All prospective music students, including those interested in a degree in music media production, must audition and demonstrate proficiency on one or more of the following:

  • keyboard (piano or organ)
  • symphonic instruments (strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion)
  • guitar
  • voice
  • harp

Repertoire suitable for audition is likely to appear in a solo and ensemble repertoire list or manual created by the Indiana State School Music Association (ISSMA) or a similar state-level music organization.

General Audition Guidelines

Please familiarize yourself with the area guidelines for your principal instrument, which are listed below.

  • Although most prospective music majors audition on one instrument (or voice) only, you may audition on two different instruments (such as piano and voice, or violin and clarinet), provided you feel equally strong on both instruments.
  • The length of an audition is generally limited to 10-15 minutes per instrument.
  • Faculty members of the area in which you audition will serve as the jury for your performance. For example, if you perform a trumpet audition, members from the brass faculty will hear you play.
  • As a general rule, the most important thing is for you to play or sing two contrasting selections that you perform well.
  • You should also be ready to demonstrate knowledge of and the ability to perform scales in both major and minor keys.
  • You may also be asked to sight-read a short selection.
  • A memorized performance is required for voice, piano, and harp audition only.
Woodwinds

These guidelines are for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and saxophone undergraduate auditions.

Accompanists

A piano accompanist is not required for any woodwind audition, and the School of Music does not provide accompanists for undergraduate auditions. If you are considering bringing your own accompanist, we ask that you contact the professor who teaches the instrument on which you are auditioning to obtain approval for your request.

  • two pieces from the standard repertoire; prepare multiple movements or contrasting works to demonstrate both technical (fast tempo) and lyrical (slow tempo) passages
  • all major scales (two octaves) and chromatic scale (three octaves from low C to high C), all slurred; scales must be memorized
  • sight-reading (provided at the audition)

We strongly recommend that all flute applicants prepare for the audition under the guidance of a private teacher. Flute applicants audition on flute only (not piccolo), although the study of piccolo is encouraged.

  • an etude from Barret, A Complete Method for the Oboe, or Ferling, 48 Famous Studies
  • a contrasting movement from the standard oboe repertoire
  • chromatic scale (memorized): lowest note on your instrument to high F and back
  • major scales (memorized): all two octaves except G, A flat, and A
  • sight-reading provided at the audition

We strongly recommend that all oboe applicants prepare for the audition under the guidance of a private instructor.

  • two works of contrasting styles and tempos to demonstrate technical and musical ability
  • all major scales and arpeggios (a minimum of two octaves) and the chromatic scale (low E to high G); scales and arpeggios are to be played from memory
  • sight-reading provided at the audition

We strongly recommend that all clarinet applicants prepare for the audition under the guidance of a private instructor. While it is acceptable to audition on bass clarinet, all clarinet majors must take lessons and juries on a B-flat clarinet.

For Bassoon Performance Majors

  • solo from the standard repertoire; in multiple-movement works, a single movement or multiple movements may be presented in order to demonstrate both technical and lyrical passages
  • one etude to be selected from Weissenborn, 50 Advanced Studies, or Milde, 25 Studies in All Keys (or similar)
  • two orchestral excerpts to be selected from the following: Dukas, “Sorcerer's Apprentice,” second solo section in B-flat minor; Mozart, overture to “The Marriage of Figaro,” opening seven measures; Ravel, “Bolero,” solo; Ravel, Piano Concerto in G Major, third movement soli section; Rimsky-Korsakov, Scheherazade, second movement opening solo and cadenza; Stravinsky, “Firebird,” Berceuse solo; Stravinsky, “Rite of Spring,” opening solo; Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 4, second movement solo
  • all major scales and chromatic scale over the practical range of the bassoon
  • sight-reading provided at the audition

For all Other Majors

Music Education, Music Media Production, Music Composition
  • solo from the standard repertoire; in multiple-movement works, a single movement or multiple movements may be presented in order to demonstrate both technical and lyrical passages
  • one etude to be selected from Weissenborn, 50 Advanced Studies, or Milde, 25 Studies in All Keys (or similar)
  • all major scales and chromatic scale over the practical range of the bassoon
  • sight-reading provided at the audition

We strongly recommend that all bassoon applicants prepare for the audition under the guidance of a private instructor. 

Classical Audition

  • Scales: major, minor (Full Range—Low Bb-High F/F#), and chromatic (Low Bb—High F/F#)
  • Selection of concert saxophone repertoire that showcases both lyrical and technical ability

    Suggestions (chosen repertoire must be original saxophone music):

    "Sonatine Sportive"  by Alexandre Tcherepnine
    Sonata by Bernhard Heiden
    Solo by Bernhard Heiden
    "Tableaux de Provence" by Paule Maurice
    Sonata by Paul Creston
    Concerto in Eb by Alexandre Glazunov
    Sonata by Wolfgang Jacobi
    "Fantasie sur un theme original" by Jules Demersseman
    "Pieces Characteristiques" by Pierre-Max Dubois
    "Brillance" by Ida Gotkovsky

Jazz Concentration Audition

  • Scales: major, minor (Full Range—Low Bb-High F/F#), and chromatic (Low Bb—High F/F#)
  • Arpeggios: full range (all 12 keys)
  • Select two tunes of contrasting styles (one must be in a swing style) from the standard repertoire of jazz tunes (notify Dr. Bogert so that backing tracks may be provided)
  • Play the melody of each tune with recorded accompaniment and improvise for at least two choruses.
  • The accompaniment will be in the form of Band-In-A-Box or Aebersold Play-Along - Playback equipment will be provided

    Suggested Tunes:

    All the Things You Are
    Autumn Leaves
    Billie's Bounce
    Blue Bossa
    Body and Soul
    Bye Bye Blackbird
    Cantaloupe Island
    Days of Wine and Roses
    Fly me to the Moon
    Just Friends
    Ladybird
    Recordame
    Song for My Father
    Stella by Starlight
    Straight No Chaser
    Summertime
    Take the A Train
    There Will Never Be Another You
    What Is This Thing Called Love

  • The jazz portion of the audition will be 10 minutes in addition to the classical portion of the audition (also 10 minutes in length)

We strongly recommend that all saxophone applicants prepare for the audition under the guidance of a private instructor. 

These guidelines are for horn, trumpet, tuba/euphonium, trombone, and percussion undergraduate auditions.

Accompanists

A piano accompanist is not required for any brass or percussion audition, and the School of Music does not provide accompanists for undergraduate auditions. If you are considering bringing your own accompanist, we ask that you contact the professor who teaches the instrument on which you are auditioning to obtain approval for your request. 

  • any movement from a Mozart or Strauss horn concerto
  • another contrasting solo or etude
  • one orchestral excerpt
  • all major scales
  • sight-reading

We strongly recommend that all horn applicants prepare for the audition under the guidance of a private instructor.

  • two solos or etudes of contrasting style that demonstrate the applicant's highest proficiency (10-15 minutes)
  • all major scales
  • sight-reading
  • a selected repertoire other than Haydn, Concerto in E-flat and Hummel, Concerto in E-flat; orchestral excerpts may not be substituted for solo selections

We strongly recommend that all trumpet applicants prepare for the audition under the guidance of a private instructor.

  • two solos or etudes of contrasting style that demonstrate the applicant's highest proficiency (10-15 minutes)
  • two octave major, minor, and chromatic scales from memory (tongued or slurred)
  • possible sight-reading (provided at the audition)
  • optional: orchestral or band excerpts from standard repertoire

We strongly recommend that all tuba/euphonium applicants prepare for the audition under the guidance of a private instructor. 

  • two solos or etudes of contrasting style that demonstrate the applicant's highest proficiency (10-15 minutes)
  • all major scales
  • sight-reading

We strongly recommend that all trombone applicants prepare for the audition under the guidance of a private instructor.

The following three things are required of all percussion applicants. Applicants need to show sufficient proficiency in each of these areas to be accepted to the School of Music.

Mallets

Marimba, Xylophone, or Vibraphone
  • all major and minor scales 2 1/3 octaves, like in Vic Firth, Mallet Technique
  • a two- or four-mallet solo by Stout, Abe, J.S. Bach, Creston, Musser, Rosauro, or equivalent—a four-mallet solo is preferred
  • sight reading

Snare Drum

  • all snare drum rudiments (PDF)
  • ability to play buzz rolls at all dynamic levels
  • one solo or etude from Delecluse, Albright, Cirone, Peters, Goldenberg, or equivalent
  • sight reading

Timpani

  • match pitch and sing all intervals from an A
  • a short solo or etude: 3-4 timpani (Carter, Goodman, Vic Firth, Peters, Delecluse, or equivalent preferred)
  • sight reading

We strongly recommend that all percussion applicants prepare for the audition under the guidance of a private instructor.

