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B.M. Performance : FAQ

Ten most frequently asked questions

What does an audition to the classical department consist of?

There are several components to a classical performance track audition at William Paterson University: Performance, piano proficiency, ear training, and music theory. These components are the same whether you are auditioning for performance, education, SEA, or Music Management. Music education applicants also interview for acceptance into the music education track. To register for an audition, the music department must receive an application to the music department, a personal essay, a repertoire list, and two letters of recommendation at least two weeks prior to your preferred audition date(s). Auditions begin at 9 AM and candidates typically finish the process by 1 PM. Check our website for audition repertoire requirements for your instrument/voice and ask your private teacher to help in preparing your audition.

How can I prepare for the music theory portion of the music department audition?

Note, scale, interval, and chord identification are included in the theory placement test at William Paterson University. It is a good idea to study music theory with your private music instructor if you do not do so already to prepare for this component of your audition. You could also use free websites such as,,, and

Why do the Music Management and SEA majors contain a performance component and require auditions?

Auditions help the SEA and Music Management programs identify the candidates most likely to succeed to fill the limited number of available slots in these in-demand degree program options. Music Management and Sound Engineering are highly competitive fields, and prospective employees that are also trained musicians have an advantage over those who are not. Therefore, at William Paterson, we train students to enter these competitive industries with a solid foundation of musical knowledge and a performer's perspective by requiring an audition and participation in music ensembles and classes. As a result, William Paterson students and alumni are consistently placed in top positions in the NYC metropolitan area, nationally, and internationally, the placements for out students in both of these areas for both degree internships and positions following graduation because of their fluency in music performance.

Are there any majors that don't require an audition?

There are no music majors that do not require an audition. However, there are two music minors that don't require an audition: the Musical Studies and Music Management minors. These options can be paired with any major outside of music, most often business, or serve as a first option for applicants that feel they need more time to prepare for an audition.

What if I'm not sure which music major I want to pursue?

Once you pass either the classical or jazz audition, you can choose any degree concentration in that area with faculty approval with the exception of classical performance, which requires a re-audition. For instance, if you decide at any time that you would rather study music education than performance, you would only have to request the change and complete the necessary paperwork. In rare instances, some applicants do apply to both the classical and jazz programs. For instance, an applicant whose main interest is Music Education may want to apply as a classical tuba player and a jazz guitarist to ensure the greatest likelihood of being accepted. In this case the applicant would need to fill out two separate applications to the music department - one for classical and the other for jazz. An applicant whose first choice is performance - classical track, and second choice is music management - classical track, would fill out one application and notate their degree preferences as such.

Can I audition and/or major on more than one instrument within the classical department?

You may audition on more than one instrument, but you must select your primary instrument/voice after you have been accepted. For instance, an applicant may audition and be considered separately for flute and voice. In this case, the applicant would fill out one application and request an audition on both instruments.

What scholarship opportunities are available in the music department?

There are several opportunities for scholarships and merit-based awards. The Tami Cotsakos '71 Music Scholarship is available for New Jersey residents majoring in classical performance, music education, music management, or SEA. Merit-based awards are offered at faculty recommendation after all admissions to the department have been made. Most financial assistance however, comes in recognition of academic achievement and is awarded through the university.

What performance opportunities are available for classical majors?

There are many. Large ensembles include the Concert Band, Wind Ensemble and Concert Choir. Chamber groups include Chamber Singers, Opera Workshop, New Music Ensemble, Classical Guitar Ensemble, Brass Quintets, Saxophone Quartet, Woodwind Quintet, Flute Ensemble, Clarinet Ensemble, and The New Jersey Percussion Ensemble.

How often will I receive private lessons?

Classical students receive weekly lessons from our world-class faculty. There are fourteen lessons per semester.

How easy is it to get to New York City?

Our campus is located 18 miles from midtown Manhattan. From our suburban location at the right time of day (i.e., not during the rush hours!), that trip takes less than an hour. Our students can take full advantage of hearing some of the finest ensembles in the world, including the New York Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera, and some of the finest contemporary music ensembles in the world. Many venues feature student discounts. Although there is public transportation available from the Wayne area to New York City, our students usually carpool. Split four ways, a car ride to the city costs each student about two dollars for tolls and gas. Free on-street parking can be found within a fifteen minute walk of nearly any location.