Undergraduate Admissions & Auditions

Enrollment in the undergraduate programs in music is contigent on a successful admissions process. Director of Admissions, Dr. Justin R. Hunter (jrhunte@uark.edu) can answer questions regarding this process and is ready to help guide you through. Students wishing to visit the Department of Music to learn about music study can contact Dr. Hunter at anytime. During this time of remote-learning and a reduced pressence on campus, Zoom calls are especially welcome!

All applicants follow this basic process:

Step 1: Apply to the University of Arkansas

All students apply to the University of Arkansas for admission into undergraduate programs. The U of A only allows one major for your application, but if you want to be considered for music as a second major, please contact Dr. Hunter. It is typical for students to apply to the University of Arkansas before applying to the Deparment of Music for consideration into the Bachelor of Music programs and for scholarship opportunities.


Step 2: Apply to the Department of Music

All students seeking a Bachelor of Music degree must apply to the Department of Music for entry. This application intiates an audition process that admits as student to a particular studio for private instruction. That audition also serves as a scholarship audition to be considered for funding from the Department of Music.

Students should prepare the following information for the application: musical background, names and email addresses for two people who can give a letter of recommendation, and be able to choose an audition date. In the event of virtual auditions, see below, students must also prepare their audition material before submitting their application and provide a shareable link to a cloud storage site or YouTube of the video recordings.  

Students interested in the Bachelor of Arts in Music program are not required to apply to the Department, but must do so for scholarship consideration. Those not auditioning for scholarships should contact Dr. Hunter to discuss their plans in the program.


Step 3: Auditions 

It is the Department's hope that we will be able to welcome students and family to Fayetteville for on-campus audition days. However, due to the unpredictability of public health guidelines, we will be prepared to transition an audition day to a virtual interview day if necessary.

In the music application, students will select an audition/interview day. The Chair of the Department will continue to monitor university and state guidelines as the audition date draws closer and will make a determination no later than one month prior if it is to be a virtual interview or an on-campus audition day. Students will be notified via the email on their application.

The dates planned are:

  • Monday, November 16, 2020*
  • Tuesday, January 19, 2021
  • Saturday, February 6, 2021
  • Friday, February 26, 2021
  • Friday, March 5, 2021

*November 16th, 2020 has already been determined to be a virtual interview day.


Students will not come to campus on this date. A schedule of Zoom group meetings and interview times will be sent to the applicant no later than one-week prior, and instructions for how to submit audition excerpts online will also be included. Typically, interview days will run from 9:00am to 1:00pm.


Students will come to campus and participate in auditions, guided by the faculty and staff of the Department of Music who will be monitoring compliance with state and university health guidelines. Typically, on campus audition days will also run from 9:00am to 1:00pm.

In the event that we move any of these dates to a virtual interview day, students will be notified how to submit video audition material no later than one week prior to their selected date.

If you have questions about auditions to be a music major at the University of Arkansas, please contact Dr. Justin R. Hunter.

Specific reperatory details and contacts:

CONTACT - Dr. Benjamin Pierce, bjp02@uark.edu

In preparation for the audition you will need to choose two excerpts of contrasting style that best represent your highest technical and musical achievement. Movements of a sonata, concerto, or other standard solo repertoire are preferred.

Students should also be prepared to perform from memory the chromatic and all major scales. In addition, a sight-reading excerpt will be required during the audition.

CONTACT - Professor Jake Hertzog, jhertzog@uark.edu

Guitar students will choose to focus primarily on either a classical or jazz genre in their studies.

Those looking to focus classical guitar will be expected to perform two pieces of music in their audition: one by Carcassi, Sor, Bach or Tarrega and a second of their choosing.

Those looking to focus on jazz guitar will be asked to play various chords and scales in multiple keys including Major 7th, minor 7th,  dominant 7th seventh chords, the major scale and the melodic minor scale. They will be expected to perform either the Charlie Parker blues "Perhaps" or "Billies Bounce" from memory and improvise over blues chord progressions. Students should prepare a list of five jazz standards they are able to play and improvise on, to be performed with either a backing track (student provided) or house rhythm section.

