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Graduate Music Auditions

Deadline

All admission materials for School of Fine Arts and Communication graduate programs, including application, audition, and any program-specific requirements, should be submitted by the following dates prior to the start of the intended semester of enrollment:

  • For fall enrollment: April 1
  • For spring enrollment: October 15

The Music Theory Placement Test is required of all incoming graduate music students.

Auditions

The audition for graduate degrees in music may be presented in person or may be submitted by video or audio recording. The audition requirements for our various graduate degrees are listed below. Live auditions are generally limited to 15 minutes except for the audition in voice where the repertoire specified may cover more than 15 minutes. All applicants are asked to include a list of literature studied during undergraduate work, and this should be submitted at the time of the audition.

Live auditions are preferred; however, those unable to come for a live audition should submit material via Acceptd. Recordings should be unedited and should be performances from within the last 18 months; include a list of repertoire performed. Recorded auditions should include only the applicant and his/her accompanist.

Submit your digital application

Note: All voice selections must be performed from memory.

Master of Music (Voice Perf.)

Candidates for the Master of Music degree in voice performance should prepare 6 songs, and the repertoire is listed below.

  • 3 songs in foreign language (one each in French, German, and Italian)
    • 1 (and only one) of these may be an aria.
    • If an aria is used, it must be written after 1750.
  • 2 songs in English of contrasting mood and style—it is possible that one of the 2 English songs may be an aria. If so, then the other English song would be an art song.*
  • 1 conservative gospel song or hymn (This selection should avoid songs reflecting contemporary popular styles.)

* If the aria is chosen from an English work, then the 3 foreign songs must be from song literature, not from operatic or oratorio sources. One of the categories, (1) or (2), must contain an aria.

Master of Music (Church Music)

Candidates for the Master of Music degree in church music (voice principal) should prepare 5 songs, and the repertoire is listed below.

  • 1 foreign language song
  • 1 oratorio aria
  • 1 English/American anthem
  • 1 English/American art song (or second foreign language song)
  • 1 conservative gospel song or hymn (This selection should avoid songs reflecting contemporary popular styles.)

Master of Music Education

Candidates for the Master of Music Education degree (voice principal as an undergraduate) should prepare three songs, and the repertoire is listed below.**

  • 1 foreign language song
  • 1 English song
  • 1 conservative gospel song or hymn (This selection should avoid songs reflecting contemporary popular styles.)

** BJU music education graduates are not required to take this audition.

Master of Music

Candidates for the Master of Music degree in performance, piano pedagogy or church music should prepare three representative works from three major style periods.*

Master of Music Education

Candidates for the Master of Music Education degree must perform one piece from memory, demonstrating senior-level standards.**

* Pianists must perform the entire audition from memory; organists and instrumentalists must perform one piece from memory.
** BJU music education graduates are not required to take this audition.

Church Music

  1. Two choral pieces will be sent to the applicant several weeks in advance and will be conducted in person with one of the University choirs in a short rehearsal session. One number will be graded on the basis of the innate conducting abilities of the conductor, and the other will be graded on the basis of the rehearsal techniques employed by the conductor.
  2. Sing an art song, folk song or gospel song of the applicant’s choosing.
  3. Vocal sight-reading of several exercises chosen by the audition committee.

Note: The length of this audition will be approximately 40 minutes; an accompanist will be provided. Applicants who are not current BJU students should send a DVD of a recent rehearsal showing their work with a choral ensemble. Include with this a list of conducting courses completed, voice credit earned, and choral experience.

Audition Dates

Fall auditions: September 20 – November 10
Spring auditions: January 20 – March 1 and April 1 – 15

Master of Music

The Graduate Choral Conducting program at BJU gives preference to applicants who are gifted musicians with choral experience, keyboard and vocal skills, and communication skills.

Audition Process

To demonstrate the musical, choral rehearsal/performance, and communication skills necessary to successfully complete the degree requirements, applicants must:

  • Submit a personal resume.
  • Submit a pre-screening video.
  • Perform a live audition/interview.

Personal Resume

  • Education: Institutions and degree/date conferred
  • Choral experience: choir memberships and experiences
  • Conducting experience: Descriptions, locations, dates
  • Repertoire conducted: list of literature

Pre-Screening Video (Video may be waived for applicants finishing a BJU degree the previous year.)

Applicants must demonstrate rehearsal, conducting, and musical skills necessary to be invited for a live audition/interview. Applicants will upload a pre-screening face-on-view video that includes:

  • A rehearsal of at least 10 minutes demonstrating the candidate's pedagogical, rehearsal management, and communication skills.
  • A performance of a single choral piece or movement of a larger work demonstrating the candidate's conducting skills.
  • A brief video recording demonstrating the applicant's level of ability in a major performance area (voice, piano, organ, orchestral instrument, etc.). A 5-10 minute excerpt from a senior or junior recital would suffice.

Resume and with pre-screening video must be submitted online.

Live Audition/Interview

Applicants who pass the pre-screening will be invited to a live audition and interview with the audition committee. Applicants must demonstrate rehearsal, conducting, and musical skills necessary to fulfill the requirements for the degree.

Conducting audition (approximately 12-15 minutes)

  • The candidate will choose and conduct a University choral ensemble in a performance of a single piece from the audition repertoire list below. The committee will evaluate artistry and conducting skills.
  • The candidate will choose and rehearse a different piece from the repertoire list, focusing on interpretive ideas and the choral disciplines of pitch, rhythm, tone, articulation, dynamics and text. The goal is to make one section of the piece sound as the candidate wants it to sound. The committee will evaluate the candidate's understanding of vocal/choral pedagogy, rehearsal pace and demeanor, and communication skills.

