I indicated music as my intended major when I submitted my university application. Is that all I need to do to be considered for entry into the Department of Music?

No. Indicating music as your major simply directs your application to our department. In order to be considered for admission into VCU Music, you must complete an audition, as well as submit test scores, recommendation letters and a statement of purpose. You can request an audition date using our online form.

Do I need to write an essay to apply to the Department of Music?

No. You are only required to complete a personal statement if you indicate music as your intended major.

If you would like to be considered for a scholarship from the university, you should complete one of the two essay options provided in the application. Your essay and application materials should be complete and submitted to the university by the deadline.

Do I need to submit any letters of recommendation?

VCUarts applicants are required to have one reference submitted by their recommender of choice. Choose the person best qualified to assess your ability to be successful at VCUarts. You will be prompted to enter your recommender’s email address on the Common Application. You may only submit one recommender via the Common App. The system will then prompt your recommender to submit a letter of recommendation online. Be sure to notify your recommenders that you will list them.

If you feel it is necessary, you may submit up to two additional letters of recommendation. Your additional recommenders should mail their letters to:

VCU Office of Admissions
PO Box 842526
Richmond, VA 23284-2526

How good do my GPA and test scores need to be?

We’re looking for students who are both good musicians and good students. In general, the better your grades and scores are, the better your admissions chances will be. The same goes with your sight-reading, aural skills, improvisation (if jazz) or any other element of your application.

I have submitted my university application indicating my intended majors as music. What additional requirements do I need to submit to apply to Music?

To apply to VCU Music you must complete all of the application requirements and audition.

Scheduling an audition

What musical skills should I be working on?

Along with continuing to improve your technique and musicality on your instrument, you should also have developed the following skills before entering any music program — whether you’re a singer or string player; classical or jazz musician.

  • Matching pitch: When a note is played for you at the piano, you should be able to sing it back.
  • Reading music: Being able to read pitches and rhythms fluently is essential for any student planning to study music and/or pursue a career in music.
  • For jazz students, the ability to create an improvised solo is a critical part of playing and studying jazz. If you haven’t had much opportunity to improvise solos, you should first take private lessons from an experienced jazz instructor.

How do I schedule an audition for entry into the VCU Department of Music?

Once you’ve submitted your application to the university, you may request an audition date by submitting our online form.

I want to minor in music at VCU. Do I need to schedule an audition?

No. In order to begin a minor in music, you must complete an interview with John Patykula, assistant chair of the VCU Music Department, during the summer or semester prior to declaring the minor. With his approval, you may declare the minor and he will act as your academic adviser for the minor.

I’ve received confirmation of my audition day. Is it possible to find out what time my audition will be?

No, your audition time will be assigned to you at check-in on your audition day. Audition times are generally scheduled according to when your audition request was received and what area you will be auditioning for. Since we schedule such a large number of auditionees, we cannot give you your audition time in advance.

I’ve received confirmation of my audition day, but now I can’t come on that day. What should I do?

If you are confirmed for an audition day and need to reschedule, you must contact our Director of Admissions, Erin Patterson as soon as possible. She will assist you in rescheduling your audition, if it is possible. Please note that we cannot always accommodate rescheduled auditions, so you should make your best effort to attend on your assigned audition day.

I’ve received confirmation of my audition day, but I’ve decided that I don’t want to major in music at VCU. What should I do?

If you decide that you do not want to attend VCU as a music major, then you do not need to audition. Please call our Director of Admissions, Erin Patterson as soon as possible to let her know that you will not be auditioning.

If you would like to apply to VCU as another major you must contact Anna Sanchez in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions to change your intended major.

Please note: If you change your major to another major within the School of the Arts you may be required to provide additional supplementary materials.

I have another event that I want to go to during the afternoon of my audition day. How long does the audition day generally last?

The length of the audition day varies and is generally dependent on how many students are auditioning that day and your audition time. It is strongly recommended that you refrain from scheduling other commitments on the morning and afternoon of your audition. Please note that last-minute schedule changes cannot be accommodated.

Audition preparation

How should I dress for my audition?

You’ll want to present your best self on your audition day, so dress accordingly; semi-formal or business attire is generally appropriate. Be sure that you can comfortably play your instrument in whatever you choose to wear. The audition tips for your particular instrument may include additional information.

What do I need to bring to my audition?

In general, auditionees only need to bring their instrument and music to the audition. There are special exceptions and additions for certain instruments so be sure to read the audition tips for your particular instrument.

I’ve prepared my music, but I want to know what else to expect when I come to my audition. What’s it like?

Audition day begins with check-in where you’ll receive your audition time and schedule. Once you’re checked in, you will head into the concert hall to take a short theory exam. After you’ve completed your exam, you are welcome to enjoy some light refreshments and meet members of our faculty in the lobby. Then you and your parents will convene in the concert hall for a greeting and introduction to the department by the interim department chair, Darryl Harper.

After that meeting, you will wait in the lobby for your audition time. Close to your warm-up time, your name will be called and a VCU Music student will escort you to your warm-up room, where you’ll have 15 minutes to prepare for your audition. Then, you’ll be escorted to your audition where a small panel of faculty members will have a chance to chat with you and hear you perform.

After your audition, you’ll wait your turn to have your aural skills — ear-training and pitch-matching — tested, as well as your keyboard skills.

The final part of your audition day is an informal interview with another member of our faculty, the department chair or assistant chair. Your parents are welcome to sit in on this portion of the audition day as it’s a great time to have your questions answered and for us to get to know you a little better so that we can help you meet your educational goals.

I’m a vocalist. Do I need to provide my own accompanist or will an accompanist be provided for me?

Some students prefer to bring their own accompanist to their audition day, but you may also request that VCU Music provide an accompanist for you.

If you would like VCU Music to provide an accompanist, you will need to indicate that on your audition request form. You will also need to send by mail or fax, a copy of your music to our Director of Admissions, Erin Patterson. Your music must be received two weeks before your scheduled audition date and you will need to bring your original music with you.

Students auditioning for the voice area may bring their own accompanist on the day of their audition. However, please note that your audition time cannot be confirmed in advance, so your accompanist will need to spend most, if not all, of the audition day with you at VCU.

After the audition

I’ve completed my audition. When will I find out whether or not I’ve been accepted into the VCU Department of Music?

Applicants who apply by the application deadline and complete an audition will be notified of their admission status by April 1st. Please check your online application to confirm that we have received all required application materials including your transcripts and SAT scores.

I have a friend who applied to VCU in another department and she’s already received notification that she’s been accepted. Why haven’t I heard anything yet?

Applications are reviewed as they become fully complete. For music applicants this includes completing the audition. Applicants who apply by the application deadline and complete an audition will be notified of their admission status by April 1st. Please check your online application to confirm that we have received all required application materials including your transcripts and SAT scores.

I’ve just received notification that I was not accepted into the Department of Music. Does this mean I’m automatically accepted into the university as an undecided major?

No. If you were not accepted into the music department, but would like for your application to be considered for another major within VCU, you must contact Zakia Williams or Christopher Higgins in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions to change your intended major.

Jazz Studies

I’m interested in studying jazz at VCU because jazz is closer to the rock music I want to play than classical music. Is VCU Jazz the program for me?

We’re looking for students who love the jazz music tradition. Yes, jazz may be closer to rock than classical in some ways, but if you want to study jazz at VCU, it should be because you love jazz.