Student playing the piano, aerial view

Audition Criteria

See what is expected for your instrument and discuss that criteria with your teacher.

Audition Criteria

Brass & Woodwinds

Thanks for your interest in music at Furman. We are excited to hear you play and will find a place for you in one or more of our studios and ensembles. This is where you will submit your recording, and you will be considered for placement and scholarship as appropriate.

On your video, please include the following:

  1. A brief introduction, stating your name, hometown, and school you currently attend. (up to up to 15 seconds)
  2. Play up to 2 minutes of any combination of scales you choose. The intent is for you to demonstrate your technical abilities.
  3. Play two contrasting selections, one technical and one lyrical. If you play jazz, feel free to include that as well. (between 2 and 5 minutes)
  4. At a metronome marking of quarter note = 100, play 4 beats of eighth notes, 4 beats of triplets, and 4 beats of sixteenth notes per pitch on any 3 consecutive scale notes (up to 30 seconds)
Percussion

Furman University Percussion Audition Requirements:

Prepare approximately 10-20 minutes of solo repertoire that best highlights your strengths as a percussionist across as many instruments and genres as possible. This can include:

  • Snare Drum: Concert and/or Rudimental solos
  • Keyboard Percussion (Marimba, Vibraphone, etc…): 2-mallet and/or 4-mallet solos
  • Timpani: Solos, Etudes, or Orchestral Excerpt Repertoire
  • Drumset: Pop, Rock, Jazz, and Latin styles (with or without a backing track)
  • Accessory Percussion: Orchestral Excerpt Repertoire

Auditions will be conducted in a private lesson-style format with commentary and feedback provided from the faculty throughout.

Instruments provided will include:

  • 5-octave Adams Alpha Marimba
  • 3.5 octave Yamaha Vibraphone (satin gold bars)
  • 6.5×14” Pearl Philharmonic Snare Drum
  • 4×14” Pearl Philharmonic Snare Drum
  • Yamaha Symphonic Timpani (4)
  • 4pc. Gretsch Brooklyn Drumset (10,14,18” w/14” Snare Drum) with 2 cymbals and hi-hat
  • 2-channel stereo sound system with digital file (mp3, wav, etc…), CD, or Tape playback.

Other instruments available upon request (please email omar.carmenates@furman.edu prior to your audition to make the request.):

  • Adams Alpha Xylophone
  • Ludwig 20” piccolo timpani
  • Adams Philharmonic Classic Timpani (4)
  • Pearl Championship Series Marching Snare Drum

Contact

Dr. Omar Carmenates  omar.carmenates@furman.edu
Phone: 864.294.2406

Composition

Furman awards funds each year to an intended composition major. A composition portfolio is required to be considered for this potential four-year scholarship. On the day of your audition, you will be scheduled for a Composition interview in addition to your performance audition and theory placement testing. The faculty will review your information and discuss with you your composition experience to this point, your future goals and opportunities for composition majors.

How to Apply

Prepare and submit your composition portfolio at least two weeks prior to the audition date. Portfolio Requirements:

  • A brief cover-letter introducing yourself. Include a brief composition-related resume describing your composition experience to date, music theory knowledge and performing experience.
  • Include print-outs of two or three of your original composition scores, preferably computerized (1 copy each)
  • Include a CD or DVD recording (or sound/video files if emailing) of live performances of the above selections

Contact

Dr. Benjamin Dobbs  benjamin.dobbs@furman.edu
Composition Area Coordinator

Classical Guitar

For classical guitar auditions, please prepare two full or excerpted contrasting works from the standard solo or etude literature. The faculty will check your ear training and pitch-matching skills with brief aural aptitude exercises. Additional criteria:

  • Performance time limit: 10 minutes
  • You will be asked to sight-read a brief section
  • Memorization is optional

Contact

Marina Alexandra  marina.alexandra@furman.edu
Guitar Instructor

Jazz Guitar

For jazz guitar auditions, we require you to prepare three brief jazz standards of varying styles. The styles may include blues, ballad, Latin, fusion, or funk, among others. Be prepared to play chords for these tunes as well as improvise a solo within them. Additional criteria:

  • Jazz chart sight-reading and comping will be included
  • The faculty will check your ear training and pitch-matching skills with brief aural aptitude exercises

Contact

Dr. Matt Olson  matt.olson@furman.edu
Coordinator of Jazz Studies
Phone: 864.294.3284
-or-
Matt Dingledine  matt.dingledine@furman.edu
Instructor of Jazz Guitar

Organ

For organ auditions, please prepare and perform two contrasting organ solo works with a time limit of 10 minutes total. Auditioning organists will also prepare and perform a single work on the piano (this may be from any historical period). Auditions will include brief pitch matching and aural aptitude exercises. Time for practicing, registration set-up, and warm-up on the audition organ will be scheduled on the day prior to the audition, with a short amount of time available the day of the audition. Dr. Tompkins can be available to assist you with registrations. Auditionees may choose to perform on the 42-stop C.B. Fisk tracker organ in Daniel Chapel or the 29-stop Holtkamp electro-pneumatic organ in McAlister Auditorium. Please indicate on the music scholarship application form which instrument you wish to perform on.

