Instrumental Audition Instructions

Brass Audition

The brass audition consists of three parts: (1) The applicant will be asked to perform a variety of major scales (up to 4 flats or 4 sharps) and a chromatic scale of, at least, 2 octaves. (2) A prepared piece of the applicant's choice, featuring differing styles and showcasing the best of their abilities. The applicant may perform 2 short pieces, in contrasting styles, if they choose. (3) The applicant will be asked to perform a short sight-reading passage. Applicants will have the opportunity to meet the entire brass faculty in order to learn more about the degree programs and brass department.

Guitar Audition

Entrance into Appalachian's music programs as a guitar major is competitive, and the available openings in the guitar class are usually filled after the March auditions. Additionally, a number of scholarships are available to guitarists, and students should plan to audition between December and March to be considered for these.

All guitarists who are auditioning to be music majors must have and demonstrate music reading skills. Those who audition will be expected to sight-read in 4/4, 3/4, and 6/8 time using simple and dotted note values.

Suggested audition music is as follows:

  • Performance Major: Two pieces from the standard classic guitar repertoire, including works of Villa Lobos, Ponce, Giuliani, Bach, Sor, etc. Selections may also be taken from the Royal Conservatory series (published by Frederick Harris Music), level 3 or higher.
  • Music Industry Major: Two pieces of any style or origin, at least one of which must be learned from standard notation written music (NOT tablature). Classical guitar is an option, NOT a requirement for Music Industries. Students may complete all of their requirements for this degree in jazz guitar, and may audition with plectrum/steel string/electric styles. Some sight-reading of unprepared material will be required as well (see above). Written selections could be a standard jazz tune, a work from one of the Berklee Press publications (such as A Modern Method for Guitar and Melodic Rhythms for Guitar, both written by William Leavitt), etc. Classical pieces as described for Performance major auditions are also acceptable, Royal Conservatory series (published by Frederick Harris Music) level 1 or higher.
  • Music Education Major: As described above in Performance Major, with selections from the Royal Conservatory series (published by Frederick Harris Music) level 2 also acceptable.
  • Music Therapy Major: As described above in either the Music Industries or Music Education majors, but with a higher level of skill expected than in the Music Industries audition. Contact Dr. James before auditioning on plectrum/steel string guitar.
  • All Majors: Please consult with Dr. James before the audition if in doubt of the suitability of any audition pieces.

Keyboard Audition

Suggested compositions for admission and scholarship auditions in piano:

  • A composition by J. S. Bach. This might include an Invention, Prelude and Fugue from the Well-Tempered Clavier, or a composition from the Short Preludes and Fugues.
  • A sonata or sonatina movement by Haydn, Mozart, or Beethoven.
  • A 19th or 20th century composition by such composers as Chopin, Schubert, Schumann, Liszt, Brahms, Debussy, Bartok, Kabalevsky, Prokofiev, Ravel.
  • Students will also be required to play scales and sightread a simple composition. Memorization is preferred, but not required.

Suggested compositions for admission and scholarship auditions in organ:

  • One composition from before 1800.
  • Two pieces in contrasting styles composed after 1800. At least one of these should be from the 20th century.
  • One hymn.

Percussion Audition

Each prospective student must prepare one piece on snare drum, timpani and a mallet keyboard instrument with drum set as an option. Audition material can be found for snare drum in Method for Snare Drum by Jacques DelÃcluse or Portraits in Rhythm by Anthony Cirone, for mallet keyboard in Modern School for Xylophone, Marimba, Vibraphone by Morris Goldenberg, and for timpani in The Solo Timpanist by Vic Firth or Timpani Technique for the Virtuoso Timpanist by Fred Hinger. Pieces from the solo literature are welcomed.

The audition will also include scales and arpeggios on mallet keyboard, rudiments on snare drum, tuning on timpani and sight-reading on all mediums. The student must demonstrate musical skills on all three areas of percussion and is encouraged to perform on other percussion instruments as a supplement to their primary instruments during the audition.

Strings Audition

The audition consists of a solo (or solos) of the student's choice that contains contrasting musical styles and tempi. Literature should be chosen that allows the student to demonstrate his/her present level of performance. The student may be asked to perform scales/arpeggios and to sight-read appropriate literature.

Vocal Audition

All students wishing to enter the Hayes School of Music for voice study must follow instructions found at the following link:

Voice Audition and Scholarship Information

Prospective students must possess exceptional musical skills and a voice of sufficient quality and expressiveness in order to be admitted to his/her chosen degree program. Private piano study is highly recommended before entering Appalachian. Previous private voice study is not required, but encouraged.

Woodwind Audition

The audition consists of a solo (or solos) of the student's choice that contains contrasting musical styles and tempi. Literature should be chosen that allows the student to demonstrate his/her present level of performance. The student may be asked to perform scales/arpeggios and to sight-read appropriate literature. Individual appointments for audition are possible in addition to regularly offered audition dates.