Music Admissions and Scholarship Information

Below you will find information important to the music major and the scholarship
application process for students applying for admission in fall 2014.


Please read it carefully prior to completing your application.

Printable Version – PDF

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The new music application is now available. When you are ready to begin your music application start by reading these instructions.

The application deadline is Dec. 15, 2013. 

If you have questions, contact Mary Hakes, Music Admissions Coordinator
music@stolaf.edu

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Bachelor of Arts in Music • Bachelor of Music

Christiansen Scholarships • Cassler Scholarships

 

A MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRS

More than 100 years ago St. Olaf College invited F. Melius Christiansen to its campus to build a music program. Since that initial collaboration, the stories of both the college and its music program have become inseparable. Through the generous support provided by the college’s leaders throughout the 20th century, the Music Department at St. Olaf grew into one of the largest among undergraduate liberal arts colleges in the United States. More important than its size, however, is its quality. The St. Olaf music program provides a rigorous and comprehensive education in music with deep roots in the liberal arts. Our program offers a distinguished and committed faculty, a rich and challenging curriculum, outstanding performance opportunities, and a large community of talented and intelligent student musicians.

The St. Olaf Music Department melds into one program the best of the conservatory and the liberal arts models of music study at one of the leading undergraduate liberal arts colleges in the country. Students who are not majors in music play an important role in this philosophy of a blended model of music education. Approximately one-third of the St. Olaf student body participates in music on some level. Honoring this tradition, the music scholarships described in this brochure provide important recognition of outstanding musical talent in both music majors and non-music majors. Should you choose to major in music, you will study and make music as one of a select group of students, chosen by audition to determine who will best meet the academic and performance challenges encountered by St. Olaf music majors. St. Olaf has many exciting elements for you to discover, and we are pleased that you are interested in learning more about them.

We look forward to receiving your audition materials.

Alison Feldt

Associate Professor of Music
Chair, Music Department

Kent McWilliams

Professor of Music
Vice-Chair, Music Department

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Music Degrees at St. Olaf College

The Music Department offers Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music degrees, both accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. Students should consult the St. Olaf College Academic Catalog for specific degree requirements for each of the programs listed. Students who wish to major in music are admitted to the program by audition, either as part of their application process or after beginning their studies at St. Olaf.

Bachelor of Arts in Music

A liberal arts degree with approximately one-third of the course work in music, the music major is offered with or without emphasis in the following areas:
• History–Literature
• Theory–Composition
• Teaching credential in K–12 instrumental or K–12 vocal music.

The structure of the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements makes it feasible (indeed common) for students to complete the requirements for a double major in four years. This option is especially suitable for students who wish to study music and a second academic discipline without the commitment to a five-year double-degree program.

Bachelor of Music

This highly-specialized, professional music degree requires approximately two-thirds of the course work in music. Students may pursue the following majors under the Bachelor of Music degree:

  • Performance
    (collaborative piano performance emphasis is also offered for piano and organ majors)
    Students who wish to major in performance are admitted to the program by audition, either as part of their application process or after beginning their studies at St. Olaf.
  • Music Education
    (K–12 instrumental or K–12 vocal)
    Students who wish to major in music education audition to enter the program as B.A. music majors and make a formal application to the B.M. Program and Education Department in their sophomore year.
  • Church Music (Organ emphasis)
    Students who wish to major in church music are admitted to the program by audition, either as part of their application process or after beginning their studies at St. Olaf.
  • Church Music (Choral emphasis)
    Students who wish to major in church music (choral) audition on voice to enter the program as B.A. music majors and make a formal application to the B.M. program in the spring of their first year.
  • Theory–Composition 
    Theory–Composition students audition on their primary instrument/voice to begin their studies as B.A. music majors. After having taken a St. Olaf composition course, admission to the B.M. theory–composition major is based on a composition portfolio and interview.

Bachelor of Music with Elective Studies

Substantively integrated with professional music studies, students propose and complete an individualized program of study in a second discipline. Admission to this individualized degree program is by a competitive proposal process during the student’s first year. Graduates pursue professional careers in music with substantive connections to an additional arts area, business, science, language and culture, or other area of expertise.

