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Undergraduate Audition Guidelines

The following are suggested works for freshman auditions at East Carolina University. For all instruments and voice parts, you may select compositions other than those listed. However, in every case, repertoire must reflect musical and technical proficiency expected of an incoming freshman student. Consultation with a private teacher is strongly encouraged if not expected. Specific questions about the appropriateness of musical selections may be directed to the applied instructor of the specific instrument or the director of undergraduate admissions. See the faculty directory for contact information. Memorization is not required, except for voice and piano. Sight-reading will be requested.


  • Applicants must present two selections from the classical repertoire. Both selections are to be performed from memory.
  • Prepare one song in a foreign language. (Preferably, Italian, German, French, or Spanish, and one song in English. The English selection may be from the standard repertoire of the American Musical Theater – i.e., Broadway songs written before 1970, or Sondheim songs.) If you have questions about suitable repertoire, contact the vocal studies department prior to your audition.
  • Bring one copy of the music for your audition repertoire for your accompanist.
  • Pre-recorded accompaniments of any type are not allowed.
  • An accompanist will be provided for your audition.

In addition to the singing portion of your audition, you will be given an exam to assess your aural and written theory skills. Although recordings are accepted, you are strongly encouraged to audition in person. Those who choose to audition via recording should be aware that they are automatically ineligible for scholarships through the school of music.

Piano

Works from three of the four style periods are required. Portions or movements of longer works, such as sonatas or suites, may be considered as one composition. The audition must reflect acceptable technical and musical standards of performance (i.e., accuracy, style, and musical interpretation). At least two of the three compositions must be performed from memory.

The auditioning committee will make requests from the following technical areas: all major and minor scales and all major and minor triad arpeggios in root position. Scales and arpeggios should be hands together, four octaves, at a moderate tempo. (If you submit tapes, select a major and minor scale and a major and minor arpeggio.)

Suggested Repertoire:
Baroque

Scarlatti: Sonatas; Bach: two-part or three-part invention or selection from The Well-Tempered Clavier

Classic

Haydn: Sonata in C Major (Hob. XVI/35) or Sonata in D Major (Hob. XVI/37); Mozart: Fantasy in D Minor, K.397; Sonata in G Major, K.283; or Sonata in C Major, K.545; Beethoven: Variations and Bagatelles: Sonata in G Minor, Op. 49, No. 1; Sonata in G Major, Op. 14, No. 2; or Rondo in C Major, Op. 51, No. 1

Romantic

Mendelssohn: Songs Without Words; Schumann: Scenes from Childhood; Chopin: nocturnes, waltzes, mazurkas, or preludes

Contemporary

Kabelevsky: Variations, Op. 40; Bartok: Rumanian Folk Dances, Sonatine, or Mikro-kosmos, Vol. V; Tcherepnin: Bagatelles, Op. 5. Scales and Arpeggios.

Organ

Works from three style periods (Baroque, Romantic, and Contemporary) and one hymn are required. The hymn may incorporate a free introduction and/or reharmonized verse(s). For prospective performance majors, memorization is encouraged.

Suggested Repertoire:
Baroque

Bach: Chorale Preludes from the Orgelbüchlein or one of the Eight “Little” Preludes and Fugues; Couperin: Pieces d’Orgue

Romantic

Selected movements from the Mendelssohn Sonatas; Vierne: 24 Pieces en Style Libre; Brahms: Chorale Preludes, Op. 122

Contemporary

Langlais: Organ Book; Dupré: Fifteen Antiphons for Organ; Schroeder: Kleine Präludien und Intermezzi, Op. 9

Demonstrate the ability to perform “the head” to selected standard jazz compositions and the ability to improvise over the preexisting standard and altered chord changes. All auditions should focus on jazz interpretation, stylistic characteristics and each composition must be performed from memory. Sight reading will also be expected by all candidates. Please see the jazz website for more information and list or required standards: http://www.ecu.edu/music/jazz

Bass (Acoustic/String and Electric)

Demonstrate the ability to walk a 12-bar blues, perform a melody, and improvise over chord changes. The electric bass student should also demonstrate the thumb and pop style.

Drums and Percussion

Be prepared to play time and trade 4s in the following styles: rock, funk (hip-hop), swing (fast swing and shuffle), samba, mambo, bossa nova, salsa, etc.

Piano and Guitar

Demonstrate the ability to (comp) accompany a jazz soloist and/or jazz vocalist.

Voice

In addition to the above, all vocalists must perform “Autumn Leaves.” Particular emphasis and attention should be given to jazz vocal stylization/interpretation, swing-ability, jazz phrasing, and jazz improvisation. Vocalists may select their own key for the audition repertoire. Vocalists must also provide three prepared rhythm section parts for each audition selection. Instrumentation should be for piano/keys, bass, and drums.

