Icon: Important Information

NOTICE: the window for applications to the Bachelor of Music program will open in DECEMBER.


An audition is required for the performance-based Bachelor of Music degree only.

Once you have applied to the B.Mus program online (see Carleton’s Admissions page), you will be generated an applicant number (e.g. 10XXXXXXX). PLEASE HAVE IT READY WHEN YOU BOOK YOUR AUDITION.

Auditions are booked by contacting THE MUSIC PROGRAM COORDINATOR, TASNEEM UJJAINWALA BY EMAIL AT tasneem.ujjainwala@carleton.ca.


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

Audition dates are available in the order that date requests are received.

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 (if in person)
  • 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 (SPS@carleton.ca) 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 music@carleton.ca.

 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.


Auditions are held on Carleton campus during the week of Ontario’s Family Day in February. Limited space is also available during March Break, so we recommend that you book early. Booking opens on January 15. Contact the Music Program Coordinator at 613-520-5770 or by email at music@carleton.ca.

Off-site video-recorded auditions

*Due to COVID-19 concerns, at this time, all auditions to the Carleton Music Bachelor of Music program will be by video submission. *

Applicants who reside more than 100 km from Ottawa may audition by means of a single-take, unedited video recording. A detailed description of the regulations on submission for the video audition are provided when you contact the Music Program Coordinator. You must contact the Music Office to confirm that you intend to audition by video so that an official audition package can be sent to you. Bookings for off-site video-recorded auditions open on January 15. Contact the Music Program Coordinator at 613-520-5770 or by email at music@carleton.ca.

Please note that Music does not accept pre-recorded material. In order to be valid for consideration, all audition materials must be accompanied with an affidavit and 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.