Five-Year Double Degree Program

The nature of a strong liberal arts program, which is a hallmark of St. Olaf College, and the existence of the professional degree in music create a distinctively effective environment for nurturing study in music and the liberal arts. Under the five-year double-degree program, students earn both Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Arts degrees. The program involves the following provisions:

  • Students must meet the application and admission requirements for both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music degree programs.
  • Students pursuing the double-degree option may choose any of the four Bachelor of Music majors (church music, music education, performance, or theory-composition) and any of the Bachelor of Arts majors except music.
  • Students shall meet the requirements for the Bachelor of Arts major and Bachelor of Music major, as well as the general and comprehensive graduation requirements for the two degrees.
  • The duration of the double-degree option may vary among disciplines but will be less than the sum of the durations of both degree programs if undertaken separately. For most students, pursuit of a double-degree option will require five years of study. It should be noted that in a few cases (notably when the Bachelor of Arts major is in the natural sciences), completion of all requirements in five years may not be possible.
  • Students required to continue study in a fifth year to complete two degrees are eligible for continuing financial aid from St. Olaf College.
  • Graduating double-degree students receive two diplomas — one for each degree.

Admission to the B.A. music major is selective; admission to the B.M. program is highly selective. Consequently, it is not unusual for B.M. applicants to be admitted to the B.A. music major initially. These students would begin the core music major coursework in the fall of their first year and may re-apply for admission to the B.M. program after they begin their studies at St. Olaf.

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Music Scholarships

St. Olaf music scholarships are merit-based scholarships that are awarded to students with exceptional musical talent. Students also may qualify for additional need-based aid, in which case the music scholarship becomes part of the student’s financial aid package.

Christiansen Scholarships
$8,000-$11,500
Cassler Scholarships
$5,000-$7,500
Performance Study (Lesson) Scholarships
$1,500-$4,500


The Christiansen, Cassler, and Recognition Scholarships are:

  • Open to students of any major
  • Renewable for four years
  • Require the following:
  • continued enrollment in performance studies (private lessons)
  • ensemble participation in an approved St. Olaf College music ensemble on the award instrument (or, for keyboard scholarship recipients, on a secondary instrument/voice)
  • recommendation of the music faculty

Performance Study (Lesson) Scholarships

  • Available to music majors only, these awards cover
  • the cost of required lessons on the student’s approved
  • primary instrument or voice. These scholarships may
  • be awarded in addition to a Christiansen,
  • Cassler or Recognition scholarship.

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Application for Music Major Admission or Music Scholarships

In addition to the St. Olaf College Application for Admission, students who wish to audition for admission to the music major (B.A. or B.M.) or for music scholarships must submit a separate music application. All applicants must first submit a screening recording and supporting materials (see below). Live auditions are by invitation only, after applicants’ screening materials have been reviewed.

The music application is submitted online to the St. Olaf College music dropbox and consists of the following:

  1. The online application for music scholarships and/or music major
  2. Audition recording (see Audition Requirements)
    Best: WAV, linear PCM
    Better: MP3, 320 Kbps
    Good: MP3, 128 Kbps
    Maximum file size is 256 MB.
  3. Music resumé
  4. Recommendation(s) from your private teacher(s): one for each instrument/voice on which you’re applying.*
  5. Photo for your music admission file (optional but encouraged)
  6. St. Olaf College application for admission by January 15, 2014. January 1 is strongly encouraged for music applicants.

*Music education applicants are encouraged to include a second recommendation from a high school director or other professional who can write in support of their skills and suitability for music education.

The St. Olaf music application dropbox will be available after November 1. Complete instructions, including recommendation instructions, and technical information will be available at that time.

Music Application Deadline:

All items above must be received by December 15, 2013.

Please Note: St. Olaf’s music application process is not part of the CommonApp. Only music applications submitted via our application dropbox will be reviewed, unless approved in advance by the Music Admissions Coordinator.

Live Auditions
From the online submissions, the audition committees will choose a group of finalists for scholarships and/or the music major. These students will be invited to campus February 28–March 1, 2014, for a live performance audition, interview, and special events. This on-campus experience is an important part of the music scholarship application process, and finalists are urged to make every effort to be here on these important days. If you are invited and cannot attend, you will be asked to submit a DVD or upload a video audition that must be received in our office by February 27, 2014. Alternate dates are generally not available, except in extreme circumstances.

Notification

Applicants who complete their college application by January 15, 2014 and who apply for admission as music majors by December 15, 2013 will receive notification of their music major entrance on or about April 1, 2014.