  • The faculty will check your ear training and pitch-matching skills with brief aural aptitude exercises
  • Memorization is optional but preferred.

Contact

Dr. Charles Tompkins  charles.tompkins@furman.edu
Organ, Church Music
Phone: 864.294.2099

Piano

For piano auditions, please prepare and perform one Sonata movement by Haydn, Mozart or Beethoven, and one full or excerpted composition from the Romantic or Contemporary period. An additional Baroque composition would be appreciated but is not required. Additional criteria:

  • Performance total time limit: 15 minutes
  • Memorization expected
  • You will be asked to sight-read a brief selection
  • The faculty will check your ear training and pitch-matching skills with brief aural aptitude exercises

Contact

Dr. Derek Parsons  derek.parsons@furman.edu
Piano, Keyboard Area Coordinator
Phone: 864.294.2099

Strings: Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass, Harp

Candidates for the BM and BME programs should prepare:

  1. One movement from a standard concerto or comparable composition
  2. One movement from an unaccompanied Bach sonata, partita or suite
  3. An etude or caprice

At least one of these pieces should be memorized.

Candidates for the BA and non-major programs should prepare two contrasting works from the standard solo literature. Memorization is optional.

Performance time limit:
BM/BME: 15 minutes
BA/Non-Major: 10 minutes

Jazz player? If you are interested in jazz, please prepare a jazz etude, solo transcription, or plan to play and improvise on a standard tune of your choice. Contact matt.olson@furman.edu if questions.

HARP, please prepare and perform two full or excerpted contrasting works from the standard solo or etude literature. The faculty will check your ear training and pitch-matching skills with brief aural aptitude exercises. Be sure to arrive for climate acclamation and tuning. If needed, a university harp is available. Harp auditions are heard by the orchestral string faculty. Additional criteria:

  • Performance time limit: 10 minutes
  • You will be asked to sight-read a brief section
  • Memorization is optional

Harp Contact

Mrs. Anita Burroughs-Price
anita.burroughs-price@furman.edu
Instructor of Harp

Orchestral String Contact

Dr. Andy Carlson, Violin and Viola
andrew.carlson@furman.edu
Phone: 864.294.2219

Dr. Christopher Hutto​n
Cello, Bass  (Area Coordinator)
christopher.hutton@furman.edu
Phone: 864.294.2019

Voice

Guidelines for Recorded Vocal Auditions at Furman University 2020/21

For voice auditions, please prepare and perform two contrasting songs from the art song, oratorio, or operatic repertoire. One-piece should be in English and it is preferred that the second selection is in a language other than English (Italian, Latin, German or French). All audition repertoire must be memorized and performed with piano accompaniment. All auditionees will also have a meeting (via Zoom) with one of our vocal faculty members where they will be asked to sight-sing. You will be contacted by the voice faculty to set up a meeting once your media files are submitted.

Tips for a successful recorded vocal audition:

1. Be prepared! Memorize your music carefully with the correct pitches, rhythms, and diction.

2. Find an accompanist or an accompaniment track for your recorded audition.

3. Preparing your recordings:

  • You do not need to spend a lot of money making the recordings. It should, however, be a high enough quality so the faculty can hear your voice and see you clearly.
  • Find a large space with a nice acoustic (church, performance hall, or large room). The microphone should be placed far enough away so that it is picking up your voice in the room. Make sure it is a quiet space, free from extraneous noise.
  • Make sure that you are well lit. Natural light is the best. If you have no natural light you want to position the light so that it shines toward you from behind or to the side of the camera. You do not want to have light shining on the back of you—do not record in front of a window.
  • Please wear audition attire and announce your name and repertoire clearly.
  • Shoot on your phone with the selfie camera in front and with your phone laid on its side (landscape view) for a widescreen shot in 1080p quality. Record by either iPhone or Android.
  • Watch your recordings to make sure you are centered in the frame, the sound is good, and the balance between you and your pianist or the external speaker is right.
  • Edit/clip the recordings so we only see the pieces being offered, not you walking back and forth to the camera after pressing record.
  • Submit your recordings! We look forward to hearing from you!