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Undergraduate Audition/Portfolio Requirements

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Click on your specific area of study below for audition/portfolio requirements.  *please note that applicants to School of Music programs do not need to complete a SlideRoom Art Supplement.

Performance

Bagpipes  

Bassoon

Cello

Clarinet

Double Bass  

Euphonium     

Flute

Guitar

Harp

Horn

Oboe

Percussion

Piano

Saxophone 

Trombone   

Trumpet

Tuba

Viola

Violin

Voice

 

Composition

Musicology

Technology

BXA Intercollege Degree Program


Performance

All performance candidates are required to complete an audition and should carefully review the audition requirements for their studio instrument. A live audition is preferred. These auditions are scheduled on campus or at a regional site (not available for all studios). 

Recorded auditions may also be accepted but must be received by January 10. Applicants for composition, flute, piano, violin and voice must also complete a pre-screening requirement. Pre-screening applicants will be notified in early January if they are granted a live audition or interview. Auditions will be confirmed at least two weeks prior to your audition date. School of Music audition materials should not be sent to the Office of Undergraduate Admission.

Note: All solo instrumental auditions are unaccompanied during the live auditions.


Audition Requirements

Bagpipes:

All applicants to the bagpipe studio are expected to prepare and perform one march, strathspey and reel set and one complete piobaireachd of the applicant’s choice in order to demonstrate their musical and technical level of achievement.

For an overview of performance audition information, click here.


Bassoon:

All applicants to the bassoon studio are expected to prepare the following audition requirements:

  • Etude(s): showing both technique and musicality
  • Two movements in contrasting styles: slow and fast from a standard Sonata and/or Concerto

Orchestral excerpts may be played as part of the audition, but are not required.

For an overview of performance audition information, click here.


Cello:

All applicants to the cello studio are expected to prepare the following audition requirements:

  • Scales: any major or minor scale in three octaves as requested.
  • One etude by Duport, Popper, or Piatti
  • A movement of a standard concerto
  • A prelude from one of the Bach Unaccompanied Suites

For an overview of performance audition information, click here.


Clarinet:

All applicants to the clarinet studio are expected to prepare the following audition requirements:

  • Scales: any major or minor scales as requested.
  • A technical etude
  • A solo composition of the applicant’s choice that will demonstrate their musical and technical level of achievement
  • Two or three orchestral excerpts of the player’s choice

For an overview of performance audition information, click here.


Double Bass:

All applicants to the double bass studio are expected to prepare the following audition requirements:

  • Contrasting movements from any Baroque sonata or suite
  • The first movement of a Classical, Romantic or 20th century Concerto performed from memory
  • Two octave major and minor scales and arpeggios from memory
  • Two orchestral excerpts of your choice

For an overview of performance audition information, click here.


Euphonium:

All applicants to the euphonium studio are expected to prepare the following audition requirements:

  • Scales: any major or minor scales as requested
  • A technical etude
  • A solo composition of the applicant’s choice that will demonstrate their musical and technical level of achievement
  • Two or three band or orchestral excerpts of the player’s choice

For an overview of performance audition information, click here.


Flute:

Flute applicants are required to submit a pre-screening video recorded audition. 

Note:
Auditions are only held on campus.

Pre-screening requirements:

This video recording must be entirely without piano accompaniment.

Required Repertoire:

  • Mozart: Concerto in G or D major- 1st and 2nd movements (exposition only)
  • Orchestral Excerpts:
    • Beethoven Lenore Overture No. 3, measures 328-360
    • Brahms Symphony No. 4, movement IV, measures 93-105
    • Mendelssohn A Midsummer Night's Dream, Scherzo, 2 measures before P to the end
    • Debussy Prelude a l’apres-midi d’un faune, rehearsal No. 2-3

All of the above excerpts can be found in Orchestral Excerpts for Flute (Baxtresser/Rearick) published by Theodore Presser.

Please see Pre-screening Instructions for details on how to submit your pre-screening. Media must be uploaded to the School of Music online application by December 1. Do not mail recorded audition media to the Office of Undergraduate Admission.

Live audition requirements: 

Candidates who proceed to the live audition phase will be expected to prepare the following audition requirements:

  • Mozart Concerto-complete
  • Standard Work of the Twentieth Century
  • Four orchestral excerpts of contrasting styles
  • Major and minor scales

For an overview of performance audition information, click here.