In lieu of the classical or jazz repertoire outlined above, students with primary backgrounds in contemporary music may elect to perform two contrasting guitar solo transcriptions from rock, heavy metal, progressive rock, bluegrass, blues, country or world music other guitar style. Selections must be performed along with the recording and hard copy transcription must be provided to each faculty reviewer (three copies). Students will also be asked to demonstrate chords, scales, sight reading and aural skills.

All auditions will include sight reading and ear training.

Studio professors and jazz faculty determine admission and scholarships based on a dual audition (jazz and classical/traditional/non-jazz together). These students will specify in advance they seek the jazz concentration.

Students prepare a mixture of jazz and non-jazz. One audition held with both jazz and studio faculty present. In the event that these auditions cannot be simultaneous, they will be scheduled in adjacent time slots.

CONCTACT - Professor Jake Hertzog, jhertzog@uark.edu

For the jazz portion of the audition, students should prepare a medium tempo F Blues (Billie’s Bounce or similar) and two other contrasting jazz standards (i.e. ballad, waltz, uptempo, Bossa nova, funk, fusion, etc.). Students must provide sheet music (3 copies) and backing tracks or links to backing tracks. Students will be expected to play the melody and improvise over the chord changes. Rhythm section players will be asked to demonstrate various jazz accompaniment styles (swing, funk, ballad). Vocalists will be expected to perform three contrasting jazz or popular music selections (swing, Latin, pop, musical theater). Vocalists should provide lead sheets and backing tracks to each selection.


Students currently enrolled as music majors in any music degree (BM, BA, BME) may audition to transfer into, or add, the BM in Performance with the Jazz Studies Concentration. This audition will be offered once each fall and spring semester during the Jazz Area Ensemble Placement Auditions. It will consist of sight reading, improvisation, and a prepared excerpt from large ensemble music. Repertoire will rotate each term. Students will be evaluated by at least three jazz area faculty. 

For students not currently in a B.M. Performance Degree, acceptance to the Jazz Studies Concentration will be contingent upon acceptance into an applied studio at the B.M. Performance level.

CONTACT - Professor Chalon Ragsdale, ragsdale@uark.edu

Percussion applicants should prepare a variety of materials for audition. Typically, this includes:

  • Concert snare drum etude or solo
  • Rudimental snare drum etude or solo
  • 2-mallet marimba or vibraphone etude or solo
  • 4-mallet marimba or vibraphone etude or solo
  • Timpani etude or solo

Additionally, applicants are expected to:

  • Sight-read on snare drum
  • Sight-read on 2-mallet marimba
  • Play a few rudiments and 2 or 3 octave scales

Those wishing to audition with drum set, hand drums, or marching tenors are encouraged to send video auditions so that the student can use their own kit and drums for auditions. Please email Professor Ragsdale with these video submissions and for any other questions.

CONTACT - Dr. Tomoko Kashiwagi, tkashiwa@uark.edu

Piano applicants prepare a number of pieces based on the degree plan to which they are applying.

  • Performance: Prepare at least 3 pieces (20-30 minutes total), memorization is required
  • Music Education: Prepare at least 2 pieces (15-20 minutes total), memorization is preferred)
  • Bachelor of Arts / BM with Business Electives / Minor of Music: Prepare at least two pieces (10-20 minutes total), memorization is preferred)

Recommended Reperatory List

  • Baroque composition
    • Examples: a Prelude & Fugue, Toccata, Suite, Sonata or another similar work by any composer from the 17th + early 18th centuries (such as J.S. Bach, F. Couperin, Scarlatti, or Jacquet de la Guerre)
  • First movement of a Classical sonata
    • Examples: a movement of a Sonata, Fantasy, Variations, Rondo or another similar work by any composer from the 18th + early 19th centuries (such as Haydn, Mozart, Clementi, Martinez, or Beethoven) 
  • 19th century composition
    • Examples: a Song without Words, Ballade, Scherzo, Intermezzo or similar piece by any composer from the designated era (such as Fanny or Felix Mendelssohn, Robert or Clara Schumann, Farrenc, Chopin, Alkan, or Brahms)
  • 20th/21st century composition
    • Examples:, a keyboard piece by any composer from the designated era (such as Beach, Price, Gershwin, Rzewski, Debussy, L. Boulanger, Messiaen, Albeniz, Liebermann, Kapustin, Prokofiev, Schoenberg, or Widmann)
  • Etude
    • An Etude or Study-type piece by any composer (Chopin, Moszkowski, Liszt, Scriabin, Rautavaara, etc)
  • Non-traditional option: a selection which showcases the candidate’s expertise in a stylistic area other than in Western Classical (i.e., jazz/improvisation, sacred music, or other non-traditional keyboard genres)


