Letter to Music Major Applicants

Dear Music Applicant:

We are delighted that you have applied to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, to be a music major. We are proud of our program and pleased that there have been so many students interested in participating in it.

Because of the demand and the limited space at Cal Poly, and because the Music Department wants to help students make the best decision regarding their career, we have established, in conjunction with the Cal Poly Admissions Office, an additional level of application that is required in order to be considered for admission. This consists of a Supplementary Application, an audition, an interview, and an assessment screening. If you meet the CSU/Cal Poly eligibility criteria, we will invite you to schedule an in-person audition (or submit an audition recording – DVD format). It is highly recommended that you begin familiarizing yourself with our supplemental materials now, instead of waiting until you receive an invitation to schedule an audition. Please read the enclosed materials and deadlines carefully.

To assist you, I have the following advice:

  1. Be sure to read all of the materials carefully, especially the details about being invited to audition, and the deadlines. Review our Student Handbook. This will tell you a great deal about our program.
  2. Fill out the Supplementary Application/Scholarship Form very carefully, taking into consideration details that will present your music experiences most accurately and most persuasively. The essay portion (Section D) is extremely important.
    • All music application materials are due no later than Jan. 27, 2014, and are posted on the Music Department Web page.
    • If you are applying for a music scholarship, complete the Scholarship Section of our Supplementary Application. In addition, you should go to the Cal Poly Financial Aid Web page for additional scholarship and financial aid information. To apply for a music scholarship, an in-person audition is required for in-state applicants.
    • If you wish to be considered for a need-based scholarship or any other type of financial aid, you should follow the instructions to download and complete the FAFSA. Please read the instructions carefully on the scholarship application. WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU COMPLETE THE FAFSA FORM, AS IT CONFIRMS YOUR ELIGIBILITY FOR ANY KIND OF NEED-BASED SCHOLARSHIP OR FINANCIAL AID.
  3. Letters or recommendation are strongly recommended, but not required. They can be sent directly to us by the author, by regular mail or by email. A blank form, which can be downloaded and copied, is available on our Web page. The form doesn't have to be used, but is only provided as an aid.
  4. If you meet the Cal Poly admissions selection criteria, we will be contacting you around the middle of January to invite you to schedule your date (or submit a DVD audition recording).
    OUR AUDITION DATES ARE: Saturday, Feb. 1, and Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014.
    • Be sure that you understand the requirements for an audition. An in-person audition is highly recommended and preferable to a DVD recorded audition. If a DVD recording is submitted, the student may be asked to perform an in-person audition at another time if there are any questions. If you are submitting a DVD recording, it must be of the highest audio quality and clearly labeled with your name and works performed. Your performance at the audition should help indicate that you have the potential to successfully participate in one of the Music Department’s major ensembles* on the instrument that you play at the audition, or by singing if you audition as a vocalist.  *orchestra, wind orchestra, wind ensemble, jazz big band, choir, and Arab music ensemble.
    • For your audition, you must prepare two pieces of a contrasting nature (i.e. one fast/one slow), not to exceed 8-10 minutes total. If your audition pieces are written with piano accompaniment, please contact the Music office to secure a staff accompanist for your audition. A brief interview and a short musicianship/sight reading quiz will be administered during the audition. A piano placement and a music theory placement assessment will be administered immediately after your audition. Students submitting DVD recordings are required to take these same placements/assessments via Skype and other means and will be contacted by music faculty for scheduling purposes.
    • If you are not primarily a performer and have another interest such as composition, you may supplement your performance recording or audition with examples of your compositions. We recommend sending three scores, at least two of which are accompanied by recordings (MIDI recordings are acceptable, but live realizations are preferred in the case of traditional instrumentation). If submitting recordings, they must be of the highest quality. However, all music majors are required to study an instrument or voice and participate in a performing ensemble. This is an important aspect of being a student of music in any area.
    • Transfer students are expected to demonstrate a more advanced understanding of music theory, comparable to completion of MU 101. For timely progress towards the degree, it is recommended that transfer students enter Cal Poly with an understanding of music theory through MU 105 (Music Theory II). Transfer students should have some piano performing experience either through private lessons or college/university piano classes.
    • If you are not primarily a performer and have another interest such as composition, you may supplement your audition recording or in-person audition with examples of your compositions. We recommend sending three scores, at least two of which are accompanied by recordings (MIDI recordings are acceptable, but live realizations are preferred in the case of traditional instrumentation). If submitting recordings, they must be of the highest quality. However, all music majors are required to study an instrument or voice and participate in a performing ensemble. This is an important aspect of being a student of music in any area.
    • To apply for a scholarship, an in-person audition is required for in-state applicants.
    • Admission to the Music Department is during the Fall Quarter only. If you are unable to apply for the Fall Quarter, please adjust your educational plans accordingly.
    • ALL APPLICATION MATERIALS MUST BE RECEIVED BY OUR POSTED DEADLINES. LACK OF ANY MATERIALS COULD AFFECT CONSIDERATION OF AN APPLICANT’S ACCEPTANCE.

Our faculty, staff, and students are some of the best in the state. You will have many opportunities to participate in and attend high-quality performances by local, national, and international artists.

If you have any questions regarding the supplementary application or about the program in particular, do not hesitate to give us a call. The phone number is (805) 756-2406.