• violinist
  • Production shot from DON GIOVANNI
  • Music banner featuring trombone players
  • 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.

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


Spring 2018 Entrance Auditions (CLOSED)

Auditions only for continuing students (already enrolled at CSUN) will be held on:

Saturday, October 21, 2017 (all areas*) – applications due Friday, October 13, 2017.

*Except Music Breadth Studies, Music Therapy Studies, and Band Conducting. BM Jazz will be by arrangement only.

*NOTE: Applicants for the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music programs must first apply to the university for the Spring 2018 semester:


Audition Application link


Fall 2018 Entrance Auditions

Auditions for continuing students (already enrolled at CSUN) and incoming students for the Fall 2018 semester are to be held on:

Saturday, February 3, 2018 (all areas) – deadline January 14th
Friday, February 23, 2018 
(wind/brass & piano ONLY) - deadline January 14th
Saturday, February 24, 2018 
(all areas)– deadline January 14th

Please contact our office at 818-677-3181 for more information.


Applicants can audition a MAXIMUM of two times.  If the applicant does not pass their audition and/or interview the second time, students cannot audition again for the CSUN Music Department.

BM Jazz Studies applicants will need to go to: for any upcoming pre-screening process and application instead of the "Audition Application" link below. The Fall 2018 application will reopen soon.

MM Conducting applicants & Collaborative Piano applicants - 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, Dr. Lawrence Stoffel 
Choral, Prof. Paul Smith
Orchestral, Dr. John Roscigno

*NOTE: Applicants for the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music programs must first apply to the university for the Fall 2018 semester October 1, 2017-November 30, 2017 through

After applying to the university, you can submit your audition application through the link below (which will open October 30, 2017):

Audition Application link

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 2018

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. 

No appointment required. YOU WILL BE ASKED FOR YOUR STUDENT ID# - bring this information with you.

Keyboard Placement Exam
Dr. Gayle Kowalchyk (Email:
CY 239, 1:00-3:00pm - This test takes approx. 10 min.

Undergraduate Theory Placement Exam
Dr. Liviu Marinescu (Email:  )
CY 113, 12:00-2:00pm

Musicianship Placement Exam
Dr. AJ McCaffrey (Email:
CY 105, 9:30am-11:30 am - Please bring writing utensils: pen, pencil, etc.


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 2018 Graduate Placement Tests:

Wednesday, January 17: 2pm-5pm - Music Theory, CY 105

Thursday, January 18: 10am-1pm - Music History, CY 105

Study Guides for the Graduate Placement Exams

Dowload sample tests and study materials (.pdf)