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Applying to Blair

2016-17 Audition Dates and Deadlines

All on-campus auditions are by invitation only. * 

Early Decision 1:

  1. Application deadline: November 1
  2. In-person auditions: December 3
  3. Admissions decisions issued by: December 15

Early Decision 2 and Regular Decision:

While the required submission deadlines are as follows, we encourage Early Decision 2 and Regular Decision applicants to submit materials by December 1, 2016, if possible. This is a courtesy deadline that may allow us to notify applicants about a live audition invitation earlier.  Applicants who submit by January 1st will not be penalized.

  1. In-person auditions: January 27-28 (only option for ED2); February 10-11; and February 24-25
  2. Early Decision 2 admissions decisions issued by: February 15
  3. Regular Decision admissions decisions issued by: April 1

About audition weekends

Our audition weekends fall on a Friday and Saturday. We reserve Friday for you to spend the day as a Blair student. You'll visit classes, take a lesson, observe rehearsals, etc. All auditions will be scheduled on Saturdays. Full schedules are sent with live audition invitations.

Special note for Questbridge applicants

Due to our audition timeline, applicants cannot apply to Blair as their first-choice school as a Questbridge National College Match scholar. If you have questions or concerns, please email Blair Admissions.

*Please see the application procedures outlined below.

How to apply

Students applying to the Blair School of Music will need to apply to Vanderbilt University using the Common Application or the Universal Application in addition to completing a Blair DecisionDesk application. All Blair applicants are required to submit the Blair DecisionDesk Application, and all required application materials must be complete before an applicant can be reviewed and considered for a live audition. Please refer to the list of application requirements through our quick guide.

DecisionDesk applications for Fall of 2017 will open July 15, 2016. 

DecisionDesk button

DecisionDesk Required Materials:
  1. Two Artistic Recommendations
  2. Headshot or Photo (for identification purposes; does not need to be professional)
  3. Music Resume
  4. Repertoire List 
  5. Prescreening Video (see below for requirements)

Prescreening video submission and on-campus audition notification

Within the Blair DecisionDesk application, ALL Blair applicants will be required to create and upload a prescreening video . All videos must include the appropriate audition repertoire (see below for specific department requirements).

  • All video submissions must contain a continuous, unedited performance of each selection; cuts in between movements/selections are acceptable.
  • All vocal prescreening videos must be recorded with live piano accompaniment.
  • For all other instrumental prescreening videos, piano accompaniment is optional, but encouraged.

After review by the appropriate Blair faculty, selected applicants will be invited to audition in person at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University. (See "Audition Dates 2016-17" above.) We will notify students that they have been invited to audition on campus no later than two weeks prior to the assigned audition date. Students should not make travel arrangements until they have received email confirmation of their invitation and audition date.

Composition application requirements

Applicants for the composition major must upload a portfolio of three original scores and corresponding recordings (at least one live recording preferred) of those compositions through the Blair DecisionDesk application (prescreening video section). In addition, applicants must upload a prescreening video showcasing proficiency on their primary instrument or voice. For this, applicants can select any piece from their current repertoire. After composition portfolios and videos have been reviewed by the composition faculty, selected applicants will be invited for a live interview during an audition weekend.  Again, you should not make travel arrangements unless you have email confirmation of an on-campus interview and have been contacted directly by one of  the composition faculty.

Transfer Applicants

While the transfer application deadline is not until March 15, 2017, we encourage all transfer applicants to follow our regular decision timeline (above) and submit their Blair DecisionDesk applications by January 1, 2017. If invited for a live audition, this allows transfer applicants to participate in our scheduled audition weekends. Again, this timeline is encouraged, but not required. If materials are submitted by the March 15th deadline, transfer applicants will be considered for a live audition between March 15th and April 15th. Please refer to your application checklist.

Admissions Theory Exam

Admission to the Blair School of Music requires successful completion of an examination in music theory, which will be administered during your live audition weekend. The sample test below represents every element of the examination you will be given. Please review it to determine if you need assistance or instruction in any of the areas covered before your audition weekend . There are numerous resources for study, including www.musictheory.net. You may also wish to speak with your current music teachers for assistance.

