Auditions FAQ

When and where do I audition?

See live audition dates and locations under Deadlines and Auditions

Do I need to provide my own accompanist?

Yes. Contact the School of Music if you need help finding an accompanist in St. John's. Please give your accompanist as much notice as possible.

What if I cannot attend a live audition?

You may choose to audition by videoconference or send us a video (high quality YouTube link, CD or DVD). Be careful to use the highest possible quality of recording and adjust the camera angle so that we can see how you play your instrument. Click here for more information.

What if I can’t audition live or send you audition materials by the deadline? Are there late auditions?

Late auditions are usually held in May, if space is still available in the program. Students auditioning late cannot be considered for School of Music scholarships. Admission to the bachelor of music program is conditional upon admission or re-admission to Memorial University. You must satisfy the requirements of the University and the School of Music.

Do I have to apply for music scholarships?

All applicants who audition in March will be automatically considered for School of Music entrance scholarships. No separate scholarship application is required. The School has one of the best scholarship programs in the University with up to 40% of incoming students receiving financial aid in one form or another. In addition students from the School of Music consistently do well in university-wide scholarship competitions.

What is included in the live audition?

  • principal instrument audition
  • theory placement test (including rudiments of music theory and aural skills)
  • sightsinging test
  • piano proficiency test (optional)

Your Principal Instrument Audition

All applicants must play an audition on the instrument that they intend to study as their principal instrument while at university. Please note that we do not offer instruction in harp or accordion. The main purpose of the audition is to assess your potential and capacity to complete successfully the applied requirements of the music degree program. The audition panel will be assessing whether or not you:

  • have the technical skills necessary for continued progress at the university level;
  • have developed important musical skills such as aural perception and sight reading; and
  • demonstrate musicality and understanding in your performance.

You will be expected to perform two to three selected works displaying a range of styles, some technique such as scales and arpeggios, and to sight read a short piece.

Audition Guidelines by Instrument

Substitutions for set pieces may be permitted with the prior approval of the Dean. Please provide, at the time of the audition, one copy of each "own choice" composition to be performed.

What’s on the Theory Placement Test?

The Theory Placement Test comprises two components: Music Theory and Aural Skills. The theory placement component of the test is not only an index of music literacy used in making admissions decisions. The results are also used to place you in the most appropriate theory course in your first year. The test is designed to measure comprehension, accuracy and facility across a wide range of basic theoretical concepts.

We are looking for instant and accurate recall of such constructs as:

  • scales and modes
  • key signatures
  • rhythmic notation
  • meter
  • simple and compound intervals
  • triads - major, minor, diminished and augmented
  • seventh chords
  • simple roman numeral analysis

The aural dictation component of the test demonstrates a dimension of music literacy. You will be asked to:

  • identify harmonic or melodic intervals within the range of an octave.
  • recognize major, minor, diminished and augmented triads, and dominant seventh (major-minor seventh) chords.
  • error detection in both rhythmic and melodic writing.

What will I have to do for the Sight Singing Test?

Like the aural dictation test, the sight singing test measures an important dimension of your music literacy and the results will be weighed in your admission decision.

You will be asked to:

  • Sing specific intervals within the range of an octave and sing (arpeggiate) major and minor triads.
  • Perform at sight a rhythmic phrase of 4-8 measures incorporating half notes, quarter notes, eighth notes and dotted rhythms in simple and compound metres.
  • Sing a given diatonic melody at sight in any major or minor key, in treble or bass clef. We recommend, but do not require, that you use moveable doh sol-fa syllables. The melody will be at a level of difficulty comparable to Book II, Oxford Folk Song Sight Singing Series, and may include scale steps, as well as skips within context of tonic, dominant or subdominant chords.

Please note that students who are not auditioning live will have their sight singing tests deferred to a later date.

Who has to take the Piano Proficiency Test, and why?

Unless you are auditioning on piano, this section applies to you. All students will take a course in keyboard fundamentals during their second year. Before that time, you’ll need to pass a test to show that you have sufficient piano skills. You can take the test at the audition, if you choose. Or you can take the test in March of your first year. But you’ll need to pass it in order to register for the keyboard fundamentals course, so if you are not already a good pianist, be prepared to take private piano lessons during your first year.

What’s on the Piano Proficiency Test?

You will be required to play:

  1. Two contrasting pieces of your own choice, equivalent in difficulty to RCM Grade 2 or higher.
  2. The following scales:
    • C, Eb, and D major
    • A, C, and B harmonic minor
      All scales to be played hands together, one octave apart, compass of two octaves, ascending and descending.
  3. The following triads:
    • C, Eb, and D major
    • A, C, and B minor
      Triads are to be played solid and broken, in root position, 1st inversion and 2nd inversion.
  4. Sight reading. The music to be sight read will be easier than the prepared pieces.


School of Music

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000