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Undergraduate Application Process

Come to Cal State LA as a Music Major!

Graduate Program Applicants should visit the Graduate Application Process page by clicking here.

Step 1

All incoming students must first apply to the university through CSU Apply. General admissions information and frequently asked questions can be found on the University Admissions and Recruitment website.

Step 2

Undergraduate applicants to the Music program should be prepared to submit an audition video or portfolio, based on their instrument and/or degree program. A list of specific audition requirements for each area of music study can be found by scrolling down to the "Audition Repertoire" section below.

Step 3

After reviewing your specfic audition requirements, you will submit a link to your audition video using the form linked below.

You will be asked to provide your name, contact information, the program you intend to apply to, and a link to your audition video. It should be an unlisted YouTube link, or if you have multiple files to submit, provide a link to a folder on Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, or another cloud storage service. Please make sure your link permissions are set so that anybody with the link can view the file.

The deadline for video auditions is Monday, February 15, 2022 at 11:59pm. Due to COVID-19, there will be no live auditions scheduled this year.

Click here to submit your audition.

Scholarships

You may apply for Music Department merit scholarships by completing the Scholarship Application. Click here to complete the Music Department Scholarship Application. The deadline for scholarship applications is February 15, 2022 at 11:59pm.

You must apply for University scholarships separately. More information about applying for University need and merit-based scholarships can be found on the University Financial Aid page by clicking here.

Audition Repertoire

Select the instrument or voice on which you wish to audition for a description of the undergraduate and graduate repertoire requirements.  Undergraduate music education candidates must audition on their principal instrument or voice. 

Undergraduate candidates seeking admission to the Jazz Studies, Composition, or Commercial Music Areas should select the links below for specific audition requirements and expectations for admission to those programs.

Bassoon

Applicants auditioning on a woodwind instrument are required to perform two pieces of contrasting style for scholarship or entrance auditions to undergraduate or graduate degree programs. Repertoire should be selected from the traditional and contemporary solo literature demonstrating both technical and musical development. The audition will also include sight-reading. Etudes and pieces selected for the audition need not be memorized.

Suggested repertoire (please note that any standard work is acceptable): Milde 25 Studies on Scales and Arpeggios, Jancourt 26 Melodic Studies, Galliard Sonatas 1-6, Teleman Sonata F Minor, Orefici Melodic Studies, Giampieri 16 Daily Studies, Hindemith Sonata

Cello

For the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music in Performance or Music Education:

  • Two contrasting solo works.
  • Be prepared to play two scales (in the video audition, two of your choice; in the live audition, one chosen by us, one chosen by you.)

For all other degree options (Jazz, Composition, Commmercial Music) please refer to those specific audition requirements. Piano accompaniment is not required, but please bring two copies of the music to be performed for the panel.

Clarinet

Applicants auditioning on a woodwind instrument are required to perform two pieces of contrasting style for scholarship or entrance auditions to undergraduate or graduate degree programs. Repertoire should be selected from the traditional and contemporary solo literature demonstrating both technical and musical development. The audition will also include sight-reading. Etudes and pieces selected for the audition need not be memorized.

Suggested repertoire (please note that any standard work is acceptable): Rose Etudes, Baermann Book IV and V, Cavallini 30 Caprices, Arnold Sonatina, Brahms Sonatas No. 1 and 2, Copland Concerto, Debussy Premiere Rhapsodie, Hindemith Sonata, Martinu Sonata, Mozart Concerto, K. 622, Nielsen Concerto, Poulenc Sonata, Rossini Introduction, Theme and Variations, Saint-Saens Sonata, Schumann, Fantasy Pieces, Vaughn Williams 6 Studies in English Folksong, Weber Concertino, Weber Concerto No. 1 and No. 2

Commercial Music

The following materials must be submitted:

  • 3 to 5 scores and/or recordings
  • Three letters of recommendation from teachers or professionals who are familiar with the applicant’s work.

