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Music Auditions & Lessons


Because of the current Covid-19 situation and the cessation of in-person activities at McMaster University, auditions to start in the Music program in the Fall 2020 have been converted to an online process.  We have already run a series of auditions online and the process is working quite well.  If you are interested in auditioning for the Music program and have not booked an audition, please contact Rita Crespo at for further instructions.

Music Auditions 2020

Before we can offer you a place in our Music program, you’ll need to come to the University for an audition. Auditions are held between February and March and allow you to meet professors and current students in the program and see our facilities. The audition consists of three parts, which gives us the chance to assess your aural, performance and theory skills.

Our scheduled audition dates for 2020 are:

  • February 8
  • February 29
  • March 7
  • March 21
  • April 4
  • April 18

Booking Your Audition

Auditions for students who wish to enter the Music I program in September 2020 will run February – April 2020.  You can email Rita Crespo in the School of the Arts  at to book your appointment. All applicants to the Music Program at McMaster will be contacted regarding audition bookings no later than January 30. Special arrangements may be made for prospective Music students who live more than 300km from the University.

The audition consists of different parts, which gives us the chance to assess your aural, performance and theory skills.


You will be asked to perform two or three varied pieces of your choice (including one from the past 100 years) in order to demonstrate your technique. Singers must prepare three selections, and Classical singers must include at least one song in a language other than English. You should be prepared to perform about 20 minutes of music.  The minimum performance level required equates to that of honours Grade 8 of the Royal Conservatory of Music. You will also be required to sight-read a brief musical excerpt. All students are encouraged to use an accompanist, but accompanists are required for singers.

Ear-Training Test

The Ear test involves recognizing intervals, triads (major or minor), seventh chords (dominant or diminished), chords in root position or first inversion; and tapping out a given rhythm.

The Interview

The interview is a meeting between the student and a faculty member in the School of the Arts, to assess strengths and needs in order to determine how the Music Program can best serve the student’s long-term goals.


If, before the audition, the student can document Advanced Rudiments (Grade 2) or higher with first class honours (80% or above) or the equivalent within the past two years, the theory portion of the audition may be waived.

In order to pass the theory test, you must be able to do the following:

  • Clef reading: treble, alto, tenor amd bass clefs
  • Rhythm: add rests to a passage (simple, compound, or mixed)
  • Intervals: write, identify, and/or invert harmonic or melodic intervals (including compound intervals)
  • Chords: write or identify major, minor, augmented, and diminished triads, in root position and/or inversions (open or closed position)
  • Cadences: write perfect, plagal, or imperfect cadences (keyboard or chorale style) at the end of a melodic fragment (major or minor key)
  • Transposition: name the key of a short melody and transpose it up or down within the octave
  • Score types: rewrite a passage in modern vocal score, string quartet, or short score (i.e., two staves)
  • Analysis: analyze a short score (i.e., name chords, identify the key, etc.)
  • Musical Terms: identify or define given terms
  • Dominant Seventh Chords: write or identify dominant seventh chords in root position and/or inversions (open or closed position).
  • Scales: write and/or identify all major, natural minor, harmonic, or melodic scales beginning on any scale degree (i.e., from supertonic to supertonic, dominant to dominant, tonic to tonic, etc.)


Audition Materials

Music Audition FAQ’s

Music Solo Performance Lessons

Information coming soon!