THE UNDERGRADUATE AUDITION PROCESS
Your Western Michigan University application will be processed by the undergraduate admissions office. University acceptance is based on things like your grade point average, class standing and test scores (ACT or SAT).
In addition to acceptance into Western, entrance into the School of Music requires that you audition for the voice area. Auditions typically occur at one of four New Student Admission Days. The spring semester audition is held in November, while students planning to enroll during the fall semester audition at one of three dates in January and February. If it's impossible for you to attend one of the admission days, it may be possible to arrange a separate audition by contacting Professor Prewett. However auditioning at one of the four dates is your best option, since you will have the opportunity to tour the facility, hear various ensembles rehearsals and attend meetings related to your major. While video auditions may be acceptable for those traveling long distances, a live audition is strongly encouraged.
The audition determines the performance level of each student. This is where we determine whether your background and abilities are at a level where you can succeed as a music major. Acceptance varies from year to year, depending on the number of openings and the level of competition. In addition, at the audition you may be considered for a vocal studio music scholarship (see scholarship opportunities below)
As a vocal student, you will be required to take two foreign language diction courses. Because students must be able to succeed in those courses, an essential audition requirement will be singing from memory in a foreign language.
Undergraduate vocal auditions on New Student Audition Day are typically scheduled in 10 minute intervals. At your audition vocalists should expect to perform the following:
- Two memorized art songs or arias, one in English and one in a foreign language. An accompanist will be provided.
- Both selections must be from the classical repertoire. Musical theater selections are not appropriate and should not be selected as audition repertoire.
- You will be required to sight sing.
Another part of the New Student Audition Day process is the Basic Music Qualifying Exam. The test assesses your ability to identify musical elements by ear. There are three components to the exam:
- Written theory tests basic rudiments of key signatures, scales, intervals, triads, and time signatures
- Aural identification includes multiple choice questions identifying intervals, triads, short melodies, and rhythms. This part will assess your ability to identify musical elements by ear, including listening to a triad and identifying whether it is major or minor, or hearing a complete melody or rhythmic excerpt and matching it with the correct written version.
- Aural performance includes singing major and minor scales, matching pitches, call and response melody and rhythm, and basic melodic and rhythmic sight reading.
Although your actual audition is the most important part of the audition day process, the exam test results may be considered as acceptance decisions are made.
Audition results are typically announced after the final audition in March. Therefore there is no advantage to auditioning earlier rather than later. Once the results are announced, you may expect to be notified with one of three possible decisions:
- Accepted—You may begin course work as a music major.
- Waiting list—Your audition qualified you for acceptance, but enrollment limitations in the vocal program have resulted in the need to create a waiting list for admission. Your name is now part of that list and, if space becomes available, you will be notified of your acceptance to the major.
- Not accepted—This is an indication that we feel you will not be successful in our music curriculum. You may not begin course work as a music major at this time, however you may audition again at a later date. Students may audition a maximum of two times for any studio.
A limited number of scholarship or funding opportunities exist for entering freshmen. Several of these opportunities include:
- Vocal studio awards—At the audition, each student will be considered for a vocal studio scholarship. These are competitive awards given for up to four years.
- WMU Academic Scholarships—WMU offers a number of outstanding academic awards for incoming freshmen, the most notable of which is the Medallion Scholarship. Outstanding transfer scholarships are also available. These awards are for both in-state and out-of-state students, and some can cover a substantial part of your tuition and/or expenses. For more information, see Freshmen Scholarships. IMPORTANT: Note the application deadlines for academic scholarship consideration.