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EIU Department of Music

Audition Information

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How to Become a Music Major at EIU

Apply to the University:

First, prospective students should complete the University's application and admission process. Detailed information concerning how to apply to apply to EIU can be found here:

Complete a Music Audition:

In addition to being admitted to Eastern Illinois University, potential music majors must successfully complete an audition on their primary instrument or voice.  If the audition is unsuccessful, a student may repeat the audition once to gain admission into the program. Any student who leaves the university for a period of one semester or longer (excluding summer) must pass an audition and/or interview before readmittance to the program. 

Although all of our regularly-scheduled audition dates for fall 2023 consideration have passed, fall 2023 prospective students may still request an in-person audition, Zoom audition, or may submit a video auditions.  To request an audition, click here and fill out a short online form.

Audition Dates for 2022-2023

  • Saturday, December 10, 2022 (on campus)
  • Saturday, January 21, 2023 (on campus)
  • Monday, February 20, 2023 (on campus)
  • Saturday, February 25, 2023 (on campus and Zoom auditions available)

Submit Two Recommendations:

Each auditioning student must also submit recommendations from two professionals familiar with his or her musical ability. Generally, students print two copies of the Recommendation Form and ask band/choir/orchestra directors or private teachers to fill out the form and return to the department.

Music Education Supplemental Application:

All music education (teacher licensure) candidates should complete the Music Education Supplemental Application and return to the Department of Music prior to your audition.

Transfer Students:

Transfer students currently enrolled as a music major in a NASM accredited four-year college or university must complete a Transfer Acknowledgement Form.

Music Scholarships:

The Department of Music offers a number of scholarships to exceptionally talented incoming music students each year. Scholarship offers are determined by quality of the student's audition, the student's academic achievements, and the student's Music Education Interview (if applicable).

Talent-based music scholarships are awarded to incoming students on a rolling basis from November through March of the academic year. Students are strongly encouraged to apply and audition early for maximum consideration.

There are two steps to apply for music scholarship consideration:

Guidelines for Auditions

Strings, Woodwinds, and Brass:

  • One or more solos chosen from standard repertoire for your instrument (approximately seven minutes). Piano accompaniment is optional.

  • Technical exercise/tonal development study (two to three minutes).

  • All major scales.

  • Sight-reading will be provided.


Be prepared to audition on any three of the following categories (greater consideration is given to those students who have more than three categories prepared for the audition process). Sight-reading will be provided

  • Snare Drum (military or concert)

  • Mallet Instrument (marimba, xylophone, or vibes)

  • Timpani

  • Drum Set

  • Multiple Percussion


Piano Repertoire: Teacher Licensure (music education) majors selecting piano as their primary instrument should choose music from three of the following categories, one of which must be memorized. Performance majors should choose one piece from each of the four categories, two of which should be memorized.

  • Baroque: a Bach fugue, invention, sinfonia, prelude and fugue, or suite movement.

  • Classical: a quick movement from a Mozart, Haydn, or Beethoven sonata.

  • Romantic: a work by Chopin, Schubert, Brahms, Liszt, Schumann, or Mendelssohn.

  • Twentieth Century: a work in impressionistic or contemporary style by Debussy, Ravel, Bartok, Prokofiev, or others.

Organ Repertoire: Organ applicants may perform on piano if they have no formal training in organ. They should perform three selections on their chosen instrument. At least one piece should be from the Baroque era.

In addition, all prospective keyboard students should prepare major and minor scales, hands together, four octaves (pianists) or two octaves (organists) and present a repertoire list of compositions studied during the past two years. Two sight-reading pieces will be provided, in hymn and sonatina styles.


  • Prepare two art songs, or an art song and an aria.  Please see the Voice Audition Resource page for recommendations.

  • An accompanist will be provided at your audition, although applicants may also choose to bring their own accompanist.

  • Sight-reading will be provided from selected hymns and folksongs, etc.

  • In order to evaluate aural skills, you will be asked to sing back several short melodies (five or six notes) after one hearing.  The use of solfege syllables will not be needed.


The Department of Music offers study in guitar as part of the Performance Option - Jazz Studies Concentration. Prospective jazz guitar students should prepare two standards in contrasting styles. Students will be asked to accompany a soloist and improvise on both tunes. In addition, students should be prepared to play major scales and sightread from a lead sheet. Please note that EIU does not currently offer lessons in classical guitar.


Prospective composition students should provide scores and/or tapes of original compositions prior to auditions. Recorded performances would be helpful, but are not required. Materials can be submitted either through the mail or electronically to:

Dr. Bradley Decker
Department of Music
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Avenue
Charleston, IL 61920

Jazz Studies:

Students auditioning to major in Jazz Studies will complete the above requirements according to their instrument, and should also be prepared to demonstrate their ability to improvise over two contrasting jazz standards. Piano or play-along accompaniment will be available.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to audition to become a music major?

Yes. All incoming students must complete an audition and be formally accepted in order to become a music major.

Do I need to complete a music theory exam, piano placement, or aural skills evaluation at my audition?

All auditioning students will complete a brief aural skills evaluation during their audition. Students will be asked to match pitches given on a piano, clap simple rhythms, and identify simple chord types. Students with previous experience in piano and/or music theory (including transfer students) will take placement exams upon their arrival on campus.

Do I have to audition if I only want to minor in music?

Yes. Students wishing to pursue a minor in music still need to complete an audition.

I wish to transfer from another school. Do I need to take placement exams to determine what credits I can transfer?

All students who wish to transfer credit in music theory/aural training and piano are required to take placement examinations in these subjects.

I am considering a lot of different music programs. What makes Eastern different?

We believe that EIU's Music Department provides students with the best value in education available in Illinois. Here, we are able to combine our new, world-class facility, comprehensive and dedicated faculty, and a rigorous, modern curriculum to give students a top-notch music education at an affordable price.

What if my audition is unsuccessful?

If you are not accepted as a music major, you may still choose to attend EIU as long as you are admitted into the University. Non-major students can still participate in ensembles, and in many cases enroll in applied lessons. Students in this situation are invited to re-audition after one or two semesters on campus.

For More Information

If you have questions on the audition process or about becoming a music major at Eastern, please contact the Music Department Chairperson Dr. Shellie Gregorich.

Related Pages

Contact Information

Music Department

Doudna Fine Arts Center
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920

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