Skip to main content
UWSP Student Playing Saxophone

Department of Music Music Auditions

Studying Music at UWSP

You are on your way towards becoming a member of the UWSP musical family! Whether you are planning on being a music major, minor, or pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree, you will need to audition to be admitted to the Department of Music. Auditions for incoming students typically take place the year before you start studying at UWSP (during the senior year of high school for most people). Your audition will take care of three things:

  1. Your acceptance to the Department of Music
  2. Your scholarship eligibility
  3. Your keyboard skills placement (see below)

Applying to and auditioning for the Department of Music is separate from your application to UWSP. You will need to take care of that in addition to scheduling your music audition.

Applicants will be notified of their music admission status and of any scholarship offer made by the department shortly after the audition.

Audition Requirements

Warm-up rooms are available throughout the audition day. A committee of music faculty will hear your audition.
  • Two pieces in contrasting style (one more technical and one more lyrical)
  • Several scales: major, minor, and/or chromatic
  • Sight-reading

Classical Guitar

  • Two pieces in contrasting style
  • One major scale and one minor scale (three octaves each) from the Diatonic Major and Minor Scales edited by Segovia
  • Sight-reading

Jazz Guitar

  • Two Jazz pieces of contrasting style, one medium-tempo and one up-tempo including a melody statement comping and an improvised chorus on each tune
  • Demonstration of any other style (classical or rock for example)
  • Sight-reading
  • Brass/Woodwinds/Strings/Voice:
    1. Prepare two contrasting jazz standards.
    2. Sight-reading.
    3. Improvise over a 12-bar blues or one of your chosen jazz standards (optional).
    4. Performance of a transcribed solo (optional)
  • Clarinet
    1. Prepare at least two jazz pieces PLUS a solo which demonstrates “advanced technical ability” as a clarinetist. One jazz piece must be a Dixieland clarinet piece (because of the scholarship donor’s particular love for that style). The other jazz piece should be in another style and may be played on the clarinet, the saxophone, or on any other instrument on which the candidate plays jazz. At least one (but ideally both) of the two prepared jazz pieces will demonstrate the candidate’s improvisation abilities.
  • Guitar/Piano/Vibes:
    1. Demonstration of comping in swing (various tempos), bossa nova, Afro-Caribbean, and rock/funk grooves.*
    2. Sight-reading.
    3. Improvising over a 12-bar blues (optional)
    4. Performance of a transcribed solo (optional)
  • Bass:
    1. Demonstration of walking bass line in swing (various tempos), bossa nova, Afro-Caribbean and rock/funk grooves.*
    2. Sight-reading.
    3. Improvising over 12-bar blues (optional)
    4. Performance of a transcribed solo (optional)
  • Drum set: 
    1. Demonstration of swing (various tempos; use of brushes and sticks), bossa nova, Afro-Caribbean and rock/funk grooves.*  Be prepared to alternate sections of time with sections of improvisation.
    2. Sight-reading.
    3. Performance of transcribed solo (optional).

* Examples include:  Tune Up (fast swing); Freddie Freeloader (medium swing); I’ll Remember April (Latin/Swing); Song for My Father (bossa nova); St. Thomas (Calypso); Caravan (Afro 6/8); A Night in Tunisia (Mambo or Afro 6/8); The Chicken (funk)

Perform a solo on two of the four core instrument categories listed below. If auditioning for scholarships, please perform on three of the four categories.

  1. Snare Drum – concert or rudimental (both would be preferred).
  2. Keyboard Percussion (marimba, vibraphone, or xylophone – 2 or 4 Mallets).
  3. Timpani – also demonstrate ability to tune the drums to given pitches.
  4. Drum set
    1. Play time in several styles including rock, swing, funk, various Latin styles.
    2. Trade 4’s in your chosen styles.
    3. Play an improvised solo with a clear beginning and ending.

Sight reading is required on snare drum and keyboard percussion.  Knowledge of scales and arpeggios is expected on keyboard instruments.  Perform open and closed rolls and other standard rudiments on snare drum.

