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Graduate Music Auditions


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.


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

Voice Piano/Organ/Instrument Conducting Composition Music Organizations


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.

Piano, Organ and Instruments

Master of Music

Candidates for the Master of Music degree in performance, piano pedagogy, or church music, or for the Master of Arts degree in fine arts with a primary concentration in 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.

Master of Music Education

An applicant for the Master of Music Education degree should be apprised of the following requirements (possible deficiencies for students who were not music education majors as undergraduates).

  • Three instrument classes (to be determined by previous experience)
  • Elementary School Music and Secondary School Music
  • Choral Director Methods or Band Director Methods
  • An essay on one’s philosophy of music education
  • An interview with a committee from the Music Education Department
  • An elementary test to examine conducting ability

Church Music: Conducting Principal

  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

Church Music: Composition Principal

  • 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)

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.