PERFORMANCE - Instrument and Voice Lessons | College of Arts

PERFORMANCE - Instrument and Voice Lessons

General Information for Music Students


Applied Music is the name given to a series of intensive courses in the Music program that consist of weekly private lessons on the student’s principal instrument or voice. This series of courses is designed for the serious student who intends to pursue MUSIC as a career. Studying Applied Music offers students an opportunity to improve their technique and musicality, and to learn a substantial body of repertoire for their instrument while studying on a one-to-one basis with one of the School’s instructors.  “Applied Music” is also known as “studio instruction” or “music studio” at some other universities. Applied Music students must also attend concerts in order to broaden and deepen their musical understanding. Consult the Course Outline for specific requirements.

Acceptance into Applied Music provides students one fifty-minute private lesson per week in voice or on an instrument (which must, of course, be augmented by significant individual preparation on the student’s part). Each level of Applied Music counts as .5 credit.  Students are expected to provide their own instruments (except piano and percussion).


At the University of Guelph, we offer up to four years of Applied Music study within the Music program.  It is required to be a MUSIC Major or Minor in order to register* for Applied Music (If you are unable to declare a major/minor until after the audition, then please audition but note that it is not possible to start the course until you declare).

To continue past the first year, students must have completed the course pre-requisite MUSC*1180 Musicianship I.  With permission of the Applied Music Supervisor, this course may also be taken as a co-requisite with MUSC*2500.  Consult the current Undergraduate Calendar for details about which pre-requisite courses are required at each level: Students who do not complete the prerequisites and co-requisites will not be allowed to continue in the Applied programme, without exception.

Only MUSIC MAJORS may continue past third year to pursue the Honours Music Recital.



Applied credit students have an opportunity to perform in “Student Soloists Days” in the Thursdays at Noon concert series, held in the Goldschmidt Room of the MacKinnon Building at the end of the Fall and Winter semesters. The concert is generally reserved for students registered in MUSC*2500 and higher, depending on the number of interested students.


In years one (MUSC*1500 and 1510) and two (MUSC*2500 and 2510) students perform a solo jury, which constitutes 50% of their grade for that semester. Juries are NOT open to the public. In years three and four, students perform a juried public recital (MUSC*3510 and MUSC*4402) as part of their final grade.  


Applied Music courses are in Fall, and Winter semesters only*, but before registering in the first semester of Applied Music (MUSC*1500), students must complete the audition procedures outlined below.


Applied Music study is not required as part of the major or minor in the Bachelor of Arts Honours program in Music, but qualified students are encouraged to pursue Applied Music as part of a well-rounded education in music.  Currently, students who are in semesters 1 to 4 of a minor – or any semester of a Major - are eligible to audition for entry into MUSC*1500 Applied Music I. We encourage students who enter Applied Music to continue their study beyond the first two semesters.  Studying the solo repertoire of a particular instrument requires a considerable period of time to develop the technique, musicianship, and knowledge of different styles necessary to perform well.

While enrolled in Applied Music, students have an opportunity to study music history, theory, musicianship, and improvisation, and are REQUIRED to participate in the ensembles sponsored by the Music program in order to enrol for the second year of Applied Music. 


Applied Music courses are evaluated either by the individual instructor (MUSC*1500, 2500, 3500) or by a jury at a performance or public recital (MUSC*1510, 2510, 351, 4402).  The type of evaluation varies according to the course level (refer to the course outline for details).  At each level, the expectations and individual goals will be discussed by the student and instructor at the beginning of the semester.  Students (except pianists and percussionists) must own their own instrument and keep it in good repair.   Practice rooms (with pianos) are available to those who sign up in advance and pay the key deposit fee (the deposit is returned in full if the key is returned by the last day of exams in the semester of study).  Students may sign up at the beginning of each semester for regular use of these rooms.



University of Guelph Applied Music candidates will now be auditioned using SlideRoom. Students are responsible for providing their own accompaniment (where appropriate: see specific instrument/vocal requirements below). Jazz players may include their own rhythm section to accompany their audition.  When recording your video, use live accompaniment; taped or CD accompaniment is not acceptable. 


Students who are entering THIRD semester (MUSC*2500) at the University of Guelph and who are studying VOICE in our Applied programme will be considered automatically for the Mary Alice and Marion Munn Scholarship in Voice Performance, when the scholarship is available. When available, this scholarship usually amounts to $2,500.00. Successful candidates for this scholarship will be invited to perform in a final round of auditions approximately three weeks after the beginning of the Fall semester.


Students may study only one instrument in Applied Music courses.  It is possible for students to audition on two instruments; however, the School will then decide which one should become the principal instrument of study.   


General information for all students who are auditioning

Students may audition for Applied Music I (MUSC*1500) for the Fall or Winter semester. SEE THE WEBSITE FOR UPDATED AUDITION DEADLINES FOR EACH SEMESTER.


At least 8 minutes of music is expected to a maximum of 15 minutes.  Students should consult the specific requirements of their instrument (below) and choose appropriate pieces to prepare for the audition.  It is advisable to choose pieces that show one’s current level of musicianship and technical proficiency to best advantage.  Individual movements or pieces may be of any length but candidates are reminded that performing two or more contrasting works will better demonstrate one’s grasp of music than performing two movements by the same composer.


See AUDITIONS: SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS and please follow the steps carefully. Students will be notified of the results of their audition within one week of the audition deadline, and given specific instructions if sight-reading is required.