Two works contrasting in style or tempo are desirable. All major and minor scales should be prepared in at least two octaves and the chromatic scale in the full range of the instrument.

Flute

At least two contrasting works and/or movements from the standard literature including, but not limited to, works by Telemann, Handel, and Bach. One etude from Andersen, Gariboldi, Karg-Elert, or similar may be chosen to replace one of the standard works.

Clarinet

At least two contrasting works and/or movements from the standard literature including, but not limited to, works by Mozart, Weber, Schumann, and Stamitz. One etude may be chosen to replace one of the standard works.

Oboe

At least two contrasting works and/or movements from the standard literature including, but not limited to, works by Handel, Marcello, Cimarosa, Hanson, Albinoni, and Telemann. One etude may be chosen to replace one of the standard works.

Bassoon

At least two contrasting works and/or movements from the standard literature including, but not limited to, works by Mozart and Weber. One etude from Ferling: 48 Famous Studies, Weissenborn: Fifty Advanced Studies, or similar may be chosen to replace one of the standard works.

Saxophone (alto or tenor)

At least two contrasting works and/or movements from the standard literature including, but not limited to, works by Handel and Eccles (arr. Rascher). One etude from Voxman, Ferling, or similar may be chosen to replace one of the standard works.

Two works contrasting in style or tempo are desirable. All major and minor scales should be prepared in at least two octaves and the chromatic scale in the full range of the instrument.

Trumpet

At least two contrasting works and/or movements from the standard literature including, but not limited to, works by Haydn, Corelli, Purcell, Handel, Bernstein, and Balay. One etude from Arban: 14 Characteristic Studies or similar may be chosen to replace one of the standard works.

Horn

At least two contrasting works and/or movements from the standard literature including, but not limited to, works by Mozart, Gliere, Saint-Saens, Strauss, or Dukas. One etude may be chosen to replace one of the standard works.

Trombone

At least two contrasting works and/or movements from the standard literature including, but not limited to, Guilmant, Marcello, Barat, or Morel. One etude from Bordogni: Melodious Etudes ed. Rochut or similar may be chosen to replace one of the standard works.

Euphonium

At least two contrasting works and/or movements from the standard literature including, but not limited to, Guilmant, Marcello, Barat, or Morel. One etude from Bordogni: Melodious Etudes ed. Rochut or similar may be chosen to replace one of the standard works.

Tuba

At least two contrasting works and/or movements from the standard literature including, but not limited to, Handel, Tcherepnin, Bach, or Holmes. One etude may be chosen to replace one of the standard works.

Students auditioning for consideration as a major in percussion performance must perform in all four areas. All others must audition on any three of the areas. Visit the percussion audition page for complete percussion audition details. What follows is an abbreviated version of the percussion audition recommendations.

Snare Drum

Rudiments #1–26 from PAS list of 40 SD rudiments. A prepared solo/etude. (Etudes from Cirone: Portraits in Rhythm or similar).

Mallets

All major scales two octaves leading with either hand. All major triad arpeggios 2 octaves leading with either hand. Prepared solo for two mallets. (Selection from McMillan: Masterpieces for Marimba or similar).

Timpani

Tune the timpani to a given pitch. Tune to a P4 or P5 above or below a given pitch. Long roll, ppp to fff. Prepared solo. (Selection from Firth: The Solo Timpanist or similar).

Drum Set

Be prepared to play time and trade 4s in the following styles: rock, funk, swing, samba, mambo. Read a big-band chart with accompaniment.

Two works contrasting in style or tempo are desirable. All major and minor scales should be prepared in three octaves (two octaves for bass) and the chromatic scale in the full range of the instrument (both slurred and single bows).

Violin and Viola

At least two contrasting works and/or movements from the standard literature. One etude from Kreutzer, Dont, or similar may be chosen to replace one of the standard works.

Cello

One or two movements from Bach: Suites for the Unaccompanied Cello and one movement of a concerto from the standard repertoire.

String Bass

At least two contrasting works and/or movements from the standard literature. One etude may be chosen to replace one of the standard works.

Guitar

Any study by Sor, Carcassi, or Aguado from Shearer: Classic Guitar Technique, Vol. II; Hirsch: Chanson (p. 121) or Reverie (p. 188) from Shearer: Learning the Classic Guitar, Part 2; any solo after p. 131 in Noad: Solo Guitar Playing, Book One; Brouwer: Etudes Simples 1–10. Scales: Major scales, two and three octaves, four notes per beat at M.M. 60.

Graduate Audition Information

  • Prepare a minimum of six selections in differing styles and expressing proficiency in English, French, German, and Italian.
  • At least one selection must be an operatic aria. At least one selection must be an aria from an oratorio.
  • Memorization of all works is required.
  • An accompanist will be provided for your audition.

Performance of three contrasting compositions (or movements of larger works) from the major repertoire for the instrument are required. Sight-reading and scales and arpeggios may be requested.