Music Program Requirements

BMus and BA Music

Theory and Audition Requirements (2017 - 2018)

Please note: If you are preparing to audition, you must have first applied to one of the programs listed above.

Full-time Music Faculty:

Dr. Don Quantz – Program Chair –

Prof. Ian Charter – Theory/Choral –

Prof. Edwin Gnandt – Piano –

Theory Requirements

A minimum theory understanding is required of each applicant. This may be satisfied by

  1. Showing a completed Advanced Rudiments or passing a theory placement exam. Students may write the exam at the time of their audition or at another arranged time. We recommend strongly that the theory requirement should be satisfied by the end of June for a Fall entrance and the end of November for a January entrance. Contact Professor Ian Charter – if an alternate arrangement is needed.
  2. Please note that a minimum of 70% is required on the theory placement exam. If an applicant is deficient (below a 70% mark), a plan for remedial study and/or re-examination will be established but the student cannot enter the music program until the theory requirement is satisfied.

Preparation for Music Theory Placement Exam*

The exam will encompass the following:

Music Notation: Staff systems (treble and bass clefs only), note names

Time Values: Note/Rest values

Diatonic and chromatic semitones and whole tones

Accidentals: Sharps, flats, naturals, double sharps/flats

Key Signatures: Major and minor keys Major Scales—ascending/descending, with or without key signatures

Minor Scales: Natural, harmonic, melodic—ascending/descending, with or w/o key signatures Chromatic Scales—ascending/descending

Intervals: Major and minor 2nds, 3rds, 6ths, 7ths; Perfect 4ths, 5ths; 8ves and inversions Tritones (dim. 5ths/aug. 4ths) and inversions Compound intervals and inversion

Meter: Simple time, Compound time, and Irregular time

Chords: I, IV, V, V7, Diminished, Augmented (Write the chords—three or four-note formats— in root position or any inversions requested; or recognize them as printed)

Cadences (in chorale or keyboard style): Perfect, imperfect, plagal, deceptive

Transposition of a music passage from one key to another--major, minor, augmented, diminished

Simple Roman numeral analysis of a harmonized selection

Simple harmonic analysis of primary chords

Primary Chords (I, IV, V) V7, ii, vi, viio —major or minor modes

Primary analysis of given composition—terms, articulations, keys, chords, etc.



The exam will not require study of the church modes, pentatonic, octatonic, or blues scales or open/closed scores. Alto and tenor clefs will not be tested.

*subject to change

Note: In preparing for the exam, we suggest you refer to: The Complete Elementary Music Rudiments by Mark Sarnecki (Published by Frederick Harris Music, Copyright 2010) --2nd Edition.

For further information about the theory placement exam please contact

Prof. Ian R. Charter at or 403 410 2000 Ext. 4900

Audition Information

  1. For each academic year, auditions are held beginning in January. General Audition Dates for 2017 are as follows:

    • Monday, February 13, 2017 (Morning)

      Monday, March 13, 2017 (Morning)

      Thursday, April 13, 2017 (Morning)

      Saturday, May 13, 2017 (Morning)

    It is strongly recommended that applicants audition before the end of March (please note scholarship deadlines). If the applicant cannot audition on one of the general audition dates other (earlier or later) times may be arranged, subject to Music Department approval.

  2. It is expected that applicants within reasonable driving distance of Ambrose University College will audition in person. Only if approved by the Music Department, will recorded auditions be considered. Please contact the Music Department before submitting a recorded audition.
  3. Generally, applicants are asked to prepare two (2) solo pieces in contrasting styles, demonstrating the level at which they are presently performing. Please see specific instrument requirements below.
  4. A minimum of two music faculty members will make up the adjudicating panel for the audition. A panel member may ask the applicant to demonstrate key technical elements which demonstrate the skill level at which the applicant is performing.

Audition Process:

  1. Apply to the University and the music degree of your choice.
  2. Once you have applied, contact Professor Ian Charter in the Music Department-- (or phone 403-410-200, Ext. 4000) and clearly identify the following:

    • To which program are you applying—BMus? BA (Music)?
    • What is your instrument?
  3. Choose one of the audition dates and arrange an audition.
  4. If you require an accompanist for the audition, you may bring your own or contact Professor Edwin Gnandt at prior to your audition.
  5. Indicate any special equipment needed for your audition. Do you require—playback system, amps, percussion instruments, etc.?
  6. Arrange for your theory placement exam, if needed. Do you plan to write the theory placement exam at the time of your audition or at a later date? We recommend that a theory placement exam be written by the end of June.
  7. Music professors are very willing to meet with you to discuss your career and educational goals. Please contact us!

Individual Instrument Audition Requirements


  • BMus – students should be ready to enter Grade Ten RCM or equivalent
  • BA: Music Concentration or BA: Music Major – student should be ready to enter Grade Nine RCM or equivalent


  • assessment is based on ability and potential
  • a minimum of two songs of contrasting nature should be prepared for the audition
  • selections that demonstrate your vocal ability are expected.
  • Selections should normally be from Classical or folk repertoire. Languages other than English are welcome


  • Applicants will be required to play two contrasting pieces that reflect their level of performance. A grade eight level of performance is recommended.


  • players should either prepare 2 etudes of varying styles (melodic and technical), or 1 etude and 1 solo transcription.
  • The audition will also include some sight reading.