If accepted to the Applied Music programme, students MUST bring a Waiver Form to the Applied Supervisor to sign for authorization before submitting it to the Registrar’s Office before the end of the Add period the first week of semester.  (Note: for all subsequent semesters, students must PRE-REGISTER during the course selection period.   It is not possible to register on-line for Applied Music courses).

Audition Accompaniment

Students are responsible for providing their own accompaniment for the audition. Candidates living in Guelph may contact the School’s resident accompanist (Betty Maher, 821-3619). Jazz and early music players may use instruments other than piano for their accompaniment.  If a harpsichord is required, a request must be made when the audition is booked in order to ensure that it will be available for the audition.

Specific requirements for each instrument:

Piano   Selections should be memorized.

Students must be prepared to perform 2 pieces from different style periods that demonstrate their own capability and current level of development on the instrument.  It is not required that students achieve a particular grade level in Royal Conservatory exams prior to auditioning for Applied Music.  For students who have followed the RCM courses, grade 9 is the approximate level that is expected prior to auditioning for Applied Music.  Students without RCM grade 9 should have equivalent musical experience prior to auditioning.  Following are examples of pieces that would be appropriate from each style period:

  • Baroque period: J. S. Bach, The Two- and Three-Part Inventions
  • Classical period: L. van Beethoven, Sonatas, op. 49 or op. 79
  • Romantic period: Frédéric Chopin, Waltzes, op. 64 or op. 69
  • 20th century: Claude Debussy, The Children’s Corner Suite

Candidates must also play the following technical requirements:

  • SCALES: E major and f-sharp minor scales (in sixteenth notes at a tempo of 100 to the quarter note), hands together
  • TRIAD AND INVERSIONS: of c minor, 2 octaves, hands together
  • ARPEGGIOS of D-flat Major and G minor, 4 octaves, hands together.


Choose and perform 3 pieces of contrasting character that demonstrate your own capability and current level of development. Two of the three selections must be classical rather than pop/folk, with the third of the candidate’s own choice of style. At least 1 of the 3 songs must be in a language other than English. Selections should be sung from memory.

Flute, Oboe, Bassoon, Saxophone, Clarinet

It is not required that students achieve a particular grade level in Royal Conservatory exams prior to auditioning for Applied Music.  For students who have followed the RCM courses, grade 8 is the approximate level that is expected prior to auditioning for Applied Music.  Students without RCM grade 8 should have equivalent musical experience prior to auditioning.

Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba, Horn

Audition material should include at least one major solo piece with piano accompaniment chosen from the traditional repertoire for the candidate’s instrument.  The second selection may be an unaccompanied work or étude. 

Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass

Major and Minor scales in 3 octaves, 3 notes to a bow.  Choose one of each.

Choose two of the following:

  • A movement from a pre-classic, classical, or romantic sonata or concerto
  • An unaccompanied étude or study
  • Two movements from a suite by J. S. Bach

Classical Guitar

At least two solo pieces, or two movements from a sonata or suite, from different style periods.  It is recommended that a work by J.S. Bach be included as one of the selections.

Jazz Instruments (piano, guitar, bass)

Prepare at least two contrasting pieces from the jazz idiom demonstrating performance of the melody as well as improvisation.  If desired, one piece may be an original composition.  Please provide copies of the lead sheets and other music for the audition panel. 

Early Music Instruments (harpsichord and viola da gamba)

            Contact Dr. Alyssa Woods,


            Prepare at least two solo pieces or movements from a sonata or suite, contrasting in style.


Students applying to study percussion should have senior secondary school percussion skills and a knowledge of the basic rudiments of music theory.
Required: prepare a snare drum piece from a published book of études or solos

  • demonstrate improvisation on drum set or hand drums
  • demonstrate skills on mallet percussion (xylophone)
  • demonstrate skills on tympani

Drum Kit

  1. Perform the 'basic' warmup from Tommy Igoe's 'Great Hands for a Lifetime' DVD as a snare and bass drum piece. This DVD package will be used extensively in your studies in the applied program and is well worth the investment. For the audition, please ignore the metronome markings and tempo changes in the basic warmup score. Choose a tempo that is comfortable for you and play the warmup through from start to finish at one consistent tempo repeating each exercise eight times.
  1. Alone or with an ensemble, play a slow, swinging blues from the standard repertoire such as Straight No Chaser, Solar, C Jam Blues, Blue Trane, Mr. P.C., etc. If playing with an ensemble, play the melody, play in support of one solo, play a solo chorus or two yourself, and then play the melody out. If playing alone, do the same with an imaginary ensemble. Please focus on playing consistent, swinging time and outlining the form.
  1. Alone or with an ensemble, play a medium tempo, 32-bar, AABA form from the standard repertoire such as All The Things You Are, I Love You, Oleo, There Is No Greater Love, etc. If playing with an ensemble, play the melody, play in support of one solo, play one solo chorus, and then play the melody out. If playing alone, do the same with an imaginary ensemble. Again, please focus on playing consisent, swinging time and outlining the form.
  1. Play a few different simple beats or grooves in 8-bar phrases keeping solid time throughout. Rock, reggea, various 'latin' feels, break beats, and so on, are all fair game here. Do not sacrifice a good time feel for the sake of complexity.
  1. Improvise a short solo drum set piece demonstrating your command of the instrument(s) and your musical interests.


If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Dr. Alyssa Woods ( or phone 824-4120 Ext. 54985).