Undergraduate Contemporary Audition Requirements

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

Prescreen is required for all applicants, and unless specified, prescreen requirements are the same as listed below. 
  • The Contemporary Performance principal is open to instrumentalists, vocalists, and songwriters pursuing instruction in contemporary/popular styles of music
  • For contemporary instrumentalist, vocalists, and songwriters, MADE is the program choice that correlates to a contemporary performance degree.
  • 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)
  • All Frost applicants - regardless of major - are eligible to audition for the Creative American Music (CAM) songwriting minor. If auditioning for the contemporary principal and CAM minor, these requirements only need to be met once. For example, a contemporary voice principal and CAM minor would only need to submit 3 selections - they would all need to be original music, not covers. If auditioning for a different principal instrument genre or performance major (Classical or Jazz), the CAM requirements would be in addition to the requirements for those principals/majors. See below for complete requirements. NOTE* for those auditioning for CAM, SONGWRITER will be your primary area of focus and the evaluation of your materials will be primarily based on the quality of your song and lyric writing.  
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  • Phase I: Prescreening

    • A video prescreening is required for all Contemporary/CAM applicants
    • The prescreening must be uploaded with your Frost supplemental application 
    • 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 CDs please)
    • Amplifiers for electric guitar and bass
    • Drum kit
    • Ableton Push Controller
    • Music stands

Contemporary Bass

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  • Prescreening

    • Applicant will perform three selections (original or covers) from one or more contemporary musical genres such as pop, rock, R&B, folk, gospel, country, etc., demonstrating appropriate stylistic elements. (Please note: Original songs and material are highly encouraged for each selection, but they are not required–except for CAM minor*).
    • Each selection must be submitted separately in a video format.
    • Applicant must show a strong aptitude and sense of originality in various stylistic areas of contemporary performance.
    • 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

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  • 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 60-80bpm
      • One up-tempo at 125-160bpm
      • 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)

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  • Prescreening

    • Applicant will perform three selections (original or covers) from one or more contemporary musical genres such as pop, rock, R&B, folk, gospel, country, etc., demonstrating appropriate stylistic elements and originality. (Please note: Original songs and material are highly encouraged for each selection, but they are not required–except for CAM minor*.)
    • Each selection must be submitted separately in a video format
    • 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.
    • 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, students are encouraged to prepare different selections that meet the same requirements.
    • Students will be asked to demonstrate skills and application of knowledge, to their instrument. Students may be asked to demonstrate abilities/knowledge in the following areas:
      • Sight-reading
      • Scales
      • Chords (spelling/voicings)
      • Typical comping patterns showing technical facility

Contemporary Keyboard

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  • Prescreening

    • Applicant will perform three selections (original or covers) from one or more contemporary musical genres such as pop, rock, R&B, folk, gospel, country, etc., demonstrating appropriate stylistic elements. (Please note: Original songs and material are highly encouraged for each selection, but they are not required–except for CAM minor*.)
    • Each selection must be submitted separately 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, students are encouraged to prepare different selections that meet the same requirements.
    • Students will be asked to sight-read music 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 improvisation.

Contemporary Media

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  • Prescreening

    •  Applicant will perform 3 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.
    • 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.
    • 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 sufficient.
    • Additional studio recordings can be submitted for consideration, but cannot substitute for the video requirements.

  • 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 effects.
    • 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. As well as basic proficiency on a traditional instrument.
    • Please note that applicant must own legal copies of all software used - no exceptions.

Contemporary Strings

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  • Prescreening

    • Applicant will perform three selections (original or covers) from one or more contemporary musical genres such as pop, rock, R&B, fusion, bluegrass, old-time, electronic, world, etc., demonstrating appropriate stylistic elements. Please note: Original songs and material are highly encouraged for each selection, but they are not required–except for CAM minor*).
    • Each selection must be submitted separately in a video format.
    • 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.
    • Selections should be in contrasting styles, performed either solo, with a live band or track.
    • 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 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 Voice

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  • For Contemporary Vocalist - MADE is the program choice that correlates to a contemporary voice performance degree. Prescreening

    • Applicant will perform three selections (original or covers) from one or more contemporary musical genres such as pop, rock, R&B, folk, gospel, country, etc., that the applicant feels best represents their unique artistic voice. (Please note: Original songs and material are highly encouraged for each selection, but they are not required–except for CAM minor*).
    • Each selection must be submitted separately in a video format with the applicant visible and clearly heard.
    • Selections can be performed with or without a microphone.
    • All selections may be self-accompanied, accompanied by others (accompanist or band), or performed with accompaniment tracks.
    • We encourage you to reinterpret covers in an original and creative way.
    • If original music is submitted, selection must include one lyric sheet in PDF format containing the lyrics to that song 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.

  • Live Audition

    • Applicant will perform up to three selections.
    • Please bring one printed lyric sheet for each original song.
    • In addition to the above, applicant will speak about their goals within their musical career path.

Creative American Music - Songwriting (CAM)

*CONTEMPORARY SONGWRITING/CREATIVE AMERICAN MUSIC (CAM) MINOR

All Frost applicants – REGARDLESS OF MAJOR - are eligible to audition for the CAM minor. If auditioning for the contemporary principal and CAM minor, these requirements only need be met once.  (For example, a contemporary principal voice and CAM minor would only need to submit 3 selections – they would all have to be original music, not covers.) If auditioning for a different principal instrument or performance major (Classical or Jazz), these would be in addition to the requirements for those principals/majors.

NOTE* for those auditioning for CAM, SONGWRITER will be your primary area of focus and the evaluation of your materials will be based on the quality of your song and lyric writing.  

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  • Prescreening

    • Applicant will submit three original songs in any genre that best demonstrate their unique originality and style.
    • Applicant must be able to write both music and lyrics.
    • Applicant must show a strong aptitude and originality as a songwriter and performer.
    • Each selection must be submitted separately in a video format.
    • All selections must be performed using a microphone.
    • All selections must be self-accompanied on guitar, piano, keyboard, or other chord instruments.  Additional musicians and/or a live band is acceptable alongside.
    • All selections must include 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

  • Live Audition

    • Applicant will perform up to three original songs (can be same as the prescreen), self-accompanied (or with track) 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.
    • Please bring printed one printed lyric sheet for each song to the audition.