Skip to Content

Home > Admissions Overview > Applying to Blair

Applying to Blair

 Audition weekend at Blalir

Application deadline through DecisionDesk EXTENDED

The deadline to submit Blair School of Music applications through DecisionDesk has been extended. The new deadline for submission is Monday, February 3, at 5 p.m. EST. DecisionDesk applications are required for all Blair applicants.

Special note for woodwind applicants: Woodwind applicants do not need to upload a pre-screening video, but a DecisionDesk application must still be completed and submitted in order to be considered for an audition.

All applicants: If you experience technical issues with DecisionDesk, please select the "Help" tab, which is available to you on the DecisionDesk screen at all times. Their technical support team will be able to assist you.

Many thanks and we look forward to reviewing your applications!

Audition dates 2013-14

On-campus auditions (by invitation*)

  • December 7, 2013
  • January 24-25, 2014 (bassoon auditions will not be held this weekend)
  • February 7-8, 2014
  • February 21-22, 2014

Note for voice applicants: Voice auditions are held on Saturdays only. Please schedule your audition accordingly.

*Please see the application procedures outlined below.

Due to the implementation of a new prescreening process the Blair School of Music will no longer be holding off-campus auditions.

Please contact the Blair Admissions office at (615) 322-6181 or email Dwayne Sagen with any further questions about audition dates.

How to apply

Begin the application process through the main Vanderbilt website. Students applying to the Blair School of Music will need to apply to Vanderbilt University using the Common Application. Please pay attention to the application dates and deadlines!

The Blair DecisionDesk application

In addition to filling out the Common Application for Vanderbilt University, all Blair applicants are required to submit the Blair DecisionDesk Application.

DecisionDesk button

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, please contact Dwayne Sagen to receive a fee waiver promotional code for the Blair DecisionDesk application.

Prescreening video submission and on-campus audition notification

Prescreening recordings are required for all Blair instrumental and voice applicants except those applying to the woodwind and harp departments. (Instructions for these applicants can be found below.) All applicants who wish to audition for the Blair School of Music must submit a video recording of their prepared audition materials via the Blair DecisionDesk application by November 1, 2013, for Early Decision I candidates, or by January 1, 2013, for Early Decision II and Regular Decision candidates. All videos must include the appropriate repertoire. Audition requirements are available below. All candidates must submit the Common Application to Vanderbilt University before any recording will be reviewed.

All video submissions must contain a continuous, unedited performance of each selection; cuts in between movements/selections are acceptable. All instrumental prescreening videos must be recorded without accompaniment. All vocal prescreening videos must be recorded with live piano accompaniment. Strings prescreening tapes may be made with or without accompaniment. Prescreening repertoire is the same as live audition repertoire for all instruments except cello, piano, viola, and all brass instruments. Specific requirements can be found listed by department below.

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. Early Decision I auditions will be held December 7, 2013, and Early Decision II auditions will be held January 24-25, 2014. As part of the Blair DecisionDesk application, Regular Decision candidates will select their preferred on-campus audition date(s) from the following available audition weekends: January 24-25, February 7-8, and February 21-22. We will notify students that they are being invited to audition on campus two weeks prior to the assigned audition date. Students should not make travel arrangements until they have received email confirmation of their audition date.

Woodwind and harp applicants only

Students applying to the woodwind and harp departments will apply to the Blair School of Music using the Blair DecisionDesk application but will not be asked to upload a prescreening video. These candidates will indicate their preferred audition weekend as part of the DecisionDesk application and will be notified two weeks prior to their assigned on-campus audition. Students should not make travel arrangements until they have received email confirmation of their audition date.

A personal audition is always preferred, but in exceptional cases, woodwind and harp students 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. All videos must include appropriate repertoire. Audition requirements are available below. The Blair School reserves the right to require a live audition on campus if deemed necessary. All audition videos must be uploaded by the January 1 application deadline. All video submissions must contain continuous unedited performances of each selection; cuts in between movements/selections are acceptable. All woodwind and harp audition videos must be recorded without accompaniment except in the case of flute applicants. For flute applicants, accompaniment is preferred on submitted videos.

