Student playing the piano, aerial view

Audition Criteria

See what is expected for your instrument/voice type 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. We recommend that you plan to attend one of our in-person audition dates (December 3-4, January 21-22, or February 11-12). Those days are a great time for you to meet and interact with our faculty, have a short lesson, and learn about the Music Department. However, there is also an option for you to submit a video audition if you are unable to come to campus on any of those dates.

Furman University Woodwind and Brass Audition requirements:

  1. Prepare up to 10 minutes of two contrasting works or one larger work that includes contrasting sections. These can include solo repertoire standard to your instrument, etudes, or other musical exercises. If you are also a jazz musician, please include an excerpt to perform as well.
  2. Be prepared to demonstrate major scales and a brief sight reading excerpt.
  3. If submitting a recorded audition, in lieu of sight reading, we ask that you perform this articulation exercise as follows: 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/Hand Percussion: Orchestral Excerpts, Latin American and/or African Styles, Steel Pan, etc…

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 octave Adams Alpha Vibraphone
  • 6.5×14” Pearl Philharmonic Snare Drum
  • 4×14” Pearl Philharmonic Snare Drum
  • Yamaha Symphonic Timpani (4)
  • 4 pc. Pearl Reference Series Drumset (10, 15, 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 (see below) is required to be considered for this potential four-year scholarship. On the day of your audition, you will have a composition interview with members of the composition and theory faculty in addition to your performance audition. The faculty will review your application and portfolio, 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 2 to 4 original works notated in composition software (e.g., Sibelius, Finale, or a similar program) or clearly legible handwriting.
  • Include sound/video recordings of live performances of the above selections. Acceptable submission formats include .mp3, .mp4, .wav, and .mov files, as well as YouTube, Vimeo, and Soundcloud links. In the absence of live recordings, digitally rendered formats (such as MIDI files) are acceptable.

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

Matt Dingledine  matthew.dingledine@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 a composer from the classical period (Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, or Schubert), and one complete movement from the Romantic or Contemporary period. Applicants will also perform one additional Baroque selection to be considered for major music scholarship.

Additional criteria for live audition (recommended for major music scholarship consideration):

  • Performance total time limit: 15 minutes (jury may stop a performance in the interest of time)
  • Memorization is expected to be considered for major music scholarship, but not required
  • You will be asked to sight-read a brief selection

Criteria for recorded audition:

Repertoire will include selections as above; performances will be complete and unedited for each selection.

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

Memorization is encouraged for one of the pieces but not required.

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.

Harpists, please prepare two full or excerpted contrasting works from the standard solo or etude literature. Be sure to arrive early to allow for your instrument to acclimate to temperature and humidity and for sufficient time for tuning. If needed, a university-owned harp is available.

String Area Contacts

Dr. Anna Barbrey Joiner, Viola and String Education
String Area Coordinator
anna.joiner@furman.edu
Phone: 864.294.3199

Dr. Andrew Carlson, Furman Symphony Orchestra and Violin
andrew.carlson@furman.edu
Phone: 864.294.2219

Dr. Christopher Hutto​n, Cello & Bass
christopher.hutton@furman.edu
Phone: 864.294.2019

Mrs. Anita Burroughs-Price, Harp
anita.burroughs-price@furman.edu
Phone: 864.294.2086

Voice

Guidelines for Live and Recorded Vocal Auditions at Furman University 2021/22

Live auditions are strongly encouraged.

For voice auditions (live and recorded), 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. An accompanist will be provided for all live auditions. All live auditionees will be tested in basic musical skills and have an interview with the voice faculty. All recorded auditionees will also have a meeting (via Zoom) with one of our vocal faculty members where they will be asked to sight-sing. These applicants will be contacted by the voice faculty to set up a meeting once 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!