Guitar:

Entering freshmen guitarists should be familiar with basic right-hand technique and should be able to read music on the guitar up to the seventh position.

All applicants to the guitar studio are expected to prepare the following audition requirements:

  • Scales: any major or minor scale as requested
  • Chords: any major, minor or dominant seventh chord as requested
  • Prepare one work from each of the following periods:
    • Renaissance or Baroque (e.g. Dowland, Milan, Bach)
    • Classical or Romantic (e.g. Sor, Giuliani, Tarrega)
    • 20th century (e.g. Villa-Lobos, Brouwer, Dyens)

For an overview of performance audition information, click here.


Harp:

All applicants to the harp studio are expected to prepare the following audition requirements:

  • Etude No. 1, from “Cinquante Etudes,” Op. 34, Book 1, by Bochsa
  • Two contrasting works: one Classical and one by a 20th-Century composer, such as an etude from “Bach-Grandjany Etudes for Harp” and “Natra Sonatine”
  • Two orchestral excerpts, including the harp cadenza from “Waltz of the Flowers” by Tchaikovsky

For an overview of performance audition information, click here.


Horn:

All applicants to the horn studio are expected to prepare the following audition requirements:

  • Mozart Concerto No. 2 - 1st movement, exposition and development or Strauss Concerto No. 1 - 1st & 2nd movements
  • Perform 5 orchestral excerpts, 2 of your choice and 3 from the following:
    • Brahms Symphony No. 1: 1st horn part, 4th movement, intro calls
    • Mahler Symphony No. 1: 4th horn part, low tutti, 3rd movement
    • Strauss Till Eulenspiegel: 1st horn part, both intro calls
    • Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5: 1st horn part, 2nd movement solo
    • Wagner: Short Call
  • All major and minor scales
  • Sight reading

For an overview of performance audition information, click here.


Oboe: 

All applicants to the oboe studio are expected to prepare the following audition requirements:

  • All major and minor (harmonic or melodic) scales
  • 2 contrasting etudes of your choice
  • 1 (or more) sonata and/or concerto movement(s) of your choice
  • OPTIONAL: 2 contrasting orchestral exerpts

For an overview of performance audition information, click here.


Percussion:

All applicants to the percussion studio are expected to prepare the following audition requirements:

  • Snare Drum: Rudimental snare drum solo/etude of applicant’s choice (Pratt, Wilcoxin, etc.) and concert snare drum solo/etude of applicant’s choice (Delecluse, Peters, Aleo, etc.)
  • Timpani: Solo/etude of applicant’s choice (Firth, Carroll, Goodman, etc.)
  • Mallets: Two mallet solo/etude of applicant’s choice,  four mallet solo/etude of applicant’s choice and Major and minor scales and arpeggios
  • Drumset: If desired, but not required

Notes for all percussion applicants:

  • All applicants must supply their own sticks and mallets
  • The following will be provided on campus: timpani, mallet instruments, adjustable thrones, snare drums, snare drum stands, cymbals
  • Applicants may bring their own snare drums, stands, cymbals, and thrones if they wish
  • If available audition dates are not compatible with an applicant’s schedule, they may contact Mr. Branson to schedule another date.
  • A live audition is preferred, but in special circumstances (i.e. travel, time) a video-recorded audition will be accepted. Details must be worked out in advance with Mr. Branson PRIOR TO uploading the recording to the Audition Dropbox.

Note: Interviews are only held on campus and not at regional sites. 

For an overview of performance audition information, click here.


Piano:

Piano applicants are required to submit a pre-screening video recorded audition. 

Pre-screening requirements:

The length of the recording must be between 15 and  20 minutes

Required Repertoire:

  • A Baroque or Classical work (From 17th century to Beethoven)
  • A Romantic, a 20th Century or a Contemporary work demonstrating the applicant’s pianistic and artistic ability

Please see Pre-screening Instructions for details on how to submit your pre-screening. Media must be uploaded to the School of Music online application by December 1. Do not mail recorded audition media to the Office of Undergraduate Admission.

Live audition requirements:

Candidates who proceed to the live audition phase will be expected to prepare the following audition requirements. Complete repertoire should be a minimum of 15 minutes.

