Audition Requirements by Degree

Bachelor of Musical Arts Degree (BMA) Audition Requirements

Those auditioning for the Bachelor of Musical Arts Degree (Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation track) will complete an audition following these requirements:

  • Perform a prepared piece (any style) that highlights your individual creativity, artistic expression and technical skill
  • Improvise to a pre-recorded CD accompaniment or online backing track from one of the following: blues, jazz or pop standard, or a modal piece
  • Improvise over a ii-V-I progression
  • Improvise a "free" improvisation

In addition, you may also submit compositions, arrangements, transcriptions, multi-track recordings (Logic, GarageBand, FL studio, etc), or ensemble performances featuring you. There is not a specific time length for your pieces.


Bachelor of Music and Double Degree Audition Requirements

All of the audition requirements for each instrument can be found listed alphabetically below.

Bassoon

  • A fast/technical movement from a standard concerto, such as Mozart K. 191 or Weber, Op. 75 
  • One selection of choice from the etude or solo repertoire 

  • Three-octave C chromatic scale, slurred, ascending and descending 

  • The following scales with arpeggios, ascending and descending: 

    • Three-octave Bb major, articulated 16th notes, quarter note = 92 

    • Two-octave G harmonic minor, slurred 8th notes, quarter note = 120 

    • Two-octave A major, slurred 8th notes, quarter note = 120 

    • Two-octave F# harmonic minor, slurred 8th notes, quarter note = 84 

  • Sight-reading may be requested during live auditions 

Cello

IMPORTANT NOTE: On-campus and live virtual auditions for cello will be held on the Fridays and Sundays before and after our published Saturday audition dates. We invite auditioning cellists to participate in all Saturday audition day activities, but please plan to perform your audition on a corresponding Friday or Sunday. Contact Mary Kate Smith at marykate.e.smith@lawrence.edu to schedule or with any questions.

  • One movement from the standard concerto repertoire
  • One movement of unaccompanied Bach
  • One etude
  • One four-octave major scale of choice and its parallel minor with arpeggios
  • Sight-reading may be requested during live auditions 

Clarinet

  • Two pieces in contrasting styles, selected from the standard concerto, sonata, or solo repertoire
  • One etude chosen from the Rose 40 or 32 Studies
  • The following scales, ascending and descending, 16th notes, quarter note = 80: 
    • Three-octave chromatic, slurred, beginning on low E 

    • Three-octave E major, slurred, beginning on low E 

    • Three-octave F major, all articulated, beginning on low F 

  • Sight-reading may be requested during live auditions 

Composition

  • A complete classical audition on your primary instrument(s)
  • A complete composition portfolio (materials can be uploaded through the portfolio section of your application status portal) :
    • Three musical scores (recordings of the submitted works are highly recommended, but not required)
    • A statement of your compositional interests and goals
    • A list of compositions that includes completion dates and a list of public performances or readings

For students interested in jazz composition, please contact Patty Darling.

What we're looking for in a future Lawrence composer's portfolio:

  • Well developed and complex musical ideas within the contemporary classical style, effective use of instruments and voices, good notation and presentation, an interest in contemporary idioms, and imagination.
  • If possible, we like to see composers who have had their music read and performed live by musicians.
  • Strong audition on your primary instrument

Double Bass

  • Two contrasting pieces or movements from the standard repertoire (Including a movement from a Baroque sonata or suite)
  • Your choice of 2-4 standard orchestral excerpts
  • Three-octave major scale, its relative melodic minor, and arpeggios
  • Sight-reading may be requested during live auditions 

In addition, students may elect to perform a transcribed jazz solo or improvise with pre-recorded accompaniment.


Euphonium

  • Two or three compositions, etudes, or band/orchestral excerpts that demonstrate contrasting styles and the ability to play melodic and technical material
  • Two examples each of natural, harmonic, and melodic minor scales 

  • Two-octave chromatic scale  

  • Sight-reading may be requested during live auditions 


Flute

  • Three pieces of contrasting styles, which may include movements from the concerto, sonata, and solo repertoire
  • Chromatic scale: Low C to high C 

  • Major scales: B and Db 

  • Minor scales: G, F, and G# (harmonic or melodic) 

  • Sight-reading may be requested during live auditions 


Guitar (classical)

  • One piece from standard classical guitar literature (may be a movement from a larger work)
  • One movement of Bach
  • An etude by Sor, Carcassi, Brouwer or Villa-Lobos
  • Three selections from the Giuliani 120 Studies for the Right Hand
  • Three-octave major scale and its parallel minor
  • Sight-reading may be requested during live auditions

Optional work: Feel free to include any work that does not fit the above requirements. Examples might include: your own composition; a song with guitar accompaniment; a work from another style of music (Blues, Flamenco, Jazz etc.); an ensemble recording; an improvisation; a multi-track recording; a piece using a plucked string instrument other than guitar (banjo, mandolin, lute, ukulele etc.). This portion of the audition is not required, but you are encouraged to display other interests and skills.

