• 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. 


All incoming 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.

ALL auditions for Fall 2022 have been moved to video submission or live online Zoom auditions. If you are a student who originally scheduled an on-campus audition, you will receive an e-mail to update your audition format to one of these options. If you have any questions, please contact

Placement Examinations for 2022

Undergraduate Placement Tests:

Musicianship & Theory

This test will be administered online in November (for SPRING 2022) and May (FALL 2022). 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 -


Students will receive a keyboard questionnaire to fill out in November (SPRING 2022) and May (FALL 2022). This questionnaire will help us to place you. In addition, any junior college transcripts will also be used in the placement process.

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 2021:

Music History

The music history placement exam will be online for Fall 2021. 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 25 & Thursday, August 26. Please contact Professor Monchick for an appointment, see contact information below. You must sign up by Friday, August 20 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 25 at 1 p.m. PST, and will need to be completed and returned by email no later than 3 p.m. PST. Please contact Dr. Liviu Marinescu at   no later that Sunday, August 22 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)