All students who major in music must choose a major applied area in which to concentrate based on their principal instrument. This may be voice, piano, or instrumental (brass, woodwind, strings, or percussion.) Students are strongly encouraged to audition during the semester prior to beginning course work at Texas Southern University. Live auditions are held at least once a semester either during scheduled times or by appointment. You may also audition when one of our faculty members visits your campus or virtually, if needed.

The results of the audition will either be:

A) Unrestricted acceptance into the applied area with the permission to take music classes according to the curriculum or

B) Probationary acceptance into the applied area with the stipulation that

  • The probationary period will last no more than two (2) consecutive semesters from the date of the audition. The probationary period consists of Fall and Spring semesters. The probationary period can be successfully completed after one semester; however, after two semesters the student must satisfy the minimal requirement for acceptance or seek another major of study.
  • Students under the probationary status must enroll in the MUSA 111/112 for their applied lessons.
  • The student cannot take any 300/400 level music classes while on a probationary status.

Students who have auditioned will receive a letter specifying their audition results. 

Audition Requirements

Vocalist should prepare one selection in English and are strongly encouraged to prepare an additional song in a foreign language. Song selections may include an operatic aria, spiritual, art song in any language, traditional or patriotic hymn such as The Star Spangled Banner; America the Beautiful, etc.

Prospective students will also:
a. Vocalize to determine range
b. Sight-read a short vocal excerpt
c. Demonstrate their tonal memory

Pianist should prepare two contrasting pieces at a level equivalent to Bach Three Part Inventions, Beethoven Op. 49 or early Haydn, Mozart sonatas OR a level equivalent to Bach Two-Part Inventions, Mozart Viennese Sonatinas, Clementi or Kuhlau Sonatinas.

Prospective students will also:
a. Perform all major scales (2-4 octaves)
b. Sight-read pieces such as those found in the Bach “Anna Magdalena Notebook” or Bartok “Mikrokosmos” Book 2 and 3

Percussionist should audition on at least one of the following: snare drum, timpani, keyboard mallet percussion, or multiple percussion. Depending on instrument choice, come prepared to play rudiments and/or 1-2 solo pieces for the instrument. Major scales should be performed on the mallet instrument. 

INSTRUMENTALIST (Brass, Woodwind, Strings)
Other instrumentalist should prepare two contrasting works such as a movement from a concerto, an instrument specific etude, or a movement of unaccompanied Bach.

Prospective students will also:
a. Perform one major and one melodic minor scale (2-3 octaves)
b. Sight-read a short instrumental excerpt

Composition students should bring a portfolio of compositions and share details about their intentions and process of composing.

Prospective students intending to major or minor in jazz should additionally prepare a piece within the jazz idiom that demonstrates proficiency on the instrument and various jazz styles (ie., big band, bebop, or a jazz etude or transcription).

Prospective students will also:
a. Improvise over 1-2 jazz standards or the blues progression
b. Sight-read a short excerpt
c. Perform a variety of scales (ie., major, minor, dorian, etc.) 1-2 octaves

Lastly, specific instrumentalist should demonstrate the following:
a. Execute melodies in a variety of styles (wind instruments, guitar, bass, piano)
b. Demonstrate comping and reading figures (guitar, bass, piano)
c. Demonstrate an ability to play a variety of time feels and set-up big band figures (percussion)