Early Decision Candidates

Admission to St. Olaf College under Early Decision does not guarantee admission to the music major. Terms of the Early Decision Agreement are binding upon the applicant whether or not the student is subsequently admitted to the music major.Music major applicants who are considering applying to the college under Early Decision can request preliminary feedback regarding the strength of their music application and the likelihood of admission to the major. Students wishing to receive this feedback should notify the music admissions coordinator at music@stolaf.edu by October 15 for further instructions. This feedback will not constitute an official music admission decision, and the student’s music application will be formally evaluated in context of the entire applicant pool, with a final notification on or about April 1, 2014.

TRANSFER APPLICANTS
Transfer students are eligible to apply for music scholarships and for admission to the music major. The music application deadline for transfer applicants is January 15. In addition, it is strongly encouraged that transfer applicants submit as much of the St. Olaf College admission application as possible by January 15.

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St. Olaf College Department of Music 2013-14 Audition Recording Requirements

Music major applicants should submit the required repertoire shown below for the desired degree program. All music major applicants will be automatically considered for scholarships.

 

VOICE

B.A. music major, music education, non-music major
Candidates will prepare two songs or arias in contrasting styles. Approximately 6–8 minutes total. One selection must be in English, the other in a foreign language of your choice. Both must be memorized.

B.M. performance major
Three songs, one from each of the following time periods. At least one must be in English, and at least one in a foreign language; all must be memorized.

  • One song or aria composed before 1800
  • One song from the standard foreign language art song repertoire
  • One song from the British or American art song repertoire
  • A song from music theater repertoire may be substituted for one of the above requirements. Finalists will perform two pieces at the live audition.

 

PIANO

All candidates
In addition to the playing requirement below, each candidate’s résumé should include a list of solo piano repertoires he or she has studied, including information about which pieces have been memorized and which have been performed in concert. Candidates invited for a live audition are encouraged to include one or two new pieces in place of their recorded selections, and may also be asked to play a short example at sight. In addition:

B.A. music major, music education, non-music major
Candidates will prepare a varied program of at least two pieces that display contrasting characters and demonstrate technical facility. Approximately 10 minutes total.

B.M. performance major
Candidates will prepare a varied program of at least four pieces that display contrasting characters and demonstrate advanced technical facility. The repertoire is to be performed from memory and should include:

  • One contrapuntal piece in three or more voices, preferably by J.S. Bach
  • One work by Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, or Schubert, such as the first or last movement of a sonata or a set of variations
  • One composition from the Romantic era
  • One composition written since 1900 (not the applicant’s own composition)

 

JAZZ PIANO

All candidates

  • One ballad
  • One swing piece
  • One straight eight-note piece

 

ORGAN

All candidates

  • One prelude and fugue by J.S. Bach
  • One composition from the Romantic or contemporary period
  • One hymn — intro and two stanzas
  • At the piano: a two-part invention by J.S. Bach

 

FLUTE

B.A. music major, music education, non-music major

  • Two contrasting pieces (or movements from two different works) from the following diverse categories: Baroque, Classical or Romantic, French Conservatory, 20th or 21st century. Select works that strongly demonstrate your musical abilities —particularly stable rhythm and intonation, clarity of articulation, tone, technique and dynamic range. Approximately 10 minutes total.
  • Chromatic scale — Play ascending and descending with even rhythm throughout at your fastest possible tempo and within your largest comfortable range. Play twice, once articulated and once slurred.
  • In addition, finalists must be prepared to play any major scale at the live audition.

B.M. performance major

  • First and third movement exposition of Mozart G or D Major Concerto.
  • Two contrasting pieces (or movements from two different works) from the following diverse categories: Baroque, Romantic, French Conservatory, 20th or 21st century. Select works that strongly demonstrate your musical abilities, particularly stable rhythm and intonation, clarity of articulation, tone, technique, and dynamic range. Approximately 10 minutes total.
  • Chromatic scale — Play ascending and descending with even rhythm throughout at your fastest possible tempo and within your largest comfortable range. Play twice, once articulated and once slurred.
  • In addition, finalists must be prepared to play any major or harmonic minor scale at the live audition.