  • A polyphonic work (late-Renaissance to contemporary)
  • One or more movements of a Classical Sonata (Haydn, Mozart, Clementi, Beethoven or Schubert)
  • A substantial Romantic, 20th-century or contemporary composition demonstrating the applicant’s pianistic and artistic ability

Candidates have the option of performing the same pieces for both the pre-screening and live auditions, though this is not a requirement. The pieces that the candidate lists on the School of Music online application are the pieces that should be performed at the live audition.

For an overview of performance audition information, click here.


Saxophone: 

All applicants to the saxophone studio are expected to prepare the following audition requirements:  

  • Scales: any major or minor scales as requested
  • A technical etude
  • A solo composition of the applicant’s choice that will demonstrate their musical and technical level of achievement
  • A jazz selection of the applicant’s choice that will demonstrate style and articulation (Improvisation suggested, but not required.)

For an overview of performance audition information, click here.


Trombone:

All applicants to the trombone studio are expected to prepare the following audition requirements:

  • Scales: any major or minor scales as requested
  • A technical etude
  • A solo composition of the applicant’s choice that will demonstrate their musical and technical level of achievement
  • Two or three orchestral excerpts of the player’s choice

For an overview of performance audition information, click here.


Trumpet: 

All applicants to the trumpet studio are expected to prepare the following audition requirements.

  • Two contrasting etudes (one lyric, one technical) from etude books such as: 
    •  Charlier, Etudes Transcendantes
    •  Arban, Characteristic Studies
    •  H. L. Clarke, Characteristic Studies
  • A solo of your choice such as:
    •  Kennan, Sonata for Trumpet and Piano
    •  Hindemith, Sonata for Trumpet and Piano
    •  Haydn, Concerto in E flat for Trumpet
  • Two or three orchestral excerpts of your choice such as: 
    •  Beethoven, Leonore 2 or 3
    •  Mussorgsky/Ravel, Pictures at an Exhibition –Promenade
    •  Respighi, Pines of Rome – offstage solo

For an overview of performance audition information, click here.


Tuba: 

All applicants to the tuba studio are expected to prepare the following audition requirements:

  • Scales: any major or minor scales as requested

Selections of contrasting styles, including: 

  •  A technical etude
  •  A solo composition of the applicant’s choice that will demonstrate their musical and technical level of achievement
  •  Two or three orchestral excerpts of the player’s choice

For an overview of performance audition information, click here.


Viola: 

All applicants to the viola studio are expected to prepare the following audition requirements:

  • Major and minor scales and arpeggios in three octaves with various bowings
  • The Prelude and any dance movement from a Bach Cello Suite, or two contrasting movements from a Bach solo violin sonata or partita
  • One movement from a major concerto
  • One movement from a sonata

One or more of the chosen selections should be performed from memory.

If applicants are not able to participate in the live auditions, a high quality video-recording is the only acceptable medium for those auditioning by recording for the viola studio.

For an overview of performance audition information, click here.

 


Violin: 

Violin applicants are required to submit a pre-screening video-recorded audition. 

Pre-screening requirements: 

(video only)

  • One etude from Kreutzer, Fiorillo, Rode, Dont or Gavinies, or a caprice by Wieniawski or Paganini (played by memory)
  • An allegro movement of a non-Baroque concerto (played by memory)
  • One movement of a Bach solo sonata or partita (played by memory)

Please see Pre-screening Instructions for details on how to submit your pre-screening. Media must be uploaded to the School of Music online application by December 1. Do not mail recorded audition media to the Office of Undergraduate Admission.

Live audition requirements:

Candidates who proceed to the live audition phase are expected to prepare the following audition repertoire:

  • One etude from Kreutzer, Fiorillo, Rode, Dont or Gavinies, or a caprice by Wieniawski or Paganini (played by memory)
  • An allegro movement of a non-Baroque concerto (played by memory)
  • One movement of a Bach solo sonata or partita (played by memory)

If applicants are not able to participate in the live auditions, when invited, a high quality video-recording is the only acceptable medium for those auditioning by recording for the violin studio.

For an overview of performance audition information, click here.


Voice: 

Undergraduate voice applicants must exhibit healthy vocal endowment, musicianship, and potential for success in the music field upon graduation.  During pre-screening and live auditions, applicants must be able to offer evidence of being equipped to perform successful recitals and operatic roles during their period of study in Carnegie Mellon's BFA in Vocal Performance degree program.

