Audition for the Bachelor of Music

Auditioning before admission is granted into UCSB is a secondary application required for students applying for entrance into the Bachelor of Music (BM) programs only.

Students who are interested in the Bachelor of Art in Music Studies and/or taking lessons in a faculty studio (you do not need to be a major to participate in lessons) are also welcome to audition to see if they will qualify. Notifications about whether or not you might place in a studio, if room is available, will be given to you at the same time notificaitons about eligibility for the Bachelor of Music are sent. Audition results may help you make a more informed decision about which college you ultimately choose. Please note that placement in a studio, even if qualified, is not guaranteed for non BM students. Auditions for studio placement (separate from qualifying auditions) will happen at the start of each Fall quarter.

Auditions for applicants applying for the Bachelor of Music for  Fall 2020 will be announced in October.

Although a live audition is strongly encouraged, it may be possible to make an alternate arrangment for an audition, or send a recorded audition. For inquriries, email


Do you prescreen? 


When will my individual lessons (studio) instructor be assigned? 

During the first week of classes in Fall quarter.

Do I need to take placement exams? 

Yes, at the start of Fall quarter, in music theory and musicianship and also for class piano, even if you have no prior experience.

Does the Music Department make decisions on who will be admitted to UCSB?

No. The results of our auditions/composition portfolios and interviews only serve to assess undergraduate freshmen and transfer applicants musical suitability for the BM degree program. We do submit the results of our auditions to the Office of Admissions. All recommendations for degree emphasis are contingent on acceptance to the University of California by the Office of Admissions. Any other questions about this process should be directed to the Office of Admissions.

How long will my audition last?

Audition times vary by instrument and may last  between 5 and 30 minutes, depending on the instrument, the repertoire presented for the audition and committee preferences. Some auditions are in a mini-lesson/audition format so the instructor and you will get a chance to know eachother better. Others are more formal auditions where you enter in, perform your pieces and answer any questions. It is possible that instrumentalists and vocalists will be asked to stop before a work is finished and be asked to move on to another work. Time limits must be observed in order to give each prospective student appropriate time to audition.

May I play my own pieces (composed by myself) for the audition?

Normally, the Faculty will wish to hear the required repertoire pieces listed for the audition. You may offer your own composition “IN ADDITION TO” the required repertoire; but not “INSTEAD OF “ on a time-available basis. Time can be very limited for certain programs, including Strings, Piano and Voice.

On the audition form, it asks about my degree interests, how should I answer?

If you are applying to enter into one of the Bachelor of Music degrees, it must be selected as your first choice major on your UC application.
This question on the Music Department forms are used as a guide to better advise you within the Music Department. The whole form lets us know you are auditioning, and create a uniform background summary for each applicant for the audition committee to review. The form has no bearing on your UC application, which is a completely separate process. For this question, you may pick more than one interest - it will just help those in the department know where you are at in the process and provide you with better direction.

Is it possible to double major in music with another discipline?

Yes. The BA tends to lend itself more easily to those wishing to pursue a double major. It is also possible with the BM, though careful planning from the beginning is essential. Once you are enrolled at UCSB, you can change your major, or add a double major, as early as Spring quarter of your first year. Talk to the undergraduate advisors in both deparments to start.

Is there a minor in music?

Yes, there is a Music Minor option. The Music Minor requirements may be viewed here. You do not need to audition to be a music minor. We recommend Music 11 as the first class. If you have taken AP Music Theory and passed, this may count as equivalent to Music 11. We also offer a Theory and Placement exam at the beginning of each Fall quarter. To declare the minor, stop in the undergraduate advising office.

May I participate in ensembles without being a music major?

Yes, each year we have many students who are studying in other majors across the University, and who participate in many of our Music Department ensembles. A list of ensembles and their audition requirements can be viewed in the Ensembles section. Contact the faculty, or review the information provided on the webpage to get information on how to audition for the ensemble.

Can I take lessons or major in saxophone or guitar?

Currently, we do not offer private instruction or majors in saxophone or guitar, we do offer some beginning instrumental instruction in jarana jarocha (MUS A 70Z/170Z). UCSB's Rec Cen also offers some guitar and mandolin lessons for a fee. We also offer lessons in the sitar (MUS 22D) and oud (MUS22O), which may be of interest to you if you like guitar.

Are scholarships available from the Department of Music?

Yes, each year the Department of Music awards limited scholarships (typically $1,000 per year)  to incoming students majoring in Music based on the results of their audition. Scholarship awards from the Department of Music are limited to students who have declared and maintain a “Music Major” as their degree plan emphasis.

Are practice rooms with pianos available to anyone who wants to practice?

No. Music Department rooms are ONLY for UCSB students enrolled in Music Department ensembles or lessons (no exceptions). To arrange for access, please make an appointment with Connor Long, or stop by Music 1251 M-W from 1:30 - 2:30 for key hours. A $40 deposit is required, checks or money order (available at the Post Office in the UCen) only, made out to UC Regents is required at the time of your key appointment.

Lessons and Ensembles include: Music 8, 20-33, 88, A34 through A70AA-ZZ*, 108, 120-133, A134 through A170AA-ZZ* and graduate level performance classes.

If you need a room to warm up for an audition for a Music Department lesson or ensemble, please stop by the Music office (1300's) during office hours to see if a space is available. Once you are accepted into a lesson or ensemble, you will need to arrange for your own key.

Unanswered Questions?