Audition General Requirements

  • A music student plays trombone

    The audition process for all prospective music majors and music minors consists of the following:

    • Demonstrate sufficient proficiency in an instrument, voice, or composition
    • Earn a score of 70 percent or higher on the Theory Placement Entrance Exam
    • Prepare and play a Piano Proficiency Entrance Exam. (Please see details below-not required for Music Theater Track in Theater or music minors)

    Diagnostic Music Theory Exam

    The Undergraduate Diagnostic Exam is intended to ensure that incoming students are familiar with the rudiments of music. It covers: pitch notation, including treble and bass clef; basic rhythm, including dots and ties; common simple and compound meters; major and minor scales, keys, and key signatures; intervals, including interval quality; and triads, including triad quality.

    The exam consists of 45 multiple-choice questions and is timed to 45 minutes. Students must earn a score of 70 percent in order to pass. Those who fail to do so after two attempts must elect MUSC 113 Theory I Practicum, a one-credit course, in conjunction with MUSC 115 Theory I. Note that while the exam is part of the audition process, it is not a significant criterion for admission.

    The textbook used in core undergraduate theory courses is Steven Laitz’s The Complete Musician: An Integrated Approach to Theory, Analysis, and Listening. It is an excellent reference, but incoming students may wish to practice with web-based resources such as teoria or There are several good mobile apps, eBooks, and YouTube tutorials as well.

    Piano Proficiency Entrance Exam

    All IUP music majors are required to take at least two semesters of piano (exceptions noted below). Based on their piano ability and the results of this placement exam, students who successfully audition and enroll at IUP will be placed in either Applied Piano (private instruction) or Class Piano (group setting).

    Students taking the exam should be prepared to play C and G major scales (two octaves, hands together an octave apart with correct fingerings), a prepared piece of classical literature (not memorized), and sight-reading.

    Students who do not pass the exam or do not choose to take the exam will automatically be placed in Class Piano I. Prospective students who indicate on their audition application that they have at least one year of piano background are strongly encouraged to prepare for and take the piano proficiency exam on the day of their audition.

    Please note: Piano proficiency exams will not be administered except on audition dates.

    Vocal Majors

    All prospective voice majors with more than one year of piano background should prepare for and take the piano proficiency exam at their audition. If students are placed into Class Piano, they will have to complete two semesters of class piano and a jury before they will be allowed to begin their applied piano (private instruction) requirements. The BSEd in voice requires four semesters of Applied Piano, and the BA and BFA require two semesters of Applied Piano.

    Suggested Audition Materials


    Requirements for voice applicants for the BA/BFA in music performance and BSEd music education degree programs  


    Etude or solo required for these instruments, plus sight reading expected on snare and mallets  


    Suggested audition material for the BSEd, BA, or BFA. Composition degrees, and for the BFA in Music Performance  


    A prospective violin, viola, cello, double bass, or guitar student should be prepared to play from the listed repertoire.  


    Requirements for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet (Bb only), Bassoon, and Saxophone  


    Requirements for Trumpet/Cornet, French horn, Trombone, Euphonium, and Tuba  


    Requirements for Composition