Audition and Portfolio Requirements

Students interested in undergraduate and graduate Instrumental, Vocal, and Jazz Studies Performance degrees, as well as a graduate Conducting degree, are required to audition for entry to the Undergraduate Music Program or Graduate Master's Program.  Audition dates are February 12, 2022, and February 26, 2022.  To register for Entrance Auditions online, follow this link.  Students applying for graduate education and academic areas are required to submit a portfolio of work in addition to an interview.

Applicants should prepare approximately 15 minutes of music for their audition that showcase their technical and musical abilities.  A live audition is preferred. Auditions through video recordings are accepted via these guidelines.

Composition

Area Coordinator, Dr. Pablo Furman

  • Submit a portfolio of two or three orginal compositions for any instrumental combination (scores and audio recordings).  Post the scores in PDF format and audio in mp3 file format (not WAV or AIFF) in Google drive or Dropbox.com, and send the link to the Composition Area Coordinators, Dr. Pablo Furman.
  • In addition to submitting a composition portfolio, composition applicants must audition on their primary instrument or voice. In lower-division, composition majors must enroll in applied lessons on their primary instrument or voice as well as applied composition lessons.   Please review the information on this page for vocal and instrument auditions, and faculty contacts.
  • All music majors must enroll in a primary performing ensemble each semester they enroll in applied lessons.  Placement auditions for ensembles are required.

Graduate Choral Conducting

Area Coordinator, Dr. Jeffrey Benson

Portfolio, Audition, and Interview

  • Portfolio:
  • Repertory list of works the applicant has studied, has previously conducted, and is prepared to conduct demonstrating familiarity with a substantial repertory of music, mastery of conducting techniques beyond the training level, and a minimum of two years of teaching experience
  • Video recording of the applicant conducting a 10-15 minute rehearsal (unedited) with the candidate’s face and hands to the camera.  
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Resume or CV
  • After the pre-screening (video submission), some candidates will be invited to campus for a live conducting audition with the Concert Choir or other appropriate performing group
  • Interview with conducting faculty

Graduate Instrumental Conducting

Area Coordinator, Dr. David Vickerman

Portfolio, Audition, and Interview

  • Portfolio:
    • Resume/CV (doc, PDF)
    • Repertory List (doc, PDF)
    • Video Links in the email
    • Audio Links in the email
  • Repertory list of works the applicant has studied, has previously conducted, and is prepared to conduct demonstrating familiarity with a substantial repertory of music, mastery of conducting techniques beyond the training level, and a minimum of two years of teaching experience. (Highly qualified and talented applicants without the requisite two years of experience will be considered).
  • Video recording links of the applicant conducting either a rehearsal or performance with the candidate’s face and hands to the camera.  For those applicants who do not regularly conduct a large ensemble, a smaller chamber group may be used.
  • Audio recording links to a performance conducted by the applicant.
  • Send an email directly to Dr. David Vickerman with
  • After the pre-screening (video submission and review of portfolio), some candidates will be invited to campus for a live conducting audition with the Wind Ensemble or other appropriate performing group.
  • Interview with conducting faculty

Instrumental Performance

Woodwinds Area Coordinator, Dr. Michael Hernandez

Brass Area Coordinator, Prof. Tom Hornig

Strings Area Coordinator, Dr. Catalina Barraza

Guitar Area Coordinator, Prof. Steven Lin

Percussion Area Coordinator, Prof. Bryce Leafman

Audition

  • A work from the standard literature demonstrating your skill, musicianship, and proficiency
  • A standard étude for your instrument
  • A major orchestral excerpt.
  • All major and minor scales, the chromatic scale, and arpeggios in the extended ranges appropriate to your instrument.

For information on specific requirements for your instrument, please contact the appropriate area coordinator above.

Jazz Studies

Area Coordinator, Dr. Aaron Lington

Audition

An audition of three selections on your primary instrument.

  • “All the Things You Are”
  • Ballad of your choice
  • Up-tempo selection of your choice

Piano Performance

Area Coordinator, Dr. Pablo Furman

Audition

A multi-era program performed from memory to include:

  • A complete sonata by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, or Schubert;
  • A large-scale work from the Romantic era;
  • A contemporary work written after 1920.

Graduate Music Education

Area Coordinator, Dr. Diana Hollinger

Portfolio

  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Three Letters of recommendation
  • Video of a teaching episode (~15 mins)
  • Statement of intent and teaching philosophy (1-2 pages)
  • Writing sample (essay or term paper from undergraduate coursework)

Graduate Music History

Area Coordinator, Dr. Gordon Haramaki

Portfolio

  • Submit two undergraduate term papers in music analysis between 10-30 pages in length that demonstrate writing ability, skills as a researcher, an critical and original thinking.

Vocal Studies

The requirements for the BM in Vocal Performance and/ or BM in Music Education degree program(s) are as follows:

  • 3 memorized songs in contrasting styles.  One piece must be in a language other than English. One piece may come from the American Musical theater repertoire.
  • There is no approved repertoire list and no instrument/vocal styling restrictions. Students and educators are encouraged to select repertoire that is representative of the student’s personal experiences and culture.

Accompaniment is strongly recommended.  If you have any additional questions regarding finding accompaniments, please do not hesitate to contact the Voice Area coordinator.


Also include 

  • 1 letter of recommendation
  • A list of your audition repertoire one week prior to your audition

The requirements for the MM in Vocal Performance degree program are as follows:

  • 2 letters of recommendation from music professionals with whom you have worked
  • 5 contrasting selections in different languages and styles sung from memory.  

Contact the Voice Area Coordinator for more information
A list of your audition repertoire one week prior to your audition
Video recorded submissions may be submitted in lieu of a live audition reflecting the above requirements. Unlisted or public YouTube videos are preferred.

• Applicants should not upload private videos. 

• No audio or video editing is permitted 

• Repertoire must be performed from memory 

Applicants should include the following information in the video description: Full name, email address, the name of each piece and respective composer names.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact:

Sandra Bengochea, Voice Area Coordinator- sandra.bengochea@sjsu.edu

 

Percussion

  • One four mallet marimba or vibraphone solo of the candidate’s choosing
  • One two mallet xylophone, marimba, or vibraphone solo
  • One orchestral style snare drum etude (such as Delecluse, Cirone, Peters, etc.)
  • One rudimental style snare drum etude (such as Wilcoxon, Pratt, etc.)
  • One timpani etude of your choice
    • Optional: snare drum, mallet, or timpani excerpts from the standard orchestral repertoire