Visit Health Watch for COVID-19 updates. Find Employee Return to Campus and Student Return to Campus information.
Emergency Notification

Graduate Application Process

Graduate applications for the MM and MA programs are due February 15, 2022.

CSU Apply Application Fee: A $55.00 application fee must be submitted by the application deadline. 

In compliance with the National Association of Schools of Music, all those accepted to the MA in Music and MM programs are expected to have an undergraduate degree in music from a NASM accredited program or demonstrate competency in the core music curriculum through additional course work. This requirement can be satisfied through co-requisite participation in the Cal State LA undergraduate music curriculum.

Step 1:

All incoming graduate students must first apply to the university through CSU Apply. The application is available starting October 1, 2021, and is due February 15, 2022. Information about the general application process and frequently asked questions can be found on the Office of Graduate Studies. 

Step 2:

Acceptance into the graduate music degree program at Cal State LA requires a performance audition. Entering graduate students who have been accepted for admission by the university should be prepared to perform for a faculty panel a 10-minute program of music drawn from the standard repertoire for the student’s instrument or voice. 

A list of specific audition requirements for each area of music study can be found at the bottom of this page.

Step 3:

After reviewing the audition repertoire and requirements, those applicants requiring an audition must submit audition videos electronically via email. Please submit your audition as an unlisted YouTube link, or a link to the file on Google Drive, Dropbox, or another cloud-based service (make sure your link permissions are set so that anybody with the link can view the file.)

All application materials should be sent to the program coordinator:

The deadline for video auditions is February 15, 2022 at 11:59pm. Due to COVID-19, there will be no live auditions scheduled this year.

Scholarships

You may apply for Music Department merit scholarships by completing a Scholarship Application. Click here to complete the Music Department Scholarship Application. The deadline for music scholarship applications is February 15, 2022 at 11:59pm.

You must apply for University scholarships separately. More information about applying for University need and merit-based scholarships can be found on the University Financial Aid page by clicking here.

Graduate Audition Repertoire

Select the instrument or voice on which you wish to audition for a description of the graduate repertoire requirements.

The instrumental/voice audition repertoire is for the MM in Music Performance, which specializes primarily in Classical music, unless otherwise specified. Graduate candidates seeking admission to Afro-Latin, Composition, Commerical Music, or Conducting should select the links below for specific audition requirements and expectations for admission to those programs. Graduate candidates interested in music education with the emphasis of instrumental music do not need to audition. 

Afro-Latin Music

Applicants for admission to Afro-Latin graduate studies are required to demonstrate a graduate level of performance and improvisation on their instrument or equivalent skills as arrangers and composers.

Performer applicants should come prepared to perform at least three pieces in varying tempos and styles with a rhythm section or play-along recording. Performer applicants will also be asked to improvise to a typical harmonic progression during the audition.

Arranger and composer applicants should present completed scores with a CD recording of the works so that the faculty can determine the level of attainment as an arranger and/or composer.

For more information about the MM in Afro-Latin Music and area coordinator contact information, visit the Afro-Latin Music program page.

Bassoon

Applicants auditioning on a woodwind instrument are required to perform two pieces of contrasting style for scholarship or entrance auditions to undergraduate or graduate degree programs. Repertoire should be selected from the traditional and contemporary solo literature demonstrating both technical and musical development. The audition will also include sight-reading. Etudes and pieces selected for the audition need not be memorized.

Suggested repertoire (please note that any standard work is acceptable): Milde 25 Studies on Scales and Arpeggios, Jancourt 26 Melodic Studies, Galliard Sonatas 1-6, Teleman Sonata F Minor, Orefici Melodic Studies, Giampieri 16 Daily Studies, Hindemith Sonata

Cello

Applicants for the Master of Music in Cello Performance should prepare the following selections. Piano accompaniment is not required, but please bring two additional copies of the music for the audition panel.

  • First movement of a standard concerto with cadenza (if applicable.)
  • One movement of any Cello Suite by J.S. Bach
  • One solo piece or movement composed in a contrasting style from the standard concerto (i.e. of a different time period) and of equivalent difficulty.
  • Be prepared to play two scales (in the video audition, two of your choice; in the live audition, one chosen by us, one chosen by you.)

Clarinet

Applicants auditioning on a woodwind instrument are required to perform two pieces of contrasting style for scholarship or entrance auditions to undergraduate or graduate degree programs. Repertoire should be selected from the traditional and contemporary solo literature demonstrating both technical and musical development. The audition will also include sight-reading. Etudes and pieces selected for the audition need not be memorized.

Suggested repertoire (please note that any standard work is acceptable): Rose Etudes, Baermann Book IV and V, Cavallini 30 Caprices, Arnold Sonatina, Brahms Sonatas No. 1 and 2, Copland Concerto, Debussy Premiere Rhapsodie, Hindemith Sonata, Martinu Sonata, Mozart Concerto, K. 622, Nielsen Concerto, Poulenc Sonata, Rossini Introduction, Theme and Variations, Saint-Saens Sonata, Schumann, Fantasy Pieces, Vaughn Williams 6 Studies in English Folksong, Weber Concertino, Weber Concerto No. 1 and No. 2

Commercial Music

The following materials must be submitted. All applicants must have an interview as part of the audition process.

  • Submit 5 to 7 examples of their work.
  • Applicants interested in Film/TV and Game scoring, these would be scores and/or recordings of your compositions and/or arrangements. 
  • Applicants interested in Performance should submit recordings (audio with video or audio only) of their performances.
  • Singer/songwriter applicants should submit recordings of themselves performing their material.
  • Submitted material should demonstrate the applicant’s level of creativity, musicality, style, and technique.

All applicants should include an accompanying sheet that specifies what they did on each of their submissions. Please include a simple list - did you: compose, write, arrange, perform, conduct, record, mix, etc. Submission may be through Dropbox or other electronic links to: swight@calstatela.edu, rlevins@calstatela.edu, JoaoPedro.Mourao2@calstatela.edu

In addition to the above portfolio, graduate students should also submit:

  • Three letters of recommendation from teachers or professionals who are familiar with the applicant’s work.
  • A one-page statement addressing the goals of the applicant.
  • Transcripts

Graduate students accepted into the program will take placement tests in the areas of commercial harmony, technology, and piano prior to the start of their first term. These tests are for placement only and may result in remedial course-work above and beyond the 45 units of the graduate program. 

Composition

The following materials must be sent to the Cal State LA Music Department to Dr. John Kennedy:

  • 2-3 scores and recordings (MIDI or live) which are the most representative of their work as a composer. Scores must be submitted in PDF format and recordings in MP3 or WAV formats. Links to videos of live performances are acceptable in place of audio recordings.
  • 2 letters of recommendation from teachers or professionals who are familiar with the applicant's work
  • A one-page statement addressing the goals of the applicant.

Send these materials as attachments or a link to an online folder to:

Dr. John M Kennedy
Cal State LA Department of Music
jkenned@calstatela.edu

An audition on your principal instrument/voice and an interview are required for acceptance into MM Composition program. Applicants should prepare two pieces in any style for the 10-minute audition that show appropriate proficiency for graduate level work. Please contact Dr. Kennedy for any questions, or for an alternative process to an interview if you are not based in the US.

Conducting

The following materials must be sent separately to the Cal State LA Music Department:
  1. 10-20 minutes of Video Recording of the conductor (ensemble view only) in both rehearsal and performance. Applicants should choose excerpts that demonstrate their level of achievement in rehearsal techniques, gesture, and musical expressiveness.
  2. Three letters of recommendation from teachers or professionals who are familiar with the applicant’s work
  3. 5-10 minutes of performance video on your major instrument.
  4. A one-page statement addressing the professional and musical goals of the applicant. 
Send these materials to: 
  • Dr. Emily Moss, Director of Bands: emoss2@calstatela.edu (Instrumental Applicants)
  • Dr. Christopher Gravis, Director of Choral Activities: cgravis@calstatela.edu (Choral Applicants)

Double Bass

Applicants for the Master of Music in Double Bass Performance should prepare the following selections. Piano accompaniment is not required, but please bring two additional copies of the music for the audition panel.

