Audition Requirements

for Future Undergraduate Music Students


Incoming Freshmen

Auditions are scheduled on established dates from December through February. A listing of this year’s audition dates can be found at Students will select an audition date from this list when completing an online School of Music application via Acceptd®. The link to the online application is available at the above web address. Note that application and audition for the School of Music are separate from application to The Ohio State University. Both must be completed.

Non-Ohio residents may submit an audition recording via Acceptd® or may be able to arrange a special audition—on weekdays only—by requesting alternate dates on the application. See instructions for preparing an online audition at the bottom of this page.

Transfer Students

Transfer students with applied music credit must perform an entrance audition and are expected to complete an online application and attend one of the audition days. A listing of repertoire studied at the previous college should be prepared in advance. Select a representative ten- to fifteen-minute sample of that literature. Vocalists should check the Voice section of this document for additional requirements.


Accompaniment is required only for voice auditions. The School of Music will provide an accompanist for voice auditions, or voice students may provide their own accompanist if they prefer. Only the auditioning student and accompanist are permitted in the audition.

Audition Preparation Guidelines

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.

Audition Requirements


Brass Instruments
1.  Trumpet / Trombone / Tuba / Euphonium: One significant solo work. Memorization is optional.
2.  Horn only: Two stylistically contrasting time period solos or movements (i.e. Classical/Romantic).
3.  All brass instruments:
    •  Two contrasting etudes demonstrating legato and technical playing.
    •  Standard orchestral excerpts of your choice are highly encouraged, but optional.
    •  All major scales.
    •  Sight reading.

1.  One etude.
2.  Two contrasting solos demonstrating your highest level of artistry, memorized.
3.  An orchestral cadenza.

Prospective students need only bring sticks, mallets and music. Instruments will be provided (snare drum, marimba, xylophone, timpani).
1.  Snare drum: concert solo or etude (Portraits in Rhythm by Anthony Cirone, Intermediate Snare Drum Studies by Mitchell Peters). Students may also prepare a rudimental solo (14 Modern Contest Solos by John Pratt, The All-American Drummer by Charley Wilcoxon)
2.  Mallet keyboard: two-mallet solo or etude (Furioso and Valse by Earl Hatch, The Whistler by G. H. Green) and a four-mallet solo or etude (Yellow After the Rain by Mitchell Peters, Etude in B Major by Claire Musser)
3.  Timpani: solo or etude (Sonata for Timpani by John Beck, Six Concert Pieces by Bill Cahn)

The pieces listed above are suggested works. Other repertoire of a comparable level is acceptable.

All compositions 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.

String Instruments
1.  One solo or movement from a large work, such as a high school contest piece. Memorization is optional.
2.  One of the following: either an etude from any standard technique book or a composition of the applicant’s choice.
3.  Major scales through four sharps and four flats, and relative minor scales.
4.  Sight reading.

Select two songs of contrasting styles which will show your voice at its best. Do not select music beyond your ability. One song must be in English; the other selection may be in a foreign language if you wish. Both songs should be memorized. It is recommended that at least one selection be taken from standard classical vocal literature. It is preferred that neither selection be performed via recording. An accompanist will be provided, but you may bring your own, if you wish. Be sure to bring your music.

Voice Transfer Students: Singers wishing to transfer to Ohio State with one or more years of voice at another institution should bring three selections. At least one of these should be in a foreign language.

Memorization is optional.
1.  Three solos, movements or etudes of contrasting styles.
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. Applied music study in the School of Music may be on either instrument.


Students who would like to major in jazz studies should prepare the following for an audition. Material prepared for the jazz audition should be selected to demonstrate your present level of development in tone, technique, musicianship, jazz concept and improvisation. In addition, sight reading is included in all auditions with the level of difficulty no greater than the required solo material.

Jazz Bass
Students auditioning to be jazz bass majors are not required to take a classical double bass audition.
1.  Major scales and arpeggios, two octaves.
2.  Required music selections from the School of Music, which are sent upon request.
3.  Walking blues 4/4 bass line in all keys.
4.  Improvising skills—blues and #3 on the School of Music selection sheet (see #2 above).

Jazz Guitar
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 (suggested material for preparation: Rhythms Complete by Bower/Colin).
3.  Have one solo piece prepared from the 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, 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

Jazz Percussion
This audition is required for entrance to the Jazz Studies program with drum set as the principal instrument. Music Education students may be asked to take a classical audition. Bring sticks, brushes, and your bass drum pedal (or one will be made available). The School of Music will provide a complete drum set with cymbals.

Please see studio teacher for updated requirements.
1.  Demonstrate ability to read basic jazz rhythms.
2.  Demonstrate ability to read and interpret a basic drum chart.
3.  Demonstrate ability to play in the following styles:
     a.  Jazz 3/4, 4/4 and 5/4 at various tempos. Special attention should be placed upon keeping consistent “swinging” time.
     b.  Rock and/or Funk and/or Fusion.
     c.  Latin: Bossa Nova (medium tempo); Samba (fast tempo).

Jazz Piano, Saxophone, Trumpet and Trombone
This audition is required for entrance to the Jazz Studies program. Music Education students may be asked to take a classical audition. Please see studio teacher for updated requirements.

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

Instructions for Preparing an Online Audition — for non-Ohio residents

Listed below are the instructions for preparing an online audition recording:

1.  Students should submit their recordings 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 on or before the last audition date are advisable.
2.  Recorded auditions should be uploaded to your Acceptd® application. Acceptable formats include:
    •  Video: mpeg, mpg, mp4, ogg, mov, avi, wmv, m4v, vob, flv
    •  Audio: mp3, ogg, m4a, wma, wav, aac, flac
3.  For technical support with this process, call the Acceptd® customer support center at 1-888-725-2122, extension 2.
4.  The recording(s) should be unaltered and prepared with the assistance of your school music director or private music teacher.
5.  The recording(s) should 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.
6.  Before each piece, announce the title and composer.
7.  The recording(s) must also include approximately three minutes of sight reading, supervised by your school music director or private music teacher.
    •  This section of the recording should be introduced by a verbal statement: “Sight reading follows.”
    •  Your teacher should list the music used and certify that it was sight read on your recording.
    •  Submit a copy of the sight-reading material with your recording. Acceptable file formats include:
          •  Images: jpg, jpeg, png, gif
          •  Documents: pdf, ps, doc, docx, rtf

Printable Version

 Audition Requirements [pdf]


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