Audition Requirements

for Future Undergraduate Music Students

Incoming Freshmen

Auditions are scheduled on select dates from December through February. A listing of this year’s audition dates can be found at Students will select an audition date, OR the option to upload a video audition, from this list when completing a School of Music application via Acceptd®. Note that application and audition for the School of Music are separate from application to The Ohio State University. Both must be completed.

clip art facemaskAuditions during the 20202021 admissions season. All auditions (except percussion) will be conducted via a live, virtual platform. We encourage all students to select one of the audition dates listed on the School of Music application to take advantage of this opportunity to interact with our faculty. Students who are unable to attend one of the live audition days may upload an audition recording to their School of Music application (see the “Instructions for Preparing a Video Audition” section below).

Percussion auditions will not be taking place in the live virtual platform; see specific requirements for percussion below.

Transfer Students

Transfer students with applied music credit must complete a School of Music application and perform an entrance audition. A listing of repertoire studied at the previous institution should be prepared in advance. Select a representative ten- to fifteen-minute sample of this literature. Vocalists, at least one of your selections should be in a foreign language.

Audition Preparation Guidelines

clip art facemaskIMPORTANT Auditions during the 20202021 admissions season

The following guidelines provide both "what to prepare" for your audition, and some details about "how" you will perform on your audition day. Please adhere to the repertoire and technique guidelines as you prepare your audition material. However, some of the "how" details (such as accompaniment for singers, percussion equipment for percussionists) currently found on this page, reflect standard live audition procedures. These will change for our new live virtual format. We will post updated information on this page prior to the first audition day in December and will provide all important details to students via email well in advance of their audition day.

Good luck on your upcoming auditions!

Audition Overview

Selections for auditions should demonstrate the candidate’s present level of development in tone, technique and musicianship. In addition, a sight-reading evaluation is included in all auditions, with the level of difficulty no greater than the required solo material.


Accompaniment is required only for voice auditions (see VOICE below).

Audition Requirements — Classical


1. Two contrasting etudes demonstrating legato and technique playing.
2. All major scales.
3. Sight-reading.
4. Standard orchestral excerpts of your choice are highly encouraged, but optional.
5. Trumpet, Trombone, Horn, Tuba, Euphonium: One significant solo work; memorization is optional.


1. One etude.
2. Two contrasting solos demonstrating your highest level of artistry, memorized.
3. One orchestral cadenza.
4. NO sight-reading.

     Due to the limited access to percussion equipment and recording space many prospective students are facing, all percussion auditions during the 2020–2021 admissions season must be submitted via pre-recorded video. Please see items 1–4 under "Instructions for Preparing a Video Audition" (below) for specifics. Also note that there is no sight-reading requirement for percussion.
     If you encounter difficulty with access to instruments, please contact Professor Susan Powell directly to discuss possible alternative solutions. In some instances, certain areas (timpani, mallet keyboard) may be waived due to individual circumstances. In addition to uploading an audition video with their Acceptd® application, students will have the option of also scheduling an individual Zoom session with percussion faculty to further discuss opportunities offered by the percussion studio. This will be arranged via email; faculty will contact you.

Students should prepare the following:

1. One snare drum concert solo or etude (students may also additionally play a rudimental solo).
2. One four-mallet solo or etude on marimba (students may also additionally play a two-mallet solo)
3. One solo or etude on timpani

The following pieces and sources are suggested works, other repertoire of a comparable level is acceptable: Portraits in Rhythm by Anthony Cirone, Intermediate Snare Drum Studies by Mitchell Peters, 14 Modern Contest Solos by John Pratt, The All-American Drummer by Charlie Wilcoxon, Furioso and Valse by Earl Hatch, The Whistler by G.H. Green, Yellow After the Rain by Mitchell Peters, Etude in B Major by Claire Musser, Sonata for Timpani by John Beck, and Six Concert Pieces by Bill Cahn.

All selections must be performed from memory.

1. All major and minor scales (natural, harmonic and melodic minors), hands together, four octaves in 16th notes ascending and descending. A minimum speed of M.M. 88 for the quarter note is suggested.
2. One composition from the Baroque period (Bach inventions or dance movements; a composition by Scarlatti, Couperin, Rameau etc.).
3. A movement of a sonata from the Classical period (Haydn, Mozart or Beethoven). It should be in sonata form with an exposition, development and recapitulation.
4. A composition from the Romantic, Impressionist or Contemporary period.
5. Sight reading.


Level of preparation — the Ohio State strings faculty welcome applications from students who are studying repertoire at ASTA LEVEL 4 and above, and who play major and minor scales and arpeggios through four sharps and flats. For the audition, applicants should prepare a program that includes the following:

1. Two contrasting solo selections that display the applicant's stylistic and technical range. Applicants may choose movements from a sonata or concerto, high school contest pieces, or standard excerpts from the orchestral repertoire. Memorization is optional.

2. An etude from any standard technique book.



Singers will sing in real time with a pre-recorded accompaniment for the audition on Zoom. Online backing tracks can be found on YouTube and the Appcompanist app. Those who elect to upload a video audition with their application may also use accompaniment tracks. Please reach out to the voice faculty if you need assistance.

It is recommended that at least one selection be taken from standard classical vocal literature.

1. Two songs of contrasting style; one must be in English. Both songs should be memorized.
2. Sight-reading.

Voice Transfer Students (students with one or more years of voice at another institution)
1. Three selections; at least one should be in a foreign language.
2. Sight-reading.


1. Three solos, movements or etudes of contrasting styles. Memorization is optional.
2. All major scales.
3. Optional: up to three orchestral excerpts of your choice are encouraged, but not required.
4. Sight-reading.

