Conservatorium of Music

Frequently Asked Questions

Further information

If you have further questions about UWA music or any aspect of the audition process, contact the School of Music.


 

The audition process enables the School of Music to gather significant information before admitting applicants to undertake music pathways at UWA. Equally important, the process provides an opportunity for applicants to learn more about the Music courses offered at UWA and School of Music staff.

As part of applying to study Music at UWA, there are a number of processes and information collection points. While all of these are essential, the most important – and the only one that must be undertaken – is the audition.


  1. What will happen in the audition
  2. Do I need an accompanist?
  3. I play Percussion. Is that different?
  4. What is the Portfolio, and what do you do with it?
  5. What is the aural quiz? Will it be hard?
  6. What are the elements of the aural quiz?
  7. I was really nervous. Can I audition again?
  8. Do I need an audition to play in an ensemble?
  9. What are the entry standards for music at UWA?
  10. Will anything else happen in the audition?
  11. I’m interested in composition – do I still need to audition?
  12. I’m an International applicant – how do I audition?
  13. Can I defer my place in music?

What will happen in the audition

Prior to the audition, you will be asked to prepare two contrasting pieces – please also remember to bring a copy of your music for the members of the audition panel. Upon entering the audition room, the members of the audition panel will ask you to tell them the titles of the prepared works, as well as asking you to select which piece you would like to play first. Given the time constraints for each audition, it is likely that you will only have the opportunity play a portion of each piece. With this in mind, therefore, you might decide to start at a point before the part you want the panel to hear. If the members of the audition panel ask you to stop playing at a certain point, this does not mean that the performance is going badly. Being asked to stop while playing is not an indication of anything except a lack of time in the audition process.  

Following, the panel may want to hear all or part of the second piece. Again, please be prepared for the fact that the members of the audition panel will probably ask you to stop playing somewhere during the performance.

After the performance component of the audition, you will undertake a very short aural quiz, followed by a brief discussion with the panel. During your audition, one of the panel members will also look at your prepared portfolio.

The whole audition process may take as little as ten minutes. The length of the audition, however, is no indication of its success. School of Music staff members have considerable experience when it comes to listening to students and, more importantly, hearing the potential of a student. Therefore, they do not need a long time to reach a fair decision.

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Do I need an accompanist?

We don’t need you to bring an accompanist, but you certainly may. The decision is entirely up to you. We have found that for most players, the provision of an accompanist makes little difference to the decision of the committee. Due to the special nature of Vocal Auditions, we will be providing an accompanist for the Voice auditions. However, you are free to use your own accompanist if you wish.

Note that the first audition dates will align with WACE exams.  Most accompanists will be unavailable for these dates, and we are very comfortable for performers to audition without  accompaniment.

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I play Percussion. Is that different?

For percussionists, the audition is a little different. You will play material that you have prepared, perhaps on Tuned Percussion, snare, mixed percussion or kit, and then will be asked to demonstrate some rudiments of percussion.

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What is the Portfolio, and what do you do with it?

In addition to performing as part of the audition, students are asked to bring a portfolio containing samples of their current work. For instance, audition panel members would like to see examples of academic writing, musical exercises and/or compositions, music certificates and other supporting documentation. A member of the audition panel will look at the documents during the audition process.  

As part of the portfolio, we would like to see whatever you have, be it a short excerpt or a full work; an essay or some other form writing that you have done during the course of your studies. However, if you do not have any such examples, we can make a decision without them.  

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What is the aural quiz? Will it be hard?

The aural quiz will be undertaken as part of the audition. The purpose of the quiz is to assist the audition panel members to determine each applicant’s level of musicality, as well as providing the panel with an indication of an applicant’s musical training. The aural quiz is very short, and will only a couple of minutes.

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What are the elements of the aural quiz?

There are four parts to the aural quiz? 

  1. To begin with, a simple melody will be played on the piano. You will be required to clap back the rhythm you have heard.
  2. The second task involves matching pitch. A note will be played on the piano, and you should sing it back.
  3. Next you will be asked to recognize some melodic intervals. Two notes will be played on the piano one after the other. You should name the interval.
  4. The final part focuses on harmonic intervals. Two notes will be played on the piano simultaneously. You should name the interval.
To help you prepare for this component of the audition, a sample of the aural quiz is provided below.

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Sample Aural Quiz [PDF, 274.1 KB]
Updated 22 Jul 2011


I was really nervous. Can I audition again?

EVERYONE who auditions is nervous. As experienced musicians, however, the panel members are used to seeing nervous students audition. Even if you are nervous, please be assured that the panel will probably have an accurate view of your musical ability.

However, if due to nerves you believe that the audition does not provide the panel members with an accurate indication of your musical ability, there may be some remediation. Please contact the School of Music to see if this might be the case for you.

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Do I need an audition to play in an ensemble?

Some ensembles are confined to music students; some ensembles are available to students from across the whole university subject to passing an audition; others are available without any audition.

From 2012, many ensembles are also available as broadening units and as elective units with the Bachelor of Arts degree. For more information please see the School of Music website.

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What are the entry standards for music at UWA?

Every audition is slightly different. The School of Music endeavors to gather as much information as possible in order make a decision on an applicant’s potential for success in their chosen degree. However, the following guidelines may assist applicants to assess their own music performance standard.
Degree
Indicative Performance Standard
Two Majors in Music
Music Studies major and Music Specialist Studies major

AMEB Grade 7
Strong pass at 3A/3B music

First Major in Music
Music Studies major and second major from elsewhere at UWA
AMEB Grade 5
Good pass at 3A/3B music
Second Major in Music
First major from Elsewhere at UWA and Second Major in Music

No Audition Required
Strong music literacy essential (you will not pass
without the ability to read music)

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Will anything else happen in the audition?

Yes, the panel will speak to you about the role of music in your everyday life. For example, they may ask you questions about your musical experiences, what sort of music you like, and what else you intend to study. They will almost certainly ask you why you want to study music at university.

In addition, there will be an opportunity for you to ask questions. The members of the audition panel will answer your questions to the best of their ability, or point you to other sources of information regarding the study of Music at UWA.

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I’m interested in composition – do I still need to audition?

Yes – we will still ask you to audition on your chosen instrument or voice, however, a slightly lower standard of performance is acceptable for composition students.

In addition to your audition, you should submit a composition portfolio (in advance of the audition if possible) and we will also arrange you an interview with our composition coordinator. 

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I’m an International applicant – how do I audition?

You will need to provide a recorded audition either via dropbox, thumdrive, Youtube or DVD. You should perform two contrasting pieces on your instrument or voice in a single take (please do not edit the recording afterwards). Please also provide a certified letter stating the authenticity and date of the recording. Once you arrive at UWA, you may be asked to do a separate informal audition.

If you are interested in composition, please also provide a portfolio (as per the above).

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Can I defer my place in music?

If you are planning a gap-year or will not be taking up your place within 6 months of your audition, you will need to successfully re-audition before being offered you a place in the music majors.

It is up to applicants to ensure that they retain a high standard of performance until entry into the School of Music.

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