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  • Music banner featuring opera singers
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  • university choir
  • Conductor
  • French horn player

Audition & Placement

This information pertains to the Bachelor of Arts in Music Education, Music Therapy, Music Industry and Breadth Studies, and  the Bachelor of Music in Performance, Composition and Media Composition. Your audition material should reflect your best musical and technical proficiency.

You must audition in ONE instrumental area. Additionally the Bachelor of Arts options and all Composition and Media Composition programs require an interview.

Students wishing to audition for the department, for entrance into the Music program, must submit an audition application by the specified deadline. Students auditioning must be in the process of admission to the University for the semester they are auditioning for.

Fall 2016 Entrance Auditions

Auditions for continuing students (already enrolled at CSUN) and incoming students for the Fall 2016 semester will be held on:

Saturday, February 6, 2016 (all areas) – deadline January 16th*
Saturday, February 27, 2016 
(all areas)– deadline January 16th*

*some areas are still accepting applications by arrangement. Please contact our office for more information at 818-677-3181.

Priority scholarship consideration will be given to applicants auditioning on Saturday, February 6, 2016.

BM Jazz Studies applicants, please go to: for a pre-screening process and application instead of the "Audition Application" link below.
MM Conducting applicants & Collaborative Piano applicants - You must contact the appropriate faculty member for specific audition requirements and procedures; your audition date should be 'arranged' with:

Band/Wind Ensemble, Dr. Lawrence Stoffel 
Choral, Prof. Paul Smith
Orchestral, Dr. John Roscigno
Collaborative Piano, Dr. Pei-Shan Lee


Applicants for the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music programs must first apply to the university for the Fall 2016 semester October 1-November 30, 2015 through

After applying to the university, you can submit your audition application through the link below:

Audition Application

CSUN Music also allows the opportunity for arranged, online video and DVD auditions; please contact our office for more information at 818-677-3181.

BM Jazz majors MUST apply here for a video pre-screen/audition

Placement Examinations for Spring 2016

Fall 2016 Undergraduate Placement Tests:
Intended for students who have passed their entrance audition/interview requirements and want to enroll in higher than beginning levels on any of the areas below. Students NOT accepted into a music option CANNOT enroll in any major courses until you are officially admitted into a music option, therefore DO NOT take placement exams until entrance audition/interview requirements have been met.

Read “what can you expect” below the exam dates/times for more information. 
Contact proctoring faculty listed below if you have further questions. 

Saturday – April 30, 2016
No appointment required. YOU WILL BE ASKED FOR YOUR STUDENT ID# - bring this information with you.

Keyboard Placement Exam
Dr. Jacqueline Salas (Email:  )
CY 239, 9-10 am - This test takes approx. 10 min.

Musicianship Placement Exam
Dr. AJ McCaffrey (Email:  )
CY 105, 10:30 am - The exam is about 1 hour, please bring writing utensils: pen, pencil, etc.

Theory Placement Exam
Dr. Liviu Marinescu (Email:  )
CY 113, 12 noon This exam will last about 1-2 hours


Any student who wants to start at a higher level than beginning in any of the areas of Keyboard, Musicianship and Theory here at CSUN must take the placement exam(s) in those areas. Transfer students receive credit for courses taken based on the level of skill they demonstrate during these exams. You do NOT have to take the exam of any area you want to start in level one.


1) Keyboard Placement Exams will be given on an ongoing basis and it will consist on 4 basic pieces that will test your sight-reading and piano playing skills. The test normally takes only a few minutes, so stop by anytime between the hours posted and you’ll be done in about 10 minutes. DO NOT take this exam if your main instrument (auditioned & accepted) is Piano.

2) The Musicianship Placement Exam will take approximately one hour.  Students should bring a pencil to complete the exam.  The exam will consist of a short section covering the identification of key signatures, scale degrees, and "movable Do" solfege syllables, followed by a series of melodic and harmonic dictations moving from diatonic to chromatic material.  Please note that this exam is used only to determine which level of musicianship is most appropriate for you. For more information on this exam, please email Dr. A.J. McCaffrey (

3) A Theory/Harmony Placement Exam is available for students wishing to place out of Harmony I (diatonic harmony only) and/or Harmony II (chromatic harmony and advanced chord progressions). This placement test is focused on evaluating knowledge of 4-part writing, figured bass, and the ability to construct proper chord progressions involving traditional voice leading techniques. Topics such as Roman numeral analysis, cadences, secondary dominants, modulation, non-chord tones, the Neapolitan sixth chord and augmented sixth chords will be covered. The standard textbook used in the Music Department is "Tonal Harmony" by Stefan Kostka and Dorothy Payne.

 IMPORTANT: These exams are intended for placement only and CANNOT be taken more than once. You must begin the course sequence at the level indicated in your outcome and continue until ALL sequences required in your option have been met.

If you’re not accepted into a music option, you CANNOT enroll in any major courses until you are officially admitted into a music option, therefore DO NOT take placement exams until you are admitted into a music option.

The current course rotation for these courses is:

  • Levels I, III and V – offered Fall semester only
  • Levels II, IV and VI – offered Spring semester only 

If you test into a higher level than what is required in your Music Option, you do not have to complete the course unless you change your option to a higher required level option. Refer to your major sheet to see which is the highest level required for your degree option in each specific area.

All levels of keyboard are required for all music options except for students whose main instrument is piano.

Updated 8/17/15


Spring 2016 Graduate Placement Tests:

Thursday, January 21, 1pm-3pm - Music History, CY 105

Friday, January 22, 1pm-4pm - Music Theory, CY 105

Study Guides for the Graduate Placement Exams

Dowload sample tests and study materials (.pdf)