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 by January 1, 2014. After composition portfolios have been reviewed by the composition faculty, selected applicants will be contacted to set up an interview. The faculty prefers to meet potential candidates personally in an on-campus interview, but a telephone interview will suffice in the event you are unable to come to the Blair School. The composition faculty will contact you directly if they are interested in setting up an interview; you should not make travel arrangements unless you have email confirmation of an on-campus interview.

Practice entrance examination in music theory

Admission to the Blair School of Music requires successful completion of an examination in music theory, which will be administered during your audition weekend if you are invited to audition in person. 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. 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 sample music theory examination.

Recommended audition repertoire

Woodwinds

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

 Brass

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

 Strings

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

Keyboard

Piano (Performance) Organ (Performance)
Piano (Musical Arts) Organ (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)

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

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)

  • 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

 Clarinet (Performance)

  • Major and minor scales
  • Mozart Concerto (1st movement exposition), Weber Concerto No. 2, or Debussy Premiere Rhapsodie
  • Two contrasting Rose (32) etudes or three contrasting orchestral excerpts

Clarinet (Musical Arts)

  • Major and minor scales
  • Two contrasting Rose (32) etudes
  • Mozart Concerto (1st movement exposition), Stravinsky 3 Pieces, Debussy Premiere Rhapsodie, or either Weber Concerto

 Saxophone (Performance)

  • Major and minor scales
  • Two contrasting movements from a solo work, sonata or concerto from the standard saxophone repertoire. Please contact saxophone professor Brian Utley for suggestions if necessary. The contrasting movements may be from the same work or from different works, and should demonstrate the applicant's technical proficiency and musical maturity.
  • Two contrasting etudes from Ferling's 48 Famous Studies

Saxophone (Musical Arts)

  • Major and minor scales
  • Two contrasting movements from a solo work, sonata or concerto from the standard saxophone repertoire. Please contact  saxophone professor Brian Utley for suggestions if necessary. The contrasting movements may be from the same work or from different works, and should demonstrate the applicant's technical proficiency and musical maturity.
  • One etude from Ferling's 48 Famous Studies or Voxman's Selected Studies

  Bassoon (Performance)

  • Major and minor scales
  • Two movements of a sonata, concerto, or similar work from the standard bassoon literature that contrast in style and time period, and represent the applicant's musical and technical skill. Applicants should feel free to contact bassoon professor Peter Kolkay for specific suggestions.
  • An etude from the 50 Advanced Studies of Weissenborn, the Concert Studies of Milde, or a similar collection

 Bassoon (Musical Arts)

  • Major and minor scales
  • Two movements of a sonata, concerto, or similar work from the standard bassoon literature that contrast in style and time period, and represent the applicant's musical and technical skill. Applicants should feel free to contact bassoon professor Peter Kolkay for specific suggestions.
  • An etude from the 50 Advanced Studies of Weissenborn

  Brass

Horn (Performance)

  • Major and minor scales, two octaves
  • Etude from Maxime-Alphonse, Gallay, or Kling
  • Mozart concerto or Strauss Concerto No. 1
  • Orchestral excerpts

For prescreening recordings include the following selections from the above repertoire:

  • Etude from Maxime-Alphonse, Gallay, or Kling
  • One Movement from Mozart concerto or Strauss Concerto No. 1

Horn (Musical Arts)

  • Major and minor scales
  • Etude of choice
  • Movement from a Mozart concerto

For prescreening recordings include the following selections from the above repertoire:

  • Etude of choice
  • Movement from a Mozart concerto

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 prescreening recordings 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)

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

For prescreening recordings 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)

  • Major and minor scales
  • Two contrasting etudes, such as Bordogni-Rochut or Kopprasch
  • Major contemporary work (such as Hindemith Sonata or Gordon Jacob Concerto) demonstrating technical proficiency and musical maturity
  • Orchestral excerpts

For prescreening recordings include the following selections from the above repertoire:

  • One etude, such as Bordogni-Rochut or Kopprasch
  • Major contemporary work (such as Hindemith Sonata or Gordon Jacob Concerto) demonstrating technical proficiency and musical maturity

Trombone (Musical Arts)

  • Major and minor scales
  • An etude by Kopprasch, Rochut, or Tyrell
  • A solo by Galliard, Guilmant, Rimsky-Korsakov, Serly, Serocki, or similar work

