Auditions and Scholarships

Entrance Auditions

All new or transfer students wishing to major in music are required to audition; you must be formally accepted to NMU before you can sign up for an audition.  Once you receive the university acceptance, you may register for an audition online (just click HERE to fill out the Audition Registration Form) or by contacting the Music Department at (906) 227-2563. You will receive confirmation and further important information

Audition dates for freshman majors entering in Fall 2020 are listed below.  You should plan to audition on one of these dates if you wish to be considered for scholarships (descriptions below). However, alternate audition times may be arranged by contacting the music office (906-227-2563 or Auditions are commonly coordinated with a campus visit. On-campus auditions are recommended, but Zoom/Skype auditions may be arranged if completed by March 9.

  • Saturday, February 15, 2020
  • Saturday, March 14 , 2020

    Following the final March audition date, incoming freshman or transfer majors will audition at 4:00 p.m. on the first Tuesday of fall classes (August 24, 2020).  Students should come to the music office on or before the first day of classes to sign up for a time.

Scholarship and Entrance Audition Requirements

           I.  Performance  (An accompanist will be available upon request. Students should provide printed music for accompanist)


  • all major scales (one octave ascending and descending)  Percussionists may substitute drum rudiments
  • chromatic scale (two octaves)
  • sight reading example for your instrument
  • prepared solo with or without accompaniment (comparable to a solo performed at a Solo & Ensemble Festival)


  • an ascending and descending major scale (on a neutral syllable or solfege), demonstrating normal tuning and control
  • sight reading
  • prepared solo with accompaniment (comparable to a solo performed at a Solo & Ensemble Festival)

  II  Basic Musical Aptitude (All students)

  • identify the names of notated pitches on the clef normally used for the instrument/voice          
  • match pitches played on the piano
  • echo back simple melodic intervals using  a neutral syllable (“LA”)
  • sing a simple, familiar melody (e.g. Happy Birthday, America)
  • echo back (clapping or tapping) a short rhythmic example in both simple and compound meter
  • describe current keyboard level (a simple right-reading piece may be available)

Entrance auditions will be conducted by one or more faculty members from the student's performance area.  Auditions will generally be recorded, especially if particular faculty members cannot be present.  Be prepared for a relaxed, informal dialog with faculty; they will ask questions about personal and musical background and interests, and you will be encouraged to ask questions in turn. Students are notified of results in writing.

Those who satisfy all of the entrance audition requirements are accepted as music majors.  Though students not meeting requirements are not  accepted as majors at that time, the audition is not intended to discourage those with potential for success.  A student not passing the entrance audition may enroll in specific first semester music courses designated by the department.  If they successfully complete these courses with grades of C or above,  they may repeat  the entrance audition at the beginning of the next semester. Since these first semester courses match  those taken by music majors and minors, students who pass the entrance audition the second time remain on-track with their peers. And even if they are unsuccessful the second time, the courses have not been wasted since they will apply to the music minor.


The  department awards scholarships to music majors based on auditions. Incoming freshmen will be considered for scholarships if they audition at one of the scheduled dates listed above (or by special arrangement prior to the final audition date). Continuing students apply in writing for renewal of scholarships.  Scholarship recommendations are made in early April and letters are mailed to students by mid-April. Students must confirm acceptance of scholarships.

There are several different types of scholarships available for music majors at NMU.  For more information about other scholarships and sources of financial aid, contact the NMU Financial Aid Office at 906-227-2327 or  Non-majors may be eligible for  Service Awards (below)





Board of Trustees Scholarships $500 to $1500 Music majors, by audition 3.00 GPA for renewal
Hinda Cunningham Music Scholarship Varies Preference given to full time incoming freshmen from an Upper Peninsula high school; by audition Music or Music Education Major
Dr. and Mrs. John X. Jamrich Music Scholarship Varies Full time freshman or transfer student; by audition Music Major in Piano, Violin, or Clarinet
Grand Rapids Symphony Varies Full time undergraduate Music or Music Education Major
Evelyn Quinnell Memorial Scholarship Varies Music majors, by audition Distinction
Marcella Beaumier Scholarship Varies Music majors, by audition Distinction
Alma Swinton Memorial Scholarship Varies Music majors, by audition Distinction
Julie M. Tomasi Memorial Scholarship Varies Full-time junior or senior music major, by audition Piano or Voice
2.75 GPA

Service Awards

 Non-music majors are vital to the strength of performing ensembles and to the overall music program. The department encourages participation by these students through Service Awards. At the beginning of each academic year, non-music majors (and majors without scholarships) may be eligible for Service Awards depending on available funding and the specific needs of the department.  Service Awards are given at the discretion of area faculty and/or ensemble directors with the approval of the department head.

In addition to contacting the department office (906) 227-2563, please feel free to phone or e-mail any of the faculty if you have questions about auditions or scholarships. Contact information is available on the Faculty & Staff tab. We will be happy to help you!