Bachelor of Music: Audition Requirements

Applying to the Bachelor of Music (BMus) at Carleton

For admission to the Bachelor of Music program at Carleton you must first submit an online application. The deadline for this is March 1.

After submitting your Ontario University Application (by applying through the OUAC system), you will be given an applicant number. NOTE: Auditions are fully virtual. You can request your audition package after January 15. Contact the Music Program Coordinator at 613-520-5770 or by email at Audition packages are mailed out by the Music Program Coordinator with full details on requirements.

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 audition includes:

  • 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. Specific examples of what is required for different instruments and genres, are available on the Music website.
  • Sight-reading: Perform a short melody and rhythm. Sample sight-reading examples, are available on the Music website.
  • Submission of a “personal statement.”
  • A brief interview with the Music faculty member conducting the audition.
  • 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.

Further information about which instruments and genres are available can be found on the Music website. 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.


Keeping the safety of our applicants in mind, Carleton Music has opted for online auditions. Auditions for the Bachelor of Music program will be online, conducted synchronously, and asynchronously. For more information on booking your audition, please contact the Music Program Coordinator after January 15.

A detailed description of the regulations on submission for the video audition are provided when you contact the Music Program Coordinator who can be reached at 613-520-5770 or by email at

Please note that Music does not accept pre-recorded material. In order to be valid for consideration, all audition materials must follow the specifications laid out in the audition package.

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.

Do you want more information? Call, write or email us at:

School for Studies in Art and Culture: Music
Carleton University
A 911 Loeb Building
1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa ON K1S 5B6
Tel: 613-520-5770
Fax: 613-520-3905

More Ways to

Stay Connected with Carleton

Sign up for Carleton 360

Get started in Carleton360 to receive tailored information on our programs, student services and community.

Take a virtual campus tour

Explore Carleton's beautiful riverside campus inside our virtual tour. More scenes coming soon!