  • First movement of a standard concerto with cadenza (if applicable.)
  • One solo piece or movement composed in a different time period from the concerto (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Modern)
  • A third solo piece or movement of your choice
  • Be prepared to play two scales (in the video audition, two of your choice; in the live audition, one chosen by us, one chosen by you.)

Euphonium

Applicants auditioning on a brass instrument are required to perform two pieces of contrasting style for scholarship or entrance auditions to undergraduate or graduate degree programs. Repertoire should be selected from the traditional and contemporary solo literature demonstrating both technical and musical development. The audition will also include sight-reading.

Suggested repertoire (please note that any standard work is acceptable): Bach Suite, or Wagner "Song to the Evening Star"

Flute

Applicants auditioning on a woodwind instrument are required to perform two pieces of contrasting style for scholarship or entrance auditions to undergraduate or graduate degree programs. Repertoire should be selected from the traditional and contemporary solo literature demonstrating both technical and musical development. The audition will also include sight-reading. Etudes and pieces selected for the audition need not be memorized.

Suggested repertoire (please note that any standard work is acceptable): Andersen Etudes Opus 33, Berbiguier 18 Etudes, Boehm Etudes Opus 37, Taffanel-Gaubert Daily Exercises, Wummer 12 Daily Exercises for the Flute, Blavet Sonatas, Bloch Suite Modale, Debussy Syrinx, Handel Sonatas, Ibert Aria, Krenek Suite, Telemann Fantasias, Telemann Sonatas

Guitar

Applicants for the MM in Classical Guitar Performance should be prepared to perform:

  • Three standard repertoire compositions (including one etude, and one movement of a multi-movement work) in contrasting styles. Please bring copies of the music.
  • One Segovia (major or minor) two octave scale of your choice.
  • Applicants will also demonstrate sightreading ability at the audition.

Suggested repertoire (works of similar technical level will also be accepted):

  • Heitor Villa-Lobos Any one of 12 Etudes or Preludes
  • Tarrega Recuerdos de la Alhambra
  • Bach Two Movements from Lute
  • Bach Cello Suites
  • Bach Violin Sonatas and Partitas
  • Giuliani Grand Overture
  • Albeniz Leyenda
  • Granados Danza Espanola #5
  • Barrios La Catedral
  • Navarez Guardame las vacas
  • Sor Variation on a Theme of Mozart

Note: This audition repertoire is for the MM in Classical Guitar Performance. Applicants for the MM in Commercial Music or other areas should view the application requirements for that area.

Harp

Applicants auditioning on harp are required to perform the following repetoire. Please bring copies of the music you will perform.
  • One selection from standard harp repertoire from Baroque, Classical, or Romantic period
  • One selection from 20th/21st century harp repertoire
  • Applicants will demonstrate their sightreading ability.

Horn

Applicants auditioning on a brass instrument are required to perform two pieces of contrasting style for scholarship or entrance auditions to undergraduate or graduate degree programs. Repertoire should be selected from the traditional and contemporary solo literature demonstrating both technical and musical development. The audition will also include sight-reading.

Suggested repertoire by instrument (please note that any standard work is acceptable): Any Mozart Concerto, the Franz Strauss Concerto, Opus 8, Hindemith Sonata

Oboe

Applicants auditioning on a woodwind instrument are required to perform two pieces of contrasting style for scholarship or entrance auditions to undergraduate or graduate degree programs. Repertoire should be selected from the traditional and contemporary solo literature demonstrating both technical and musical development. The audition will also include sight-reading. Etudes and pieces selected for the audition need not be memorized.

Suggested repertoire (please note that any standard work is acceptable): Krenek Two Themes by Handel, Still Incantation and Dance, Albenoni Concert in Bb, Handel Concertos in Bb or G Minor or Sonata in C Minor, Telemann Sonata in A Minor, Barret Progressive Exercises, Bleuzet Technique of the Oboe, V. I, Ferling 144 Preludes and Studies

Percussion

Applicants for admission to graduate degree programs as percussion majors should bring sticks, mallets and printed copies of the music to be performed. Instruments will be provided by the university. Pieces or etudes for the audition should be chosen from all of the following four categories, but need not be memorized.

