Admission to the School of Music


School of Music
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292

Phone: (502) 852-6907
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Admission Requirements

Every prospective School of Music student must successfully audition and submit the following before a formal admission recommendation is made:

  1. A completed application for admission to the University of Louisville, including the application fee
  2. A completed School of Music Application for Financial Aid (optional)
  3. Official high school/college transcript
  4. Scores from the American College Testing (ACT) Program (required for all full-time applicants who have earned fewer than 24 acceptable semester credit hours in a college or university)
  5. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).  If English is not your native language, you must verify your English proficiency by submitting official, satisfactory scores (550 or higher for paper-based test, 213 or higher for computer-based test, or 79-80 on the internet-based test), or a score of 6.5 on the IELTS exam, or by successful completion of the Intensive English as a Second Language (IESL) program at the University of Louisville, and
  6. Names and contact information of two references, at least one of whom must be a music professional who has taught or directed the student (private teacher, high school teacher, ensemble director, etc.); the other may be another music professional or a high school teacher of a different subject.
  7. Although each student must play or sing a performance audition for the School of Music, applicants to the BM program with emphasis in Composition must also submit a portfolio of work that includes the following: three or four samples of original compositions, along with recordings of the same works, if possible. Evidence of experience using various instrumental and/or vocal combinations is helpful.
  8. In addition to the instrumental/voice audition, the successful music theory applicant will submit a portfolio containing three items: a) an essay of 500 words or more about a piece of music, which can be an analysis, a set of program notes, or a description of what you like about the piece; and b), one of the following: a composition (either stylistic or original; please send score and recording), a melody harmonization for four voices, a figured bass realization, or a 2-voice mixed species counterpoint example; and c), a short essay (100-200 words) detailing why you want to study music theory. Students who have questions about what to submit in the portfolio should feel free to ask questions before submitting.
  9. Because the field of Music Therapy requires the therapist to sing to patients/clients, a demonstration of functional vocal ability must accompany the application of all non-voice principle majors. Applicants must submit a video recording of themselves singing two solo songs of contrasting styles. These songs do not need to be memorized, can be very simple, and may be accompanied by an instrument or sung a cappella. The video must be sent via YouTube for evaluation by the faculty. Please email the YouTube/video links to by February 27.

Students admitted on probation/conditionally must be in good standing after one or two semesters (as indicated in the acceptance letter), or they will be dismissed and not allowed to continue pursuing a degree in music.

All recommendations are pending the student meeting minimum admission requirements of the School of Music (2.75 GPA and 21 ACT).

Note: Admission to Teacher Education requires 21 ACT. Students must apply to Teacher Education in the second semester of their sophomore year (February 1application deadline). Failure to be admitted to Teacher Education will delay a student’s ability to take advanced classes in music education and teacher education.

Prerequisite Training in Applied Music

Audition requirements can be found at:

Instrumental requirements:

Jazz requirements:

Voice requirements:

All Applied Music Fields

If the qualifying entrance examinations indicate that an entering student has not reached the minimum level of achievement in required music fields (or in certain theoretical courses), the student will be required to take appropriate courses without credit until the proper level is attained.

Instrumental (non-Jazz) Undergraduate Audition Requirements

All prospective bassoon students should be prepared to play 2-3 works of contrasting styles. You may be asked to play scales and to sight-read.

All prospective cello students should be prepared to play 2 or 3 contrasting pieces. Suggested repertoire consists of the following:

  • a movement of a concerto;
  • a movement of solo Bach;
  • an etude; or
  • a solo piece or sonata.

All prospective clarinet students should be prepared to play 2 works, or movements of works, of contrasting styles. Scales are not required, but you will be asked to sight-read.

Double Bass
All prospective bass students should be prepared to play 2-3 contrasting solo selections, standard orchestral excerpts, and major and minor scales. You may also be asked to sight-read.

All prospective euphonium students should be prepared to perform 2 or 3 selections in contrasting styles from solo literature or etudes. These selections should demonstrate both expressive and technical dimensions of the student’s playing. Major scales and sight reading may also be asked.

All prospective flute students should be prepared to play 2 pieces of contrasting styles for the audition, for a total of 8-10 minutes of music. You should be prepared to sight-read and play a few scales.

French Horn
All prospective horn students are required to play 2 pieces of contrasting styles, scales, and to sight-read.

All prospective guitar students must display the following:

  • Completion of Aaron Shearer’s Classic Guitar Technique, Vol. 1 or a comparable classic guitar method;
  • Preparation of at least 3 contrasting pieces preferably from different historical periods (i.e. Renaissance, Baroque, Classical/Romantic, 20th Century/Contemporary); one of the pieces should be etudes by such composers as Aguado, Brouwer, Carcassi, Guiliani, Sor, Tárrega, or Villa-Lobos;
  • Knowledge of applicable technical studies: Guiliani’s 120 Right Hand Studies, Segovia’s Diatonic Major and Minor Scales, Carlevaro’s School of Guitar; and have sufficient sight-reading abilities.

All prospective harp students should be prepared to play 2 pieces of contrasting styles, for a total of 12-15 minutes of playing.

All prospective oboe students should be prepared to play 2-3 works of contrasting styles, such as a Handel Sonata or pieces of comparable difficulty. Students may be asked to play scales and to sight-read.

To enter the four-year degree program in organ, the student should have completed sufficient piano study to be able to play Bach Inventions, Mozart sonatas, Beethoven sonatas, and compositions by Mendelssohn, Grieg, Schubert, and Schumann.

Students should perform works in the following categories that accurately represent their current level of achievement. There may be possible sight-reading on all instruments (keyboards, timpani, snare drum).


  • One 2-Mallet and/or 4-Mallet keyboard work (with or without piano accompaniment);                                                               
  • Two snare drum works (rudimentary and orchestral);                                         
  • One Timpani work (2, 3, or 4 Drums); and
  • Snare Drum Rudiments.


  • One multiple percussion work; or
  • Drum Set: various styles (Jazz, Bossa Nova, Afro, Cuban, etc.).

To be admitted as an undergraduate piano student, students should:

  • Be able to play all major and minor scales and arpeggios correctly at a moderately rapid tempo;
  • Have the skills to sight read compositions of moderate difficulty; and
  • Have already studied such compositions as Bach Inventions, classical sonatas, and works by such composers such as Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann, Debussy, Bartok, and Kabalevsky.

At the audition, students will be expected to play three pieces of contrasting styles including:

  • Bach Two or Three Part Invention or suite movement;
  • Movement of a classical sonata; and
  • Romantic, Impressionistic, or Twentieth/Twenty-first Century work.

They will also be asked to present:

  • Scales and arpeggios in any major or minor key; and
  • Sight reading of an intermediate level work.

Students must bring to the audition a Repertoire List including works studied in the past five years.

All prospective students should be prepared to play 2-3 works, or movements of works, of contrasting styles. Students may be asked to play major and minor scales and to sight-read.

Tenor Trombone: proficiency in major scales, 2 octaves; 1 Rochut Melodious Etude; Morceau Symphonique by Guilmant or Concertino by David.

Bass Trombone: proficiency in major scales, 2 octaves; 1 Rochut Melodious Etude, Vol. 1; pick 1 solo from Patrick McCarty Sonata, Lebedev Sonata, or Telemann Fantasies.

All prospective students are required to play 2 pieces of contrasting styles, scales, and to sight-read.

All prospective students should perform 2-3 selections in contrasting styles from solo literature or études. These selections should demonstrate both expressive and technical dimensions of the student’s playing. Major scales and sight-reading may also be asked.

All prospective students should be prepared to play:

  • One 3-octave scale (the student may choose the key);
  • One movement from the Bach Unaccompanied Cello Suites; and
  • One movement from the standard viola literature that best demonstrates the student’s ability.

To enter the degree program in violin performance, the student should be able to perform:

  • A movement of any Bach Sonata or Partita;
  • A movement of any Mozart Concerto; and
  • A movement of any Romantic Violin Concerto.

To enter any other degree program, the student should be prepared to perform:

  • Two movements of contrasting styles, one of which should be a movement of unaccompanied Bach.

Instrumental (Jazz Studies) Undergraduate Audition Requirements

Major Instrument Requirements
All scale and chord possibilities can be found in any Aebersold volume, Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshop handout, or contact the school for material. A jazz experience at University of Louisville is geared toward achieving a greater proficiency in ensemble playing. Your primary performing opportunities will be in jazz ensemble and combo. Solo performance is a desirable goal and may also be studied.

All Instruments (except Drums, where noted)

Scales – All 12 keys in at least two octaves

  • Major/Dominant/Minor (Dorian preferred)
  • Blues scales (not for bass)

Chords/Arpeggios: Major/Dominant/Minor

Play the following: all selections can be found in Aebersold Volume 54 “Maiden Voyage”

  • Blues in either Bb or F;
  • A tune of your choice: melody and improvisation (good choices include Autumn Leaves, Summertime, Maiden Voyage, Satin Doll);
  • A jazz transcription if possible by a master performer on your instrument; and
  • Optional: a classical selection of your choice, length not important.