The following guidelines are for violin, viola, cello, and double bass undergraduate auditions. 

Accompanists

A piano accompanist is not required for any string audition, and the School of Music does not provide accompanists for undergraduate auditions. If you are considering bringing your own accompanist, we ask that you contact the professor who teaches the instrument on which you are auditioning to obtain approval for your request.

For Violin Performance Majors

  • two contrasting movements of a unaccompanied partita or sonata of J.S. Bach
  • etude or study (i.e. Kreutzer, Dont, Rode, or Gavinies, or a caprice by Wieniawski or Paganini)
  • one movement of a concerto from the standard repertory with cadenza, if applicable (i.e. Mozart, Kabalevsky, Bruch, Lalo, Saint-Saëns, Mendelssohn, Dvorak)
  • three-octave scale in various bowings and arpeggios; one major and one minor of choice

For Music Education, Music Media Production, and Music Composition Majors

  • etude or study best displaying applicant’s technical abilities
  • one movement from a work of choice (i.e. movement from the standard concerto or showpiece)
  • three-octave scale and arpeggio of choice

For Music Minors

  • two contrasting works of a choice

We strongly recommend that all violin applicants prepare for the audition under the guidance of a private instructor.

For Viola Performance Majors

  • two contrasting movements of unaccompanied Bach
  • one study/etude (any composer such as Kreutzer, Palashko, Wohlfahrt, etc.)
  • one movement of a standard viola work such as a concerto or sonata
  • two three-octave scales and arpeggios, one major, one minor

For Music Education, Music Media Production, and Music Composition Majors

  • two three-octave scales and arpeggios, one major, one minor
  • one study/etude (any composer such as Kreutzer, Palashko, Wohlfahrt, etc.)
  • one movement from a work of choice that best represents technical and musical abilities (i.e. movement from a standard concerto or sonata, unaccompanied Bach, etc.)

For Music Minors

  • two contrasting works of choice

We strongly recommended that all viola applicants prepare for the audition under the guidance of a private instructor.

For Cello Performance Majors

  • two contrasting movements of unaccompanied Bach
  • one study/etude (any composer such as Duport, Popper, Piatti, Grützmacher, etc.)
  • one movement of a standard cello work such as a concerto or sonata
  • three or four-octave scale and arpeggio of choice

For Music Education, Music Media Production, and Music Composition Majors

  • three or four-octave scale and arpeggio of choice
  • one study/etude (any composer such as Duport, Popper, Piatti, Grützmacher, etc.)
  • one movement from a work of choice that best represents technical and musical abilities (i.e. movement from a standard concerto or sonata, unaccompanied Bach, etc.) 

For Music Minors

  • two contrasting works of choice

We strongly recommend that all cello applicants prepare for the audition under the guidance of a private instructor.

For Double Bass Performance Majors

  • two contrasting works from the standard solo literature or two contrasting movements of a baroque sonata • one study/etude (any composer such as Simandl, Storch-Hrabe, Kayser, Kreutzer, Findeisen, etc.)
  • one major or minor scale and arpeggio in three octaves
  • one orchestral excerpt of the applicant’s choice

For Music Education, Music Media Production, and Music Composition Majors

  • one work from the standard solo literature
  • one study/etude (any composer such as Simandl, Storch-Hrabe, Kayser, Kreutzer, Findeisen, etc.)
  • one major or minor scale and arpeggio in three octaves
  • one orchestral excerpt of the applicant’s choice

For Music Minors

  • two contrasting works of the applicant’s choice
  • one scale and arpeggio in two octaves 

We strongly recommend that all double bass applicants prepare for the audition under the guidance of a private instructor. 

These guidelines are for piano and organ undergraduate auditions.

