Audition Information

Substantial scholarships are available to qualified performers and scholars who plan to major in music. Moreover, each January on the last Saturday of the month, we hold a Full-Tuition Scholarship Competition for graduating high school seniors planning to attend Carson-Newman the following fall semester.

We also offer concert and marching band scholarships for students wishing to continue their music playing experience but not majoring in music. Specific audition requirements are listed below. To apply, please complete the on-line audition form. Information regarding the Full-Tuition Scholarship Competition can also be downloaded (pdf).

It is also very beneficial to use the Net-Price Calculator to help make informed decisions about costs for attending. Students interested in auditioning should Apply to C-N (No Application Fee until Jan. 10th, 2011), and complete the  Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), listing Carson-Newman's Code of 003481, so that we may send you an official financial aid award letter.

Audition Requirements by Instrumentation (Professional Dress Recommended):


A total of two selections (3 for performance majors) by memory representing two or more of the following categories:

  1. A selection of J.S. Bach, from Two or Three-Part Inventions, Well-Tempered Clavier, Suites,Partitas, etc
  2. A movement of a sonatina or sonata by Clementi, Haydn, Mozart or Beethoven.
  3. A work from 19th century repertoire by such composers as Chopin, Schumann, or Mendelssohn.
  4. A selection from 20th century composers such as Shostakovitch, Kabalevsky, Bartok, Barber, Debussy, etc.


Freshmen: A total of two selections by memory representing two of the following categories. The audition may be sung in English. Transfer: A total of three selections by memory from at least two of the following categories, to be sung in the original language.

  1. Selections from 17th or 18th century Italian song literature.
  2. Selections from 17th or 18th century British song literature.
  3. Selections from 19th or 20th century German or French song literature (transfer students only).
  4. Selections from 20th century British or American sacred or secular song literature. A hymn from the Baptist Hymnal, 1991 is acceptable for a sacred song.
  5. An aria from an opera, oratorio, or cantata. (These songs are available in “Great Art Songs” High and Low, compiled by Bernard Taylor and“Reliquary of English Song,” edited by Frank Potter. Both books are published by Hal Leonard.)


A total of two selections representing two of the following categories:

  1. One prelude and fugue from eight Little Preludes and Fugues by Bach
  2. An organ composition of a contrasting nature.
  3. A hymn similar in difficulty to “Holy, Holy, Holy,” “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee,” or “Faith Of Our Fathers.”

A piano audition may be substituted by a student who has no previous organ study.

Woodwind or Brass Instruments

Selections from each of the following categories:

  1. All 12 Major and chromatic scales for the full range of the instrument.
  2. An etude or a solo selection demonstrating, both technical and lyrical skills, as well as musical level of achievement.
  3. Sightreading.


Required Audition Material:

Keyboard Percussion: (Carson-Newman will provide a 5 octave Musser synthetic marimba with adjustable height for audition.) Prospective students need to prepare:

  • two-mallet or four-mallet solo to demonstrate technique and musicianship, 
  • twelve major scales and chromatic scale full-range on the marimba,
  • sight read at the marimba.  

Snare Drum: (Carson-Newman will provide a Yamaha Grand Symphonic Rosewood (GSR 1450) snare drum for audition.) Prospective students need to prepare:

  •  a concert or rudimental solo or etude to demonstrate technique and musicianship,
  •  the 40 PAS rudiments, to be played slow-fast-slow
  • the multiple bounce roll should be played soft-loud-soft
  • to demonstrate sight reading in a concert style. 

Timpani: Carson-Newman will provide 4 Adams timpani (32”, 29”, 26”, 23”) with tuning gauges for audition.) Prospective students need to prepare:

  • a solo or etude to demonstrate technique, musicianship, and tuning ability on timpani.  

 Optional Audition Material:

Multiple Percussion: Prospective students may choose to perform an etude/solo on any combination of percussion instruments.  Please verify in advance that any needed instruments will be available.

Drumset: Prospective students may choose to perform a solo or other material to demonstrate time-keeping and stylistic proficiency on drumset.  Please verify in advance that any needed sound equipment for play-along tracks will be available on the audition day.


Selections from as many of the following as possible:

  1. Any three-octaves-scales with arpeggios (two octaves for Double-bass).
  2. One Etude or Caprice
  3. Any concerto, solo or concert piece that best represents playing ability at the time of the audition.

Memorization is recommended but not required for strings audition.

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