All applicants should include an accompanying sheet that specifies what they did on each of their submissions. Please include a simple list - did you: compose, write, arrange, perform, conduct, record, mix, etc … 

Submission may be through Dropbox or other electronic links to: [email protected], [email protected][email protected]

An audition on your principal instrument/voice is required for acceptance into the program. On these dates you will also be given a music theory assessment test. This test is for assessment only and not for placement into the program or into a music theory level. It is solely informational so you can begin to prepare for your studies at Cal State LA. In the fall, you will be given another test, which will be for placement in the music theory curriculum. 

All applicants must have an interview as part of the audition process. For BM applicants, this can be accomplished as part of the audition. In the case of international students, contact Ross Levinson ([email protected]) Steve Wight ([email protected]) or JP Mourao ([email protected]) for an alternative process. 

Composition

The following materials must be sent to the Cal State LA Music Department to Dr. John Kennedy:

  • 2-3 scores and recordings (MIDI or live) which are the most representative of their work as a composer. Scores must be submitted in PDF format and recordings in MP3 or WAV formats. Links to videos of live performances are acceptable in place of audio recordings.
  • 2 letters of recommendation from teachers or professionals who are familiar with the applicant's work
  • A one-page statement addressing the goals of the applicant.

Send these materials as attachments or a link to an online folder to:

Dr. John M Kennedy
Cal State LA Department of Music
[email protected]

An audition on your principal instrument/voice and an interview are required for acceptance into BM Composition program. Applicants should prepare two pieces in any style for the 10-minute audition that show appropriate proficiency for undergraduate level work. Please contact Dr. Kennedy for any questions, or for an alternative process to an interview if you are not based in the US.

Double Bass

For the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music in Performance or Music Education:

  • Two contrasting solo works.
  • Be prepared to play two scales (in the video audition, two of your choice; in the live audition, one chosen by us, one chosen by you.)

For all other degree options (Jazz, Composition, Commmercial Music) please refer to those specific audition requirements. Piano accompaniment is not required, but please bring two copies of the music to be performed for the panel.

Euphonium

Applicants auditioning on a brass instrument are required to perform two pieces of contrasting style for scholarship or entrance auditions to undergraduate or graduate degree programs. Repertoire should be selected from the traditional and contemporary solo literature demonstrating both technical and musical development. The audition will also include sight-reading.

Suggested repertoire (please note that any standard work is acceptable): Bach Suite, or Wagner "Song to the Evening Star"

Flute

Applicants auditioning on a woodwind instrument are required to perform two pieces of contrasting style for scholarship or entrance auditions to undergraduate or graduate degree programs. Repertoire should be selected from the traditional and contemporary solo literature demonstrating both technical and musical development. The audition will also include sight-reading. Etudes and pieces selected for the audition need not be memorized.

Suggested repertoire (please note that any standard work is acceptable): Andersen Etudes Opus 33, Berbiguier 18 Etudes, Boehm Etudes Opus 37, Taffanel-Gaubert Daily Exercises, Wummer 12 Daily Exercises for the Flute, Blavet Sonatas, Bloch Suite Modale, Debussy Syrinx, Handel Sonatas, Ibert Aria, Krenek Suite, Telemann Fantasias, Telemann Sonatas

Guitar

Applicants for the BM in Classical Guitar Performance should be prepared to perform:

  • Two standard repertoire compositions (including one etude, and one movement of a multi-movement work) in contrasting styles. Please bring copies of the music.
  • One Segovia (major or minor) two octave scale of your choice.
  • Applicants will demonstrate their sightreading ability.

Suggested repertoire (works of similar technical level will also be accepted):

  • Mauro Giuliani Any one of 24 Etudes, op. 48
  • Matteo Carcassi Any one of 25 Etudes from op. 60
  • Fernando Sor Any one of The Complete Studies for Guitar
  • Leo Brouwer Ten Studies
  • Francisco Tarrega Any one of Etudes
  • Preludes and more
  • Manuel Ponce Any one of the 12 Preludes
  • Luis Milan Any one of the 6 Pavanes
  • Francisco Tarrega Any one of Preludes, Minutes, Mazurkas Multi movement works (one movement only)
  • Logy Suite in A minor
  • Sanz Suite Espanola
  • De Visee Suite in D minor

Note: This audition repertoire is for the BM in Guitar Performance, specializing in Classical music. Candidates for the BM in Music Composition may follow the above suggestions, but applicants for the BM in Commercial Music or Jazz Performance should view the application requirements for that area.

