• Production still from SERSE
  • french horns
  • choir and orchestra
  • pianist, clarinetist, and violinist
  • violin section of orchestra
  • wind orchestra
  • Jazz Band on stage

Audition & Placement

Your audition material should reflect your best musical and technical proficiency.

Students wishing to audition for entrance into the CSUN 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.

The CSUN Music Department does not offer a Minor in Music. 

Those students who already hold a master's degree in music will not be able to receive a second masters from CSUN at this time.

For information pertaining to the Masters of Music degrees, please visit the page for our graduate degrees. 


All students will be sent an audition application from the Office of Admissions & Records once you apply to the university.

If you are a current CSUN student, please contact the Music Department Undergraduate Advisor, Nicole Hovland, for an audition application.



BM-Jazz Studies/Performance Pre-Screens were due SEPTEMBER 15, 2022
Video Submissions are due OCTOBER 8, 2022
Live Audition Dates - Applications were due SEPTEMBER 15, 2022
Live (all instruments EXCEPT classical guitar) Auditions: October 8
Classical Guitar Live Auditions ONLY: October 15



BM/MM-Jazz Studies/Performance REQUIRED Pre-Screens are due JANUARY 7, 2023

Live Audition Dates - Applications are due JANUARY 14, 2023

Saturday, February 4th
Saturday, February 11th
Saturday, March 4th
Saturday, January 28th
Saturday, February 4th
Sunday, February 12th

BA/BM Video Submissions - Application due FEBRUARY 18, 2023

MM Video Submissions - Application due APRIL 1, 2023

Placement Examinations for 2023

Undergraduate Placement Tests:

Musicianship & Theory

This test will be administered online in November (for SPRING 2023) and May (FALL 2023). Students will be contacted via email with the exams - these exams are NOT required if you wish to start at level one in musicianship and theory. For questions about test administration, please contact Nicole Hovland: For questions regarding exam material, please contact Dr. McCaffrey -


Keyboard Musicianship Placements will be done on an ongoing basis through a questionnaire that will assess your background in piano. This questionnaire is available by contacting the Music Undergraduate Advisor, Nicole Hovland: You may test out of the Keyboard Musicianship sequence by emailing Dr. Gayle Kowalchyk a video. DO NOT take this questionnaire if your main instrument (auditioned and accepted) is piano.

Contact: Gayle Kowalchyk -



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


Graduate Placement Tests for Fall 2022:

Music History

The music history placement exam will be online for Fall 2022. It will take approximately 15 minutes and will consist of five music excerpts. There will be three excerpts from the Common Practice Period (Approximately 1600-1900), one excerpt will be from the Medieval/Renaissance Period and one from the 20th/21st century. Each excerpt will be approximately thirty seconds to one minute and will be drawn from the Burkholder Norton Anthology of Western Music (8th edition). The student will be asked to describe each piece musically (may include its form, harmony, melody, rhythm, and other salient features) and to provide historical context. The interview tests will be scheduled on Wednesday, August 24 & Thursday, August 25. Please contact Professor Monchick for an appointment, see contact information below. You must sign up by Friday, August 19 to take the test.

Contact: Alexandra Monchick |

Music Theory

The Graduate Online Placement Test in Music Theory will be sent by email on Wednesday, August 24 at 1 p.m. PST, and will be administered online. Please contact Dr. Liviu Marinescu at   no later that Sunday, August 21 in order to register for the test using a current email address.

Contact: Liviu Marinescu |

Study Guides for the Graduate Placement Exams

Sample tests and study materials 
Download pdf version of sample tests and study materials (.pdf)