Classical Percussion

Snare drum:

  • One rudimental solo from Wilcoxon, Rudimental Swing Solos or similar.
  • One orchestral solo from Cirone, Portraits in Rhythm; Delécluse méthode de caisse-claire; or similar.


  • One two- or four-mallet solo (single movement if from a multi-movement
  • work) from J.S. Bach, Violin Concerto in A Minor, Suites for Solo Cello, Violin Sonatas and Partitas; Kabalevski (arr. Goldenberg),Galloping Comedians; Khachaturian (arr. Goldenberg), Sabre Dance; or similar.
  • Major & minor scales and arpeggios


  • One study from Vic Firth, The Solo Timpanist; Mitchell Peters, Intermediate Timpani Studies; Saul Goodman, Modern Method for Timpani; Delécluse studies; or similar -Tuning tasks involving one or more pitches from a different reference pitch
  • Sight reading on keyboard and snare drum.

Classical Guitar

  • Major Scales in 2 octaves (ascending & descending), preferably with note name recital.
  • Candidates should demonstrate proficiency in both rest and free stroke techniques using at least 2 different alternating finger patterns (ie…i-m, m-a, i-m-a etc.)
  • Arpeggios; 2 or more contrasting arpeggio patterns from Giuliani’s 120 Right Hand studies OR from the RCM Bridges Technique book.
  • Two works demonstrating proficiency in contrasting stylistic periods. (ie..renaissance, baroque, classical, romantic etc..)

Jazz Bass

Jazz Double Bass :

Be ready to play a jazz standard in medium swing tempo and a second one in contrasting feel ( latin, jazz waltz jazz ballad ). On each selected tunes be prepared to play the melody and at least one chorus of improvised solo. The applicant is entitled to bring his/her own accompanist and clear and legible sheet music for the pieces. In addition, be ready to perform a short classical etude of your choice.

For the technical part of the audition the applicant will be asked to perform Major, melodic minor, and harmonic minor scales in 12 keys over two octaves. 

Perform arpeggios of major and minor triads and 7th chord forms ( dom.7, maj7, min7, min7b5, dim7 ).Sight reading excerpts from jazz and classical styles will be provided.

Jazz Electric Bass:

Be prepared to play a jazz standard in a medium swing tempo and a second one in contrasting feel. For both tunes be ready to play the melody, at least one full chorus of improvised solo and a walking bass line.  The applicant might bring an accompanist of his/her choice or else a member of the faculty will be available . In that case please provide a clear and legible sheet music for the pieces.

Regarding the technical requirements the applicants will be asked to perform the same material provided for the double bass auditions except the classical etude.

Jazz Percussion

  • Perform a snare drum solo
  • Demonstrate the top 40 rudiments listed by PAS
  • Demonstrate the following styles:
  • Jazz 4/4 feel – medium and fast tempo
  • Trading 4's in a Jazz format 
  • Shuffle - Blues/Rock & Jazz Shuffle
  • Brush playing - ballad and medium swing feel
  • Brazilian - Bossa Nova and Samba feel
  • Cuban - Songo, Afro Cuban 6/8 feel, Cha-cha, Mambo
  • Funk - straight 16th note groove & swung 16th note groove
  • Listed below are some recommended books to help assist in the students development and preparation for the audition.
  • Art of Bop - John Riley
  • Stick Control - George Stone
  • Modern Rudimental Swing Solos for the Advanced Drummer - Charley Wilcoxon
  • Brazilian Rhythms for Drumset - Duduka Da Fonseca/Bob Weiner
  • The Essence of Afro-Cuban Percussion & Drum set - Ed Uribe

Jazz Piano Audition Technical requirements:

  • Major scales played at minimum quarter note = 80 played in this sequence: 

    quarter notes = 1 octave

    eighth notes- = 2 octaves

    triplets = 3 octaves

    sixteenth notes = 4 octaves

  • Diatonic chords

    Solid, hands together, one octave up and down in any key.

  • Seventh chords:

    Know in all keys, maj, mi7, mi7b5, mi(maj7) and diminished 7 in all keys.

    Play these solid in all inversions, hands together.

    Broken in all inversions hands together.

  • Voicings in ii-V-I

    -3rds and 7ths in the left hand.

    -if possible two handed voicings, major and minor ii-V-i.

  • Performing a written piece that reflects a minimum grade 8 level. Can be classical or in the jazz style (can be a transcription, or published piece in the jazz style).

  • In addition, one or two jazz pieces as indicated in the general audition requirements for jazz studies.

Jazz Guitar

  • Major Scales in 2 octaves (ascending & descending), preferably with note name recital
  • All basic 7th chords (Maj7, Min7, Dominant7, Min7b5), 2 versions of each
  • Brief reading assessment (using randomly chosen lead sheet)
  • 2 prepared jazz pieces*: 1 jazz standard (with expectation of melody, chords & improvisation in time), 1 solo jazz piece (brief chord melody).
  • examples of acceptable Jazz Standards:

    Autumn Leaves, Blue Bossa, Billie’s Bounce, Take The A Train, Equinox, Tune Up

Your Ambrose Enrolment Team

We are your main point of contact for admission inquiries, program information and for scheduling campus visits. We are passionate about connecting you with the Ambrose community, and are dedicated to your success as a student.

We are happy to help you with any questions you may have.

For all enrolment inquiries contact:

Tel: 403-410-2900
Toll Free: 800-461-1222