All students interested in majoring in music must audition for the Townsend School of Music. All students who audition are considered for scholarships. Auditions are approximately 20 minutes in length. The appropriate area music faculty members will hear the audition. It is not necessary for instrumentalists to bring an accompanist to on-campus auditions. An accompanist will be provided for vocal auditions. 

To request an audition, please click select one of the dates below.

Audition dates for 2022-23

Undergraduate Students

Graduate Students

String Students (Undergraduate & Artist Diploma, Strings Only)

If you cannot attend one of the regularly scheduled audition dates, please notify the Music Office and a convenient date will be arranged with the appropriate area faculty members. On-campus auditions are required of any students who live within 300 miles of Mercer University. If distance makes it difficult to appear for a live audition, a videotape or DVD recording may be submitted.

For Graduate Audition Requirements, please go to Appendix P of the Graduate Student Handbook.

Undergraduate Auditions

It is important that any potential music major formally apply through the Office of University Admissions before scheduling an audition with the Townsend School of Music on one of the designated music scholarship dates.  A complete financial package offer will then be put together by the Office of University Admissions, Townsend School of Music and the Office of Student Financial Planning.  Although not required, completing FAFSA is highly encouraged.


First-year intended voice majors must prepare two contrasting pieces, to be performed from memory. The pieces performed should be taken from the standard classical, traditional, sacred, or Broadway styles. All transfer students at the second-year level of vocal study pursuing the B.A. or B.M.E. degrees must prepare three (3) pieces from the standard classical repertoire: one in English, one in either: Spanish, French, German, Italian, or Latin, and one in a foreign language other than those languages listed above. All transfer students at the 3rd or 4th year level, and all potential voice performance (Bachelor of Music) transfer students (2nd-4th year) must prepare five pieces from the standard classical repertoire which include English and two or three foreign languages. Students should bring the sheet music for their pieces with them; an accompanist will be provided. The auditionee will be asked to sight sing. After auditioning, there will be a short interview with the voice faculty.


Students auditioning should prepare two contrasting pieces displaying both lyrical and technical proficiency. Repertoire for an audition may include studies/etudes, orchestral excerpts, sonatas or concerto literature. Students should prepare all major scales/arpeggios and auditions will include a short sight-reading excerpt on the chosen instrument. 


Students interested in pursuing a Performance degree through the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings should contact the center for more information.


Applicant will perform two contrasting pieces, preferably from memory.  The following examples indicate the minimum difficulty: 

   - Bach 2 Part Inventions
   - Haydn or Mozart Sonata Movement
   - Chopin Nocturne, Waltz, or Polonaise (Op. 26 Nos. 1 and 2)
   - Bartok Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm from Vol. 6 of Mikrokosmos
   - Schumann Scenes from Childhood, Op. 15? 

Major and minor scales and arpeggios

Questions about appropriate repertoire should be directed to any of the piano faculty.


Applicants should prepare three pieces in contrasting styles (preferably one major free work of J.S. Bach, plus two pieces from the 19th – 21st centuries), prepare a hymn (include introduction and two stanzas, the last of which should include a re-harmonization), and sight read a hymn.


Candidates for guitar study should be able to play all scales, studies corresponding in difficulty to those of Sor and Carcassi, and perform two contrasting solo works from memory. Students will be asked to sightread and should have a knowledge of music theory.


Percussionists should prepare a mallet solo (2 or 4 mallets) and a selection on each of the following instruments: timpani, snare drum, and/or multiple percussion. A drum set selection may be presented if applicable. Sight-reading will be requested on timpani, mallets and snare drum. 

Transfer Students

Transfer students are welcome to audition for admission to Townsend School of Music. In addition to their music audition, they will be given a diagnostic test in music theory. For clarification of these requirements, contact Dr. Nathan Myrick at (478) 301-4012 or . 

The test will consist of the following: 

  • Roman numeral analysis of an example in 18th century chorale style. This example will include secondary dominants, diminished triads and chords of the seventh, plus their inversions. 
  • Brief examples of both melodic and harmonic dictation. 
  • A brief example to be sung at sight.

Graduate Auditions 

Get additional information about graduate admissions to the Townsend School of Music.


Voice Concentration

  • One sacred art song or oratorio aria in the original language
  • One art song or aria in either French, German, or Italian
  • One selection of your choice

            Note:  One of the selections must be in English.

Organ Concentration

  • Two pieces in contrasting styles, one of which should be based on a chorale or hymn.
  • Prepare a hymn (include introduction and two stanzas, the last of which should include a re-harmonization)
  • Sight read a hymn

Keyboard, Instrumental, and Conducting Concentrations

  • Reference the audition requirements for your area of concentration as a basis for your audition requirements. Please contact the Director of Graduate Studies and the Chairs of your area of concentration for further clarification of audition requirements.


Those wishing to pursue an MM in Conducting will be sent repertoire to prepare.  The prospective student will be given approximately 15 minutes of rehearsal time with an ensemble to demonstrate conducting and rehearsal techniques.


MM in Performance

  • Three pieces in contrasting styles (one major free work of J.S. Bach, plus two pieces from the 19th – 21st centuries). 
  • Prepare a hymn (include introduction and two stanzas, the last of which should include a re-harmonization)
  • Sight read hymns
  • Additional sight-reading is possible

Artist Diploma

  • A recital of approximately 30-45 minutes including four pieces in contrasting styles (one major pre-Bach work, one major free work of J.S. Bach, plus two pieces from the 19th – 21st centuries).  The level of difficulty of the repertoire (both musical and technical) will be taken into consideration.
  • Sight read at least two hymns
  • Additional sight-reading is possible


5 selections, including the following:

  • One opera or oratorio aria
  • One German Lied
  • One French melodie
  • One 20th or 21st century English/American song
  • One selection of your choice

            Note:  One of the selections must be in Italian.


Applicants should prepare 4 selections, including the following:

  • A major Bach work or a Classical sonata
  • A major Romantic work
  • A 20th or 21st century work                                                    
  • A short virtuosic work (ex. Chopin or Liszt etude)


Applicants should prepare representative pieces on the following instruments:

  • Snare Drum
  • Any concert solo or etude by Delécluse, Masson, Aleo, Tompkins, Zivkovic, The Noble Snare collection, or the Nexus collection, or the equivalent.
  • Two (2) standard orchestral excerpts of your choice.
  • Sight Reading.
  • Mallet Keyboard
  • A contemporary work or study to demonstrate multiple-mallet style such as works by, Abe, Aldridge, Deane, Druckman, Lansky, Reynolds, Schwantner, or the equivalent.
  • Demonstration of two-mallet playing with a movement from Sonatas & Partitas for Violin or Six Suites for Cello by J.S. Bach.
  • Two (2) standard orchestral excerpts of your choice (glockenspiel or xylophone).
  • Sight Reading (two mallets).
  • Timpani
  • An advanced work or study to demonstrate musicianship such as Eight Pieces for Four Timpani, Elliott Carter, Variations for Solo Kettledrums, Jan Williams, or Rhythm Gradation, Toshi Ichyanagi, an etude by Richard Hochrainer, or the equivalent.
  • Two standard orchestral excerpts of your choice.
  • Sight Reading and demonstrated ability to tune multiple drums from a single given pitch.
  • Multiple-percussion/World music
  • A solo or etude to demonstrate musicianship such as music by Udow, Campbell/Hill, Hamilton, Hollinden, Ishii, Kopetzki, Lang, Xenakis, or Zivkovic, or the equivalent

(The pre-audition screening DVD/e-portfolio will be accepted in lieu of live performance).


Students wishing to gain admittance into Masters level programs with a concentration in flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, trumpet, horn, trombone, or tuba (euphonium), should be prepared to present the following material in an audition:

  • Two contrasting movements from a Romantic era concerto composed for your instrument (saxophonists may use the Glazunov Concerto).
  • One movement from a 20th or 21st century work for your instrument.
  • Major, Minor and Chromatic Scales as requested.
  • Sight Reading.
  • Two Orchestral Excerpts (complete excerpts from two separate compositions; e.g., Beethoven Symphony No. 6 and, Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4).
  • Any additional material that you feel exemplifies your musicianship and versatility (e.g., jazz, world music, etc.)

Collaborative Pianist Audition Requirements

Please bring a repertoire list to your audition.  Sight-reading will be a significant part of each audition.  Repertoire requirements for each area are listed below.  Any proposed repertoire substitutions must be approved in advance.

Vocal Collaborative Pianist Audition Requirements

Applicants are encouraged to bring their own vocalist to the audition. Please notify in advance if this is not possible and other arrangements will be made.

Please prepare:

  • A solo work and/or a substantial movement from a Mozart or Beethoven violin and piano sonata
  • Choose five songs from the following list:

          Brahms        Wir Wandelten (D flat major) or

                             Wie Melodien zieht es mir (C major)

          Schubert      Gretchen am Spinnrade (original key)or

                             Rastloseliebe (original key)

Schumann    Im wunderschönen Monat Mai (original key)or

Mondnacht (original key)

          Debussy       Green (A flat minor)

          Fauré Nell or Notre Amour (original key)

          Poulenc       C. or Violon (original key)

          Strauss         Zueignung (C major) or Cäcilie (E major)

          Wolf            Verborgenheit (original key)

          Barber         Puisque tout passé (original key)

          Argento       Spring (original key)

          Rorem          Early in the Morning (original key)

          Musto          Recuerdo or Litany (original key)

Instrumental Collaborative Pianist Audition Requirements

Applicants are strongly urged to bring their own instrumentalist to the audition.  Please notify in advance if this is not possible and other arrangements will be made.

Please prepare:

  • Solo work of your choosing
    • One movement (not the slow movement) of any Mozart instrumental concerto (orchestral reduction)
  • Two contrasting movements selected from the following sonatas:

Fauré A Major Violin and Piano Sonata

Strauss Violin and Piano Sonata

Franck Violin and Piano Sonata

Saint-Saëns Violin and Piano Sonata No. 1

Any Brahms Sonata

A work comparable to the list above may be substituted with advance permission from the Chair of the Collaborative Piano Area.


Students selected to audition for the Artist Diploma with the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings will undergo a highly selective and rigorous auditions process. Please note that students in McDuffie Center may only pursue the Artist Diploma in Strings Performance. For specific audition requirements, please visit the McDuffie Center for Strings website at:

If selected for an on-site, live audition with the McDuffie Center for Strings, you must also make formal application to the Townsend School of Music by following this link:

Please provide all requested materials before the deadlines listed on the Townsend School of Music Graduate Admissions webpage.


For More Information

For more information about the audition process and to schedule an audition, contact:
(478) 301-2748

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