Frequently Asked Questions
What should I prepare for the audition?
Here is a recommended list of repertoire. Students may use this list as advisory, and may substitute works of similar difficulty for those listed below.
Students should be ready to present two-three “excerpts” from a full and representative recital program.
- J.S. Bach- a prelude and fugue from the Well-Tempered Clavier, or a toccata;
- D. Scarlatti – 2 contrasting sonatas or a representative Italian 17 th century work;
- 2 contrasting movements from an F. Couperin Ordre or a 20 th century work.
Violin and Viola
- The first movement of a standard concerto or sonata;
- 1-2 other works of contrasting nature and style: etudes, a slow movement, a Bach suite movement, etc.
- An advanced etude: Popper, Grutzmacher, Piatti, etc.;
- the first movement of a concerto (such as those by Schumann, Haydn (D Major) or Dvorak, or a movement of a sonata or work of comparable difficulty),
- one or two contrasting movements from a Bach suite.
a representative sonata or concerto: or two or three
- contrasting movements from different pieces,
- short works, or
- orchestral solos.
- a slow and fast movement from a sonata or concerto;
- a technical etude.
- a) Two contrasting movements from a piece or two contrasting solo pieces;
- b) a few standard orchestral excerpts.
- timpani solo:
- a snare drum solo
- a mallet solo.
- Two movements from one of the Bach suites;
- one etude by Villa-Lobos (not #1);
- one major contemporary work.
Two songs from the classical repertoire in two different languages. One may be in English.
How long is the audition?
Each audition will not exceed 10 minutes in duration. Please plan or repertoire accordingly.
What will I have to do when I come to audition?
To become a music major at Stony Brook, students must pass an audition, as well as show competence in rudimentary music theory and rudimentary musicianship (ear-training). On the day you come to Stony Brook, you will audition as well as take a one-hour exam in rudimentary music theory and musicianship. Students who do not pass either the theory or musicianship parts of the exam may take preparatory courses their first year at Stony Brook that, if successfully completed, will permit entry to the major in their second year. Students who enter the music program in their second year can still graduate in four years total.
Must I audition in person?
Auditions are only held at Stony Brook University. Students who live outside a 250-mile radius, or have extenuating circumstances that prevent them from being present at Stony Brook on the day of the auditions, may include a CD with their application materials in lieu of an audition.
Once I audition, when will I be informed of the decision?
Assuming you apply to the university in a timely way, you will be informed of your audition status (whether or not you’ve been accepted to the B.A. program in music) within a month of your audition. If you are not accepted, you will be informed why, and what courses you would have to take at Stony Brook to be accepted in your second year.
How do I apply if I am a transfer student?
The application process for transfer students and first-year students is the same. Application must be made to the university and to the Music Department. However, if you have one full year of study as a music major at another collegiate institution, you will not have to take the music theory and musicianship placement exams.
If I am accepted as a music major, will I study with performance faculty?
Stony Brook has a large and distinguished graduate program, about two-and-a-half times the size of our undergraduate program. Our performance faculty are performing musicians who are in great demand as performers and as teachers, and attract hundreds of graduate applicants per year. Many are part time, and devote most of their energies to graduate teaching. While some promising students are admitted for study with performance faculty, the majority of undergraduate students study with our very fine graduate students, many of whom are returning to school while in the midst of impressive performing careers. Students who do not study with performance faculty will still have access to them through coachings and master classes. Your acceptance letter will explicitly state whether you will be studying with performance faculty or one of our many fine graduate students.
Who are the faculty?
The biographies of our faculty can be read by clicking this link.
Will auditioning at Stony Brook automatically qualify me for a Music Department Scholarship?
Yes, by filling out the Department of Music one-page application, you will automatically be considered for a scholarship. The Department of Music has limited funds to offer small four-year scholarships for students talented in performance, composition, or music history (up to $2000 a year), and also nominates qualified students for scholarships through the University Scholarship Office. These latter scholarships are typically for full tuition and fees for four years. To be eligible, students must be academically high achieving (as evidenced by high school grade point average and SAT scores), and demonstrate exceptional talent as performers. (Sometimes, exceptionally gifted performers receive these scholarships, even if their academic qualifications are less exceptional.) There are also very limited scholarship funds for transfer students.
What more can you tell me about the B.A. in Music at Stony Brook?
The undergraduate program in music balances musical studies in performance, theory, musicianship, and history with the broad, general education of a liberal arts degree. The Music Major Core Curriculum includes: four semesters of musicianship, lessons, and ensemble; five semesters of theory and analysis; a three semester history sequence; three semesters of keyboard harmony, two upper division electives. Students also take additional electives in their areas of interest in performance, composition, history/theory, pre-music education, and pre-music therapy. The undergraduate program is relatively small, with only 100 students.
Completion of the major prepares students for professional careers in performance, teaching, composition, and scholarship. Recent graduates have won national prizes in performance or have gone on to graduate study at such institutions as the University of Chicago, Yale University, Florida State University, the University of Miami, UCLA, Mannes School of Music, among others. Students have also pursued certification in music education and teach at many public and private schools throughout New York State. Still other students have gone on to programs in music therapy, arts management, or other sectors of the music business. The department also welcomes students into the major whose career plans will take them into such diverse fields as health care and business; double majors in most areas are feasible.
The department also administers a Computer Music Studio, an Electronic Music Studio, and a Multi-Media Laboratory for Technology and the Arts. The E-Media Sinc Site, an interdisciplinary studio operated by the Music, Art, and Theatre Arts departments, offers a state-of-the-art classroom and laboratory with multi-media hardware and software and internet access. First-year students in the Department of Music are typically affiliated with the College of Arts, Culture, and Humanities, with resident students living in the same complex, which has an arts center with practice rooms, a 300-seat theater, art gallery, computer site, and café, as well as a variety of arts-related programs and courses.
Are there performance opportunities at Stony Brook?
Yes, there are many performance opportunities at Stony Brook. Any student who passes the initial audition is eligible to audition for placement in any performance ensemble(s) of their choice: Stony Brook Chorale, Camerata Singers, Opera Workshop, University Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra, University Wind Ensemble, Big Band Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combos, Contemporary Chamber Players, Baroque Ensemble, Marching Band, and Chamber Music.
If I am interested in music education as a career, should I consider Stony Brook?
If you feel certain that you want to teach music on the pre-college level, you may want to consider an institution that offers a Bachelor of Music Education degree. However, Stony Brook prides itself on offering a rigorous music program that will prepare students for any graduate degree in music. Many of our students obtain the Bachelor of Arts in Music degree at Stony Brook and enter a master’s degree program to receive the Master of Music Education degree. Many are now teaching successfully in New York state.
If I don’t want to major in music, can I minor, or continue music studies without being a major or minor?
The Department of Music offers four music minors programs, two in classical music and two in jazz. In addition, all students, regardless of major, may audition for any of the ensembles and for private lessons through the department.
Who can I contact for more information?
Dr. Sheila Silver, Director of Undergraduate Studies
Additional Information may be obtained from the Undergraduate Websites: