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Applying to Blair

2015-16 Audition Dates and Deadlines

*All on-campus auditions are by invitation only.

Early Decision 1:

  1. Application Deadline: November 1
  2. Live Auditions Take Place: December 5
  3. Admissions Decisions Issued By: December 15

Early Decision 2 and Regular Decision:

  1. Application Deadline: January 1
  2. Live Auditions Take Place: January 29-30 (only option for ED2); February 12-13; and February 26-27
  3. Early Decision 2 Admissions Decisions Issued By: February 15
  4. Regular Decision Admissions Decisions Issued By: April 1

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.

*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 quickguide.

On July 15, 2015 DecisionDesk applications for Fall of 2016 will open. Click this button to start your Blair DecisionDesk application:

DecisionDesk button

DecisionDesk Required Materials:
  1. Two Artistic Recommendations
  2. Music Resume
  3. Repertoire List 
  4. 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.
  • Prescreening videos for strings , bassoon saxophone  and oboe applicants may be recorded with or without accompaniment.
  • For all flute prescreening videos, piano accompaniment is preferred.
  • All other instrumental prescreening videos must be recorded without accompaniment.

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 2015-16" above.) We will notify students that they are being 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 portfolio and interview

Applicants for the composition major must upload a portfolio of three original compositions and any corresponding recordings of those compositions through the Blair DecisionDesk application (prescreening video section). After composition portfolios have been reviewed by the composition faculty, selected applicants will be contacted to set up an interview during one of the audition weekends.  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.

Exceptions and Waivers

A personal audition is always preferred, but in exceptional cases, candidates who live outside of a 400-mile radius of Nashville will have the option of uploading a video recording of their audition material via the Blair DecisionDesk application. (Please note: All vocal, viola and violin candidates must audition live.) Please email Blair Admissions to request a live audition waiver.

When you submit the Blair DecisionDesk application, you will be asked to submit a fee of $30. If you have requested an application fee waiver on the Common Application or Universal Application, you may request a fee waiver for the Blair DecisionDesk aplication. Please contact Blair Admissions and be sure to include documentation of your Common Application or Universal Application fee waiver.

Transfer Applicants

While the transfer application deadline is not until March 15, 2016, we encourage all transfer applicants to follow our regular decision timeline (above) and submit their Blair DecisionDesk applications by January 1, 2016. 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 various textbooks, workbooks and online tools such as 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

Recommended audition repertoire

Woodwinds

Flute (Performance) Saxophone (Performance/Musical Arts)
Flute (Musical Arts)  
Oboe (Performance) Bassoon (Performance/Musical Arts)
Oboe (Musical Arts)  
Clarinet (Performance/Musical Arts)  
   

 Brass

Horn (Performance) Bass Trombone (Performance/Musical Arts)
Horn (Musical Arts)  
Trumpet (Performance) Euphonium (Performance)
Trumpet (Musical Arts) Euphonium (Musical Arts)
Trombone (Performance/Musical Arts) Tuba (Performance)
  Tuba (Musical Arts)

 Strings

Violin (Performance/Musical Arts)  
Viola (Performance) Double Bass (Performance/Musical Arts)
Viola (Musical Arts)  
Cello (Performance/Musical Arts)  

Keyboard

Piano (Performance)  
Piano (Musical Arts)  

Percussion

Percussion (Performance) Percussion (Musical Arts)

 Classical Guitar

Classical Guitar (Performance) Classical Guitar (Musical Arts)

Harp

Harp (Performance) Harp (Musical Arts)

Voice

Composition

 

Woodwinds

Flute (Performance) 

  • Major and minor scales
  • Three solo pieces, standard sonata or concerto movements of contrasting styles/periods, demonstrating technical proficiency and musical maturity

Flute (Musical Arts and Musical Arts/Teacher Education)

  • Major and minor scales
  • Two solo pieces, standard sonata or concerto movements of contrasting styles/periods, demonstrating technical proficiency and musical maturity

For all flute prescreening videos, please include the audition repertoire above. Only 1 Major scale and 1 minor scale (all 3 forms) are required for prescreening videos.