For Piano Performance Majors

  • a solo program (memorized) with at least three contrasting styles represented; styles can include baroque, classical, romantic, impressionism, 20th or 21st century art music; jazz literature is not acceptable for a piano audition
  • sight-reading

For Music Education, Music Composition, and Music Media Production Majors

  • a solo program (memorized) with at least two contrasting styles represented; styles can include baroque, classical, romantic, impressionism, 20th or 21st century art music; jazz literature is not acceptable for a piano audition
  • sight-reading

For Piano Minor Study

  • a solo program (memorized) with at least two contrasting styles represented; styles can include baroque, classical, romantic, impressionism, 20th or 21st century art music; jazz literature is not acceptable for a piano audition
  • sight-reading

We strongly recommend that all piano applicants prepare for the audition under the guidance of a private instructor. 

  • prospective organ students should be prepared to play an organ piece from the baroque period (such as a prelude and fugue by J.S. Bach) and a second contrasting piece from the 19th or 20th centuries
  • sight-reading and playing a hymn

Students without Pipe Organ Training

Students without prior pipe organ training may study organ at the college level if piano skills are sufficiently strong. In this case, the student auditions on the piano playing music at the level of the Bach two-part inventions or selected movements of sonatas by Haydn or Mozart.

We strongly recommend that all organ applicants prepare for the audition under the guidance of a private instructor. 

These guidelines are for harp and guitar undergraduate auditions.

Accompanists

A piano accompanist is not required for any harp or guitar audition, and the School of Music does not provide accompanists for undergraduate auditions. If you are considering bringing your own accompanist, we ask that you contact the professor who teaches the instrument on which you are auditioning to obtain approval for your request.

  • a work by Bach, Handel, Haydn, Dussek, or other 18th- or 19th-century composer
  • a work by a 19th- or 20th-century composer such as Salzedo, Grandjany, Hindemith, Debussy, Ravel, or Britten
  • a standard orchestra cadenza such as “Waltz of the Flowers,” “Swan Lake,” or “The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra”
  • sight-reading
  • solos must be performed by memory

We strongly recommend that all harp applicants prepare for the audition under the guidance of a private instructor. 

  • a chord study such as those found in “Aaron Shearer Volume II Classic Guitar Technique”; similar chord studies can be found in “The Carcassi Guitar Method”
  • first-position major scales both rest and free stroke, such as those found in “Aaron Shearer Scale Pattern Studies for Guitar”
  • a solo work such as Bach, Carcassi Op. 60, Sor Studies, etc.
  • a sight-reading test will also be given. Your score on this test will override all other above scores if it is “below average” on a scale of excellent, very good, good, average, or below average. The test consists of two voice reading in first position.

We strongly recommend that all classical guitar applicants prepare for the audition under the guidance of a private instructor. 

These guidelines are for voice undergraduate auditions.

Accompanists 

Voice auditions must be presented with piano accompaniment. You may bring your own accompanist for your audition, or you may perform with a Ball State pianist. Ball State piano staff and top graduate piano students may be available as accompanists for a $35 fee, payable directly to the accompanist at the time of your audition. If you wish to engage a Ball State accompanist, your original piano accompaniment scores must be sent to the School of Music at least three weeks before the audition date.

For Traditional Freshmen

(Freshmen seeking a degree in music performance, music education, music composition, or music media production majors, or a music minors with no other college-level study)
  • two contrasting songs or arias (one in English, one in a foreign language, preferred)

For Transferring Freshmen Students

(Freshmen who’ve had at least one semester of voice at a different college or university)
  • three contrasting songs or arias (at least one in English, at least one in a foreign language)

For Transferring Upperclassmen

Sophomores, juniors, and seniors
  • six songs or arias (including English and two foreign languages)

General Guidelines

  • Audition repertoire should, at a minimum, be selected from the state solo/ensemble contest list.
  • Audition repertoire should be pieces that best represent the singer's current level of vocal development.
  • Languages to select (unless indicated specifically) are English, Italian, German, French, or Latin.
  • All audition repertoire is to be sung from memory with piano accompaniment.
  • Taped accompaniments are not permitted.
  • A brief sight-singing proficiency exam will be administered to incoming freshmen.

We strongly recommend that all voice applicants prepare for the audition under the guidance of a private instructor. 

Need Help?

If you have specific questions on how to prepare for your audition, please do not hesitate to reach out for help.

We encourage you to contact a specific instrument or voice professor by consulting our faculty.

You may also contact the Office of Undergraduate Programs in Music by email or by calling 765-285-5503.