Please note that the Musical Theatre program is a part of the School of Drama and not the School of Music.  Application to one program does not provide consideration for the other.

Voice applicants are required to submit a prescreening video-recorded audition.

Pre-screening requirements:

  1. One song or aria in English
  2. One song or aria in Italian
  3. One song or aria in a language of your choice
  • All selections must be performed from memory and may be from the art song repertoire or a combination of art songs and an aria from an opera, operetta, or oratorio. (Arias are NOT required.  No more than ONE selection may be an aria.)
  • Music should be selected from a variety of stylistic periods. 
  • Musical Theater, Jazz, "CCM" (Contemporary Commercial Music), and original compositions will not be accepted.
  • Piano accompaniment is required.

Please see Pre-screening Instructions for details on how to submit your pre-screening videos. Videos must be uploaded to the School of Music online application by December 1. Do not mail recorded audition videos to the Office of Undergraduate Admission.

Live audition requirements:

Candidates who proceed to the live audition phase are expected to prepare the following audition repertoire:

  1. One song or aria in English
  2. One song or aria in Italian
  3. One song or aria in a language of your choice

Applicants needn’t perform the same repertoire for both rounds of auditions, provided all repertoire performed meets the requirements listed above.

A collaborative pianist is provided only for on-campus voice auditions. If your audition selections are outside the standard repertoire, please email a PDF of your music to music-admissions@andrew.cmu.edu clearly indicating your name and birth date. 

At the live audition, all applicants are expected to present their Carnegie Mellon School of Music appointed collaborative pianist with clean, double-sided copies of their repertoire in a 3-ring binder.  Please do not present music in plastic sheet protectors.

For an overview of performance audition information, click here.


Composition

All Composition applicants are required to submit a portfolio for pre-screening review. Interview confirmations will be sent no less than two weeks before the scheduled date. Candidates who are unable to travel to campus in order to interview in person with the composition faculty panel will have the option to “audition by recording” when registering for an appointment.

Pre-screening portfolio requirements:

  • Three manuscripts of original compositions showing the artists range in genre, training and ability.
  • An audio recording of a live performance of each of the submitted compositions. If a live performance is not possible, an electronically generated audio recording will be acceptable.
  • Although arrangements of works by other composers are welcome, they will be considered supplementary to the basic requirement for three original works.

Please see Pre-screening Instructions for details on how to submit your pre-screening. Media must be uploaded to the School of Music online application by December 1. Do not mail recorded audition media to the Office of Undergraduate Admission.

Interview portfolio reviews:

At the in-person portfolio review, applicants will meet with the composition faculty panel to discuss personal compositional processes, background and future goals. To a great extent, the composition portfolio review resembles an interview. Applicants should bring a copy of their portfolio with them to the interview. It will not be necessary for applicants to perform excerpts of their works, either vocally or instrumentally, during the review. Composition candidates are NOT required to complete a separate instrumental or vocal audition. Candidates may be required to participate in various placement tests or proficiencies on the day of the portfolio review.

Note: Interviews are only held on campus and not at regional sites.

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Musicology

(available as a concentration only in the BHA or BSA programs)

A live interview is not required but you may be contacted by faculty with additional questions.

Submit a resumé and writing sample with the School of Music online application before December 1. The writing sample should be at least five pages, preferably a research paper with bibliography.  The topic need not be related to music. Please see submit your pre-screening material for details on how to submit the required material. Do not mail supplemental application materials to the Office of Undergraduate Admission.

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Technology 

Students interested in the technology track for the BHA, BSA or BCSA should follow the technology specialization instructions below. 

The Bachelor of Science in Music and Technology (M&T) is a tri-college degree designed for students who would like to combine and blend their interests in music with electrical and computer engineering or with computer science rather than to pursue conventional majors and degrees in both. To be considered for the Music & Technology program, you must apply and be admitted to both the School of Music and either the Carnegie Institute of Technology (CIT) for Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) or the School of Computer Science (SCS). When applying, be certain to check both the School of Music and either CIT/ECE or SCS on the Common Application Supplement.