Interview

  • Informal discussion of the applicant's background
  • Brief discussion of the preceding conducting audition
  • A demonstration of vocal ability by singing an art song, folk song or gospel song of applicant's choosing. (Accompanist is provided.)
  • A demonstration of sight-singing ability (Score is provided.)
  • A demonstration of open choral score-reading ability (The four-part octavo provided.)

Audition performance repertoire list

  • Lacrymosa, from Requiem, K. 626, W. A. Mozart, Maunder edition, Oxford University Press
  • Zion's Walls, Revivalist Song, adapted by Aaron Copland, SATB arranged by Glen Koponen, Boosey & Hawkes
  • Sure on This Shining Night, Morten Lauridsen, Peer Music
  • The Lord Is My Shepherd, from Requiem, also available as SATB Oxford octavo, John Rutter, Oxford University Press
  • He Watching Over Israel, from Elijah, G. Schirmer, 1940

Church Music

  • The following undergraduate courses are required for acceptance into the program (or must be taken as deficiencies):
    • Eighteenth Century Counterpoint
    • Choral Composition
    • Orchestration
  • Applicant should submit a portfolio including three pieces (at least 8 minutes total duration) which fulfill the following requirements:
    • One choral work (Mixed voices or SATB; a cappella or accompanied)
    • One chamber music piece (Small ensemble of strings, brass, or winds- with or without keyboard accompaniment)
    • At least one piece must not be an arrangement of a pre-existing tune.
    • At least one piece must have been written without help. (See below)
    • Note: Where possible, please include a CD recording (with tracks labeled) of the pieces in the portfolio. (MIDI realizations are also acceptable.)
  • Applicant should bear in mind that the portfolio represents his/her one chance to make the best impression possible. The committee will review the portfolio with the following areas in mind:
    • A “creative spark”- stylistically aspiring to more than “re-hash” or clichés.
    • Variety of styles, moods, textures, instrumentations, etc.
    • Strong foundational skills in part-writing/voice-leading, harmonic progression, and counterpoint.
    • Professional notation skills; “performance-ready” scores.
    • Pieces that demonstrate formal depth are notably more impressive than short pieces without some formal expansion or longer-range sense of development.
    • A current level of creativity and craft such that within four semesters of work, the applicant will be achieving at the level expected of a Master’s degree (i.e., “show-window material” in composition and musicianship, since the M.Mus. is the highest composition degree offered at BJU).
  • While we understand that undergraduates typically receive help with their compositional efforts, we also want to be sure we’re seeing the applicant’s own work. For pieces on which the applicant received help, the applicant should ask the person who helped to email Dr. Ed Dunbar detailing the nature of his/her help:
    • What was the piece like before they helped?
    • In what areas did they help?
    • Did they only point out weaknesses, or also suggest solutions?
    • How did the student respond to either type of help?
    • What is his/her work ethic?
  • Applicant should include a complete, detailed works list. (For information purposes only)
  • Applicant should also include a personal statement (1-2 pages) detailing:
    • Your musical background, degrees, and experience.
    • What you hope to accomplish during graduate work- Why do you want to pursue this degree? With whom do you wish to study?
    • Your career plans/goals, and your rationale for them.
    • Your favorite composers/pieces of concert (“classical”/art) music, and/or church music. (Tell us about the music that really moves you, and/or the music that you aspire to emulate.)
    • Your current strengths and weaknesses, as a composer, and as a musician.
    • Your philosophy of church music. (A short overview)

Master of Music

Audition Process

To demonstrate the musical, compositional, and communication skills necessary to successfully complete the degree requirements, applicants must:

  • Submit a cover letter and a CV listing performing experience, educational background, and a list of compositions composed or arranged.
  • Submit a portfolio including three pieces that reflect a wide variety of instrumentation, style, and technique. Recordings are recommended with tracks clearly labeled. (Though not preferred, MIDI realizations are also acceptable.)
  • Submit three letters of reference from previous music professors (theory/composition, private lessons, etc. (Reference letters are not required from recent graduates of Bob Jones University.)

The Portfolio

Applicants should bear in mind that the portfolio represents the opportunity to make the best impression possible. The committee will review the portfolio with the following areas in mind:

  • A creative “spark” of inspiration that demonstrates the student's ability to communicate musically in a way that is unique and personal.
  • Variety of styles, moods, textures, instrumentations, tempos, etc.
  • Strong foundational skills in part-writing/voice-leading, harmonic progression, and counterpoint.
  • Professional notation skills; “performance-ready” scores.
  • Pieces that demonstrate formal depth are notably more impressive than short pieces without some formal expansion or longer-range sense of development.
  • A current level of creativity and craft such that within four semesters of work, the applicant will be achieving at the level expected of a master's degree candidate.
  • Undergraduates typically receive help with their compositional efforts, and we want to make sure we're seeing the applicant's own work. The applicant should include a statement as to the extent of help he/she received and from whom this was received.

All material, including the portfolio, may be submitted online

The following undergraduate courses are required for acceptance into the program (or must be taken as deficiencies):

  • Eighteenth Century Counterpoint
  • Choral Composition
  • Orchestration

Music Organizations

Graduate students are not required to participate in one of the official musical organizations. Groups open to graduate students include:

  • University Symphony Orchestra
  • Symphonic Wind Band
  • Concert Band
  • University Chorale
  • Concert Choir

Graduate students may also participate in numerous small instrumental ensembles.