guitar Method or William Leavitt's Melodic Rhythms for Guitar. Be prepared to answer questions regarding the harmonic and formal structure of their pieces. Recommended scale and arpeggio studies can be found in Bridges' Guitar Technique and Andres Segovia's Major and Minor Scales

Jazz prospectives can choose any contrasting standards from The Real Book series, such as: Song for My Father, Tenor Madness, Blue Bossa, Ornithology, etc. Be prepared to play the melody, improvise 2 choruses of a solo and "comp" an accompaniment. Sight reading will come from William Leavitt's Melodic Rhythms for Guitar or something comparable. If the student would like to audition with a play-along-track, please consider using the website, NOT the "iReal pro" app.  

All prospective seniors must have a minimum of 1-2 years of private lesson instruction prior to their auditions. Auditionals can be done virutally (via the JMU Slideroom site), but coming to audition in person is highly recommended. 

The main thing to focus on for your audition is playing the music that you feel strongly about to the best of your ability. If there is something you really care to share during your audition in addition to these requirements, PLEASE do so! I'm very much looking forward to hearing you play the music that moves you. 

For more information, contact Adam Larrabee: 


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Please prepare the following:

  • Two solos of contrasting historical periods and styles
  • One cadenze

Sample Solos:

  • Corelli - Giga, trans. Salzedo
  • Handel - Harmonious Blacksmith, trans. Salzedo
  • Salzedo - Chanson dans la nuit
  • Salzedo - Gavotte and Tango from Suite of Eight Dances
  • Pierne - Impromptu-Caprice

Sample Cadenzas:

  • Tchaikovsky - Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker
  • Rimsky-Korsakov - Capricio Espagnol


For more information, contact Dr. Anastasia Pike:


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Auditionees should be prepared to perform two contrasting selections:

  • Required piece: Any Prelude or Gigue movement from the Six Suites by J. S. Bach for viola solo
  • Second piece: A selection for the viola of your choice, preferably from a different composer and in contrasting style to the required piece, or an original composition or arrangement. 

Examples of successful audition pieces:

  • a movement of a Baroque sonata such as those by Eccles, Marcello, or Veracini
  • a movement from a Concerto by Hoffmeister, Stamitz, or Telemann
  • a Modern or Contemporary concerto movement, sonata movement, or solo piece
  • an etude by Mazas

It is important that the applicant select repertoire that clearly represents his/her ability level. Students are encouraged to consult the viola professor, Dr. Diane Phoenix-Neal, regarding their second audition choice and alternatives for accessing sheet music if needed.

For more information, contact Dr. Diane Phoenix-Neal: 


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Please prepare:

Two or three contrasting works or movements, 10-20 minutes in length. Here are some repertoire examples of previous successful auditions:

  • Etudes from Wohlfahrt, Kaiser, Mazas, Kreutzer, and Rode
  • Vivaldi Violin Concerto in A minor
  • Accolay Violin Concerto in A minor
  • Bach Violin Concerto in A minor
  • Movements from Solo Partitas and Sonatas from J.S. Bach
  • Movements from any Romantic period Violin Concertos
  • Haydn Violin Concerto in G Major
  • Beethoven Romance in G or F Major
  • Short Pieces by Fritz Kreisler, Monte, Hubay, etc. 

Accompaniment is not required. If submitting a video recording, one take that includes all selections is preferred. You may also be asked to sight read a short excerpt in your audition.


For more information, contact Dr. Wanchi Huang: 


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