Studying Music at UWSP

You are on your way towards becoming a member of the UWSP musical family! Whether you are planning on being a music major, minor, or pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree, you will need to audition to be admitted to the Department of Music. Auditions for incoming students typically take place the year before you start studying at UWSP (during the senior year of high school for most people). Your audition will take care of three things:

  1. Your acceptance to the Department of Music
  2. Your scholarship eligibility
  3. Your keyboard skills placement

Applying to and auditioning for the Department of Music is separate from your application to UWSP. You will need to take care of that in addition to scheduling your music audition.

Applicants will be notified of their music admission status and of any scholarship offer made by the department shortly after the audition.

Schedule your audition now using the Applicant Audition Form. 

Please have your teacher(s) fill out this Teacher Reference Form.

Please have a guidance counselor fill out this Guidance Counselor Reference Form.

Warm-up rooms are available throughout the audition day. A committee of music faculty will hear your audition.


  • Two pieces in contrasting style (one more technical and one more lyrical)
  • Several scales: major, minor, and/or chromatic
  • Sight-reading


Classical Guitar

  • Two pieces in contrasting style
  • One major scale and one minor scale (three octaves each) from the Diatonic Major and Minor Scales edited by Segovia
  • Sight-reading

Jazz Guitar

  • Two Jazz pieces of contrasting style, one medium-tempo and one up-tempo including a melody statement comping and an improvised chorus on each tune
  • Demonstration of any other style (classical or rock for example)
  • Sight-reading


  • Brass/Woodwinds/Strings/Voice:

    1. Prepare two contrasting jazz standards.

    2. Sight-reading.

    3. Improvise over a 12-bar blues or one of your chosen jazz standards (optional).

    4. Performance of a transcribed solo (optional)

  • Clarinet

    1. Prepare at least two jazz pieces PLUS a solo which demonstrates "advanced technical ability" as a clarinetist. One jazz piece must be a Dixieland clarinet piece (because of the scholarship donor's particular love for that style). The other jazz piece should be in another style and may be played on the clarinet, the saxophone, or on any other instrument on which the candidate plays jazz. At least one (but ideally both) of the two prepared jazz pieces will demonstrate the candidate's improvisation abilities.

  • Guitar/Piano/Vibes:

    1. Demonstration of comping in swing (various tempos), bossa nova, Afro-Caribbean, and rock/funk grooves.*

    2. Sight-reading.

    3. Improvising over a 12-bar blues (optional)

    4. Performance of a transcribed solo (optional)

  • Bass:

    1. Demonstration of walking bass line in swing (various tempos), bossa nova, Afro-Caribbean and rock/funk grooves.*

    2. Sight-reading.

    3. Improvising over 12-bar blues (optional)

    4. Performance of a transcribed solo (optional)

  • Drum set: 

    1. Demonstration of swing (various tempos; use of brushes and sticks), bossa nova, Afro-Caribbean and rock/funk grooves.*  Be prepared to alternate sections of time with sections of improvisation.

    2. Sight-reading.

    3. Performance of transcribed solo (optional).

* Examples include:  Tune Up (fast swing); Freddie Freeloader (medium swing); I'll Remember April (Latin/Swing); Song for My Father (bossa nova); St. Thomas (Calypso); Caravan (Afro 6/8); A Night in Tunisia (Mambo or Afro 6/8); The Chicken (funk)


Perform a solo on two of the four core instrument categories listed below. If auditioning for scholarships, please perform on three of the four categories. 

  1. Snare Drum - concert or rudimental (both would be preferred).
  2. Keyboard Percussion (marimba, vibraphone, or xylophone - 2 or 4 Mallets).
  3. Timpani - also demonstrate ability to tune the drums to given pitches.
  4. Drum set
    1. Play time in several styles including rock, swing, funk, various Latin styles.
    2. Trade 4's in your chosen styles.
    3. Play an improvised solo with a clear beginning and ending. 

Sight reading is required on snare drum and keyboard percussion.  Knowledge of scales and arpeggios is expected on keyboard instruments.  Perform open and closed rolls and other standard rudiments on snare drum.


3 memorized works, including:

  1. Contrapuntal work by Bach or from the Baroque period
  2. Movement(s) of a classical sonata (e.g. Beethoven, Haydn or Mozart) 
  3. Romantic work and/or a twentieth-century work (jazz works may be included)
  4. Sight-reading may be requested

Music Minors: 2 memorized works chosen from the suggested repertoire

For graduate audition information please contact Molly Roseman 


  • Two pieces in contrasting style
  • Three octave major scale of your choice
  • Three octave melodic minor scale of your choice
  • Sight-reading


  • Two memorized classical pieces in contrasting style - one in English and one in a world language 
  • Sight-reading
  • Tonal and rhythmic memory exercises

 Contemporary Voice

Prepare three contrasting selections representing at least two of the following styles:

  • ​​​Pop, Rock, Classical, Jazz, Musical Theatre, Folk, R&B
  • Tonal and rhythmic memory exercises
  • Sight-singing (as your skills allow)


  • Two pieces in contrasting style (one more technical and one more lyrical)
  • Several scales: major, minor, and/or chromatic
  • Sight-reading
​​ ​

Keyboard Placement

On the day of your audition, if you have prior experience you will meet with the piano faculty to determine placement-with the exception of those auditioning on piano. Those without a piano background will be placed in beginning class piano. For those with piano ability, please be prepared to:

  • Perform a short prepared piece
  • Sight-read
  • Play major scales 

To prepare for piano placement, please review the Group Piano placement page

Open House and Audition Dates
for fall 2024

  • October 18, 2023

  • November 11, 2023

  • February 21, 2024

  • March 2, 2024
    (Voice area only)

  • March 9, 2024

* Open House

Schedule an Audition

Or contact us to schedule an alternate date.


Have a question? Check out our
Student FAQ