Music Program Requirements

BMus and BA Music

Theory and Audition Requirements (2020 - 2021)

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. Mark Bartel – mark.bartel@ambrose.edu

Prof. Edwin Gnandt – egnandt@ambrose.edu

Dr. Alyssa Michaud – amichaud@ambrose.edu

Barbara de Bruyn, Administrative Assistant – bdebruyn@ambrose.edu

 

Theory Requirements

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

  1. Showing a Level 8 RCM Theory Exam or passing a placement exam, based on the Level 8 RCM [formerly called “Advanced Rudiments”] theory requirements. Students may write the exam at the time of their audition or at another pre-arranged time.  Theory requirement must be satisfied by the end of June for a Fall entrance and the end of November for a January entrance.  Contact Ambrose Arts Assitant Barb de Bruyn (bdebryun@ambrose.edu) 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 applicant should know 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

Chromatic Scales: ascending and 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 inversions

Meter: Simple time, Compound time and Irregular time

Chords: I, IV, V, V7, Diminished and Augmented (Write the chords – three or four-note formats in root positions 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

Simple Roman numeral analysis of a harmonized selection

Simple harmonic analysis of primary chords, including inversions of triads and dominant and diminished 7th chords

Primary chords (I, IV, V, ii, vi, viio), - major and minor modes in open and closed score

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

An awareness of church modes, pentatonic, octatonic or blues scales or open/closed scores as well as alto and tenor clefs.

Melody writing of an eight measure phrase when given the first two measures.

Be aware of the Musical Terms that have been used up to this level.

We recommend a thorough study of 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

Michalis Andonikou at Michalis.andronikou@ambrose.edu.

Audition Information

For each academic year Ambrose Arts auditions (for both music & theatre) are held beginning in December. General Audition Dates for 2020-21 are as follows:

     Saturday, December 5, 2020     

     Monday, January 25, 2021 (Morning)

     Monday, February 22, 2021 (Morning)

     Monday, March 22, 2021 (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.

It is expected that applicants within a reasonable driving distance of Ambrose University 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.

Generally, applicants are asked to prepare two solo pieces in contrasting styles, demonstrating the level at which they are presently performing. Please see the specific instrument requirements below.

A minimum of two music faculty members will make up the adjudicating panel for the audition. 

Audition Process:

  1. Apply to the University and the music degree of your choice.
  2. Once you have applied, contact Ambrose Arts Assistant Barb de Bruyn (bdebruyn@ambrose.edu or 403-410-200, ext. 2969) and clearly identify the following:

    • To which program are you applying—BMus? BA (Music)?
    • What is your instrument/voice?
  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 egnandt@ambrose.edu 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

Piano

  • 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

Voice

  • 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

Strings

  • A 3 octave scale and arpeggio (own choice) slurred and spicatto, at the fastest comfortable tempo
  • A movement from an unaccompanied Bach suite, sonata or partita
  • A movement from a concerto from the standard repertoire
  • A selection from any musical period excluding the musical period represented by their own choice concerto movement

Woodwinds

  • Applicants will be required to play two contrasting pieces and/or etudes that reflect their level of performance. A grade eight RCM level of performance is recommended. (See RCM Syllabi)
  • Major and minor scales and arpeggios
  • Sight Reading

Brass

  • Applicants will be required to play two contrasting pieces and/or etudes that reflect their level of performance. A grade eight RCM level of performance is recommended. (See RCM Syllabi)
  • Major and minor scales and arpeggios
  • 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.

Keyboard:

  • One two or four-mallet solo (single movement) from J. S. Bach – Violin Concerto in A minor, or Suites for Solo Cello, or Violin Sonatas and Partitas or Kabalevski (arrr. Goldenberg) Galloping Comedians or Khatchaturian (arr. Goldenberg) Sabre Dance or something similar.
  • Major & minor scales and arpeggios

Timpani:

  • 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 two octaves (ascending & descending), preferably with note name recital.
  • Candidates should demonstrate proficiency in both rest and free stroke techniques using at least two different alternating finger patterns (ie…i-m, m-a, i-m-a etc.)
  • Arpeggios; two 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.)

