Undergraduate Contemporary Audition Requirements

BASS | DRUMSET | GUITAR | KEYBOARD | MEDIA | STRINGS | VOICE

Contemporary Instrumentalists/Vocalists and Creative American Music (CAM Songwriting Minor)

General Information

  • The Contemporary Performance principal is open to instrumentalists, vocalists, and songwriters pursuing instruction in contemporary/popular styles of music
  • Songwriters will audition under the Creative American Music (CAM) Program
  • Qualified applicants MUST apply to one of the following majors:
    • Music Business and Entertainment Industries (MBEI)
    • Musicianship, Artistry Development, and Entrepreneurship (MADE)
    • Media Writing & Production (MWP)
    • Music Education (MED)
    • Music Engineering Technology (MUE)
    • Music Therapy (MTY)
    • Music Theory & Composition (MTC)
    • Bachelor of Arts in Music (MUS)

 Phase I: Prescreening

  • A video prescreening is required for all Contemporary/CAM applicants
  • The prescreening must be uploaded to SlideRoom 
  • An invitation to audition live will be extended to applicants approved by faculty after a review of their prescreening

Phase II: Live Audition by Invitation

  • A live audition is by invitation only, either on-campus or at the regional auditions in Los Angeles
  • Auditions take about 15 minutes to complete
  • Applicants should come prepared to perform the selections submitted on the prescreen videos and/or different selections of similar styles
  • Please note that at times, the faculty may ask for partial selections
  • The faculty may also vary the audition format at any time in response to each individual applicant's skill and abilities
  • Accompanists will not be provided. Applicants may self-accompany, bring others to accompany them, or perform with accompaniment tracks
  • All Contemporary/CAM applicants will be asked to demonstrate an understanding of the rudiments of music theory commensurate with that of entering freshmen in the Frost School of Music

The following equipment will be provided at live auditions:

  • Piano
  • Keyboard
  • Microphone
  • Audio mixer/PA with auxiliary inputs for iPod's, etc. (no CD's please)
  • Amplifiers for electric guitar and bass
  • Drum kit
  • Ableton Push Controller
  • Music stands

Contemporary Bass

Prescreening

  • Applicant must show a strong aptitude and sense of originality in various stylistic areas of contemporary performance
  • Applicant will perform three selections from one or more contemporary musical genres such as pop, rock, R&B, folk, gospel, country, etc., demonstrating appropriate stylistic elements
  • Selections should be in contrasting styles, performed with a live band or backing track, and should not be longer than 3 minutes each
  • Additional studio recordings can be submitted for consideration, but cannot substitute for the video requirements

Live Audition

  • In addition to any of the above, applicant may be asked to read music in both notation and chord-chart formats, demonstrate his/her ability to improvise, perform major, minor, and pentatonic scales in various positions, and show technical facility through typical routines and exercises
  • Applicant must demonstrate ability to play with a good sound and a strong time feel- both as a soloist, and with a rhythm section

Contemporary Drumset

Prescreening

  • Applicant must show a strong aptitude and sense of originality in various stylistic areas of contemporary performance
  • Applicant will perform three selection from one or more contemporary musical genres such as pop, rock, R&B, folk, gospel, country, etc., demonstrating appropriate stylistic elements
    • One slow tempo selection at 60-80 bpm
    • One up-tempo at 125-160 bpm
    • One selection in a compound or odd meter at any tempo
  • Selections should be in contrasting contemporary styles and must be performed with a click track or backing track and should not be longer than 3 minutes each
  • Additional studio recordings can be submitted for consideration, but cannot substitute for the video requirements

Live Audition

  • In addition to any of the above, applicant will be asked to perform with recorded tracks in a variety of styles
  • Applicant will be asked to solo in various settings: trading fours, filling, and improvising over an ostinato figure
  • Applicant will be asked to read basic drum charts and rhythms

Contemporary Guitar (Electric or Acoustic)

Prescreening

  • Applicant will perform three selections from one or more contemporary musical genres such as pop, rock, R&B, folk, gospel, country, etc., demonstrating appropriate stylistic elements
  • Song selections (3) should include:
    • Blues
    • Up-tempo
    • Your choice (medium tempo, solo piece, ballad, etc.)
  • At least one selection should demonstrate solo improvisation 
  • Selections should demonstrate applicant's technical facility and expressive abilities
  • Performances should be presented with a live band or backing track
  • Applicant must show a strong aptitude and sense of originality in various stylistic areas of contemporary performance
  • Additional studio recordings can be submitted for consideration, but cannot substitute for the video requirements

Live Audition

  • In addition to demonstration of any of the above selections, applicants are welcome to prepare different selections that meet the same requirements
  • Applicants will be asked to demonstrate skills and application of knowledge to their instrument in the following areas:
    • Sight-reading
    • Scales
    • Chords (spellings/voicings)
    • Typical patterns showing technical facility