For prescreening recordings include the following selections from the above repertoire:

  • An etude by Kopprasch, Rochut, or Tyrell
  • A solo by Galliard, Guilmant, Rimsky-Korsakov, Serly, Serocki, or similar work

Bass Trombone (Performance)

  • Major and minor scales
  • Two contrasting etudes using the thumb valve(s)
  • Solo work demonstrating technical proficiency and musical maturity
  • Orchestral excerpts

For prescreening recordings include the following selections from the above repertoire:

  • One etudes using the thumb valve(s)
  • Solo work demonstrating technical proficiency and musical maturity

Bass Trombone (Musical Arts)

  • Major and minor scales
  • Etude by Arban, Kopprasch, Rochut, or Tyrell
  • Solo by Galliard, Guilmant, Rimsky-Korsakov, Serly, Serocki, or similar work

For prescreening recordings include the following selections from the above repertoire:

  • Etude by Arban, Kopprasch, Rochut, or Tyrell
  • Solo by Galliard, Guilmant, Rimsky-Korsakov, Serly, Serocki, or similar work

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 prescreening recordings include the following selections from the above repertoire:

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

Euphonium (Musical Arts)

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

For prescreening recordings 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 prescreening recordings 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)

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

For prescreening recordings 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)

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

Viola (Performance)

  • Etude demonstrating technical proficiency
  • Two contrasting movements of a Bach unaccompanied cello suite (memorized)
  • First or third movement of a standard viola concerto including, but not limited to, Hoffmeister, Rolla, or Stamitz; or any movement from a standard 20th-century concerto including, but not limited to, Hindemith, der Schwnendreher, Bartok, or Walton (memorized)
  • To be considered for admission in viola, the student must complete a live audition, after passing the prescreening process

For prescreening recordings, include the following selections from the above repertoire:

  • One movement from a Bach unaccompanied cello suite (memorized)
  • One movement of a standard viola concerto including, but not limited to, Hoffmeister, Rolla, or Stamitz; or any movement from a standard 20th-century concerto including, but not limited to, Hindemith, der Schwnendreher, Bartok, or Walton (memorized)

Viola (Musical Arts)

  • Etude demonstrating technical proficiency
  • One movement of a Bach unaccompanied cello suite
  • One movement of a concerto. Note: If preparing the Telemann Concerto in G, a slow-fast pair of movements is required.
  • To be considered for admission in viola, the student must complete a live audition, after passing the prescreening process

For prescreening recordings, include the following selections from the above repertoire:

  • One movement from a Bach unaccompanied cello suite
  • One movement of a a concerto. Note: If preparing the Telemann Concerto in G, a slow-fast pair of movements is required.

Cello (Performance)

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

For prescreening recordings include the following selections from the above repertoire:

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

Cello (Musical Arts)

  • Two contrasting movements of a Bach unaccompanied suite (memorized)
  • Movement of a standard concerto (memorized)

For prescreening recordings 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)

  • First movement of a concerto
  • Contrasting concerto movement or solo piece

Double Bass (Musical Arts)

  • Major and minor scales
  • Etude by Simandi
  • Solo by Telemann or Vivaldi

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 prescreening recordings 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)

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 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

Organ (Performance)

Applicants with no previous organ experience may audition on piano, using the requirements listed for piano.

  • Praeludium by Buxtehude, Bruhns, Lubeck, etc., or a chorale prelude or work such as Prelude and Fugue in E Minor, BWV 533 by Bach
  • Mendelssohn sonata movement, Brahms chorale prelude, one of Vierne's 24 Pieces en style libre, or similar Romantic work
  • Sight reading, such as hymn or anthem accompaniment

Organ (Musical Arts)

Applicants with no previous organ experience may audition on piano, using the requirements listed for piano.

  • Major and minor scales
  • Short composition from an organ method by Gleason, Peeters, Andrews, Ritchie/Stouffer, Ragatz, Soderlund, etc.
  • Manual or manual and pedal work from 80 Chorale Preludes by German Masters of the 17th and 18th centuries or similar work

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)

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.)

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)

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

Harp

Harp (Performance)

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

Harp (Musical Arts)

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

Voice

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
  • A selection of choice (no pop, jazz, or musical theatre), memorized

  Composition

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