Oboe (Performance)

  • Major and minor scales
  • 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.
  • Either a Ferling etude or one of the Barret 16 Grand Studies

Oboe (Musical Arts and Musical Arts/Teacher Education)

  • Major and minor scales
  • 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.
  • Either an etude of Ferling or Barret

For all oboe prescreening videos include the following selections from the above repertoire:

  • 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.
  • An etude in lieu of one of the solo works is also acceptable.

 Clarinet (Performance/Musical Arts/Teacher Education)

  • Major and melodic minor scales, full range (up to altissimo F# or G depending on which note is in the scale)
  • Mozart Concerto (1st movement exposition), Stravinsky 3 Pieces, Debussy Premiere Rhapsodie, or either Weber Concerto
  • Two contrasting Rose (32) etudes

All clarinet prescreening video requirements are the same as listed above.

 Saxophone (Performance/Musical Arts/Teacher Education)

  • Major and minor scales
  • Two contrasting etudes from Ferling 48 Famous Studies and Voxman Selected Studies
  • Two contrasting movements from standard saxophone literature such as Creston Sonata, Ibert Concertino da Camera, Glazunov Concerto (excerpts permitted), Heiden Sonata, or similar work (Transcriptions are permitted, but may be used for only one of the movements.) Contact Professor Utley  for any further clarification. 

For all saxophone prescreening videos include the following selections from the above repertoire:

  • One etude from Ferling or Voxman
  • Two contrasting movements from the repertoire listed above (accompaniment is optional.)

  Bassoon (Performance/Musical Arts/Teacher Education)

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

For all bassoon prescreening videos include the following selections from the live audition repertoire:

  • Two selections, including movements from sonatas, concertos, and other solo pieces, of contrasting styles (accompaniment is optional.)

Brass

Horn (Performance)

  • Major scales, two octaves
  • Etude from Maxime-Alphonse, Gallay, Kling, or Kopprasch
  • One movement from the standard solo literature; Mozart, Strauss, Gliere, Hindemith, etc.
  • 3 orchestral excerpts

For horn performance prescreening videos include the following selections from the above repertoire:

  • Etude and Solo same as above
  • 2 orchestral excerpts

Horn (Musical Arts and Musical Arts/Teacher Education)

  • Major scales, two octaves
  • Etude from Maxime-Alphonse, Gallay, Kling, or Kopprasch
  • One movement from the standard solo literature; Mozart, Strauss, Gliere, Hindemith, etc.

For horn musical arts and music education prescreening videos include the following selections from the above repertoire:

  • Etude and Solo same as above

Trumpet (Performance)

  • Major and minor scales
  • Two contrasting etudes, such as Charlier, Brandt, or Bousquet
  • Movement of the Haydn Concerto, Hummel Concerto, Hindemith Sonata, or similar work
  • Orchestral excerpts

For trumpet performance prescreening videos include the following selections from the above repertoire:

  • One etude, such as Charlier, Brandt, or Bousquet
  • Movement of the Haydn Concerto, Hummel Concerto, Hindemith Sonata, or similar work

Trumpet (Musical Arts and Musical Arts/Teacher Education)

  • Major and minor scales
  • Etude by Arban, Bousquet, Charlier, Concone, Pottag, or Vonnetelbosch
  • Solo by Corelli, Fizgerald, Goeyens, Handel, or similar work

For trumpet musical arts and music education prescreening videos include the following selections from the above repertoire:

  • Etude by Arban, Bousquet, Charlier, Concone, Pottag, or Vonnetelbosch
  • Solo by Corelli, Fizgerald, Goeyens, Handel, or similar work

Trombone (Performance/Musical Arts/Teacher Education)

  • Two contrasting etudes (such as Bordogni. Tyrell or Kopprasch) OR a major solo work (Guilmant, Hindemith, David, Grøndahl, etc.) which demonstrates musical maturity and technical proficiency.   The listed etudes/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.
  • Two or three orchestral excerpts of the student's choice

For trombone prescreening videos include the following selections from the above repertoire:

    • Two contrasting etudes (such as Bordogni, Tyrell, or Kopprasch) OR  a 3-5 minute excerpt of a major solo work (Guilmant, Hindemith, David, Grøndahl, etc) which demonstrates musical maturity and technical proficiency.    The listed etudes/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.

Bass Trombone (Performance/Musical Arts/Teacher Education)

      • Two contrasting etudes (such as Bordogni, Tyrell, or Kopprasch) OR a major solo work (Lebedev, Ewazen, White, Vaughan-Williams, Schnyder, etc) which demonstrates musical maturity and technical proficiency, especially in the trigger and pedal range.  The listed etudes/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.
      • Two or three orchestral excerpts of the student's choice. 

For bass trombone prescreening videos include the following selections from the above repertoire:

      • Two contrasting etudes (such as Bordogni, Tyrell, or Kopprasch) OR a 3-5 minute excerpt of a major solo work (Lebedev, Ewazen, White, Vaughan-Williams, Schnyder, etc) which demonstrates musical maturity and technical proficiency, especially in the trigger and pedal range.  The listed etudes/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.

Euphonium (Performance)

      • Major and minor scales
      • Two contrasting etudes technical and lyrical
      • Solo by Barat, Capuzzi, Sparke, Ellerby or similar work
      • Orchestral or band excerpts (optional)

For euphonium performance prescreening videos include the following selections from the above repertoire:

      • One etude
      • Solo by Barat, Capuzzi, Sparke, Ellerby or similar work

Euphonium (Musical Arts and Musical Arts/Teacher Education)

      • Major and minor scales
      • Two contrasting etudes, technical and lyrical
      • Solo by Barat, Capuzzi, or similar work

For euphonium musical arts and music education prescreening videos include the following selections from the above repertoire:

      • One etude
      • Solo by Barat, Capuzzi, or similar work

Tuba (Performance)

      • Major and minor scales
      • Two contrasting etudes
      • First movement of the Vaughan Williams or Gregson Concerto, Hindemith Sonata, or similar work
      • Orchestral excerpts

For tuba performance prescreening videos include the following selections from the above repertoire:

      • One etude
      • First movement of the Vaughan Williams or Gregson Concerto, Hindemith Sonata, or similar work

Tuba (Musical Arts and Musical Arts/Teacher Education)

      • Major and minor scales
      • Etude by Blazhevich, Bordogni, or Kopprasch3) Solo by Marcello, Haddad, Hartley, or similar work

For tuba musical arts and teacher education prescreening videos include the following selections from the above repertoire:

      • Etude by Blazhevich, Bordogni, or Kopprasch
      • Solo by Marcello, Haddad, Hartley, or similar work

Strings

Violin (Performance/Musical Arts/Teacher Education)

      • First or third movement of a standard concerto, memorized
      • Two contrasting movements of a Bach solo sonata or partita, memorized

For all violin prescreening videos, please include the same repertoire as listed above.

Viola (Performance)

      • Etude or any short work or sonata movement (solo or with piano)
      • Two contrasting movements from a Bach solo suite (originally for cello) or sonata or partita (originally for violin); memorized
      • 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.

Viola (Musical Arts and Musical Arts/Teacher Education)

      • Two contrasting movements from a Bach solo suite (originally for cello) or sonata or partita (originally for violin)
      • 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

For all viola prescreening videos, include the following selections from the above repertoire (performance applicants all selections must be memorized.):

      • One movement from a Bach solo suite (originally for cello) or sonata or partita (originally for violin)
      • 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 

Cello (Performance/Musical Arts/Teacher Education)

      • Etude demonstrating technical proficiency
      • Two contrasting movements of a Bach unaccompanied suite (memorized)
      • Movement of a standard concerto (memorized)

For all cello prescreening videos, include the following selections from the above repertoire:

      • One movement from a Bach unaccompanied suite (memorized)
      • Movement of a standard concerto (memorized)

Double Bass (Performance/Music Arts/Teacher Education)

      • Movement of a standard concerto or sonata (memorized)
      • Contrasting selection from the Baroque Period (memorized)

For all double bass prescreening videos, include the same selections as the above repertoire.

