Music Scholarship Auditions Application Guide

We are delighted that you are interested in auditioning for a music performance scholarship at Willamette. The information provided below is designed to help you prepare for your audition either on campus or by CD. Please note that your music audition is conducted separately from your application for admission to the College of Liberal Arts at Willamette. The Admission Committee will select students based upon their academic match with Willamette, and from those students the Music faculty will recommend scholarship recipients. Students should check on their application status prior to scheduling an audition on campus.

I. Admission

Before scheduling an audition you must apply for admission to Willamette University, or have started the process.

II. In-Person Auditions on Campus

In-Person Auditions involve three areas: Performance, interview and sight-reading. Plan for 10 minutes of performance time, 5 minutes for your interview, and 5 minutes for sight-reading. Please plan to arrive one-half hour prior to your scheduled audition to allow for registration and time to warm up with your accompanist (if you have requested one). The music you have listed on the application cannot be changed once you have sent in your music scores.

To Schedule Your Audition: After September 8, 2018, call Diane Trevett, music administrative assistant at (503) 370-6687, Monday – Friday, 9am to 3:00pm, or email You are encouraged to audition early. For priority financial consideration, students must audition on the October or November dates. 

In addition, before making any final travel plans to come for an audition, check with the Office of Admissions to find out the status of your application to the University.

WHAT TO SUBMIT: At least three weeks in advance of your audition date you must submit the following materials in hard copy. Please note: Faxed copies will not be accepted.

  • Music Scholarship Application Form (PDF) (available end of August)
  • Music letter(s) of recommendation, preferably from your applied instrument instructor and/or ensemble director. Letters from academic teachers and/or advisors may also be submitted.
  • Resume of your high school/college activities, including music, GPA, and non-music details.
  • Printed music scores, if you will be needing an accompanist.


(January 11th, 2019 arrival deadline for recorded auditions.)

III. Audition Sequence

A. Performance:

Whether auditioning in person (family and friends may observe your audition), or by CD, keep the following in mind. 
Classical Musicians, instrumental and vocal:
a.    Prepare two or three pieces that have contrasting styles and tempos, and which demonstrate your ability to perform both rapid and lyrical passages.
b.    Select literature from the solo, not ensemble repertoire. If the music you choose includes a separate piano part, please make arrangements with Diane Trevett (see below) to work with one of our staff pianists.
c.    Instrumentalists may include etudes and studies.
d.    Vocalists, whether in person or recorded, must sing at least one piece in a foreign language. One of the three pieces may also be something from the musical theatre.
Jazz Musicians
e.    If you perform jazz, you may choose to bring a recording of a rhythm section over which you improvise a solo. Alternatively you may arrange for a piano accompanist by contacting Diane Trevett (see below).
f.    Prepare two or three pieces showing a variety of styles and tempos for which you can both perform written material and improvise.
g.    Composers must audition on an instrument (or voice) and submit a portfolio of compositions.

B. Interview with Music Faculty:

The faculty will want to get to know you (parents or friends will be excused from your interview). We will look at all letter(s) of recommendation as well as your resume. We will ask how you want to be involved with music at Willamette University and how music fits in with your goals. You do not have to major in music to receive a music scholarship award. We also want you to get to know us, so please feel encouraged to bring along any questions that you may have. The interview is intended to be a non-stressful conversation, so just relax and help us get to know what music means to you.

C. Sight-Reading:

This process is meant to be non-threatening.   We simply want to understand the breadth and depth of your  skills.

a. Instrumentalists may be asked to read a short musical excerpt appropriate for their instrument and ability. For Jazz players this can mean improvising as well as reading composed melodies.

b. Vocalists will be asked to 1) clap or tap a line of rhythmic notation, 2) sight-read both single line  notation and your part from a SATB chorale by Bach, and 3) listen and sing back short melodic  fragments.

IV. Recorded Auditions

  • Recorded auditions should be 10-15 minutes in length.
  • Online recordings must be unlocked and accessible. Be sure to include the full URL.
  • CD’s or DVD’s must be labeled with your name and address and include a written program with the titles, composers, movements, and performer as appropriate.
  • For all recorded auditions, keep in mind that we will be making our decision based on the sounds we hear  from the recording. The recording equipment (microphones, decks, amps) should be the best quality  available to you.
  • Include the materials listed below.
  • If you want your materials to be returned, enclose packaging and a return mail label.

WHAT TO SUBMIT: the following materials should be submitted in hard copy. Please note: Faxed copies will not be accepted.

  • Music Scholarship Audition Application.
  • Letter(s) Of Recommendation, including from your applied instructor and/or ensemble director.
  • Letters from academic teachers and/or advisors may also be submitted.
  • Resume of your high school/college activities, both music and non-music.
  • Written program with the titles, composers, movements, and performer as appropriate.
  • The recording or URL.

PLEASE NOTE: All materials for recorded auditions must arrive no later than January 11th, 2019, in order for you to be considered for a music scholarship.

VI. Notifications of Scholarship Award

Once you have been admitted to Willamette University, the Financial Aid Office will send a financial aid information package, including, if granted, the amount of your music scholarship. Once you have paid your admission deposit, you will receive a letter from the Music Department that will outline the terms for receiving and maintaining your award. Awards are renewed yearly by satisfying the following:

  • Remain a full time student at Willamette University
  • Study privately in your main performance area with a member of the Willamette Music Department.
  • Remain satisfactorily enrolled in at least one of our conducted large ensembles (or, if your award is in piano, satisfy accompanying requirements as stated in your music scholarship letter of agreement).
  • Maintain grade requirements as stated in your music scholarship letter of agreement.

Mail the above application materials to:

Willamette University

Music Department, Attn: Diane Trevett

900 State Street
Salem, OR 97301
503-370-6687 voice