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We, at Carleton Music, want to keep our applicants as safe as possible during the pandemic and have altered our audition procedures for the 2023 year to ensure that no one is put at risk or made to feel undue stress when recording their submission.


Please note that we have changed our procedure for submitting an audition due to Covid concerns. An audition is still required for the performance-based Bachelor of Music degree.

Steps to follow:

  • You must first APPLY online to the Bachelor of Music program (see Carleton’s Admissions page)
  • Once you have been generated an applicant number (e.g. 10XXXXXXX), contact the Music Program Coordinator to request an audition package
  • The audition package that is sent will include:
    • Sight test
    • Technical pieces including scales, arpeggios
    • Carleton Questionnaire

Applicants will be asked to perform in one take their two contrasting pieces followed by the components sent to them via email from the Music Program Coordinator. The rest of the requirements including a Personal Statement from the applicant will be made clear in the email correspondence after an applicant has been in touch with the Music Program Coordinator.


The deadline to apply online to the BMus program through the OUAC system is March 1st. You can still request your audition after March 1st – as long as you have applied to OUAC and have your applicant number ready.

The goal of the audition is to assess your general musicality and performance background. You may audition in any musical idiom including (but not limited to) classical, jazz, folk, Celtic, singer-songwriter, and popular music traditions. Admission to the BMus also requires a theory placement test.

Audition components

The full audition will include:

  • Performance of two contrasting pieces; “contrasting” can be defined in different ways. Some examples include, but not limited to: slow & lyrical with fast & technical; early music with 20th/21st-century; original composition with cover tune; notated piece with piece with improvisation; sing in English with another language; rock with fusion (or any other two style differences); guitar chord melody with medium/up-tempo single note melody.
  • Demonstration of technical competence including scales, chords, rhythms, arpeggios, etc. These requirements will be provided by the Music Program Coordinator in your audition package.
  • Sight-reading: Perform a short melody and rhythm. These requirements will be provided by the Music Program Coordinator in your audition package.
  • Submission of a “personal statement.”
  • A brief interview with the Music faculty member conducting the audition (to be arranged after submission of audition and via Zoom)
  • Submission of Carleton Music Questionnaire as provided by Music Program Coordinator.

What instruments and genres can I study in Carleton’s Bachelor of Music program?

Brass: Trumpet (classical & jazz), French Horn, Trombone (classical & jazz), Euphonium & Tuba (classical & jazz).

Drums: Drum set (jazz, rock), Percussion (classical, jazz).

Guitar: Classical, Electric, Acoustic (classical, jazz, fusion, rock, folk).

Keyboard: Piano (classical, jazz, pop), Carillon, Organ, Harpsichord, Synthesizer (jazz, rock, pop).

Singer-Songwriting – Voice with Piano/Keyboard, Voice with Guitar/Ukulele, etc. (rock, pop, hip hop, country, folk, other contemporary styles).

Strings: Violin (classical), Fiddle (Celtic), Viola, Cello, Double Bass (classical, jazz), Electric Bass (jazz, rock, fusion), Harp (concert, Celtic), Pipa, Guzheng.

Voice: (classical, music theatre, jazz, pop, rock, Celtic).

Woodwinds: Saxophone (jazz & classical), Flute (classical & jazz), Oboe, Clarinet (classical & jazz), Bassoon, Harmonica (blues, chromatic), Bagpipes.

If you do not see your instrument and/or genre listed above, we encourage you to inquire with the Supervisor of Performance Studies ( to see if that particular option is available.

Guidance on Entrance Levels

In keeping with our philosophy of diversity and inclusivity in the B.Mus. program, we do not prescribe what pieces you should perform.

To help approximate one’s performance level, one can use graded performance curricula of the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM), Conservatory Canada (CC), as well as others, such as the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) as a guide. While these are most helpful for classical-focused students, they are also helpful to determine technical level for other genres.

In general, we recommend that students should perform at a high intermediate level (about Level 8 RCM/CC) or higher. For those seriously pursuing performance, it is recommended to be at or above an early advanced level (Level 9 RCM/CC). For those pursuing careers in composition, education, music theory, musicology, digital music technology, community music, music industry, and related areas a minimum of Level 7 (RCM or CC) is recommended. Applicants who self-identify in this category should clearly indicate this in their personal statement (see below). If in doubt, please consult the Music Program Coordinator at 613-520-5770 or by email at

 Using an accompanist / backing tracks

Should you choose pieces requiring accompaniment, you can arrange to bring your own accompanist or book a Carleton-affiliated accompanist. Alternatively, if you need accommodation to do your audition without an accompanist, you can arrange to perform your audition with suitable backing tracks. Please contact the Music Program Coordinator for contact information for suitable accompanists or questions about backing tracks. Payment of the accompanist is the responsibility of the candidate.

Personal statement

Prepare a personal statement (approximately one page in length) that answers questions about your musical experience, such as: How long have you played your instrument (or have you been singing)? Have you had private lessons? With whom have you studied music up to this point? Do you play any other instruments? With which ensembles have you been involved with in the past? How did you acquire your background in music theory? What are your musical interests and goals? What are your non-musical academic interests and strengths? What do you find most interesting about Carleton’s music program? Submit your written personal statement at the time of your audition.

Online placement test (theory rudiments, ear training)

After booking your audition, you must complete the online rudimentary music theory and ear training placement test. The results of the test are not for the purpose of admission to the program, but will be used to determine the extent of your background in theory and ear-training, and to help us determine your course placement if you are accepted to the program.

You will be provided with an access login and password to complete a multiple-choice test with a series of questions about scales, intervals, chords, key signatures, time signatures, rhythms, meter and music notation. The test must be completed before your audition.

Further details about the placement test are available on the Music website.