Become a Major

To major in Music at SSU, one must:

  1. be admitted as a student to SSU
  2. schedule AND successfully complete a Music Department audition

Audition Instructions for Prospective Music Majors (entering and transfer students)

To audition to become a Music Major you must first apply to the University during October 1st through November 30th application period. All the information is found on the University's Admissions pages.

Auditioning for acceptance into the Department of Music is a separate procedure from University Admissions. The Department of Music requires all prospective music majors to complete an audition on their major instrument/voice. 

Audition Dates

Once you have applied to the university you can schedule an Audition to become a Music Major on one of the Department of Music Audition Days. 

  • November 10, 2018
  • January 19, 2019
  • March 9, 2019

Audition Request Form

To reserve an audition on one of the Department of Music Audition Days fill out the Music Major Audition Request Form.

Audition Requirements

  • All auditions, live or recorded, shall include two pieces in contrasting styles that can be performed within the 10-minute limit that demonstrate accurate rhythms, pitch control and interpretive awareness.
  • An accompanist will be provided for vocalists (applicants must provide piano/vocal score in a binder with music printed back to back).
  • Drum Set and Amps (bring your own cord) are provided for jazz applications. Accompaniment is not required for classical instrumentalists.
  • Applicants should bring three copies of their music for the committee.
  • All Instrumentalists shall prepare two major scales and one minor scale in all three forms - natural, harmonic, and melodic.
  • Jazz  students may perform with an Aebersold-style play along CD or a live rhythm section. Jazz drummers must demonstrate various styles, including swing, jazz waltz, funk, and Latin.
  • Music Education students in addition shall write a one-paragraph statement on why they wish to teach.
  • Music Theatre students are encouraged to bring a DVD of themselves performing (singing and acting) in a musical.
  • Composition students in addition to auditioning on their major instrument/voice submit two notated scores and recordings of their original work. 

Audition Day - What to Expect

Once you have scheduled your audition on one of the Department of Music Audition Days, here's what to expect on your big day.

Specific Audition Time slots will be available to applicants upon check in. 
It's not just a 10-minute appearance. We strive to make you feel at home and welcome you to the department from the get-go so set aside the whole day. 
Audition Day Schedule
Due to an unprecedented number of people auditioning we have modified the flow of the audition day to ensure you have a positive experience. The day will be split into morning and afternoon groups. Classical Instrumentalists, except percussion audition in the morning session. Percussionists, Vocalists and Jazz auditions in the afternoon session. At 1:00 pm all will take the theory placement test, attend a welcome and information session and have a tour of the Green Music Center. 

Here is the schedule for the day:

  • 8:00-8:30 am: Check in for morning auditionees (Classical Instrumental, except Percussion, Schroeder Lobby)
  • 8:30 am-1:00 pm: Classical Instrumental Auditions, except Percussion (Schroeder)
  • 12:30 am--1:00 pm: Check in for afternoon auditionees (all Percussion, Voice and Jazz, Schroeder Lobby)
  • 1:00-1:20 pm: Theory Placement Test (both groups, GMC 1027)
  • 1:20-1:40 pm: Welcome & Information Session (both groups, parents may attend, Schroeder)
  • 1:40-2:10 pm: Tour of Weill Hall and Green Music Center led by Brooke Tester (parents may attend)
  • 2:20-5:00 pm: Percussion, Voice and Jazz Auditions (Schroeder)
Parents are welcome to accompany you on the tour. The auditions however are closed.
A Music Theory Placement Test will be given on audition day. This test is designed as a diagnostic tool to make sure we place people in the correct theory class when they get here. It's a short test about 20 minutes, on fundamentals. It does not factor into your acceptance to the program. 

Want to come for a visit on a regular school day?

  • Get a tour of the music facility.  
  • Observe a Music Class. 
  • Observe, or sit in on an ensemble rehearsal.  
  • Meet with the Chair of the Department of Music  
  • and/or with a Program/Ensemble Director or Conductor  
  • Have a trial private lesson (if lesson teacher is available)

Fill out this form to plan your visit!

International Students from China 
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Music Admissions Decisions
Music audition results will be sent within two weeks after the audition. All students will be considered for a music scholarship during the November, January and April audition dates based on the level of performance exhibited during the audition. To be fully considered for a music scholarship, please bring with you on the audition day, two letters of recommendation and unofficial transcripts from the last two years of school.Music Scholarship decisions will be made approximately two weeks after the March auditions. They range in size from $500 to Full Tuition. Details about the generosity of our music scholarhips can be found on our Music Scholarships page. 
Recorded Audition Materials 
If you live more than 250 miles away, and cannot attend an in-person audition, you may submit recorded audition materials in the form of a CD, DVD, YouTube link or Soundcloud link. 

Email link to or send recorded auditions along with a cover letter to:
Music Department (Audition Materials)
Sonoma State University
1801 E. Cotati Ave.
Rohnert Park, CA 94928 

Acceptance & Programs
Upon your acceptance to the Department of Music you will declare your major from one of the five options:

  • Bachelor of Arts -  Liberal Arts
  • Bachelor of Music - Composition and Technology
  • Bachelor of Music - Performance
  • Bachelor of Music - Jazz Studies
  • Bachelor of Music - Music Education
Proficiency Expectations
Basic keyboard skills and the ability to read standard musical notation are prerequisites to the music major curriculum. All entering and transfer students will be given placement examinations in piano, music theory, and aural skills (sight-singing and dictation) during orientation. Students with inadequate preparation in keyboard will be expected to take MUS 109 Intensive Keyboard Lab I. Students without background in any of these areas will also be expected to take MUS 106 Fundamentals.

We look forward to your enrollment!