For students interested in jazz or pursuing the Jazz Emphasis, please refer to the Jazz Audition Guidelines.


Horn

  • Please prepare 8-10 minutes of music that represent your level of playing within different styles, technical complexity, high and low registers, and pieces that you like and reflect your musical interest.

You do not need accompaniment. If you are doing a pre-recorded audition, the pieces may be recorded separately.


Jazz (instrumental)

Students interested in the Jazz Emphasis in the Bachelor of Music degree must perform a complete classical audition on their primary instrument in addition to a separate jazz audition 

  • See primary instrument audition requirements for classical audition.
  • On-campus auditions: Students are required to attend the “Jazz Jam” scheduled for 1-2 pm, and should come prepared to perform the melody and improvise several solo choruses on the following works: Tenor Madness (Sonny Rollins), Mr. P.C. (John Coltrane), or Lester Leaps In (Lester Young). Students will be accompanied by a Lawrence student rhythm section and memorization is preferred. Students are also strongly encouraged to prepare a jazz etude, solo transcription, or improvisation on a prepared jazz piece selected by the student, as well as an improvisation to a pre-recorded accompaniment (such as the Jamey Aebersold Play-Along series) 
  • Self-recorded and live virtual auditions: Students should submit recordings of a jazz etude, solo transcription, or improvisation on a prepared jazz piece selected by the student, as well as an improvisation to a pre-recorded accompaniment (such as the Jamey Aebersold Play-Along series) 

Music Education

  • Those who are interested in majoring in Music Education must complete a regular audition on their primary instrument for admission into the Bachelor of Music degree program. Prospective Music Education majors will interview for admission to the major during the beginning of their sophomore year. Learn more about admissions to the Music Education program.

Oboe

  • Two contrasting works (or portions of works). One work may be an etude such as Barret or Ferling. Audition repertoire should not exceed fifteen minutes in length. 
  • Two major and two minor scales of your choice, two octaves preferred.
  • Sight-reading may be requested for live auditions 

Organ

  • Two works from the standard organ repertoire and an accompaniment:
    • A work of J.S. Bach, either a prelude, toccata, or fantasy and fugue, a chorale prelude, or trio sonata movement 

    • A work from either the Romantic or Contemporary periods 

    • Accompaniment of a hymn (religious or secular) intended to be sung by a large assembly. Provide an introduction and two stanzas as if leading a large group.  

  • Sight-reading may be requested for live auditions 

Repertoire should demonstrate the applicant's technical skills and musical abilities, and the accompaniment should demonstrate registrational, improvisational, and collaborative abilities.  


Percussion

  • Perform an etude that demonstrates musical and technical ability on snare drum (rudimental or concert style), keyboard percussion (marimba, vibraphone or xylophone), and timpani (two or four drums)
  • You are also encouraged to perform a solo or a variety of styles on drum set (rock, jazz, Brazilian, Cuban) and/or any ethnic instrument such as congas, tabla, frame drum, etc.
  • Two-octave scales with arpeggios (choose two major and two harmonic minor), ascending and descending, played on marimba  

  • Sight-reading may be requested during live auditions 

Students may contact Dane Richeson or visit the percussion website for repertoire examples.


Piano

  • A Bach Prelude and Fugue or other Bach composition containing a fugue (such as a Toccata or Partita)
  • A Sonata-Allegro movement of a sonata by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven or Schubert (usually the first movement)
  • Two additional pieces showing virtuosity, stylistic diversity, and evidence of considerable experience at the instrument.

We welcome and encourage the inclusion in your audition program of a work written by a composer from an underrepresented group, and/or written in the last fifty years.