CLARINET

B.A. music major, music education, non-music major

  • Two contrasting selections demonstrating both lyricism and technical dexterity
  • Scales:
    1. Chromatic, low E to high G, slurred
    2. Two three-octave major scales (chosen from the following: E, F, F#, G, Ab, A): both slurred and articulated
    3. One harmonic minor scale of your choice (two octaves sufficient, slurred)
    4. One melodic minor scale of your choice (two octaves sufficient, slurred

B.M. performance major

  • Two or three contrasting selections demonstrating lyricism, technical dexterity, and an understanding of at least two different musical styles (Classical, Romantic, 20th century, French, German, Italian, etc.)
  • Scales: same as B.A. music major requirements (listed above).
    – At the live audition, candidates may be asked to play any major scale (two octaves minimum)

 

BASS CLARINET

Candidates interested in auditioning on bass clarinet can contact the admissions coordinator at music@stolaf.edu for more information and any help in choosing appropriate audition repertoire. Bass clarinetists are eligible for scholarships. B.A. and B.M. music degrees, however, require a primary focus on the soprano clarinet.

 

OBOE

B.A. music major, music education, non-music major

  • Two pieces in contrasting styles. Approximately 10 minutes total.
  • Scales — ascending and descending, full range of instrument
    1. Chromatic
    2. Two major scales of your choice
      Finalists should be prepared to play any major scale at the live audition.

B.M. performance major

  • One fast movement from a concerto or sonata by one of the following: Cimarosa, Marcello, Handel, Telemann, Haydn, or Mozart
  • One movement from a piece of contrasting period or style
  • One étude from Forty Progressive Melodies (Barret Oboe Method) or 48 Famous Studies (Ferling)
  • Scales — ascending and descending, full range of instrument
    1. Chromatic
    2. D major, E flat major, C harmonic minor
      Finalists should be prepared to play any major scale at the live audition.

BASSOON

B.A. music major, music education, non-music major

  • Two pieces in contrasting styles. Approximately 10 minutes total.
  • Scales — ascending and descending, full range of instrument
  • Chromatic
  • Two major scales of your choice

Finalists should be prepared to play any major scale at the live audition

B.M. performance major

  • Two contrasting concerto movements: one fast, one slow (the Mozart or Weber bassoon concertos are preferred)
  • Scales — ascending and descending, full range of instrument
    1. Chromatic
    2. Two major scales of your choice
      Finalists should be prepared to play any major or harmonic minor scale at the live audition.

SAXOPHONE

B.A. music major, music education, non-music major

  • Two contrasting movements approximately 10 minutes total from standard solo repertoire. Selections should demonstrate lyrical phrasing and technical proficiency and should be by different composers. Suggested works include sonatas by Creston, Heiden, Eccles/Rascher, or Handel/Mule; concertos by Glazounov or Ibert; Maurice Tableaux de Provençe; Villa-Lobos Fantasia or comparable works. As a solo movement substitute, one étude from Voxman Selected Studies, Ferling 48 Études, Karg-Elert 25 Caprices or other work of comparable difficulty would be acceptable.
  • Scales — ascending and descending, full range of instrument
    1. Chromatic
    2. E major, F major

    Finalists should be prepared to play any major scale at the live audition.

  • Jazz improvisation (optional) — improvise on a blues or standard jazz tune. Jamey Aebersold CD or similar accompaniment may be used.

B.M. performance major

  • Two or three contrasting movements approximately 10 minutes total from standard solo repertoire. Selections should demonstrate lyrical phrasing and technical proficiency and should be by different composers. Suggested works include sonatas by Creston, Heiden, or Hindemith; concertos by Dubois, Glazounov, or Ibert; Bozza Improvisation et Caprice; Maurice Tableaux de Provençe; Milhaud Scaramouche; Noda Improvisation I; Villa-Lobos Fantasia; or other work of comparable difficulty.
  • One étude from any of the following books: Voxman Selected Studies, Ferling 48 Études, Mule 18 Exercises d’après Berbiguier, or Karg-Elert 25 Caprices
  • Scales — ascending and descending, full range of instrument
    1. Chromatic
    2. E major, F major, and G harmonic minor

    Finalists should be prepared to play any major scale at the live audition.

  • Jazz improvisation (optional) — improvise on a blues or standard jazz tune. Jamey Aebersold CD or similar accompaniment may be used.

 

SAXOPHONE (baritone)

Please contact the music admissions coordinator atmusic@stolaf.edu for more information.

