Auditions & Placement Test

All intakes for this program have been postponed indefinitely.


Audition, Interview, & Placement Test

An audition on the major instrument, an interview, and a placement test must be completed before Music Intended students can be declared into the Bachelor of Music in Musical Arts Program (each component of evaluation is discussed in detail below). Candidates will be placed in the program based on their current playing level and general musical and academic potential. It is normally expected that successful candidates will have a good musical ear and knowledge of basic rudiments of music theory. Familiarity with the history of Western art music is extremely helpful but good reading and writing skills are essential.

Bachelor of Music in Musical Arts - Audition Requirements










Harp & Strings






The Audition

Each student will be contacted by the Music Department to establish the date and time of the audition and interview. Confirmation of the audition date and time will arrive approximately two weeks in advance and will be sent to your KPU email address. Students should audition in person, but those who are not local residents (i.e., live more than 150 km away) may request instructions on how to prepare an online video audition or submit an audition DVD. Please note: applicants who wish to audition online or submit an audition DVD must also arrange for an invigilator in order to write the music placement test. Please contact the music department regarding instructions on arranging for an invigilator.

Auditions are conducted by a panel of two or three members of the music faculty. The audition panel will seek to assess:

  1. Musicianship (phrasing, rhythm, dynamics, style, imagination, and musical sensitivity);
  2. Technical skills (accuracy, intonation, tone quality, and posture);
  3. Sight-reading abilities

The audition is not a high-pressured examination but rather an opportunity for members of the faculty to assess your present playing abilities. This will help us advise you of the course of study that would best meet your needs.

You will be expected to perform:

  1. Repertoire: Candidates should prepare two works of contrasting styles, which will demonstrate musicianship as well as technical ability. For all instruments except piano, the standard of practical work expected at the time of audition is equivalent to RCM Grade 6. The entrance standard for piano is equivalent to RCM Grade 10.
    Note: Declaration is determined by the level of performance demonstrated at the audition, not the conservatory certificate.
    Students who wish to major in Performance will be expected to demonstrate a very high level of musical and technical proficiency.
    Memorization is encouraged but not compulsory. Please provide, at the time of your audition, ONE EXTRA copy of the compositions you will be performing.
    Voice students should arrange for their own accompanist. Piano accompaniment is optional for players of orchestral instruments. If you cannot arrange for your own accompanist, the Music Department may be able to provide one upon advance request. You must provide music for the accompanist.
  2. Technique: Candidates will be asked to demonstrate scale, arpeggios, and chords. Specific requirements for the various instruments are listed below.
  3. Sight-reading: Candidates will be asked to sight read a piece of music.

Please see links to the Audition Requirements at the top of this page which detail specific technical prerequisites for each instrument.

The Interview

The interview is informal and gives us an opportunity to discuss your musical background, interests, and other strengths, which we would not otherwise know about. The information will help us advise you regarding the selection of courses that will best meet your musical needs. It also gives you an opportunity to discuss your personal and/or career objectives and ask any pertinent questions regarding the music programs.

The Placement Test is held on the same day as the audition/interview. Candidates are therefore advised to set aside a full day for the evaluation process.

Placement Test

A student entering the Bachelor of Music in Musical Arts degree must have an understanding of all elements of music in order to benefit fully from the courses offered. Therefore, all applicants to this program must take a placement test prior to being recommended for declaration. The test is given on the day of the audition.

The placement test is designed to determine a student's knowledge and ability in the areas of aural skills, music theory, and music history. The results of the test are used to help place students in the appropriate course of studies. An applicant may be admitted with deficiencies in musical knowledge, provided such deficiencies are made-up and the necessary standards met in later testing.

Applicants may be exempt from the placement test if they have achieved good scores on recent Royal Conservatory (RCM - Advanced Rudiments) or Conservatory Canada theory examinations, Grade 4 or higher. Transcripts of these results should be sent directly to the Music Department.

Part 1: Aural Skills Test

Good aural skills are a vital component of musicianship. Students will be asked to identify the following by ear: any interval within the octave; the four triads (major, minor, diminished, and augmented); dominant seventh chords; scale types (major, harmonic and melodic minor); cadence types (perfect, imperfect, and plagal).

Students will also be asked to notate a simple rhythmic pattern and a four-bar melody from dictation.

Part 2: Theory Placement Test

The purpose of this test is to determine each applicant's knowledge of the rudiments of music theory. The level of difficulty is comparable to Royal Conservatory - Advanced Rudiments or Conservatory Canada, Theory IV. The theory test includes:

  • values of notes and rests;
  • meanings of time signatures;
  • clefs (treble, bass, alto, tenor);
  • accidentals and other basic musical symbols;
  • intervals, interval inversion, and enharmonic equivalents;
  • scales and scale degree names;
  • key signatures;
  • triads (major, minor, diminished, augmented) - all inversions;
  • dominant sevenths - all inversions;
  • transposition;
  • common musical terms.

Sample theory test

Part 3: Music History Test

The placement test concludes with a two-page questionnaire that assesses the student's general listening and writing skills as well as knowledge of the following:

  • the historical periods of Western art music;
  • important composers associated with those periods;
  • important genres (symphony, opera, etc.).

The results of the Placement Test give us a better understanding of each applicant's musical background, skill, and knowledge and will help the Music Department Assessment Committee place you in the appropriate music courses.

Audition / Interview and Music Placement Test Location

Music Wing
Langley Campus
20901 Langley By-Pass
Langley, B.C.
V3A 8G9

Map to Langley Campus

Video Audition/Interview and Invigilation of Music Placement Test

Students should audition in person, but those who are not local residents (i.e., live more than 150 km away) may prepare an online video audition or submit an audition DVD.

Applicants should ensure their video audition submission includes the audition requirements for their instrument type. These requirements can be found here.

Online video auditions should be emailed to

Audition DVD’s should be mailed to:

Attention: Music Department - Auditions
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
12666-72nd Avenue
Surrey, BC
V3W 2M8

In order to write the placement test applicants will need to arrange for an invigilator. The invigilator should be someone in an official capacity to administer this test who has a significant background in music. Examples include a music teacher at a university, at a high school, or at a conservatory. If you have someone in mind and want to check whether they meet those requirements please email

Once an invigilator has been found, please have them contact the music department at to arrange for the placement test.

What Happens After the Audition?

After the audition, interview, and placement test, the Music Department Assessment Committee meets to review your application (usually the end of March and then the end of May).  Students will be informed of one of the following outcomes:

  • successful declaration into the Bachelor of Music in Musical Arts; or
  • remain in Faculty of Arts (Music Intended) and declare again in a future cycle


Applicants who receive an offer to declare into the Bachelor of Music in Musical Arts program must confirm their acceptance by the deadline stated in the letter or email sent by the music department.

A Music Intended student who is not quite ready to declare into the Bachelor of Music in Musical Arts Program may still be able to take Foundational Music courses as well as other general courses at KPU. Students in this situation are recommended to meet with an Educational Advisor to discuss their options for future declaration.

The Registration Process

Once you are a declared Music student, you will be contacted to attend an information session. The purpose of the meeting is to help you select courses that will best meet your needs and to answer any questions you may have about your studies.