Saxophone 

 Major scales: All major scales are in play, but, only a couple will be requested, full range of the instrument, in eighth notes, starting on the lowest root note going as high as possible within the key, down as low as possible, and then back to lowest root note (m.m.100).

 Minor Scales:  Natural minor and harmonic minor up to two flats and two sharps are in play, but, only a couple will be requested, full range of the instrument, in eighth notes, starting on the lowest root note going as high as possible within the key, down as low as possible, and then back to lowest root note (m.m.100).

 Prepared pieces: Two jazz pieces of contrasting styles prepared (playing melody and an improvised solo).  Swing pieces can consist of a Blues (i.e. Billie’s Bounce/Sonny Moon For Two/Straight No Chaser/Tenor Madness/Au Privave etc.) or swing “standards” (i.e. Autumn Leaves/Take The “A” Train/Beautiful Love/Softly As In A Morning Sunrise/So What/Solar).  Contrasting repertoire to swing could be a Ballad (i.e. In A Sentimental Mood/Polkadots And Moonbeams/What’s New/I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face/Moonlight In Vermont/Stardust/I Can’t Get Started), a Latin (i.e. Blue Bossa/Song For My Father/A Night In Tunisia/Desifinado/Black Orpheus/Wave), or a “straighteighth” Rock, Funk, or Shuffle (i.e. Watermelon Man/Mr. Clean/Little Sunflower/Sister Sadie/The Jody Grind/Sugar). 

 Classical repertoire: A Classical etude/study or short work (unaccompanied or accompanied) can be substituted for one jazz piece.  

 

Jazz Studies

Jazz Double Bass :

Be ready to play a jazz standard in medium swing tempo and a second one in a contrasting feel (Latin, jazz waltz, jazz ballad). On each selected tunes – be prepared to play the melody and at least one chorus of an improvised solo. The applicant may 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 copy of the 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 asked to perform major, melodic and harmonic minor scales in 12 keys over two octaves. Perform arpeggios of major and minor triads and 7th chord forms (dom7, 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, and least one full chorus of an improvised solo and a walking bass line. The applicant may 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 copy of the sheet music for the pieces.

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

Jazz Percussion

  • Perform a snare drum solo
  • Demonstrate the top 40 rudiments listed by PAS  http://www.pas.org/resources/education/Rudiments1.aspx
  • 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.

Performances should include:

1) Written/Prepared (non improvised) piece that reflects a minimum grade 8 RCM level. Can be classical or in the jazz style (can be a transcription, or published piece in the jazz style).

2) In addition, one jazz standard AND one blues with an improvised solo. Examples of Blues Tunes include Blue Monk, Straight No Chaser, C Jam Blues, Blues For Alice, etc. Examples of Standards include Autumn Leaves, Take the A Train, Softly As In A Morning Sunrise, etc. Pianists would play the head (melody), with chord voicings in the left hand, and play an improvised solo over the chord changes. 

Tutoring is available for students who wish to prepare for jazz piano auditions

Jazz Guitar

  • Major Scales in two 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)
  • Two prepared jazz pieces*: one jazz standard (with expectation of melody, chords & improvisation in time), one 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

Jazz Trumpet

1.    Select one piece from each of the three categories below. For each selection, prepare the melody and an improvised solo. The tunes listed below are examples.

·       Blues (examples: Billie's Bounce; Au Privave; Straight No Chaser; Tenor Madness; Sonny Moon for Two; Blues Walk).

·       Ballads (examples: Body and Soul; What's New; I Can't Get Started; I Fall in Love too Easily).

·       Jazz Standards (examples: Blue Bossa; Solar; All the Things You Are; So What; Green Dolphin Street; What is this Thing Called Love; Stella by Starlight; Four; Night and Day).

2.   Prepare Classical Studies: Two short studies or études of your choice.

3.   Prepare one transcription and play it along with the original recording. For example, play along with the original recording of Charlie Parker's improvised solo on Now's the Time. The object is to evaluate accuracy, style, time concept, articulation, phrasing and sound.

 

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