 

TRUMPET

B.A. music major, music education, non-music major

  • Solo excerpt chosen from the following pieces or sets of pieces:
    1. Arutunian Trumpet Concerto, beginning through m. 70, or
    2. Kent Kennan Sonata for Trumpet and Piano, 3rd movement, beginning through letter D; and Haydn Concerto for Trumpet, 2nd movement, beginning through m. 26, or
    3. Halsey Stevens Sonata for Trumpet and Piano, beginning through m. 165
  • Two major scales of your choice, two octaves, ascending and descending
    Finalists should be prepared to play two octaves (where appropriate) of all major and minor scales.

B.M. performance major

All the B.A. trumpet requirements plus:

  • Orchestral excerpts, including two or more of the following:
    1. Stravinski Petrushka: Ballerina’s Dance and Waltz
    2. Schumann Symphony No. 2, first movement, opening
    3. Mahler Symphony No. 5, opening call
  • Jazz improvisation as you are able

HORN

B.A. music major, music education, non-music major

  • First movement of any Mozart horn concerto
  • Any contrasting work

B.M. performance major

  • First movement of (choose one) Mozart No. 2, Mozart No. 4, or R. Strauss No. 1
  • Any contrasting work
  • Excerpts, two or more of the following: (These can be found at no charge, along with sample recordings, at hornexcerpts.org)
    1. Strauss Till Eulenspiegel, horn 1, beginning to rehearsal 1
    2. Brahms Symphony No. 1, horn 1, movement 2, mm. 90–105
    3. Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5, horn 1, movement 2, mm. 8–28
    4. Beethoven Symphony No. 3, horn 2, movement 3, mm. 163–205

TROMBONE, EUPHONIUM, TUBA

All candidates

  • Two or three contrasting selections from movements of sonatas, concertos, solo pieces, or études. Approximately 10 minutes total.
  • Two major scales of your choice — two octaves, ascending and descending

Audition selections should demonstrate the applicant’s abilities in phrasing, sustained playing, articulation, range, and technical facility, including legato and staccato at varied speeds.

VIOLIN, VIOLA , CELLO

B.A. music major, music education, non-music major

  • Two compositions in contrasting styles. Approximately 10 minutes total. The repertoire should include a movement from a standard concerto.
  • Scales: any major scale (your choice) and one of the following melodic minor in three octaves: violin/viola: D, B, E; cello: D, A, E. Finalists should be prepared to play any major scale of the committee’s choice and one of the above melodic minors in three octaves.

B.M. performance major

  • The first or third movement from a standard concerto
  • Two contrasting movements of unaccompanied Bach
  • Scales: Same as B.A. requirements

 

DOUBLE BASS

All candidates

  • A solo work from the standard repertory such as Eccles, Dragonetti, or Koussevitsky
  • An orchestral excerpt from Haydn, Mozart, or Beethoven
  • One major and one melodic minor scale in at least two octaves, the committee will chose the scale at the live audition.

 

PERCUSSION

All candidates

  •  A prepared solo on snare drum, timpani, and mallet percussion instrument (all three required repertoire suggestions can be found at stolaf.edu/music/admissions)

 

HARP

All candidates

  •  Two pieces or movements in contrasting styles that demonstrate your technique (scales, rolled chords, arpeggios, etc.) and musicality (balance, phrasing, dynamic range). Approximately 10 minutes total.
  • One orchestral cadenza
  • Knowledge of all key signatures
    Finalists should be prepared to play any major or harmonic minor scale.

 

COMPOSITION

(music major applicants only)

  •  First-year students do not enter the composition major their first year. Students who intend to pursue a theory-composition major must apply for admission to the music major on their principal instrument or voice (see requirements above).
  • Applicants may submit a representative portfolio of scores and/or recordings. If a composition portfolio is submitted it 1) supports the student’s application to the music major on their primary instrument, and 2) is eligible for scholarship consideration.

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Music Application Timeline

November 15–December 15, 2013
Scholarship and music major applications accepted via St. Olaf music dropbox

Begin (or finish) your St. Olaf College application for admission

January 1, 2014

Completion of the college application is strongly encouraged for music applicants

January 15, 2014

Completed St. Olaf College application for admission must be on file in the Admissions Office

January 20, 2014

Audition results and invitations for live auditions are mailed to all music applicants

February 28–March 1, 2014

On-campus auditions for music major and scholarship finalists

April 1, 2014

Audition results (admission and award decisions) mailed to all finalists

May 1, 2014

National Candidate Reply date (date by which all students must respond to offers of college admission and to scholarship awards)

Mary Hakes
music@stolaf.edu
507.786.3297