The purpose of the diagnostic exams is to determine your readiness for graduate study in music. For all performers, coaches, accompanists, teachers and conductors, the ability to comprehend and hear the written score and to process and organize what you hear is vital.
The music theory and aural skills exams are an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to:
The skill level of the examples on the exam is comparable to what would be expected at the end of a two-year undergraduate basic theory and aural skills sequence.
The written theory exam will be 90 minutes in duration. You are encouraged to write with pencil (bring two or three – and an eraser). The dictation exam will take approximately 30 minutes. Sight singing exams will be done individually, and will be scheduled throughout the day, accommodating your audition and written exam times.
Click below for a sample theory exam and practice dictation exercises:
We recommend preparing for this exam by reviewing any standard texts, such as:
Aldwell, Edward and Carl Schacter. Harmony and Voice Leading. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich
Benward, Bruce and Gary White. Music in Theory and Practice. Wm. C. Brown
Kostka, Stefan and Dorothy Payne. Tonal Harmony. McGraw Hill
Piston, Walter and Mark DeVoto. Harmony. Norton
Form and analysis:
Berry, Wallace. Form in Music. Prentice Hall
Green, Douglas. Form in Tonal Music
Spencer, Peter and Peter Temko. A Practical Approach to the Study of Form in Music. Waveland Press
Sight singing and aural skills:
Adler, Samuel. Sight Singing: Pitch, Interval, Rhythm. Norton
Benward, Bruce and J. Timothy Kolosick. Ear Training: A Technique for Listening. Wm C. Brown
Benward, Bruce and Maureen Carr. Sightsinging Complete. Wm. C. Brown
Kraft, Leo. A New Approach to Ear Training. Norton
Ottman, Robert W. Music for Sight Singing. Prentice Hall
Phillips, Joel et al. The Musicians’ Guide to Aural Skills. Norton
Stevenson, John R. and Marjorie Porterfield. Rhythm and Pitch. Prentice Hall
Music History and Literature Diagnostic Exam
The diagnostic exam in music history and literature will be 90 minutes in duration. The music history and literature diagnostic exam offers you the opportunity to display:
The level of information sought will be that which would be acquired in the course of an undergraduate survey of music history and literature.
The School recommends preparing for this exam by reviewing any of several standard music history texts. The School of Music currently uses the following text in its undergraduate curriculum:
Burkholder, Peter J., Donald J. Grout and Claude V. Palisca. A History of Western Music. Norton
Language Competency Test
The language competency test is administered to applicants in choral conducting and voice (performance and performance/pedagogy). The purpose of the test is to determine your knowledge of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and principles of lyric diction in Italian, German, French and English. A basic level of comprehension (with the assistance of a dictionary) is also expected in Italian, German and French. Click here if you would like to see a sample test.