Saxophone

  • Two or three pieces or movements (about 15 minutes of repertoire total) in contrasting styles, demonstrating technical facility and melodic expressiveness. The following works represent an appropriate level of audition repertoire: 
    • Bozza - Improvisation et caprice
    • Creston – Sonata
    • Glazunov – Concerto
    • Heiden – Solo or Sonata
    • Ibert – Concertino da camera
    • Maurice – Tableaux de Provence
    • Milhaud – Scaramouche
    • Muczynski – Sonata
    • Noda – Improvisations I, II, or III
    • Villa-Lobos – Fantasia
  • The following scales, ascending and descending through the full range of the instrument: 
    • Eb major and A major 

    • B minor and G minor (harmonic or melodic) 

    • Chromatic (Bb-F#3) 

  • Sight-reading may be requested during live auditions 

In addition, students may elect to perform a transcribed jazz solo or improvise with pre-recorded accompaniment.


Trombone (Tenor and Bass)

  • 3-5 works that highlight your individual creativity, artistic expression and technical skill (about 15 minutes of repertoire total). Types of works may include (but are not limited to):
    • Solos with or without accompaniment
    • Etudes
    • Excerpts
    • Original compositions
    • Improvisations
    • Transcriptions
    • Multi-track recordings
    • Ensemble works featuring you
    • Scales
    • Works that feature you on the trombone and another instrument/voice or artistic medium

For students interested in the Jazz Emphasis, please refer to the Jazz Audition Guidelines.


Trumpet

  • A variety of solos or etudes displaying both technical and melodic ability (10-15 minutes of repertoire total)
  • Major, minor, and chromatic scales (for recorded auditions, include two major scales, two minor scales, and a chromatic scale, all in two octaves) 

  • Sight-reading may be requested during live auditions 

  • Jazz improvisation with pre-recorded accompaniment and/or lead playing can be included at the discretion of the applicant

Tuba

  • Two or three compositions, etudes, or band/orchestral excerpts that demonstrate contrasting styles and the ability to play melodic and technical material
  • Two examples each of natural, harmonic, and melodic minor scales 

  • Two-octave chromatic scale  

  • Sight-reading may be requested during live auditions 


Viola

  • One movement of a standard concerto or other work for solo viola and orchestra, preferably from memory
  • A movement of a solo work by J.S. Bach from works originally for cello or violin, preferably from memory
  • A standard etude or caprice (see below)
  • One three-octave major scale and its parallel minor scale and arpeggios. One of the scales should be performed with spiccato bow-strokes at a medium speed, with three or four strokes per pitch
  • An optional work, contrasting in style from other works presented (see below)

Advice/philosophy
In choosing your audition repertoire for Lawrence Conservatory, consider how your repertoire as a whole will demonstrate an engagement with a variety of technical and musical challenges and a variety of musical styles and expression. Performing by memory demonstrates fluency and depth of engagement, and if secure, is preferable for the solo works in your audition program. Any sonata work or etude/caprice need not be memorized. For the etude/caprice, something on the technical level of Kreutzer etudes at least is preferred, and works by Campagnoli, Dont, Lillian Fuchs, Michael Kimber, Mazas and Palaschko might also serve you well. For your optional work, it is possible to select a contrasting movement from that same Bach suite, sonata, or partita, but also consider a work from a different composer altogether. Members of the Lawrence viola studio are committed to exploring repertoire by historically under-represented composers including women or people of color, and there are many excellent works for viola in this realm. If you have questions regarding your choices for audition repertoire please feel free to contact the Lawrence faculty violist for ideas.


Violin

  • Either the first or third movement of a standard concerto performed from memory
  • Two contrasting movements of unaccompanied Bach
  • An etude or caprice
  • Three-octave scales and arpeggios
    • One 3-octave major scale of the applicant's choice, 2 or 3 notes slurred
    • One 3-octave minor scale of the applicant's choice, spiccato 3 or 4 strokes per pitch
    • Flesch or Galamian arpeggio sequence in the key of the applicant's choice OR 3-octave major and minor arpeggios that match the keys of the scales performed. 

Voice

  • Please sing, from memory, two solos of contrasting styles, at least one of which should demonstrate classical vocal production. One song must be sung in English; the other can be sung in a foreign language or English.
  • For recorded auditions: In a separate video of you speaking, please briefly tell us what you love about singing, and where you hope the study of music will take you over the next ten years or so.

Bachelor of Arts in Music

  • An audition is not required for admission to the Bachelor of Arts in Music program. If you choose to audition or submit a portfolio, this information will not affect your admission decision. It will, however, allow us to connect you with the appropriate faculty members while at Lawrence.
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Questions?

Email us at musicadmissions@lawrence.edu


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