PLEASE NOTE: Due to COVID-19, Lawrence will only be accepting self-recorded video auditions for admission consideration for the 2020-2021 application cycle. This is to keep you and our Lawrence community safe as we navigate through the novel coronavirus.  Details about how to create a great audition video, helpful tips from your future studio teachers, and how to upload your videos for consideration will be posted on our website over the coming weeks and will be sent to you via email.

For more immediate questions, please reach out to Kate Bittner, director of conservatory admissions, at katelyn.m.bittner@lawrence.edu.

Bachelor of Music, Double Degree, and Music-BA Audition Requirements

All of the audition requirements for each instrument can be found in the drop-down menu below.

Bassoon

  • Three-octave B♭ chromatic scale from low B♭ to the highest B♭, slurred up & down
  • Two-octave major & minor scales--up to four flats/sharps; some articulated
  • Two contrasting styles of music from the traditional bassoon repertoire. (One to demonstrate your technical facility and the other for lyrical expression)
  • Sight-reading should also be expected

 

Cello

  • One movement from the standard concerto repertoire
  • One movement of unaccompanied Bach
  • One etude
  • Four-octave major scale and its parallel minor and arpeggios
  • Sight reading may be requested

 

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
  • All major and minor scales and a chromatic scale
  • Sight reading may be requested

 

Composition

Students must complete a classical audition on their primary instruments in addition to submitting a composition portfolio which includes the following:

  • 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

Deadlines for submitting you composition portfolio:
Early Decision/Early Action: November 11
Regular Decision: January 25

Please upload your scores and recordings to your application status page under the Portfolio section.  If the faculty believe that your portfolio is of the quality for admission to the composition program, they will reach out to you directly for an on-campus or phone interview.  

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

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
  • All scales; major, minor (natural, harmonic and melodic), and two octave chromatic scales
  • Some sight reading may be required

 

Flute

  • Three pieces of contrasting styles, which may include movements from concerti, sonatas and solo repertoire
  • All two-octave major and minor scales
  • Three-octave chromatic scale
  • Sight reading may be requested

 

Guitar (classical)

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

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

  • First movement of any Mozart Concerto
  • Two contrasting pieces that demonstrate technical facility and melodic expression, one drawn from the standard concerto, sonata, or solo repertoire (e.g. Strauss, Hindemith, Saint-Saens, Gliere) the other an etude (e.g. Gallay, Kling, Kopprasch, Maxime-Alphonse) or orchestral excerpt
  • Major, minor and chromatic scales in two octaves
  • Sight reading, including transposition (in E-flat or D major) and bass clef, may be requested

 

Jazz (instrumental)

(Bachelor of Music only) 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 below)

  • See primary instrument audition requirements for classical audition
  • The jazz audition must include a jazz etude, solo transcription, or improvisation on a prepared jazz piece selected by the student
  • Interested Jazz Students must also improvise to a pre-recorded CD accompaniment (such as the Jamey Aebersold Play-Along series) and provide their own amplification for playback for regional auditions (iPod docking station, portable stereo, etc)

 

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.  Click here for more details.

Oboe

  • Two contrasting works. (A movement from a larger work is acceptable.  One work may be an etude such as Barret or Ferling.)
  • All major and minor scales from memory.
  • Sight reading may be included at on-campus auditions.

Organ

  • Three pieces from the standard organ literature
    • One piece should be chosen from the works of J.S. Bach, i.e. a prelude, toccata or fantasy and fugue, chorale prelude or a trio sonata movement
    • Two contrasting works selected from the 19th and 20th century
    • Repertoire to be performed should demonstrate the applicant's technical skills and musical abilities
  • Sight-read a standard four-part hymn as well as an easy piece of organ music

 

Percussion

  • Students should be able to perform an etude that demonstrates their level of musical and technical ability on snare drum (rudimental or concert style), keyboard percussion (marimba, vibraphone or xylophone), and timpani (two or four drums)
  • Students 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
  • Students will be asked to sight-read and play scales on marimba

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

 

Piano

For Bachelor of Music applicants:

  • 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.

For Bachelor of Arts with a major in music applicants:

  • Plan to audition with a short program showing evidence of considerable experience at the instrument. Your program should demonstrate your ability to perform notated music in the classical style at a college level in a variety of styles.
  • ​Accepted students who desire to transfer from the BA program to the Bachelor of Music program during their first year will have the option of auditioning for that program, in consultation with their primary teacher.


In both degree options, memorization is highly preferred except in the case of a newer or complex score.

The audition is designed to determine not only your current level of achievement but also your degree of interest and potential for growth. We encourage all serious students to apply and to consult with piano faculty about which degree program may be more appropriate. We look forward to hearing you!

Saxophone

  • Two or three pieces or movements (~15 minutes of repertoire) 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

  • All major and minor scales (harmonic or melodic), played both ascending and descending through the full range of the instrument
  • A chromatic scale (Bb-F#3), played both ascending and descending
  • Sight-reading required 
  • In addition, students may elect to perform a transcribed jazz solo or improvise with pre-recorded accompaniment

 

Trombone

Tenor Trombone and Bass Trombone:

  • 3-5 works that highlight your individual creativity, artistic expression and technical skill
  • 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
  • Roughly 15 minutes of music in total

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
  • Major, minor, and chromatic scales
  • Sight-reading may be requested
  • 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
  • All scales; major, minor (natural, harmonic and melodic)
  • Two octave chromatic scales
  • Some sight reading may be required

 

Viola

Preferably, repertoire will be performed from memory.

  • One movement of a standard concerto or other work for solo viola and orchestra
  • A movement of a solo work by J.S. Bach, from works originally for cello or violin
  • A standard etude or caprice (see below)
  • 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 under-represented composers who are people of color or women, and there are many excellent works for viola in this realm. Consult with your current teacher, or contact the Lawrence faculty violist for ideas about this.

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. 
  • Sight-reading may be requested

 

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.

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 recording or pieces. Finally, if you are submitting more than one piece, please upload separate videos for each piece.

Please reach out to Professor Jose Encarnacion at jose.l.encarnacion@lawrence.edu with any questions.

Your Musical Interests

Interested in the Lawrence Conservatory? Want to hear more about it? Do you want the Lawrence Conservatory to hear more about you?

Fill out our Music Interest Form:

Music Interest Form

Lawrence University does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, parental or marital status, age, or disability. Inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policy may be directed to the Provost and Dean of the Faculty at 920-832-6528. Lawrence adheres to the Statement of Principles of Good Practice of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC).