Entrance Auditions and Requirements - Department of Performing Arts - Music - Christopher Newport University

Department of Performing Arts - Music

Entrance Auditions and Requirements

Admission to the music program is highly competitive. If you intend to apply, you must satisfy all entrance requirements:

  • Admission to Christopher Newport
  • Music program application
  • Entrance audition
  • Interview
  • Two recommendations by music educators
  • Entrance exams in music theory and ear-training

Entrance Audition

When you come for your audition you will:

  • Perform two works or movements of contrasting style for your instrument; composers should present a portfolio of their works, including recordings, if possible.
  • Be tested on your knowledge of music theory and aural skills. Please study the music fundamentals section of Open Music Theory to help you prepare for your audition and first semester at CNU.

    Open Music Theory
  • Participate in an interview if you plan to major in creative studies, composition or music pre-certification.

No auditions or CDs will be heard after the final audition date. All scholarships are awarded at the end of the audition cycle. Remember, composers must submit at least one score and a recording, if available.

If you live more than 250 miles away, you may submit a recorded audition, but we strongly recommend a live audition.

Once you have been accepted to the university and the program, you are automatically eligible for all music scholarships.

Audition Dates

  • November 4, 2023
  • January 20, 2024
  • January 21, 2024
  • February 10, 2024
  • February 11, 2024
Apply to the music program

All vocal applicants should prepare two works (arias, solos, art songs, etc.) with one of the works being in a language other than English. A pianist will be provided for voice auditions; however, vocalists may choose to bring their own pianists. It is expected that vocalists will perform from memory.

All instrumental applicants should prepare two works of contrasting style and be prepared to play all major scales (two octaves for instrumentalists, four octaves for pianists) and a chromatic scale. Repertoire may be chosen from sonatas, concerti, solos, etudes and/or orchestral excerpts. Instrumentalists have the option to either bring their own pianist or to perform unaccompanied. Instrumentalists have the option to perform from memory or use their music. Pianists are required to perform their audition from memory.

Below are examples of instrumental works commonly performed at auditions. These are merely suggestions and are not required:

Instrument Composer and instrumental work
Flute J.S. Bach — any sonata
Poulenc — Sonata
Mozart — Concerto in G or D
Griffes — Poem
Oboe Marcello — Concerto in C
Cimarosa — Concerto in C
Handel — sonatas
Telemann — Sonata in A
Clarinet Weber — Concertino
Weber — Concerto No. 1, mvt. I or II
Mozart — Concerto, mvts. I and II or II and III
Saint-Saens — Sonata, mvts. I and II
Bassoon Weber — Concerto in F Major
Mozart — Concerto in Bb Major
Vivaldi — Concerto in A or E
Hindemith — Sonata
Saint-Saens — Sonata
Saxophone Maurice — Tableaux de Provence
Glazounov — Concerto
Creston — Sonata
Ibert — Concertino da Camera
Ferling — 48 Etudes (slow-fast)

Instrument Composer and instrumental work
Trumpet Artunian — Concerto in A flat
Hummel — Concerto in E flat
Haydn — Concerto in E flat
Balay — Prelude and Ballade
Goedicke — Concert Etude
Horn Mozart — any concerto in Eb (447, 495 - one mvt.)
R. Strauss — Concerto, Op. 11 (one mvt.)
Trombone (tenor) Bordogni/Rochut — Melodious Etudes: any etude
Blazhevich Clef Studies — any etude
Rimsky-Korsakov — Concerto for Trombone
Marcello — Two movements from any sonata
Larrson — Concertino for Trombone
Saint-Saens — Cavatine
Trombone (bass) Bozza — Allegro and Finale
Haydn — Excerpts from Creation
Jacob — Cameos (any two contrasting mvts.)
Lebedev — Concerto in One Movement
Lieb — Concertino Basso
Bordogni/Rochut — Melodious Etudes, any etude (at pitch or down one octave)
Euphonium Capuzzi/Catillinet — Andante and Rondo
Handel/Little — Suite in A flat
Hutchinson — Sonatina
Jacob — Fantasia
Ross — Partita
Tuba Brahms/Little — Five Songs
Wagner — excerpts from Die Meistersinger
Marcello/Little — Sonata No. 1 or No. 5
Vaughan Williams — Concerto
Hindemith — Sonata
Bach/Bell — Air and Bouree

Instrument Composer and instrumental work
Violin Mozart — G Major
Handel — Sonata
Viola Handel — B Minor, one mvt.
Vivaldi — Sonata (two mvts. in contrasting tempi)
Haydn — Concerto in C
Cello Haydn — Concerto in C Major
Vivaldi — Sonata
Bass Marcello — Sonatas
Capuzzi — Concerto in D
Beethoven — Sonatina
Guitar Milan — Pavanas
Tarrega — Preludes
Bach — Selected mvt. from lute or cello suites
Sor — Studies 1-20

Corelli — Giga, trans. Salzedo
Handel — Harmonious Blacksmith, trans. Salzedo
Salzedo — Chanson dans la nuit
Salzedo — Gavotte and Tango from Suite of Eight Dances
Pierne — Impromptu-Caprice

Tchaikovsky — Waltz of the Flowers (The Nutcracker)
Rimsky-Korsakov — Capricio Espagnol

Instrument Composer and instrumental work
Trumpet, trombone, saxophone, guitar, piano, bass Charlie Parker — Anthology
Billie Strayhorn — Take the A Train
Charlie Parker — Ornithology

Head and two choruses of improv.

Drum set Play eight bars of time, solo for four bars, then eight bars of time.  Twenty bars total. Play the following styles:
  1. Medium swing
  2. Fast swing
  3. Light Latin 4-feel
  4. High energy samba 2-feel
  5. Rock/fusion
  6. Ballad (brushes)

The applicant should come prepared to show his or her their level of proficiency at snare drum, marimba and timpani. The university will provide instruments and stands, though the student may bring his or her own snare drum, if desired.

Snare Drum

  1. Standard rudiments.
  2. A rudimental or orchestral etude of choice.

Suggestions include: Wilcoxon, “Modern Rudimental Swing Solos,” “All American Drummer,” Cirone, “Portraits in Rhythm,” or Delecluse, “12 Etudes.”


  1. Major scales: two octaves up and down, in all 12 keys.
  2. A solo or etude of choice, two or four mallets.

Suggestions include: Garwood Whaley, “Fundamental Studies for Mallets,” Rebecca Kite, “Anthology of Lute and Guitar Music for Marimba,” a Bach transcription, or any work composed for marimba.


  1. Tuning: A and D, then F and C, using only an A tuning fork as a pitch reference.
  2. A solo or etude of choice, using two, three or four drums.

Suggestions include: Hochrainer, “Etudes for Timpani (Books 1-6),” Peters, “Fundamental Method for Timpani,” or Goodman, “Modern Method for Timpani.”

The applicant should also be prepared to sight read on each instrument.


  1. Major scales in four octaves
  2. One work from the Baroque/Classical era (Bach, Scarlatti, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert)
  3. One work from the 19th century (Mendelssohn, Chopin, Liszt, Debussy, Schumann)
  4. One work from the 20th or 21st century

The audition should be memorized.


  1. One work by J. S. Bach, such as an extended chorale prelude, prelude and fugue, or trio sonata.
  2. One work or one movement from a multi-movement work from the 19th century (Franck, Widor, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Reger, etc.).
  3. One work from the 20th or 21st centuries (Dupré, Messiaen, Hindemith, Albright, Bolcolm, Guillou, Baker, etc.)

Memorization is optional.

All students interested in composition should bring to their required interview a portfolio of at least three representative, original compositions. Arrangements will not be accepted. A recording or MIDI realization is recommended but not mandatory.

All students interested in creative studies are required to complete an interview. During this interview, the student will be asked questions about their use of technology, media, music and artistic projects they have and more. Students may bring a portfolio, but it is not mandatory.

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