Ensemble Auditions

Performance ensembles are open to all students regardless of major. It is even possible for non-music majors to earn scholarship money through this avenue. Learn more about our ensembles and audition requirements on the performance opportunities page.

Academic Auditions

The UMSL Department of Music strives to create a nurturing learning environment while constantly assessing the needs of its students, the community, and the music profession. A music degree from the University of Missouri-St Louis means being part of a family of talented students and faculty. The following steps outline university admissions and audition information.  A successful audition is required for enrollment in all music degree programs (including music minors). Audition requirements for each major are available below.

  1. Complete your free application to the University of Missouri-St. Louis
  2. Schedule your audition - Upcoming audition dates: February 25, 2023 and March 18, 2023
    If these dates are not possible for you, please contact Prof. Kurt Baldwin at  baldwink@umsl.edu to set up another time.

Guitar Performance Majors

Entering students should have covered basic positions, rest stroke with fingers, free stroke with thumb, introduction of basic barré technique, free stroke with the fingers and the playing of three to four note chords as well as the following literature and scales:

In the case of literature, there are many alternatives to the items listed. All early music (lute literature) should be played with f# tuning and in third position with capo.

  • Exercises and Scales:
    • Pujol, Guitar School (Orphee), Book Two, through Ex. 60 (end of Part I)
    • Giuliani, Op.1a, vol. 1, (Tecla Editions, Jeffery ed.) arpeggio studies - emphasis on development of free stroke.
    • Segovia, Diatonic Major and Minor Scales, C, G, E, and F major.   
  • Literature:
    • Sor, Fernando, 20 Studies ed. by Segovia , Etude #2.
    • Hamilton and McFadden, eds. cont., Guitar Series, Album  2 or 3.
    • Carcassi, Studies, Op. 60.
    • Poulenc, "Sarabande" 
    • Noad, The Renaissance Guitar, selections.

Non-Performance Majors (including Music Education* majors, Music B.A. majors, etc.)

All entering students must be able to read music on the guitar (not tab) and have accomplished the following technical material:

  • Basic positions, rest stroke with fingers, free stroke with thumb, introduction of basic barré technique, free stroke with the fingers and the playing of three to four note chords.

The following material is recommended to accomplish these goals. In the case of literature, there are many alternatives to the items listed. All early music (lute literature) should be played in third position with capo.  

This material could be accomplished in three to four months of well-directed study.

  • Exercises and Scales:
    • Pujol, Guitar School (Orphee), Book Two, up to ex. #25-27 (p. 106-107)
    • Optional: Segovia. Diatonic Major and Minor Scales, begin work on C major and G Major.
  • Literature:
    • Selections from Guitar Series, Bridges, Preparatory Repertoire and Studies or Repertoire and Studies Level 1,The Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto), The Frederick Harris Music Co., Limited.
    • Carcassi, Studies, Op. 60.
Note: Guitar students seeking entry to the BM: Music Education program will be asked, upon acceptance by the Department of Music, to audition for and enroll in an approved large ensemble compatible with the teaching certification they are pursuing: University Singers [for those seeking vocal/choral certification]; or, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble or Orchestra [for those seeking instrumental certification]. This does not impact the other BM or BA in Music degrees.

To schedule a (classical) guitar audition, please contact Prof. Alan Rosenkoetter at 314-935-5542 (rosenkoettera@umsl.edu).

Entrance Audition Requirements

  • The potential music major is requested to perform two contrasting selections of choice
  • perform selected major and minor scales and arpeggios on both manuals and pedal for organ, and manuals only for harpsichord
  • demonstrate sight reading ability
  • if requested, offer letter(s) of recommendation to support the student’s musical background and potential

Note: Keyboard students seeking entry to the BM: Music Education program will be asked, upon acceptance by the Department of Music, to audition for and enroll in an approved large ensemble compatible with the teaching certification they are pursuing: University Singers [for those seeking vocal/choral certification]; or, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble or Orchestra [for those seeking instrumental certification]. This does not impact the other BM or BA in Music degrees.

To schedule an organ or harpsichord audition, please contact Prof. Alla Voskoboynikova ( voskoboynikovaa@umsl.edu)

Percussion Entrance Audition Requirements

  • Prepare an etude or solo on keyboard percussion, snare drum, and timpani.
  • Your audition repertoire is up to you. Choose pieces that you can play well and are comfortable with, rather than those that are pushing your technical limits. Musicality is more important than flashiness.
  • Being a well-rounded musician is the ultimate goal, so don’t worry if some of your selections are lower level than others. Focus on your strengths, but don’t be shy about the instruments on which you would like to improve your skills, or are a work in progress.
  • Memorization is not required.
  • Drum set and world percussion demonstrations are also welcome parts of your audition, but are optional.