Please know that a lack of background in music theory is not prohibitive to your admission into the Blair School of Music. The faculty recognizes there are differences, sometimes vast, in applicants' backgrounds and opportunities. This exam focuses not just on an applicant's existing knowledge base, but also, and perhaps more importantly, on the applicant's aptitude for learning and the innate desire to excel in every area of the music discipline.

Download the Introduction to the practice theory examination.

Download the practice theory examination

Download the practice theory examination answer key

Prescreening & Live Audition Repertoire Requirements

Woodwinds

Flute 

  • Major and minor scales (All 3 Forms; Only 1 of each required for prescreening video.)
  • Three solo pieces, standard sonata or concerto movements of contrasting styles/periods, demonstrating technical proficiency and musical maturity (prescreening & live audition)

Oboe

  • Major and minor scales (live audition only)
  • Two movements of a sonata, concerto, or similar work from the standard oboe literature that contrast in style and time period, and represent the applicant's musical and technical skill. Applicants should feel free to contact oboe professor Jared Hauser for specific suggestions. (prescreening & live audition)
  • Either a Ferling étude or one of the Barret 16 Grand Studies (prescreening & live audition)

 Clarinet

  • Major and melodic minor scales, full range (live audition only)
  • Choose one from the following: Mozart Concerto, Debussy Premiere Rhapsodie, or either Weber Concerto (prescreening & live audition)
  • Two contrasting Rose (32) études (prescreening & live audition)
  • Major orchestral excerpts (at least 2; live audition only)

Applicants should feel free to contact clarinet professor Bil Jackson for specific suggestions.

 Saxophone

  • Major and minor scales (live audition only)
  • Two contrasting études from Ferling's 48 Famous Studies and Voxman Selected Studies (prescreening & live audition)
  • Two contrasting movements from contemporary works such as Creston Sonata, Ibert Concertino da Camera, Glazunov Concerto (excerpts permitted), Heiden Sonata, or similar work (prescreening & live audition)

Applicants should feel free to contact saxophone professor Brian Utley for further clarification.  

  Bassoon

  • Major and minor scales (any form; live audition only)
  • Two or three selections, including movements from sonatas, concertos, and other solo pieces, of contrasting styles. (prescreening & live audition)
  • An étude from Weissenborn or Milde (live audition only)

Applicants should feel free to contact bassoon professor Peter Kolkay for specific suggestions.

 

Brass

Horn

  • Étude from Maxime-Alphonse, Gallay, Kling, or Kopprasch (prescreening & live audition)
  • First movement from the standard concerto; Mozart, Strauss, Gliere, F. Strauss, etc. (prescreening & live audition)
  • 2 orchestral excerpts of your choice (prescreening & live audition)

Trumpet 

  • Major and minor scales (live audition only)
  • Two contrasting études, such as Charlier, Brandt, Arban or Bousquet (only one required for prescreening)
  • Movement of a major work, such as the Haydn Concerto, Hummel Concerto, Hindemith Sonata, or similar work (prescreening & live audition)
  • Orchestral excerpts (live audition only)

Tenor Trombone 

  • Two contrasting études (such as Bordogni. Tyrell or Kopprasch) OR a major solo work (Guilmant, Hindemith, David, Grøndahl, etc.) that demonstrates musical maturity and technical proficiency. The listed études,/solos are only suggestions. Students should feel free to choose whatever etudes and/or solo they feel provides the best representation of their ability across a broad spectrum of style, range, and dynamics. (prescreening & live audition)
  • Two or three orchestral excerpts of the student's choice (live audition only)

Bass Trombone 

      • Two contrasting etudes (such as Bordogni, Tyrell, or Kopprasch) OR a major solo work (Lebedev, Ewazen, White, Vaughan-Williams, Schnyder, etc) that demonstrates musical maturity and technical proficiency, especially in the trigger and pedal range.  The listed études/solos are only suggestions. Students should feel free to choose whatever etudes and/or solo they feel provides the best representation of their ability across a broad spectrum of style, range, and dynamics. (prescreening & live audition)
      • Two or three orchestral excerpts of the student's choice (live audition only)