Saxophones: students may play the above audition on alto or tenor saxophone.

Audition Requirements — Jazz

Material prepared for the jazz audition should demonstrate your present level of development in tone, technique, musicianship, jazz concept and improvisation.


1. About one-half page of music demonstrating lyric legato playing such as jazz ballad style.
2. About one-half page of music selected from any standard jazz composition that demonstrates jazz technique, including articulation on the wind instruments.
3. Two or three choruses of blues improvisation in the key of your choice.
4. Sight-reading.

Bring your own acoustic or electric guitar, an amplifier will be provided.

1. Demonstrate ability to read chord symbols from a lead sheet and play accompaniment in the appropriate style.
2. Demonstrate ability to read basic jazz rhythms in all keys.
3. Perform one solo piece from jazz repertoire.
4. Perform blues progressions in all twelve keys.
5. Improvise on the blues progression in any key.
6. “Comp” (accompany) in various jazz styles (swing, Latin, rock, etc.).
7. Perform the following scales in all keys, two octaves ascending and descending, at least two fingerings and in a medium tempo. In addition, be prepared to play scales in thirds (1-3, 2-4, 3-5, 4-6 etc.) and broken style (1231, 2342, 3453, 4564, etc.).

    Major — 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
    Mixolydian — 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, b7, 8
    Dorian — 1, 2, b3, 4, 5, 6, b7, 8
    Natural minor — 1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7, 8
    Harmonic minor — 1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, 7, 8
    Blues — 1, b3, 4, b5, 5, b7, 8

8. Sight-reading.


1. Major scales and arpeggios, two octaves.
2. Walking blues 4/4 bass line in all keys.
3. Improvising skills over a blues form in B-flat or F.
4. Required music selections:
PDF icon All Blues [pdf],” “PDF icon All The Things You Are [pdf],” and “PDF icon Blue Bossa [pdf].”
5. Sight-reading.

JAZZ DRUM SETIN-PERSON Audition Requirements
Please bring sticks and brushes. A complete drum set with cymbals will be provided.

1. Students should be able to demonstrate the following skills:

  • Ability to play basic rudiments on the snare drum.
  • Ability to read basic jazz rhythms.
  • Ability to read and interpret a basic drum chart.
  • Ability to play 4 bars time alternating with a 4-bar solo, or trading fours in both jazz and funk styles.

2. You will be asked to play various time feels demonstrating the following styles:

  • Jazz 3/4 and 4/4 at various tempi. Special attention should be placed upon keeping consistent “swinging” time.
  • Rock and/or Funk.
  • Latin: Bossa Nova and Samba.
  • Brushes: be able to play various tempos with brushes.

3. Prepare a snare drum solo. Options might include selections from the Wilcoxon, Cirone, Peters, Goldenberg or Pratt books.

4. Prepare a drum set piece to play along with. This could be from a play-along book, a commercially recorded piece, or a transcription. Options here might be from one of the John Riley books, or Steve Houghton’s “Drum Set Soloist”

5. Sight-reading. You will be asked to read both some rhythms on the snare drum as well as sight read a chart.

JAZZ DRUM SETVIDEO Audition Requirements

1. Please demonstrate the following rudiments on a pad or snare drum.

  • Open rudimental roll
  • Orchestral roll (closed roll)
  • Flam tap and flam accent
  • Paradiddle
  • Triple ratamacue

2. Demonstrate trading 4’s.

  • At a moderate tempo, play 4 bars of a swing feel and 4 bars of a solo for 32 bars total. Exhibit an example each with sticks and brushes.
  • At a moderate tempo, play 4 bars of a funk/rock feel and 4 bars of a solo for 32 bars total.

3. Prepare a snare drum solo. Options might include selections from the Wilcoxon, Cirone, Peters, Goldenberg or Pratt books.

4. Prepare a drum set piece to play along with. This could be from a play-along book, a commercially recorded piece, or a transcription. Options here might be from a John Riley book, or Steve Houghton’s “Drum Set Soloist”

Note for Jazz Drum Set video auditions — include an introduction stating your name and degree objectives, as well as your goals in music. If you are using your phone to record the video, use landscape mode.

Instructions for Preparing a Video Audition

  1. Deadline: applications with a video audition should be submitted no later than the last audition day. See for a list of audition dates. Late applicants may be considered on a case-by-case basis, but auditions received on or before the last audition date are advisable.
  2. Recorded auditions should be uploaded to your Acceptd® application. Acceptable formats include:
    1. Video: MPEG, MPG, MP4, OGG, MOV, AVI, WMV, M4V, VOB, FLV
    2. Audio: MP3, OGG, M4A, WMA, AAC, FLAC
  3. All media file size limits are:
    1. Video: up to 4.8 GB
    2. Audio: 750 MB
    3. Images: 500 MB
    4. Documents: 250 MB
  4. The recordings should be unaltered and include approximately 15 minutes of music chosen from the appropriate solo, etude, or excerpt literature as specified in the Audition Requirements section of this document.
  5. Before each piece, announce the title and composer.
  6. The recording(s) should also include approximately three minutes of sight-reading, supervised by your school music director or private teacher.
    1. Announce this section of your recording with “Sight-reading follows.”
    2. Your teacher should list the music used and certify that it was sight-read on your recording.
    3. Upload a copy of the sight-reading materials along with your recording. Acceptable image and document formats include:
      1. Images: JPG, JPEG, PNG, GIF
      2. Documents: PDF, PS, DOC, DOCX, RTF
  7. Find help at Acceptd® Account Relations Support - MEDIA


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