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Audition Requirements

Future Undergraduate Students

Black grand piano sitting on stage
Timashev Family Music Building Recital Hall — © Kevin G Reeves Photographer | Courtesy of DLR Group


All degrees in the School of Music require an audition (except for the Bachelor of Science in Music degree in which the audition is optional). Review the specific requirements for your instrument on this page. As a reminder, students must apply to the university and submit a separate application and audition for the School of Music. Click How to Apply below for more information on the application process.

Video Auditions are available for students who are unable to travel to campus for an in-person audition. See Video Audition Instructions below.

Select Your Applicant Type

Auditions are scheduled on select dates from December through February. Audition dates can be found at Audition Day Information.

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.

Transfer students from non-music degree programs at Ohio State should follow the audition requirements for incoming freshmen.

Transfer students who have been music majors at another institution 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 and attached to your application. Your audition also serves as your placement into your lesson level. With this in mind, select a representative ten- to fifteen-minute sample of this literature that adequately represents your ability level. Vocalists who have been music majors elsewhere, at least one of your selections should be in a foreign language. Composition transfer students should be prepared to present a portfolio.


Audition Preparation Guidelines

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).

Composition Students

Students interested in majoring in composition should review the special Composition Special Requirements below, in addition to their instrument requirements.

Classical Audition Requirements


  1. Two contrasting etudes demonstrating lyrical and more technical playing.

  2. All major scales, two octaves if possible.

  3. Sight-reading.

  4. Standard orchestral excerpts of your choice are highly encouraged, but optional.

  5. One significant solo work; memorization is optional.

Applicants are encouraged to consult with their respective instrument faculty if they have questions about repertoire:

* Horn applicants are also highly encouraged to email Professor Henniss directly to introduce yourself so that he may communicate with you regarding your musical/horn background.


  • For entrance into the BM performance and BME degrees, students will play two contrasting works from Royal Conservatory of Music: Classical Guitar Repertoire and Etudes Level 4 (ISBN 978-1-55440-856-6 Frederick Harris Publishing).
  • Students wishing to enter other music degrees/majors will prepare a selection of any style that demonstrates their current ability.


  1. One etude.

  2. Two contrasting solos demonstrating your highest level of artistry, memorized.

  3. One orchestral cadenza.

  4. NO sight-reading.


  • Two selections from the standard organ literature in contrasting styles or periods that demonstrate the applicant’s musical and technical skills.
  • Sight reading (generally a hymn) at the discretion of the faculty. 
  • Applicants without previous organ study are encouraged to audition, and are expected to demonstrate strong piano skills at the level of a Bach 2-part invention and/or selected movements from the sonatas of Mozart and Haydn. Such applicants may perform their selected pieces on the piano. 
  • Memorization is not required.


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 — Anthony Cirone
  • Intermediate Snare Drum Studies — Mitchell Peters
  • 14 Modern Contest Solos — John Pratt
  • The All-American Drummer — Charlie Wilcoxon
  • Furioso and Valse — Earl Hatch
  • The Whistler — G. H. Green
  • Yellow After the Rain — Mitchell Peters
  • Etude in B Major — Claire Musser
  • Sonata for Timpani — John Beck
  • Six Concert Pieces — 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 at discretion of faculty.

* If submitting a video audition in lieu of an on-campus audition, please choose nine scales from the following 3 categories:

  • One major scale from the “mirrored” fingering group (Db/C#, B, F#/Gb) and both related harmonic and related minors
  • One major scale from the “C Major” fingering group (C, G, D, A, E) and both related harmonic and related minors
  • One major scale from the “flat” fingering group (F, Bb, Eb, Ab) and both related harmonic and related minors 

All scales in four octaves, minimum of 88 = quarter note. You may consult Hanon part 3, or any other piano scale manual.


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.



For on-campus auditions, an accompanist is provided, but you may bring your own. Be sure to bring clean, legible copies of your music.

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 in English and one in a foreign language. 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, tenor  or baritone saxophone.

Jazz Audition Requirements

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. Perform one solo piece from jazz repertoire.

  3. Perform blues progressions in all twelve keys.

  4. Improvise on the blues progression in any key.

  5. “Comp” (accompany) in various jazz styles (swing, Latin, rock, etc.).

  6. 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

7. 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: "All Blues" [pdf], "All the Things You Are" [pdf], and "Blue Bossa" [pdf]. In addition, learn the classic/standard bass intro to "All Blues" (Miles Davis) and "All the Things You Are" (Charlie Parker).

  5. Learn/play the melody to one of the following bebop standards: "Scrapple from the Apple," "Billy's Bounce," "Now's the Time" or "Donna Lee."

  6. Sight-reading (note reading and walking bass over chord symbols).

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.

Composition — Special Requirements

To pursue the BM in Composition, students are required to:

  • Audition on an instrument or in voice.
  • Submit a personal statement describing your experience and interest in composition via Acceptd.
  • Submit an optional composition portfolio via Acceptd (strongly encouraged).


  • There will be an interview of approximately 15 minutes on the scheduled audition day. Auditionees should be prepared to discuss their interest and experience in composition as well as possible career objectives.

A composition portfolio should include:

  • A document with a list of completed works, begun works, arrangements, and transcriptions.
  • All listed works should include titles, completion dates, durations, and instrumentation.
  • There should be 1–3 samples of compositions including scores and/or audio (midi realizations are acceptable).

Video Audition Instructions

Cell phone camera on tripod

Students who are unable to travel to campus for an in-person audition may submit a video audition for admissions consideration by following the instructions below.

  1. Deadline: applications with a video audition should be submitted by January 27, 2024. Late applicants may be considered on a case-by-case basis, but auditions received on or before January 27, 2024 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, AAC, FLAC

  3. All media file size limits are:
    • Video: up to 4.8 GB
    • Audio: 750 MB
    • Images: 500 MB
    • 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.
    • Announce this section of your recording with “Sight-reading follows.”
    • Your teacher should list the music used and certify that it was sight-read on your recording.
    • 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, RT

  7. Find help at Acceptd® Account Relations Support — MEDIA


Undergraduate Degrees for information about our degree programs.


For further information, please contact Tanya Sparks, School of Music Admissions Coordinator, at sparks.348@osu.edu or 614-688-0372.