  • Snare Drum
    • Demonstrate a long roll, rudiments; sight reading.
    • Perform a piece or etude from a repertoire list. (e.g. etude from Peters’ Intermediate Snare Drum Studies)
  • Timpani
    • Demonstrate rolls, tuning; sight reading
    • Perform a piece or etude from a repertoire list (e.g. etude from Goodman’s Modern Method for Timpani)
  • Mallets
    • Demonstrate Major and Minor Scales; sight reading
    • Perform a piece or etude from a repertoire list (e.g. etude from Whaley’s Fundamental Studies for Mallets)
  • Auxiliary Instruments
    • Drum Set: demonstrate various styles; sight reading.
    • Multiple Percussion: perform a short piece; sight reading.
    • Latin Percussion: demonstrate various instruments and styles; sight reading.

Piano

Applicants for Graduate Study in Piano Performance should demonstrate their potential for a professional career in music through the following: 
  • Awareness of style and musical language, control of touch, tonal color, articulation, and pedaling.
  • Musical communication. Must demonstrate the ability tell a story, to involve the listener in expressing an idea
  • The ability to handle larger forms and musical complexities.
  • Advanced technical development and control appropriate to the repertoire.
  • Overall confidence in public performance.

Applicants should select one work from each of the categories listed below (four works total.) All works must be performed by memory, and works will not necessarily be heard in their entirety. Only original piano solo works are allowed (no concerti.)

  • BAROQUE
    • One complete work by J.S. Bach (Excludes Inventions & Sinfonias).If performing longer dance suites such as Partitas, four representative movements will be acceptable. 
  • CLASSICAL
    • One complete major work (all movements)
    • Sonata or Variations
    • Haydn through Schubert (Excludes Beethoven op. 49 nos. 1 & 2, and op. 79)
  • ROMANTIC, NEO-ROMANTIC or IMPRESSIONIST
    • One complete work. May include original transcriptions by Liszt, Busoni, etc. Excludes concerti.
  • 20th CENTURY
    • Work must be published and involve primarily traditional performance techniques on the keyboard.

Saxophone

Graduate classical saxophone candidates should be prepared to perform two pieces in contrasting styles appropriate to graduate study. Saxophone students seeking a scholarship are expected to either perform from the list below or more advanced literature, depending on their current or previous study. Entering students should also be ready to perform Major Scales, all 12 keys, Slurred, 1 octave, in eighth notes, Quarter note = 72 bpm. The audition will also include sight-reading.

Suggested list of audition literature for admission to saxophone study:

  • Alessandrini Valse Lent
  • Bach Arioso (from Cantata No. 156) arr. Kent
  • Bach Gavottes arr. Mule
  • Bartok Evening in the Country arr. Harris
  • Beethoven Minuet (from Sonata Op. 49) arr. Teal
  • Bizet Festival Performance Solos, Vol. 1 arr. Gee
  • Bizet Minuet (from L'Arlesienne) arr. Buchtel
  • Bonneau Suite
  • Bozza Aria
  • Byrd Pavana and Galiando arr. Davis
  • Chopin Largo arr. Rosseau
  • Corelli Adagio arr. Mule
  • Corelli Adagio and Giga arr. Teal
  • Corelli Air and Dance arr. Maganini
  • Cui Allegro Scherzoso arr. Teal
  • d'Ambrosio Canzonetta Op. 6 arr. Hummel
  • Damase Vacance
  • Dautremer Emotion
  • Debussy Clair de Lune arr. Ramsey
  • Debussy Passepied arr. Teal
  • Faure Festival Performance Solos, Vol. 2
  • Faure Pavane Op. 50 arr. Ramsay
  • Frackenpohl Air for Alto
  • Frackenpohl Dorian Elegy
  • Frederick Adagio and Allegro arr. Teal
  • Giovannini Romance
  • Granados Two Poetic Scenes arr. Davis
  • Handel Andante and Bourree arr. Teal
  • Handel Aria arr. Snell
  • Handel Bourree (from Organ Concerto No. 7) arr. Teal
  • Handel Honor and Arms arr. Snell
  • Handel Sicilienne et Gigue arr. Mule
  • Haydn Oxen Minuet arr. Rascher
  • Kjerulf Berceuse arr. Snell
  • Kreisler Schon Rosmarin arr. Gurewich
  • Kynaston Espejos arr. Teal
  • Lantier Sicilienne
  • LeClair Gigue arr. Mule
  • Leoncavallo Mattinata arr. Barnes
  • Loeillet Sonata arr. Merriman
  • Luebke Saxography
  • Niehaus Emily's Caprice
  • Niehaus Harlequinade
  • Niehaus Seaside Images
  • Nolan Polka Militaire arr. Snell
  • Purcell Two Bourrees arr. Rascher
  • Rachmaninoff Vocalise (Op. 34 No. 14) arr. Dishinger/Harle
  • Ravel Pavane arr. Bettoney
  • Rimsky-Korsakov Hymn to the Sun arr. Colby
  • Rueff Chanson et Passepied
  • Schudel Intrada
  • Snell Concert Fantasie
  • Telemann Fanfare and March arr. Snell