3 memorized works, including:

  1. Contrapuntal work by Bach or from the Baroque period
  2. Movement(s) of a classical sonata (e.g. Beethoven, Haydn or Mozart)
  3. Romantic work and/or a twentieth-century work (jazz works may be included)
  4. Sight-reading may be requested

Music Minors: 2 memorized works chosen from the suggested repertoire

For graduate audition information please contact Molly Roseman mroseman@uwsp.edu

  • Two pieces in contrasting style
  • Three octave major scale of your choice
  • Three octave melodic minor scale of your choice
  • Sight-reading
  • Two memorized classical pieces in contrasting style – one in English and one in a world language
  • Sight-reading
  • Tonal and rhythmic memory exercises
  • Two pieces in contrasting style (one more technical and one more lyrical)
  • Several scales: major, minor, and/or chromatic
  • Sight-reading

​Group Piano Placements

All non-keyboard music majors must fulfill piano proficiency requirements as designated in their specific degree plans.  See piano requirements for your specific area in the UWSP Course Catalog. All entering freshman and transfer music majors must meet with the piano faculty to determine appropriate piano placement. Piano placements are determined during music entrance auditions, or if necessary, by appointment with piano faculty. Students with no previous keyboard experience are automatically placed into the beginning level of group piano.

Students with piano background should be prepared to play a short prepared piece; sight-read a short excerpt; and demonstrate previously acquired technical skills such as scales and chord progressions.

Students interested in fine tuning their skills in preparation for piano placement exams and/or group piano classes are encouraged to examine the following information:

Keyboard Placement

On the day of your audition, if you have prior experience you will meet with the piano faculty to determine placement-with the exception of those auditioning on piano. Those without a piano background will be placed in beginning class piano. For those with piano ability, please be prepared to:

Frequently Asked Questions

The first step is to apply for admission to UWSP through the admissions office. The second step is to contact the music office through our web page or by calling 715-346-3107. We will send you the necessary application forms and information and will arrange a time for you to audition for admission.

Our regular audition dates are in November, February and March. The specific dates are listed above. Contact the Department of Music through our web page by calling 715-346-3107 to arrange for your audition.

Or contact us to schedule an alternate date.

The easy answer is yes, either within the Department of Music (music education and performance, for example) or in other fields (Spanish or mathematics, for example). Some majors work more easily with music than others. Humanities and Social Sciences seem to work better than the hard sciences, because science labs often conflict with our ensemble rehearsal times.

Contact us to discuss possibilites.

Yes, all music majors and minors must audition to be admitted to the program.

 

Your chances are quite good. Very close to 100% of our music education graduates find teaching positions, and our performance majors are regularly admitted to excellent graduate programs. Our performance graduates hold positions in military ensembles, full time professional symphony orchestras, and as studio musicians, university teachers and private teachers. Our Bachelor of Arts degree graduates hold positions in music related careers in music publishing, music management, music technology and software development, music merchandising, music manufacturing, etc.

You can continue to play more than one instrument as a music major or minor, but all music majors and minors must decide on one instrument to be their primary instrument. You can play your other instruments in ensembles or sing in a choir in addition to playing in a band or orchestra, and you can even take lessons on your secondary instrument or instruments if there is room in the schedules of the professors who teach them. While there are exceptions, most music majors find that the amount of time and effort it takes to achieve the required proficiency on their primary instrument makes it difficult to continue serious study of a secondary instrument. The most frequent exceptions are students who play a band or orchestra instrument or sing and also play the piano.

Yes. There are four levels of group piano classes ranging from beginning to moderately advanced, and each music major whose primary instrument is not the piano is placed in the class that is best for them.  More advanced piano students are placed in private lessons even if piano is not their primary instrument.

Yes, you should still audition at your scheduled time even if you have not been admitted to the university. However, it is important to understand that you cannot be admitted to Department of Music until you have been admitted to the university.

Your advisor will help you register for an ensemble. Auditions for the ensembles take place during the first week of classes. New music students sometimes have to change their ensemble after the audition results are posted. This is an easy process, and your professors will help you.

Your advisor will help you decide. Most freshman music majors take 9-10 music credits and 5-6 credits of General Degree Requirements (GDR’s) for a total of 14-16 credits.

No. Every music major is required to be in a large ensemble every semester. Non-music majors who takes lessons are also required to be in a large ensemble.

The Department of Music has more expensive instruments, such as tubas, euphoniums, horns, bassoons, oboes, percussion instruments and string basses available for rental. Instruments such as tenor and baritone saxophones, piccolos and bass clarinets are also available for students who are assigned to play them in an ensemble. It is expected that music majors will plan to purchase their own instruments at some point.