Advice for Prospective Music Students & Majors

Submitting an Audition Recording

All prospective students who are interested in pursuing their musical interests at W&L are encouraged to upload audio or video recordings of their solo performing ability through the Generals Headquarters (GHQ) portal. Not only can this strengthen your application portfolio in general, but it gives our ensemble directors and applied lesson instructors a better idea of the skills and interests of the incoming class.

Students who think they may declare a major in music must submit such recordings as they are essential components in the music faculty's overall determination of a student's fitness to pursue a degree in music. Submitting the recording(s) doesn't commit you to majoring in music, but it will make the process easier if that's what you decide to do.


What follows are suggestions of the kind of repertoire you should submit.


Two songs chosen from the categories below:

  1. Art songs in English or another language.
  2. Selections from Broadway-style musicals.
  3. Arias from operas, operettas or oratorios.
  4. Arrangements of popular, jazz or sacred songs.

Selections should be performed from memory whenever possible. Selections chosen from contrasting categories and those representing contrasting styles (e.g., one fast and one slow, one from the Baroque Era and one from the Romantic Era, etc.) are encouraged in order to demonstrate the breadth of your performing ability. Whenever possible, you should submit examples that feature you performing with live accompaniment at the time of recording. This accompaniment can be by piano, guitar, or an instrumental ensemble.


Two pieces chosen from the categories below:

  1. Keyboard works by J.S. Bach.
  2. Movement(s) from sonatas by such composers as Haydn, Mozart or Beethoven.
  3. A Romantic Era piece by such composers as Chopin, Schumann, Schubert, Brahms, Mendelssohn or Liszt.
  4. A Twentieth Century piece composed by someone such as Debussy, Bartók, Copland or Ginastera.
  5. Any other prepared pieces.

The selections should be played from memory whenever possible and should contrast with one another in style and/or historical era.

Woodwinds, Brass and Orchestral Strings

Two contrasting selections (or excerpts from extended works) of medium to difficult levels as indicated on the graded lists of various music publishers. Selections do not need to be memorized and should demonstrate your ability to play both lyrical and technically demanding passages. Playing with a live accompanist at the time of recording is preferred, except in the case of a solo sonata.


One selection from works composed for each of the following instruments: snare drum, timpani, and mallet percussion, for a total of three examples. These do not have to be memorized.


Classical: Two contrasting pieces from the standard classical guitar repertoire, such as those by Villa Lobos, Ponce, Giuliani or Bach.

Acoustic: Two pieces of any style or origin, learned by standard notation whenever possible as opposed to tablature.


Two pieces from the categories below:

  1. Works by Bach, Pachelbel, or any classical composer.
  2. A hymn setting.
  3. Any other prepared pieces.


If you think you may pursue the Theory/Composition Sequence as a music major, you should submit at least two examples of your work as a composer. Submit these as Finale or Sibelius files along with recordings of the selections. Recordings can feature acoustic and/or electronic instruments.

Applied Lessons and Ensembles

All prospective music students need to get into applied lessons and a large ensemble (Cantatrici, Men's Glee Club, University Singers, University Wind Ensemble, or University Orchestra) during their first year at W&L.