Choosing a Specific Track within the School of Music:

The Music and Technology curriculum is split into three concentrations or tracks: the music concentration, composition concentration, and the technical concentration. Candidates must know which track they wish to pursue prior to applying. Students who are qualified for the music or composition concentration have a significant level of training and talent either on a specific instrument or in classical voice, or have exceptional skill for original music composition. This level of talent or skill must be equal to that of the other music majors in the School of Music, as students in the music concentration perform alongside traditional music majors in ensembles, continue private lessons with master faculty, and/or write original musical works that will be performed and recorded. Students who do not play an instrument, sing or compose music at a high level, but who have significant experience with computer music, electronic devices, digital systems and other engineering aspects of music are more appropriately suited for the technical concentration. When completing the School of Music Application, M&T candidates will apply for their desired track by choosing an area of concentration in the program section of the online application.

Applicants must complete the required admission or audition assessment associated with one of the following areas:

Instrumental Performance:

Select your instrument from the drop down menu in the online School of Music application, answer the additional questions about your training, and pay the audition fee. M&T candidates who want to specialize in instrumental performance must complete and pass a major level audition. Please read the audition requirements and instructions for your specific studio very carefully, as several instruments have very specific pieces that must be prepared/performed and/or pre-screening recordings that must be submitted.

Vocal Performance:

Select your voice type from the drop down menu in the online School of Music application, answer the additional questions about your training, and pay the audition fee. M&T candidates who want to specialize in classical voice must complete and pass a major level audition.  Please read the audition requirements and instructions very carefully. A pre-screening recording must be received by December 1.

Music Composition:

Select composition from the drop down menu in the online School of Music application, answer the additional questions, and pay the portfolio review fee. M&T candidates who want to specialize in music composition must complete and pass a major level review. Please read the requirements and instructions very carefully, as composers must submit a portfolio containing original works that meet specific criteria by the December 1 deadline.

Students applying to the Music Performance or Composition concentrations should choose an audition/interview date specific to their instrument or composition. A technology portfolio or additional interview is not required for the music or composition concentrations.

Technology Concentration:

Select technology in the drop down menu in the online School of Music application, answer the additional questions and pay the portfolio review fee.

Portfolio Requirements:

M&T or BXA applicants who want to specialize in technology must upload a portfolio containing samples of their creative work to the School of Music. This media must be received by December 1.

Portfolio contents may include:

  • Audio recordings of performances or compositions that you engineered
  • Video recordings of performances or compositions that you produced or edited
  • Software listings for programs that you have written
  • Screenshots of your software or other creative work
  • Web pages you have created

Please see Pre-screening Instructions for details on how to submit your pre-screening. Media must be uploaded to the School of Music online application by December 1.  Do not mail recorded audition media to the Office of Undergraduate Admission.

The members of the Music & Technology faculty panel will review your portfolio electronically.  You may be contacted by a member of the panel should they have additional questions.  A live interview is not required on campus.  

The Music & Technology panel will submit the results of the portfolio review to the Office of Undergraduate Admission. If your audition or portfolio review is critiqued favorably, you will be recommended for admission to the Office of Undergraduate Admission, and the Office of Undergraduate Admission will respond by reviewing your academic credentials. Only those accepted to both the School of Music and to either the Carnegie Institute of Technology for Electrical and Computer Engineering or the School of Computer Science will be considered for acceptance to the Bachelor of Science in Music and Technology program. Candidates who are not accepted to both the School of Music and either the Carnegie Institute of Technology for Electrical and Computer Engineering or the School of Computer Science will not be admitted to either the School of Music or the Music & Technology program. However, it may be possible to be accepted to Carnegie Mellon in the Carnegie Institute of Technology or the School of Computer Science. In this situation, you may enroll as a major in the accepting school and consider an internal transfer into the Music & Technology program beginning in your sophomore year.

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BXA Intercollege Degree Program

  • Bachelor of Humanities and Arts (BHA)
  • Bachelor of Science and Arts (BSA)
  • Bachelor of Computer Science and Arts (BCSA)

Students interested in applying to the College of Fine Arts in music may select from the following options in the School of Music:

  • Music performance (instrumental, piano,  voice): Follow the audition/portfolio guidelines for your area above
  • Music composition: Follow the portfolio guidelines above
  • Musicology: Follow the guidelines above, Musicology is not avaible to BCSA candidates.
  • Music technology: Submit a technology portfolio for pre-screening following the Music & Technology guidelines above

An audition is required for admission to the music performance option, and an interview is required for admission to the composition option.

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