Sight-reading: Melody and improvise basic chord progression


  • One hand voicings
  • Right hand guide tones/Left hand root
  • Three and/or four notes rootless voicings (guides and one or two color tones) in either right or left hand
  • Sight-reading
  • Basic chord progression: Right hand voicings/left hand root
  • Melody and improvisation with or without voicings


  • Two voicings for all root position seventh chords (one voicing from sixth string and another off or fifth string)
  • Sight-reading
  • Melody and improvise basic chord progression
  • Comp through progression


  • Sight-reading
  • Basic chord progression
  • Demonstrate: 2 beat/walking/Latin

Drum Set

  • Demonstrate the following styles in either 32 or 12 bar form: Swing/Bossa Nova/Rock (any style)/Afro-Cuban
  • Be able to play time in either 32 or 12 bar form: 4/4, 3/4, 6/8
  • Demonstrate the ability to play with brushes
  • Trade: 8’s over a 32 bar tune/ 4’s over a 12 bar blues

Voice Undergraduate Audition Requirements

Be prepared to sing at least 2 songs in the classical style, from memory, in contrasting styles and moods. Usually this means one is in a moderate or slow tempo, which shows your ability to sustain good vocal tone, and one is in a livelier mood, which demonstrates articulation and vocal flexibility. The songs you choose should be memorized from printed music and must be accompanied by piano. Songs may have either English or foreign texts. You should get advice on appropriate selections and, if possible, vocal training from a competent and knowledgeable voice teacher in preparation for the audition.   

In addition to singing 2 songs, you will be asked to sing at sight a short musical example. There may also be a tonal memory evaluation in which you will sing back a few brief sequences of intervals that have been played on the piano. These are diagnostic exercises that help in assessing your level of musical security and independence. Note: vocal auditions may be video recorded.

Community College Transfer Limits Policy

For bachelors’ degrees, students must present at least sixty (60) semester credit hours earned at four-year institutions. Students must also meet residency requirements.

Special Students

Students sixteen years of age or over who have not satisfied the requirements for admission as candidates for degrees may, by special consent of the Dean, be admitted upon payment of the regular fees. Such special students cannot become candidates for degrees until they have satisfied admission requirements for the degree desired.

Re-enrolling Students

If a student has a break in enrollment of two or more calendar years, that student must apply for readmission to the School of Music, and if admitted, will be subject to catalog requirements in effect at the time of readmission. Students who have not taken applied music for one or more calendar years must re-audition in their major applied area. Bachelor of Arts students who have completed their applied music requirements are exempt, unless they plan to continue applied music study.

Students who were not enrolled during the immediate past semester, but were enrolled within the last two calendar years, and who wish to continue in the school and program in which they were last registered, are eligible to re-enroll. They need to complete a re-enrollment form at the School of Music or the Registrar’s Office.

Students completing the re-enrollment process are eligible for early registration for the term in which they wish to return. Students whose last enrollment status was visitor, high school visitor, conditional, or who were dismissed, must reapply. Students last enrolled in University College or Transitional Studies must also reapply through the Office of Admissions since those units are no longer in existence.

Transfer Grade Acceptance

The University of Louisville recognizes appropriate course work done at other accredited universities and colleges and accepts that work according to the principles set forth in the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers Transfer Credit Practices and state law.

Transfer work that is college-level, academic in nature, and earned at appropriately accredited institutions will be accepted and posted as credit earned (i.e., with no grade) and will be accepted as credit toward degree, consistent with policies in effect for resident students. Students must be aware that majors and/or programs may require a minimum of a C or better for certain degree requirements. Individual units or programs may set higher standards in accepting transfer grades, which supersede those indicated here.

The School of Music does not accept transfer grades below a C. No credit is transferred for applied music or theory. Advanced standing for applied music may be awarded at a jury. Advanced standing for theory is awarded by examination. Music history credits are evaluated for transfer by the Music History faculty. Recital Attendance credits may be transferred. Principal ensemble credits may be transferred, but not to exceed one per semester. Those with Recital Attendance transfer credits or documented ensemble experiences or courses will be evaluated on an individual basis by the Dean’s Office.

Transfer Equivalency Determination

Transfer equivalencies are determined by the instructional unit or the “best fit” unit as determined by the Office of the University Provost. Courses that meet general education requirements may be transferred under course equivalencies established in the Office of Transfer Services. In cases where no equivalency is established, the Office of Transfer Services will direct students to the university academic department, school, or college where similar courses are offered for evaluation of transfer credits.