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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 2015 Entrance Auditions

Auditions for the Fall 2015 semester will be held on:

Saturday, January 31, 2015 (all areas)
Friday, February 13, 2015
(Piano, Wind, Percussion, and Music Education area auditions/interviews only)
Saturday, February 14, 2015
(all areas)

Priority scholarship consideration will be given to applicants auditioning on Saturday, January 31, 2015. 

* Reminder: 

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 may apply to the university for the Fall 2015 semester October 1-November 30, 2014 through

Students will be able to choose their audition date on their application. The audition application period for Fall 2015 will be November 15, 2014 through January 21, 2015 for all audition dates. 

Apply for a Live Audition

CSUN Music also allows the opportunity for arranged, online video and DVD auditions. Please contact the coordinator of the are you are interested in before applying for an arranged audition.  Once you have have obtained permission, please apply for an arranged audition.

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

Placement Examinations for Spring 2015

Spring 2015 Undergraduate Placement Tests:

Tuesday – January 13, 2015
No appointment required. YOU WILL BE ASKED FOR YOUR STUDENT ID # - bring this information with you.

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

Musicianship Placement Exam
Dr. AJ McCaffrey
CY 114, 10:30 am - The exam is about 1 hour, please bring writing utensils: pen, pencil, etc.

Theory Placement Exam
Dr. Liviu Marinescu
CY 114, 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) Musicianship Placement Exam will take approximately an hour and will consist of a short written portion covering basic note reading, key signatures, intervals, and major/minor scales and a dictation portion covering interval identification, melodic dictation, rhythmic dictation, and harmonic dictation. Please bear in mind that this test is used only to determine at which level of musicianship it would be most appropriate for you to begin. For more information on the musicianship exam, you can contact the instructor proctoring the exam.

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 05/18/12


Spring 2015 Graduate Placement Tests:

Graduate Music Theory/Analysis Placement Test
Thursday January 15 at 12 pm
Location: CY 105

Graduate Music History Placement Test
Friday January 16  at 12 pm
Location: CY 105

Study Guides for the Graduate Placement Exams

Dowload sample tests and study materials