Keyboard

Piano (Performance)

Memorization required

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

For piano performance prescreening videos include the following selections from the above repertoire:

      • One movement of a Classical Sonata
      • A work from the Romantic or Impressionistic period
      • A work in a contemporary idiom by a major 20th- or 21st century composer

Piano (Musical Arts and Musical Arts/Teacher Education)

Memorization required. The Musical Arts audition repertoire should be a minimum of approximately 15 minutes.

      • Major and harmonic minor scales, four octaves
      • One or more movements from a major sonata by Haydn, Mozart (excluding K.545), or Beethoven (excluding Op. 49)
      • At least two contrasting works from the Baroque, Romantic, Impressionistic, or 20th/21st-century periods
      • Sight reading, demonstrating moderate proficiency

For piano musical arts and teacher education prescreening recordings include the following selections from the above repertoire:

      • One movement of a Classical Sonata
      • A work from the Romantic or Impressionistic period or a work in a contemporary idiom by a major 20th- or 21st century composer

Percussion

Percussion (Performance)

Selections are required from all three areas:

Snare Drum
      • Demonstrated proficiency of basic techniques including open and closed rolls, flams, paradiddles, ruff, and drags
      • Solo in rudimental or concert style
Keyboard Percussion (marimba, xylophone, vibraphone)
      • Major and minor scales, two octaves
      • Major and minor arpeggios, two octaves
      • Solo using two to four mallets
Timpani
      • Demonstrated proficiency of basic strokes and rolls using contrasting dynamics
      • Interval recognition
      • Solo using two to four drums

Percussion (Musical Arts and Musical Arts/Teacher Education)

Selections from at least two areas:

Snare Drum
      • Etude by Cirone, Feldstein, Firth, Goldenberg, Wilcoxen, Handel, McMillan, or Whaley
Keyboard Percussion (marimba, xylophone, vibraphone)
      • Major and minor scales, two octaves
      • Solo by Bach, Cirone, Goldenberg, Handel, McMillan, Peters, or Whaley
Timpani
      • Etude by Cirone, Firth, Goodman, Hinger, McMillan, Peters, or Whaley
Drum Set
      • Etude by Appice, Cappazolli, Chopin, Fink, Kettle, Reed, or Rogers
      • Demonstration of selected styles (rock, swing, Latin, etc.)

For all percussion prescreening videos, include the same selections as listed above (according to major.)

Harp

Harp (Performance)

      • One movement of a concerto by Handel, Mozart, Dittersdorf, or similar work
      • Two contrasting solo pieces from different periods

No memorization required.

Harp (Musical Arts and Musical Arts/Teacher Education)

      • Two contrasting solos from different periods
      • Etude by Bochsa, Pozzoli, Salzedo, or Bach-Grandjany

No memorization required.

For prescreening videos, all harp applicants may select any two pieces from the repertoire listed above.

Voice

Voice (Performance/Musical Arts/Teacher Education)

The repertoire requirements are the same for all students applying in voice, regardless of major program. Those selected to audition in person may perform the same repertoire submitted on the prescreening video, if they so choose. A change in repertoire must follow audition guidelines. Students should prepare three selections:

      • 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

Composition

Composition (and Musical Arts-Composition applicants)

      • Portfolio of three original compositions and any corresponding recordings of the provided  
      • Personal interview at request of the composition faculty

For prescreening, all composition applicants must upload 3 original scores and corresponding recordings.

 Classical Guitar

 Classical Guitar (Performance)

Memorization Required

      • Major and minor scales
      • Proficient basic technique, including proper use of rest-stroke and free-stroke
      • Solo representing each period: Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, and Romantic
      • Fifth solo of applicant's choice

 Classical Guitar (Musical Arts and Musical Arts/Teacher Education)

Memorization required

      • Major and minor scales
      • Etude by Aguado, Carcassi, Carulli, Giulani, or Sor
      • Selection from Solo Guitar Playing, Vol. I by Noad or Classic Guitar Technique by Shearer

For all Classical Guitar prescreening videos, please include the same selections as above. Scales are not required for prescreening videos.