Euphonium 

      • Major and minor scales (live audition only)
      • Two contrasting études, technical and lyrical (only one required for prescreening)
      • Solo by Barat, Capuzzi, Sparke, Ellerby or similar work (prescreening & live audition)
      • Orchestral or band excerpts (optional for live audition only)

Tuba

      • Major and minor scales (live audition only)
      • Two contrasting études (only one required for prescreening)
      • First movement of the Vaughan Williams or Gregson Concerto, Hindemith Sonata, or similar work (prescreening & live audition)
      • Orchestral excerpts (live audition only)

Strings

Violin 

      • First or third movement of a standard concerto, memorized (prescreening & live audition)
      • Two contrasting movements of a Bach solo sonata or partita, memorized (prescreening & live audition)

Viola 

      • Étude or any short work or sonata movement (live audition only)
      • Two contrasting movements from a Bach solo suite (originally for cello) or sonata or partita (originally for violin); memorized (only one movement required for prescreening)
      • One movement of standard concerto. Examples include (but are not limited to): first movement of the Stamitz D Major, Hoffmeister D Major, slow-fast pair of movements of the Telemann G Major, any movement from Hindemith Der Schwanendreher or Walton, Bartok Concerti; memorized (prescreening & live audition)

Cello 

      • Étude demonstrating technical proficiency (live audition only)
      • Two contrasting movements of a Bach unaccompanied suite; memorized (only one movement required for prescreening)
      • Movement of a standard concerto or sonata; memorized (prescreening & live audition)

Double Bass

      • Movement of a standard concerto or sonata; memorized (prescreening & live audition)
      • Contrasting selection from the Baroque Period; memorized (prescreening & live audition)

Piano

Memorization required

      • Major and harmonic minor scales, four octaves (live audition only)
      • Prelude and fugue from Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier or similar contrapuntal Baroque work (live audition only)
      • Complete sonata by Haydn, Mozart (excluding K.545), Beethoven (excluding Op. 49), or similar work from the classical period (prescreening & live audition)
      • A work from the Romantic or Impressionistic period (prescreening & live audition)
      • A work in a contemporary idiom by a major 20th- or 21st-century composer (prescreening & live audition)
      • Sight reading, demonstrating moderate proficiency (live audition only)

  Percussion

Selections are required from all three areas:

Snare Drum
      • Concert solo or étude (suggestion: Cirone Portraits in Rhythm, Delecluse Douze Études, Peters Intermediate or Advanced Snare Drum Studies)
      • Traditional rudimental solo or étude (suggestion: Pratt, Wilcoxon, Tompkins)
Marimba
      • Contemporary Four Mallet Solo
      • Contrasting Two Mallet Solo (suggestion: any movement of a cello suite or violin partita or sonata by J.S. Bach)
      • Demonstration of major scales and arpeggios
      • Sight-reading
Timpani
      • Solo or étude (suggestion: Hochrainer Etuden fur Timpani, Goodman Modern Method)
      • Demonstrate ability to recognize, sing, and tune pitches to intervals

For all percussion prescreening videos, include one solo or étude from each category (Snare drum, Marimba and Timpani).

 

Harp

         No memorization required.

      • One movement of a concerto by Handel, Mozart, Dittersdorf, or similar work (prescreening & live audition)
      • Two contrasting solo pieces from different periods (prescreening & live audition)

Voice

 A change in repertoire must follow audition guidelines. A pianist is in attendance at all voice (live) auditions to accompany the auditioning singers. 

      • A 20th or 21st century British, American, or Canadian art song (in English), memorized
      • A foreign language art song, memorized
      • An additional art song, or an opera or oratorio aria, in English or a foreign language, memorized

 A change in repertoire for the live audition must follow guidelines above. An faculty accompanist will be in attendance at all voice (live) auditions to accompany the auditioning singers. 

  Composition

      • Portfolio of three original scores and corresponding recordings. At least one live recording is preferred.
      •  A prescreening video showcasing proficiency on your primary instrument or voice. You can select any piece from your current repertoire