Harp

Applicants auditioning on harp are required to perform the following repetoire. Please bring copies of the music you will perform.
  • One selection from standard harp repertoire from Baroque, Classical, or Romantic period
  • One selection from 20th/21st century harp repertoire
  • Applicants will demonstrate their sightreading ability.

Horn

Applicants auditioning on a brass instrument are required to perform two pieces of contrasting style for scholarship or entrance auditions to undergraduate or graduate degree programs. Repertoire should be selected from the traditional and contemporary solo literature demonstrating both technical and musical development. The audition will also include sight-reading.

Suggested repertoire by instrument (please note that any standard work is acceptable): Any Mozart Concerto, the Franz Strauss Concerto, Opus 8, Hindemith Sonata

Jazz (Vocal and Instrumental)

Applicants for admission to Jazz Studies should bring printed copies of the music you have selected to perform.

Instrumental Jazz Auditions will include:

  • Sight Reading: Each student will demonstrate his/her sight reading ability by performing a jazz band chart or jazz etude. Pianists will be expected to comp the chord changes in the appropriate style.
  • Improvisation: Three jazz standards of varying tempos and styles with a rhythm section or jazz play-along. (Blues, Ballad, up tempo standard, etc.) All selections must be memorized. You must perform one chorus of the melody and two choruses of an improvised solo.
  • Technique/Style
    • Scales: Major and Minor including Harmonic and Melodic minor
    • Major and Minor Triads and Seventh Chords
    • A Prepared Jazz Etude of your choice

Vocal Jazz Auditions will include:

  • Sight Reading: Each student will demonstrate his/her sight reading ability by performing a jazz chart or jazz etude. (Melodic and Rhythmic accuracy is expected.)
  • Improvisation: Three jazz standards of varying tempos and styles with a rhythm section or jazz play-along. You may bring a CD of the rhythm section or jazz play-along with you. (Blues, Ballad, up tempo standard, or similar) All selections must be memorized. You must perform one chorus of the melody and two choruses of an improvised solo. 

Oboe

Applicants auditioning on a woodwind instrument are required to perform two pieces of contrasting style for scholarship or entrance auditions to undergraduate or graduate degree programs. Repertoire should be selected from the traditional and contemporary solo literature demonstrating both technical and musical development. The audition will also include sight-reading. Etudes and pieces selected for the audition need not be memorized.

Suggested repertoire (please note that any standard work is acceptable): Krenek Two Themes by Handel, Still Incantation and Dance, Albenoni Concert in Bb, Handel Concertos in Bb or G Minor or Sonata in C Minor, Telemann Sonata in A Minor, Barret Progressive Exercises, Bleuzet Technique of the Oboe, V. I, Ferling 144 Preludes and Studies

Percussion

Applicants for admission to undergraduate degree programs as percussion majors should bring sticks, mallets and printed copies of the music to be performed. Instruments will be provided by the university. Pieces or etudes for the audition should be chosen from all of the following four categories, but need not be memorized.

  • Snare Drum
    • Demonstrate a long roll, rudiments; sight reading.
    • Perform a piece or etude from a repertoire list. (e.g. etude from Peters’ Intermediate Snare Drum Studies)
  • Timpani
    • Demonstrate rolls, tuning; sight reading
    • Perform a piece or etude from a repertoire list (e.g. etude from Goodman’s Modern Method for Timpani)
  • Mallets
    • Demonstrate Major and Minor Scales; sight reading
    • Perform a piece or etude from a repertoire list (e.g. etude from Whaley’s Fundamental Studies for Mallets)
  • Auxiliary Instruments
    • Drum Set: demonstrate various styles; sight reading.
    • Multiple Percussion: perform a short piece; sight reading.
    • Latin Percussion: demonstrate various instruments and styles; sight reading.

