Music Department Admission & Scholarship Auditions

The Music Department requires an audition for all students who wish to pursue a music major at Southwestern.

A prospective student’s audition serves both as an admission and a scholarship audition. Students who are not admitted into the major program on the basis of the audition are welcome to participate in all activities of the Music Department for which they qualify; if they still wish to pursue the major they may re-audition for the Department after they begin their studies at Southwestern.


 Audition Dates for Enrollment Fall 2016

Saturday - Sunday, January 30 - January 31, 2016                      
Woodwind/brass/string/percussion auditions will take place on Sat. Jan. 30
Vocal/piano/guitar auditions will take place on Sun. Jan. 31
Saturday - Sunday, February 27 - February 28, 2016
Vocal/piano/guitar auditions will take place on Sat. Feb. 27
Woodwind/brass/string/percussion auditions will take place on Sun. Feb. 28                    

To schedule an audition and to receive a scholarship application, please email Allison Fannin, Administrative Assistant for The Sarofim School of Fine Arts.

Music Scholarship (for students majoring in Music)

  • Private lesson fee waiver.
  • Renewable annually up to four years.
  • Because the demand for financial aid is high, the Department of Music is obliged to review your progress annually. Evaluative criteria include maintenance of a 2.5 overall grade-point average, satisfactory academic and musical performance, and demonstration of motivation and interest. While we realize that college is a time to explore all areas of learning and that your career and educational plans may evolve and change, in the event that you decide to change your major, you are expected to contact the Chair of the Department as soon as possible so that your scholarship needs may be re-evaluated. Also, changing your major instrument requires a re-audition and may result in an adjustment of your award amount.  If you participate in an off-campus or foreign study program during which you are ineligible for Southwestern University financial aid, your music award is renewable for a total of eight semesters, subject to the same criteria and departmental review.

Audition Requirements:

Woodwinds, Brass and Strings

Two selections representing different stylistic periods (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Twentieth-century). One selection only may be an etude; a program of two etudes is NOT acceptable. Memorization of at least one of the selections is encouraged, but not required. Solos that are written with piano accompaniment must be performed with live accompaniment at the audition—an accompanist will be provided. If a student wishes to use an SU accompanist, music for accompaniments must be received no later than a week before the scheduled audition date.


Three compositions for each of the following instruments: timpani, mallets, and snare drum: i.e., one solo or etude on each instrument (2 or 4 mallets for keyboard percussion). Students should be prepared to demonstrate knowledge of tuning timpani. The Music Department can provide a snare drum, timpani and marimba for auditions; any special equipment needs must be communicated to the Fine Arts Administrative Assistant well in advance of the audition date.


Two complete works (a movement of a standard sonata is considered a complete work) representing different stylistic periods (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Twentieth-century). Memorization is required.


A program of art songs and/or operatic arias totaling three selections. At least one, and preferably two, of the works performed must be in one or more of the standard foreign languages: Italian, French, or German. Memorization is required.

Performance Award (for students not majoring in music, performing in ensembles).

  • Private lesson fee waiver.
  • Renewable annually up to four years.

Audition requirements:

  • Woodwinds, Brass & Strings - Two selections, each representing different stylistic periods (one of these (only) may be a standard or region etude).
  • Percussion - Ten minutes from repertoire that highlights two of the following: timpani, mallets, snare drum.
  • Voice - Two art songs by memory.

Students wishing a non-major Performance Award for 2016 -2017 in these areas will be evaluated by recording ONLY:

  • Piano (only for students with exceptional ability and experience in jazz improvisation or accompanying)
  • Guitar (only for students with exceptional ability and experience in jazz improvisation)

Students who send recordings should request an audition form beforehand and enclose it with the recording, stating clearly for what type of award they are applying. Recordings sent without sufficient identifying information will not be evaluated.

Non-major students may audition for a Performance Award in ONLY ONE performance area. Only one award will be made to any student, of an appropriate amount based on major/non-major status. Students cannot receive two music scholarships in different performing areas, or a music major scholarship and a non-major performance award. Complete compositions, etudes, or movements of sonatas or concertos must be prepared—fragments of works are not acceptable.

Performance with piano accompaniment, if a composition calls for it, is required for prospective music majors desiring a music scholarship. For non-majors who are applying for a P.A., accompaniment is optional, though recommended. Any audition that does not meet all of the criteria for a music scholarship audition listed on the web site (i.e., number of pieces, performance with accompaniment, etc.) will be considered a non-major P.A. audition and awards will be made accordingly.

A live audition cannot be guaranteed if a student cannot appear on one of the scheduled audition days. Requests made after February 10, 2016 for live auditions on the final weekend in February 2016 will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Any student who cannot schedule a live audition is advised to send a CD recording or cassette tape of their audition program as soon as he or she is able. NO individual live auditions will be heard after the last scheduled official audition date. Recordings received after the last audition date will be listened to and evaluated and awards made based on available funds. Students are advised to audition, or send a recording, as early as possible in the spring semester for full consideration.


Eligibility requirements

Candidates must apply for general admission to Southwestern University separately, and must have an active application to Southwestern University in order to schedule an audition. However, they need not have been accepted yet in order to audition. Please note that, although recommendations will be made following a student’s audition, admission to Southwestern must be granted in order to receive the award. An individual student’s admission status may not be determined until after the final audition deadline in March.

Recipients of Department of Music scholarships and Performance Awards may also be eligible for additional assistance such as academic scholarships. In addition, recipients may apply for University need-based aid. For more information, please click: FINANCIAL AID MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS or call 1-800-252-3166.

Any financial aid offer from Southwestern University will be void as of May 1, 2016 if a student accepts financial aid from another college or university.