All instruments are provided, but feel free to bring smaller instruments you are comfortable with if you like.

To schedule a percussion audition, please contact Prof. Matthew Henry at 314-516-7970 (henryma@umsl.edu).

Entrance Audition Requirements:

  • The potential music major is requested to perform two contrasting selections of choice (OR) perform one selection from the MSHSAA (Missouri State High School Association) solo contest list or a similar approved list 
  • perform selected major and minor scales and arpeggios 
  • demonstrate sight reading ability 
  • if requested offer letter(s) of recommendation to support the student’s musical background and potential

Note: Piano students seeking entry to the BM: Music Education program will be asked, upon acceptance by the Department of Music, to audition for and enroll in an approved large ensemble compatible with the teaching certification they are pursuing: University Singers [for those seeking vocal/choral certification]; or, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble or Orchestra [for those seeking instrumental certification]. This does not impact the other BM or BA in Music degrees.

To schedule a piano audition, please contact Prof. Alla Voskoboynikova at 314-516-4198 (voskoboynikovaa@umsl.edu)

Strings Entrance Audition Requirements:

  • The potential music major is requested to perform two contrasting selections of choice (OR) perform one selection from the MSHSAA (Missouri State High School Association) solo contest list or a similar approved list
  • perform selected major and minor scales and arpeggios
  • offer letter(s) of recommendation in support of the student’s musical background and potential

To schedule a string audition (violin, viola, violoncello, double bass), please contact Prof. John McGrosso at 314-516-4917 (mcgrossoj@umsl.edu)

Because of the specific nature of music theory and composition studies, a separate application is required in order to enter the B.M. Music Theory or B.M. Music Composition degree programs.  Typically, it is recommended that you enter UMSL as a music major in another degree program (B.M. in Performance, B.A. in Music, etc.), and then wait until you have completed Theory and Aural Training I-IV before officially applying for either Theory/Composition major.  This will allow you enough time to develop a strong foundation in music theory before attempting to declare it as a major.


For entrance into the B.M. in Composition program, we ask that you submit the following to Dr. Zachary Cairns:
  1. A composition portfolio of scores for 3-4 original pieces with varying instrumentation (e.g., solo piano; string quartet; saxophone and piano; jazz ensemble; etc.). Please include recordings of these pieces, if possible (computer-generated MIDI recordings are acceptable).
  2. Documentation that demonstrates your skill in music theory.

For entrance into the B.M. in Theory program, we ask that you submit the following to Dr. Zachary Cairns:

  1. A writing sample. Ideally, this would be a writing assignment on an analytical (music) topic (perhaps a paper written for one of your Theory classes), but it could also be a paper written for a non-music class – whatever you feel best demonstrates your ability to present a well articulated argument.
  2. Documentation that demonstrates your skill in music theory.

For each degree program, we ask that you provide some documentation that demonstrates your skill in music theory. This could take any number of forms. For example:

  1. A copy of your transcript/degree audit that shows you have maintained at least a B average in your music theory classes.
  2. A letter of recommendation from someone who has helped you study music theory.
  3. A personal statement describing your previous study of music theory.

Vocal Entrance Audition Requirements:

  • Prepare 2 songs in contrasting styles. It is preferred but not mandatory that at least one of the selections be an art song in a foreign (i.e. non-English) language. Other options may include an art song in a different language (including English) or in another style such as Broadway, jazz, folk, or gospel.
  • Sing back a few lines of notes we play for you on the piano at the time of the audition.
  • Sight sing 2-4 lines of music that will be given to you at the time of the audition.
  • Participate in a short interview.
  • Email 2 reference letters to Dr. James Henry (henryjam@umsl.edu)

The audition will determine acceptance into the program and into our University Singers ensemble.

To schedule a Vocal Audition, please contact Dr. James Henry at 314-516-6607 (henryjam@umsl.edu).

Woodwind & Brass Entrance Audition Requirements:

  • The potential music major is requested to perform two contrasting selections of choice (OR) perform one selection from the MSHSAA (Missouri State High School Association) solo contest list or a similar approved list 
  • perform selected major and minor scales and arpeggios 
  • demonstrate sight reading ability
  • if requested, offer letter(s) of recommendation to support the student’s musical background and potential

To schedule an audition on an orchestral/band woodwind or brass instrument, please contact Dr. David Wacyk (dmwdb8@umsl.edu).