Piano

Applicants should select either (1) two contrasting solo works or (2) one work and one etude from the categories listed below. All works must be performed by memory, and works will not necessarily be heard in their entirety. Only original piano solo works are allowed (no concerti or arrangements.)

  • BAROQUE
    • One work by J.S. Bach of equal or greater level of difficulty to the following examples: Inventions, Sinfonias, Suites (French, English, Partitas) 
    • If performing from the Well-Tempered Clavier, both Prelude & Fugue should be presented.  If performing from the Suites, choose 2 dances.
  • CLASSICAL
    • One sonata movement by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven or Schubert (Excludes Mozart K 545 and Beethoven op. 49 nos. 1 & 2)
  • ROMANTIC, NEO-ROMANTIC or IMPRESSIONIST
    • One work of equal or greater level of difficulty to the following examples: Chopin Nocturnes, Mendelssohn Songs Without Words, Liszt Un Sospiro, Brahms Intermezzi, Debussy Children’s Corner, Rachmaninoff Preludes 
  • 20th CENTURY
    • One work of equal or greater difficulty: Bartok Rumanian Dances, Bulgarian Dances, Prokofiev Piano Pieces, op. 4,  Samuel Barber Nocturne, Excursions, Liebermann Gargoyles, Muczynski Desperate Measures
  • ETUDE 
    • One work of equal or greater difficulty:  Chopin, Liszt, Moszkowski, Moscheles (Excludes Studies by Czerny, Hanon, Cramer)

​​Note: This audition repertoire is for programs (Music Performance and Music Education) that specialize in primarily Western Classical music. Applicants for the BM in Commercial Music or Jazz Performance should view the application requirements for that area.

Saxophone

Classical saxophone students are required to perform one piece from the suggested list of repertoire below for entrance to undergraduate degree programs. Graduate candidates should be prepared to perform two pieces in contrasting styles appropriate to graduate study on saxophone. Saxophone students seeking a scholarship are expected to either perform from the list below or more advanced literature, depending on their current or previous study. Entering students should also be ready to perform Major Scales, all 12 keys, Slurred, 1 octave, in eighth notes, Quarter note = 72 bpm. The audition will also include sight-reading.

Suggested list of audition literature for admission to saxophone study:

  • Alessandrini Valse Lent
  • Bach Arioso (from Cantata No. 156) arr. Kent
  • Bach Gavottes arr. Mule
  • Bartok Evening in the Country arr. Harris
  • Beethoven Minuet (from Sonata Op. 49) arr. Teal
  • Bizet Festival Performance Solos, Vol. 1 arr. Gee
  • Bizet Minuet (from L'Arlesienne) arr. Buchtel
  • Bonneau Suite
  • Bozza Aria
  • Byrd Pavana and Galiando arr. Davis
  • Chopin Largo arr. Rosseau
  • Corelli Adagio arr. Mule
  • Corelli Adagio and Giga arr. Teal
  • Corelli Air and Dance arr. Maganini
  • Cui Allegro Scherzoso arr. Teal
  • d'Ambrosio Canzonetta Op. 6 arr. Hummel
  • Damase Vacance
  • Dautremer Emotion
  • Debussy Clair de Lune arr. Ramsey
  • Debussy Passepied arr. Teal
  • Faure Festival Performance Solos, Vol. 2
  • Faure Pavane Op. 50 arr. Ramsay
  • Frackenpohl Air for Alto
  • Frackenpohl Dorian Elegy
  • Frederick Adagio and Allegro arr. Teal
  • Giovannini Romance
  • Granados Two Poetic Scenes arr. Davis
  • Handel Andante and Bourree arr. Teal
  • Handel Aria arr. Snell
  • Handel Bourree (from Organ Concerto No. 7) arr. Teal
  • Handel Honor and Arms arr. Snell
  • Handel Sicilienne et Gigue arr. Mule
  • Haydn Oxen Minuet arr. Rascher
  • Kjerulf Berceuse arr. Snell
  • Kreisler Schon Rosmarin arr. Gurewich
  • Kynaston Espejos arr. Teal
  • Lantier Sicilienne
  • LeClair Gigue arr. Mule
  • Leoncavallo Mattinata arr. Barnes
  • Loeillet Sonata arr. Merriman
  • Luebke Saxography
  • Niehaus Emily's Caprice
  • Niehaus Harlequinade
  • Niehaus Seaside Images
  • Nolan Polka Militaire arr. Snell
  • Purcell Two Bourrees arr. Rascher
  • Rachmaninoff Vocalise (Op. 34 No. 14) arr. Dishinger/Harle
  • Ravel Pavane arr. Bettoney
  • Rimsky-Korsakov Hymn to the Sun arr. Colby
  • Rueff Chanson et Passepied
  • Schudel Intrada
  • Snell Concert Fantasie
  • Telemann Fanfare and March arr. Snell