Contemporary Keyboard

Prescreening

  • Applicant will perform three selections from one or more contemporary musical genres such as pop, rock, R&B, folk, gospel, country, etc., demonstrating appropriate stylistic elements
  • All selections must be submitted in a video format
  • One selection must be performed on a synthesizer or electronic keyboard with a sound other than piano
  • One selection should demonstrate an improvised solo
  • Selections should be in contrasting styles, performed either solo, with a live band or backing track
  • Additional studio recordings can be submitted for consideration, but cannot substitute for the video requirements

Live Audition

  • In addition to demonstration of any of the above selections, applicants are encouraged to prepare different selections that meet the same requirements
  • Applicants will be asked to sight-read in both notation and chord-chart formats, demonstrate his/her ability to improvise, perform major and minor scales in various keys, demonstrate chord spelling/voicings/progressions, and show technical facility through typical comping patterns/routines and exercises

Contemporary Media

Prescreening

  • Applicant must demonstrate a strong aptitude and sense of originality in a stylistic area of contemporary, performance-oriented computer-based electronic music and display competency using performance-oriented music software such as Ableton Live
  • Applicant will perform three original compositions from a variety of electronic genres that demonstrate his/her ability to perform and interact in real-time with software instrument and/or effects using MIDI, PUSH, MASCHINE or similar controller(s).  At least 2 of the compositions must be submitted as video performances
  • The video must clearly show applicant interacting live with the software and controllers to generate melodic and/or harmonic/rhythmic content using conventional "Note-On" types of control - Clip/Scene "Launching" alone is not suffcient
  • Additional studio recordings can be submitted for consideration, but cannot substitue for the video requirements
  • One selection must demonstrate proficiency on a traditional musical instrument or voice

Live Audition

  • Applicant must bring own computer and controller(s) to the live audition. PUSH and generic USB MIDI controllers can be provided upon request
  • Applicant will be asked to improvise musically in real-time in a variety of settings - read standard musical notation, generate new content on keyboard or controller, program software instruments and effect
  • Applicant will be asked to demonstrate an example of sound design using a software synthesizer instrument of their own creation that responds to real-time controls for variation of timbre/articulation etc.
  • Applicant must demonstrate an understanding of the rudiments of music theory commensurate with that of entering freshmen in the Frost School of Music
  • Please note that applicant must own legal copies of all software used - no exceptions

Contemporary Strings

Prescreening

  • Applicant can perform on any type of bowed string instrument, including traditional acoustic, electric, 5 (or more) strings, fretted, midi, etc.
  • Applicant must show a strong aptitude and sense of originality in his/her dominant area of contemporary performance 
  • Applicant will perform three selections from one or more contemporary musical genres such as pop, rock, R&B, fusion, bluegrass, old-time, electronic, world etc., demonstrating appropriate stylistic elements. Selections should be in contrasting styles, performed either solo, with a live band or track, and should not be longer than 3 minutes each. At least one selection should include an improvised solo. Additional studio recordings can be submitted for consideration, but cannot substitute for the video requirements

Live Audition

  • In addition to any of the above, applicant may be asked to read music, demonstrate his/her ability to improvise with or without a chord-chart, identify major and minor chords, play scales in various positions, and show technical facility through typical routines and exercises

Contemporary Voice

Prescreening

  • Three selections of original music or creative covers, with the following requirements:
    • At least one submission must be submitted with a video
    • Selections should be contrasting in tempo and should be from one or more contemporary musical genres such as pop, rock, R&B, folk, gospel, indie, alternative, punk, metal, rap, hip-hop, country, etc.
    • Selections should highlight how the applicant perceives themselves s an artist
  • All selections may be self-accompanied, accompanied by others, or performed with accompaniment tracks. Please ensure that the voice is clearly heard on the video
  • All selections must be performed using a microphone
  • Additional studio recordings can be submitted for consideration, but cannot substitute for the video requirements
  • Applicant must show a strong aptitude and sense of originality in various stylistic areas of contemporary performance

Live Audition

  • In addition to any of the above, applicant may be asked to demonstrate his/her ability to sight-read, harmonize, embellish, improvise, and show his/her range and technical facility through typical practice routines and exercises (scales, arpeggios, pitch matching, etc.)

Creative American Music - Songwriting (CAM)

Prescreening

  • Applicant will perform three original songs in any genre that best demonstrate his/her originality and style
  • All selections must be on video, and self-accompanied on guitar, piano, keyboard, or other chord instrument.  Additional musicians and/or a live band is acceptable
  • All selections must be performed using a microphone
  • Please submit one lyric sheet in PDF format containing the lyrics to all three songs and clearly identifying any additional co-writers and their contributions
  • Additional studio recordings can be submitted for consideration, but cannot substitute for the video requirements
  • Applicant must show a strong aptitude and originality as a songwriter and performer
  • Applicant must be able to write both music and lyrics

Live Audition 

  • Applicant will perform up to three original songs, self-accompanied in any genre that best demonstrates his/her originality and style
  • In addition, applicant may be asked to demonstrate his/her ability to read music in both notation and chord-chart formats, harmonize, embellish, improvise, perform major and minor chords and scales in various keys and show his/her range and technical facility through typical practice routines and exercises