The UA String Area auditions any player wishing to be major or minor in music as well as those seeking scholarships in the UA Symphony Orchestra. Each catergory below is divided into "music major" auditions and "non-major/minor" auditions. Applicants should be able to perform the following based on their respective instrument.

For questions on the String Area, contact Area Coordinator Dr. Er-Gene Kahng, ekahng@uark.edu

Violin - CONTACT Dr. Er-Gene Kahng, ekahng@uark.edu

Music Majors & Music Minors/Non-Major

All candidates should prepare two contrasting pieces in a style of their choosing. Non-classical styles are welcome. 

Viola - CONTACT Professor Josquin Larsen, josquinl@uark.edu

Music Majors

  • selected 3-octave scales (from a method such as Mogill/Hrimaly, Barbara Barber, Carl Flesch)
  • One étude demonstrating the applicant’s highest level of technical proficiency (e.g. an étude by Wohlfahrt, Kayser, Mazas, Bruni, Dont Op. 37, Kreutzer, etc.)
  • A movement from a work for solo viola (e.g. Bach Cello Suites)
  • A fast movement from a concerto with cadenza (if applicable) (e.g. Hoffmeister, Stamitz)


  • selected 3 octave major / minor scales and arpeggios
  • two contrasting pieces (one of which may be an etude) which represent the candidate's highest musical achievement. 

Cello - CONTACT Professor Dominic K. Na, na@uark.edu

Music Majors

  • selected 3 octave scales and arpeggios
  • any 1 etude (D. Popper, 40 Studies High School of Cello Playing, Op. 73 or A. Piatti, 12 Caprices Op. 25 are recommended.)
  • any 2 movements from the Cello Suites by J.S. Bach BWV 1007-1012.
  • one solo compositional work of the applicant’s choice


  • scale: 1 major and 1 melodic minor in any key of applicant's choice (*60 bpm per quarter note and 4 notes per bow. 3 octaves are recommended).
  • any 1 movement from the Cello Suites by J.S. Bach BWV 1007-1012.
  • one solo compositional work of the applicant’s choice

Bass - CONTACT Dr. Michael Montgomery, mrm020@uark.edu

Music Majors

  • selected two-octave scales
  • perform two works of contrasting styles that best represent the student's highest technical and musical achievement – for example:
  • a movement from a Baroque sonata or suite (by composers who composed before 1750, such as Eccles, Marcello or Bach, for example) is recommended
  • a movement from a concerto, sonata, or a short solo piece (or etude) from a later time (after 1750, from the classical, romantic, or modern periods) is recommended
  • accompaniments are encouraged, but not required


  • selected two-octave scales
  • two contrasting pieces (one of which may be an etude, from Simandl's Book I, or 30 Etudes Book for instance) which represent the candidate's highest musical achievement

CONTACT - Dr. Jeffrey Murdock, jeffreym@uark.edu

Voice majors should be prepared to perform two songs in contrasting styles from the standard repertoire (First Book/Second Book of Solo Songs compiled by Joan Boytim, various Italian, German or French Art Song collections, etc.).

Both songs should be memorized and demonstrate technical proficiency, musicality, and an aptitude for success through continued study. One piece should be sung in English and the other may be in a foreign language. 

CONTACT  - Dr. Ronda Mains, rmains@uark.edu

In preparation for the audition you will need to choose two excerpts of contrasting style that best represent your highest technical and musical achievement. Movements of a sonata, concerto or other standard solo repertoire are preferred. Students should also be prepared to perform from memory the chromatic and all major scales. In addition, a sight-reading excerpt will be required during the audition.