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Music

Auditions and Scholarships

Each year, Carthage offers more than $300,000 in renewable music scholarships to incoming freshmen and transfer students who demonstrate outstanding musical potential. Individual scholarships range from $500 to $13,000 and may be offered to music majors, minors, and non-majors.

How to Apply 

An audition is required for admittance into the music major or minor, and for scholarship consideration. All students are asked to first submit an application to the Office of Admissions before scheduling an audition. In-person auditions are held on scheduled audition dates before a panel of two or more music faculty members. Students unable to attend the scheduled audition dates may call the coordinator of auditions to discuss the possibility of a weekday audition. Auditions take place every February. 

Apply online for a music audition

Notification 

All music scholarship auditions are assessed at the end of the audition process and the results are included in student financial aid packages sent in March by the Office of Student Financial Planning.

Audition Guidelines

Primary Audition

Prospective music majors, minors, and non-majors must complete an audition in a primary performance area. Two selections in contrasting style from the standard solo repertoire are required (instrumentalists may perform two contrasting movements of a sonata or concerto or an advanced etude in place of one of the contrasting solos). The audition should demonstrate accurate technical ability, effective musicianship, and engaged interpretive skill. 

Auditions for admittance into the major or minor, and for scholarship consideration, are competitive. Therefore, students should prepare music from the standard repertoire that clearly demonstrates their highest level of musical and technical ability, as well as potential for excellence in music. Follow this link for a list of suggested repertoire arranged by performance area. An accompanist will be provided for vocal auditions, and upon request for instrumental auditions (recorded accompaniments are not permitted).

What to Prepare

Students should prepare as follows:

Brass, Strings, and Woodwinds:

  • Two selections in contrasting style from the standard solo repertoire are required. Two contrasting movements of a sonata or concerto or an advanced etude may be performed in place of one of the contrasting solos.
  • Major scales commensurate with the range of your instrument (four scales will be selected at the audition)
  • Sight reading exercise

Keyboard (piano and organ):

  • Two selections in contrasting style from the standard solo repertoire are required.
  • Major and minor scales and arpeggios in all keys (four scales will be selected at the audition)
  • Sight read an accompaniment

Percussion:

  • Two selections in contrasting style from the standard solo repertoire are required.
  • Choose two of the following areas for your audition: Snare Drum, Keyboard Percussion, and Timpani (students with experience in drum set may choose this as a third area in addition to two of the required areas)
  •  Marimba: Major scales in two octaves (four scales will be selected at the audition)
  • Sight reading exercise as appropriate for your selected areas

Voice:

  • Two selections in contrasting style from the standard solo repertoire are required.
  • Sight read melodic passages
  • Pitch-matching (tonal memory)
  • Rhythmic exercises

Music Theatre: (Learn more about music theatre)

  • Choose one of the two Music Theatre audition dates
  • Two selections in contrasting style from the standard solo repertoire are required.
  • Two contrasting monologues, each no longer than 1 minute, for a total of two minutes
  • Sight read melodic passages
  • Pitch-matching (tonal memory)
  • Rhythmic exercises
  • Dance call: all candidates for the music theatre major must complete a dance call, including ballet combinations, jazz combinations, a modern combination, and a tap combination.

Secondary Audition

Though not required, students may audition in a secondary performance area. If auditioning in two areas, please prepare two selections for your primary area and one for your secondary. Students are eligible to receive a music scholarship in one area, a limited number of scholarships are available to students who excel in more than one area.

Assessment/Placement Exams

All prospective music majors and minors must complete assessments in music theory and keyboard skills (non-majors need not complete these exams). The primary audition is the principal determinant for admittance into the music major or minor and for scholarship consideration. However, these exams provide useful information to the music faculty regarding the student’s musical knowledge, skills, and experience. They also assist in placement within music courses at the time of acceptance and may influence the level of scholarship awarded.

Music Theory

The Music Theory Assessment measures knowledge of Music Theory fundamentals which one normally encounters in the process of studying harmony and voice leading. Participation in a high school level music theory course is not required to complete the assessment, though such experience is helpful and recommended.

Keyboard Skills

The Keyboard Skills Placement Exam is used by the music faculty to determine placement within Keyboard Skills classes. Students with some piano training may be exempt from some or all of the keyboard skills sequence. Students with no prior training in piano who are accepted into the music major or minor are encouraged to seek piano instruction prior to entering in the fall as the piano serves as a useful tool and foundation for study in music.

Additional Items to Bring With You

  • A copy of your resume (may include items such as ensembles memberships, solo and chamber music performances, music theatre and opera performances, awards, leadership opportunities, names of private music instructors, etc.)
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • A copy of your music if you are using an accompanist (accompanists are provided for all vocal auditions and are not required in instrumental auditions). The copy should be in the key you plan to perform, double-sided, collated, and in a three-ring binder. Recorded accompaniments are not permitted
  • Piano and organ students should also provide a repertoire list
  • Music Theatre students should include a headshot with your resume

Where to Go

Auditions are held in the H.F. Johnson Fine Arts Center, room 140 or room 142. This building is located just south past the chapel. Turn right when you pass the chapel heading south. There is a visitor parking lot to your left. Our building is directly north. There are two sets of doors. Please enter the southwest doors, turn to your right and go downstairs. There are practice rooms available on both floors for pre-audition warm-ups.
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