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B.A. (Commercial Music) Audition Requirements

Feel free to audition with pieces that best highlight your strengths without concern for whether or not they are highly technical or fit into a certain stylistic category or genre. The Department of Music at KU has an interest in a wide-variety of musical styles. We appreciate excellence in established musical genres like classical and jazz but also on other new and emerging styles. As an auditionee, you should play or singing the pieces that best show who you are.

Prepared Piece
When choosing your pieces, it is a good idea to contact your would-be applied teacher at KU to ask for guidance. You can find a list of our applied faculty here.

Among the types of pieces typically chosen by auditioning students include:

  1. A standard or jazz tune (which may include blues and rhythm changes) with your own improvisation
  2. A classical piece such as a sonata, etude, or art song
  3. A tune that you composed, especially if your focus is commercial music (songwriting) or composition
  4. A transcription of an innovative performer such as Charlie Parker or Esperanza Spaulding.
  5. A tune from a popular artist or band
  6. If you are a vocalist in the Commercial Music degree program, you may audition with two Musical Theatre/Broadway selections, or a Musical Theatre selection and a popular music selection. Both selections must be memorized and you must have a piano accompaniment for both pieces. We will provide an accompanist for your audition.

Don't be limited by this list, it is only a suggestion.

If you are a percussionist:

  • You may audition on either drumset or orchestral percussion.
  • Drumset majors should be able to demonstrate a variety of styles on drumset; Latin, rock, swing, bebop, funk, etc.
  • A knowledge of standard orchestral percussion is a plus but not a requirement.
  • If vibes is principal instrument, play a jazz standard melody with chords.
  • If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Kumor at 610-683-4548.

If you'd like to have an accompaniment, feel free to use a recording that does not duplicate the part your are performing. Accompanists are provided for vocal auditions. Vocal auditions do require an accompaniment. If you need a different type of accompaniment, please contact us and we can make the appropriate arrangement.

You may be asked to demonstrate technique particular to your performance area. For example, a drummer may be asked to demonstrate typical styles. For trumpet players, a demonstration of range and flexibility may be asked. For singers the ability to project, etc.

Ear Training
You will be asked to demonstrate pitch-matching ability, repeat a melody, and other rudimentary listening skills.

In order to place students in the appropriate music theory class, a short diagnostic test will be part of the audition process. It is a placement test, and therefore do not worry if you have not had music theory in high school.