Audition Information

Auditions at Millikin University allow you to showcase your talents. Our auditions are a professional experience, so we have developed these guidelines to help students prepare.

Who should audition?

To be accepted by the School of Music, high school seniors and transfer students interested in majoring or minoring in music at Millikin must audition. Students who are interested in playing or singing in an ensemble will also need to audition in order to be considered for a music scholarship.

When should I audition?

Instrumentalists Vocalists

*In light of concerns regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, Millikin University is moving all School of Music auditions to a virtual format.  In-person, campus auditions will not be conducted in the foreseeable future. 

Instrumental auditions are held October through April each year and are scheduled based on the appropriate faculty members' availability. Instrumental auditions can be scheduled on vocal audition days if the instrumental faculty is willing and able.

Once you are admitted to the university, we will contact you with possible dates based on the month(s) you chose on your application. It is preferred instrumentalists chose available months for auditions on their application and preferred vocal audition days if necessary.

*In light of concerns regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, Millikin University is moving all School of Music auditions to a virtual format.  In-person, campus auditions will not be conducted in the foreseeable future. 

Instrumentalists can audition on vocal audition days if the appropriate faculty is available, especially if you would like to audition for both an instrument and voice.

What is a virtual audition?

If distance precludes you from traveling to Millikin for an audition, you have the option of auditioning virtually. Once you have received notification from Admissions that you have been admitted to Millikin, your first step is to either email a YouTube link or mail an unedited DVD recording of you performing your two audition pieces. It is preferred that your recording is received within one month of your official acceptance to Millikin.

Once your recording has been reviewed, you will be contacted again to set up a time to Skype so your basic music skills can be assessed. You will be emailed a PDF for testing, vocalists will need access to a piano or keyboard and instrumentalists will be tested on their instrument. After you have completed the skills assessment you will find out the cumulative results of your audition and have an opportunity to speak with a member of the music faculty.

How do I schedule an audition?

  1. You must be accepted to Millikin University before an audition can be scheduled. If you have not already applied to Millikin University, apply online at
  2. Fill out the online application for the School of Music (a separate application than to Millikin University). You do not need to wait until you are admitted to Millikin to submit the School of Music application.
  3. Once we are notified of your acceptance to the university, our Audition Coordinator will contact you to confirm your appointment and provide specific details.
  4. Questions? Contact Ashley Claypool, Audition Coordinator, at 217.424.3934 or

What should I expect during an audition?

Warm up Students will be given plenty of time to warm up prior to the audition. Vocalists will have time to warm up with their accompanist.

For your audition, you will perform one or two prepared pieces. Then, you'll demonstrate basic music competencies including major and minor scales, sight-reading, and, for vocalists, and tonal memory drills. Faculty members from your performance area will look (and listen) for rhythm, intonation, dynamic contrast, tone quality, technique, articulation, and phrasing--those qualities that make you a musician.

Faculty prefer instrumentalists to audition without accompaniment. Vocalists should make every effort to bring their own accompanist. However, Millikin will provide a professional accompanist if given three weeks notice.

Exit interview Following the audition, students and their parents will meet with a member of the music faculty to discuss the audition results. At this time, you will learn about the area of music to which you've been admitted. You will also learn whether or not you've been recommended to receive a talent award. The exit interview is your opportunity to ask any additional questions you or your parents may have.
Extended Millikin visit and activities Millikin strongly encourages performers to take advantage of their time on campus to learn all they can about the University. To do so, please contact the Office of Admission prior to your audition date to arrange a campus tour, lunch or dinner on campus, or a meeting with our financial aid advisor. You are also welcome to attend classes or performances.

Can my parents come to my audition?

Your parents/guardians are encouraged to come to campus with you, but will not be allowed to listen to your audition. They will reunite with you at the exit interview.

What should I perform at my audition?

Prepared pieces should highlight your strengths as a performer. Specific requirements are outlined below.

