Admission to Music study is based, in part, on an audition to assess your potential and capacity to succeed in our programs. In addition to a prepared performance, or a portfolio for composition applicants, prospective students will be tested in sight-reading, music theory rudiments, keyboard skills, and aural skills.
The key to a successful music audition is to start early. By the time you reach high school, you should be working on the various areas of your musical knowledge and skills in anticipation of university music study. Depending on your musical education and experiences to date, you may find that some of your skills are very well developed, while you are only starting to learn the basics in other areas. There are four main areas of your audition for which you can start preparing now:
Performance or Composition skills
Your instrumental/vocal performance or composition portfolio is the most important part of your audition. If you are not currently studying with a private teacher, it is strongly recommended that you take some private lessons well in advance of your audition.
The selection of your audition repertoire/portfolio must be made in accordance with the requirements for your area of specialization (composition or instrumental/vocal performance). Prepare the music thoroughly and consult your teacher for advice on how to put together the best application.
For Instrumentalists/vocalists: You should also work on technical aspects of the audition such as scales and arpeggios. Finally, you should spend regular time reading through unfamiliar repertoire in order to develop your sight-reading skills. The more time you spend preparing, the more confident you will be during your audition.
Music theory skills
We use an online tool, uTheory, to assess basic readiness to do university-level work in music theory. This test can be completed on your phone, tablet, or computer and will provide you with instant feedback about which areas you need to review and practice before beginning your university studies.
If you are auditioning/interviewing in person, please complete this online test BEFORE your audition date. If you are sending a video, please complete the test when you send your video link. Here are the steps to take the test:
- Visit https://utheory.com/testing/3sp2n
- Create an account. Be sure to use your real name so we know who you are!
- You can retake the test up to five times, and the uTheory site will offer you learning modules and practice questions to help you improve. Use your first try just to learn the interface and explore the resources offered.
- The uTheory site will be available to you for a full year, so you can keep coming back whenever you need a tune-up.
One good way to prepare for this test is to study for and write the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Grade 2 rudiments examination. If your high school does not provide formal instruction in music theory, your music teacher or band director may be able to provide some study materials to help you. Your local music supply store can assist you with possible textbooks, such as Keys to Music Rudiments by Berlin, Sclater, Sinclair.
You may also want to consider the option of a private tutor to help you become familiar with basic theoretical concepts and common musical terminology. If you would like some help in finding a tutor, please contact the Fountain School of Performing Arts.
An aural skills survey and diagnostic skills testing are also part of the audition process. Download information about the aural skills survey and the individual sight reading test. The development of these skills will allow you to “hear” music from the printed page.
By practicing singing pitches and clapping rhythms, you will be able to learn music faster and more accurately. By writing out music that you hear played (dictation), you exercise your ear and your aural imagination, making the act of reading music so much easier.
To develop these skills, you should practice identifying by ear various intervals and triads, singing a short melody that has been played or sung to you, and repeating a short rhythm that someone else has clapped first. This will require working with a partner such as a friend, parent, or music teacher, or you can prepare an audio tape to work with on your own. You may also want to consider finding a private tutor.
A 10-minute keyboard skills test is part of the audition process. Download information about the keyboard test.
Good musicianship involves learning a little bit about the piano keyboard, not necessarily in "performing", but in learning basic technique, how to harmonize melodies and accompany them in different styles. You might consider taking introductory piano lessons for a year to help you with these skills.
Students stating that they have no keyboard training will be automatically placed into the proficiency level keyboard skills class.
Setting the date
Students must audition for entry to music degree programs or for applied skills elective classes (instrument or voice). Please submit a Supplemental Application Form to schedule your audition.
For Instrumental/Vocal applicants, the audition includes performance of audition pieces, diagnostic skills testing, and completion of an online theory test.
For students wishing to start Composition study in first year, the audition process includes the assessment of a portfolio of works, a short essay, and an interview with the Composition faculty, in addition to diagnostic skills testing and completion of the online theory test. Students interested in studying instrument/voice during their first two years before joining the Composition program should follow the audition process for Instrumental/Vocal applicants.
Audition dates and schedules are subject to change.
Students auditioning for applied skills elective classes only are not required to complete entrance surveys or keyboard tests. Elective students are accepted only if space permits.
Transfer students should note that we do not accept automatic transfers of theory, aural skills, or applied skills classes. You must complete an audition, followed by equivalency testing, in order to determine your level of study and appropriate transfer credits.