Trombone

Applicants auditioning on a brass instrument are required to perform two pieces of contrasting style for scholarship or entrance auditions to undergraduate or graduate degree programs. Repertoire should be selected from the traditional and contemporary solo literature demonstrating both technical and musical development. The audition will also include sight-reading.

Suggested repertoire by instrument (please note that any standard work is acceptable): Grondahl concerto, Jacob concerto, Wagenseil concerto, Paul Hindemith Sonata, Sulek Sonata, Casterède sonata, Galliard sonata, Guilmant, or Bozza 

Trumpet

Applicants auditioning on a brass instrument are required to perform two pieces of contrasting style for scholarship or entrance auditions to undergraduate or graduate degree programs. Repertoire should be selected from the traditional and contemporary solo literature demonstrating both technical and musical development. The audition will also include sight-reading.

Suggested repertoire (please note that any standard work is acceptable): Haydn Trumpet Concerto in Eb, Hummel Trumpet Concerto in Eb, Kennan Sonata, Ropartz Andante and Allegro, Goedicke Concert Etude.

Tuba

Applicants auditioning on a brass instrument are required to perform two pieces of contrasting style for scholarship or entrance auditions to undergraduate or graduate degree programs. Repertoire should be selected from the traditional and contemporary solo literature demonstrating both technical and musical development. The audition will also include sight-reading.

Suggested repertoire (please note that any standard work is acceptable): Bach/Bell, Air and Bourée, John Boda Sonatina

Viola

Applicants for the Master of Music in Viola Performance should prepare the following selections. Piano accompaniment is not required, but please bring two additional copies of the music for the audition panel.

  • First movement of a standard concerto with cadenza (if applicable.)
  • One movement of any Cello Suite arranged for viola by J.S. Bach
  • One solo piece or movement composed in a different time period from the concerto (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Modern)
  • Be prepared to play two scales (in the video audition, two of your choice; in the live audition, one chosen by us, one chosen by you.)

Violin

Applicants for the Master of Music in Violin Performance should prepare the following selections. Piano accompaniment is not required, but please bring two additional copies of the music for the audition panel.

  • First movement of a standard concerto with cadenza (if applicable.)
  • One movement of any Solo Sonata or Partita by J.S. Bach
  • One solo piece or movement composed in a different time period from the concerto (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Modern)
  • Be prepared to play two scales (in the video audition, two of your choice; in the live audition, one chosen by us, one chosen by you.)

Voice

Master of Arts: General Option

  • Two contrasting art songs, sight reading
  • Also required: Resume, Essay including musical experience and aspirations, Two letters of recommendation

Master of Arts: General Option (with a vocal pedagogy emphasis, for students aspiring to teach or research voice)

  • Four contrasting pieces that present four languages and four style periods, and sight reading
  • Also required: Resume, Example of research writing, Two letters of recommendation

Master of Music: Vocal Performance (for students who wish to sing opera and/or oratorio professionally)

  • Five contrasting pieces that collectively present: (1) four languages (2) four style periods, (3) one opera aria, (4) one oratorio aria. Applicants will also sight read a selection.
  • Also required: Resume, Essay including musical experience and aspirations, Three letters of recommendation