• 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

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.

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. 

Spring 2021 Entrance Auditions 

Auditions only for continuing students (already enrolled at CSUN), graduate students, International Students & Non-Domestic students will be held on:

Arranged (Video Submission) Applications for SPRING 2021 (all areas*) – applications due Saturday, October 31, 2020.

*Except Music Breadth Studies, Music Therapy Studies, Jazz Studies and Band Conducting. 

*NOTE: Applicants for the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music programs must first apply to the university for the Spring 2021 semester: 

Audition Application link

Fall 2021 Entrance Auditions

Please see your major option below for information on auditions. Jazz Studies is accepting auditions by video submission only. Most of the other areas will give the student an option of selecting a Zoom audition date or submitting a video by the video submission deadline. You must fill out a music department audition application AFTER completing your CSUN application. The music audition form will allow you to select your submission date and will also allow you to apply for a music department scholarship.


Audition videos must be submitted by January 15, 2021. Those students who pass the performance round will be scheduled for zoom interviews during the month of February. 


(Note: The classical percussion area will only be doing auditions via video submission.)

February 6      Live Zoom Audition

February 13    Live Zoom Audition

February 13    Deadline for those who choose to submit a video audition

March 6          Live Zoom Audition 


February 6      Live Zoom Audition (all majors except jazz and percussion)

February 13    Live Zoom Audition (all majors except jazz and percussion)

February 13    Deadline for those who choose to submit a video audition 

In addition to the dates listed above, some areas will interview select candidates as part of the audition process. In most cases these interviews will occur within two weeks of the audition.


Graduate students interested in the master’s program Music Industry Administration should go to the following link:

You will need to contact the appropriate faculty member for specific audition requirements and procedures once the department is accepting new applications; your audition date should be 'arranged' with:

Band/Wind Ensemble Conducting, Dr. Lawrence Stoffel 
Choral Conducting, Dr. Katherine Baker
Orchestral Conducting, Dr. John Roscigno
Collaborative Piano, Tali Tadmor
Composition, Dr. Liviu Marinescu

*NOTE: Applicants for the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music programs must first apply to the university for the Fall 2021 semester October 1-December 4, 2020 through

Audition Application link

Placement Examinations for Spring 2020

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.

Please review "what can you expect" for the placement exams below. If you have any questions, please email the designated faculty member listed for each placement exam.

This will be done by questionnaire this year. Students will be sent a link to a very short questionnaire within a month of the student's acceptance to CSUN. This must be filled out by all incoming students including transfers. If you have not received the questionaire by July 1, please let us know! 

Contact: Gayle Kowalchyk |

Undergrad Music Theory AND Musicianship
This test will be administered online at some point between May 25 and June 25. Students will be contacted with additional information once we are ready to proceed with online testing.

Contact: Liviu Marinescu |


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:

Grad History

Given that music history courses will be online in Fall 2020, the department has decided to alter the format of the music history placement exam this semester. The test will take approximately 15 minutes and will consist of five music excerpts. Three will be from the Common Practice Period (Approximately 1600-1900), where one will be from the pre CPP Medieval/Renaissance Period and one will be from the post CPP (20th/21st century). Each excerpt will be approximately thirty seconds to one minute and will represent a variety of genres and styles. 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. These excerpts will be well-known repertory pieces chosen from the Norton Anthology of Western Music (8th edition). The interview tests will be scheduled online sometime between August 19-21. 

Sign-up for History Placement Meeting

Contact: Alexandra Monchick |

Grad Theory

The Graduate Online Placement Test in Music Theory will be sent by email on Monday, August 17, at 10am PST, and will need to be completed and returned by email no later that 12pm PST. Please contact Dr. Liviu Marinescu at no later that Sunday, August 16, in order to register for the test using a current email address.
The test questions may be answered directly by email, or may be written using a paper and pencil, in which case a photo of the answer sheet will be required.

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)