​​Note: This audition repertoire is for programs (Music Performance and Music Education) that specialize in primarily Western Classical music. Applicants for the BM in Commercial Music or Jazz Performance should view the application requirements for that area.

Trombone

Applicants auditioning on a brass instrument are required to perform two pieces of contrasting style for scholarship or entrance auditions to undergraduate or graduate degree programs. Repertoire should be selected from the traditional and contemporary solo literature demonstrating both technical and musical development. The audition will also include sight-reading.

Suggested repertoire by instrument (please note that any standard work is acceptable): Grondahl concerto, Jacob concerto, Wagenseil concerto, Paul Hindemith Sonata, Sulek Sonata, Casterède sonata, Galliard sonata, Guilmant, or Bozza 

Trumpet

Applicants auditioning on a brass instrument are required to perform two pieces of contrasting style for scholarship or entrance auditions to undergraduate or graduate degree programs. Repertoire should be selected from the traditional and contemporary solo literature demonstrating both technical and musical development. The audition will also include sight-reading.

Suggested repertoire (please note that any standard work is acceptable): Haydn Trumpet Concerto in Eb, Hummel Trumpet Concerto in Eb, Kennan Sonata, Ropartz Andante and Allegro, Goedicke Concert Etude.

Tuba

Applicants auditioning on a brass instrument are required to perform two pieces of contrasting style for scholarship or entrance auditions to undergraduate or graduate degree programs. Repertoire should be selected from the traditional and contemporary solo literature demonstrating both technical and musical development. The audition will also include sight-reading.

Suggested repertoire (please note that any standard work is acceptable): Bach/Bell, Air and Bourée, John Boda Sonatina

Viola

For the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music in Performance or Music Education:

  • Two contrasting solo works.
  • Be prepared to play two scales (in the video audition, two of your choice; in the live audition, one chosen by us, one chosen by you.)

For all other degree options (Jazz, Composition, Commmercial Music) please refer to those specific audition requirements. Piano accompaniment is not required, but please bring two copies of the music to be performed for the panel.

Violin

For the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music in Performance or Music Education:

  • Two contrasting solo works.
  • Be prepared to play two scales (in the video audition, two of your choice; in the live audition, one chosen by us, one chosen by you.)

For all other degree options (Jazz, Composition, Commmercial Music) please refer to those specific audition requirements. Piano accompaniment is not required, but please bring two copies of the music to be performed for the panel. For further questions about String audition requirements, contact the Strings Area Coordinator, 

Voice

Bachelor of Arts:

  • Two contrasting songs and sight-reading.
  • Also required: Resume, Essay including musical experience and aspirations, Two letters of recommendation

Bachelor of Music: Choral Teaching Option

  • Two contrasting art songs and sight reading
  • Also required: Resume, Essay including musical experience and aspirations, Two letters of recommendation

Bachelor of Music: Vocal Performance Option (for students wishing to pursue graduate school in vocal performance)

  • One aria in the original language, two contrasting art songs, sight reading 
  • Also required: Resume, Essay including musical experience and aspirations, Two letters of recommendation

​​Note: This audition repertoire is for programs (Music Performance and Music Education) that specialize in primarily Western Classical music. Applicants for the BM in Commercial Music or Jazz Performance should view the application requirements for that area.