Woodwinds and Brass Prepare no more than ten minutes of literature from one or two pieces. Appropriate literature includes solos and etudes, such as the All-State/District audition etudes. Also be prepared to play at least three major scales to demonstrate range and technical facility. Sight-reading is an important aspect of the audition. Students with expertise in jazz improvisation are also encouraged to include a demonstration of these skills at the audition (bring a play-along CD for accompaniment).
Percussion Percussionists should perform one piece on each of these instruments if possible: keyboards (marimba, xylo or vibes) timpani and snare drum (concert or corps style). Those who also play drum set should be prepared to demonstrate various styles. Sight reading will be on the snare drum and marimba.
Strings Perform two contrasting classical pieces, an étude and three-octave major and minor scales.  Suggestions for appropriate etudes may be obtained from the professor for your instrument. You will also be asked to sight-read selected examples of music.
Guitar Prepare two pieces, preferably one in a classical style and the other in any style, although a jazz piece is encouraged. You will be asked to sight read, improvise and play chord changes and scales.
Commercial Bass Prepare two pieces in any popular style, preferably a jazz transcription for at least one selection. Play two octave major and minor scales, walk bass lines over chord changes (blues, rhythm changes or standard jazz tunes for example) and sight-read.
Piano Pianists will perform at least two classical pieces in contrasting styles, selected from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th Century repertoire, four-octave major and harmonic minor scales and arpeggios, and sight-reading. Candidates for the piano performance major are required to play all audition repertoire from memory. All other piano candidates are required to play at least one piece from memory. Pianists interested in the commercial music degree will perform one classical piece and one jazz/commercial selection; they will also be asked to sight-read and improvise.
Vocalists Prepare two (three for Vocal Performance majors) solo pieces, memorized, in contrasting styles. Traditional music would include art songs from the Renaissance to present and arias. Do not use choir music, lead sheets, or recorded accompaniment for your audition. If you need Millikin to provide an accompanist, mail, fax, or email your music at least three weeks prior to your audition to the Audition Coordinator, Ashley Claypool, Millikin University School of Music, 1184 West Main Street, Decatur, IL 62522. Fax: 217-420-6652. Email:

The following musicals skills will be assessed: sung major and minor scales, tonal memory, rhythm reading (duple and triple divisions), and melodic sight-reading.

Specific vocal requirements for each degree:

  • Vocal Performance: Sing three memorized songs from the traditional repertoire with one in a foreign language.
  • Music Education: Sing two memorized songs both from the traditional repertoire. Singing one foreign language song is desirable but not required.
  • Commercial Music: Sing one song from the traditional repertoire and one in a commercial, jazz or pop style, both memorized.
  • Music Business, Bachelor of Arts, Minor in Music or Ensemble Participation: Sing any two memorized songs.

Candidates interested in the Musical Theatre degree must audition through the School of Theatre and Dance

Vocal auditions result in the following levels of admission:

  • Level 1: These students have demonstrated the best musical competencies for their age group.They have displayed the highest level of preparation and background and will be eligible to study in any degree program they choose.
  • Level 2: These students have shown much potential, but need more training to develop the skills and techniques necessary for a successful career as a performer or teacher. They will be eligible to study in the Music Business or the Bachelor of Arts in Music degree programs, or minor in Music. If a degree in Performance, Music Education or Commercial Music is desired, progress in all areas of instruction will be monitored in order to allow a change of major.
  • Level 3: These students are considered to be unprepared to major in music. Many demonstrate innate abilities and talents and are encouraged to audition for choirs. They may also study in class voice and are eligible to Minor in Music.

What scholarships are available for music majors?

College of Fine Arts Scholarships are offered to students based on their talent and potential for contribution to the School of Music. For exceptionally promising musicians, we offer the Dean's Scholarship for Excellence in Music. Recommendations for music scholarships are based on the audition. You are automatically considered for a College of Fine Arts Scholarship when you audition for the School of Music. Since scholarships are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, it is better to schedule your audition earlier in the year rather than later.

The Amati String Scholarship

The Amati String scholarship, offered to School of Music students, is intended to serve exceptionally talented string students. For more information on The Amati String Scholarship please click the button below.

The Amati String Scholarship

Questions? Concerns? Contact Ashley Claypool, School of Music Audition Coordinator at 217.424.3934 or