Returning Students

Audition Information

Greetings! We are delighted that you may be interested in auditioning for our music programs at Mansfield University. Each year, we receive approximately 300 inquiries to our programs. Our undergraduate enrollment is approximately 200 students, with a freshmen class of about 60 students. Admission to our music degree programs is highly competitive, therefore it is essential that you be well prepared for your audition. We have created this page to help you better prepare for your audition at Mansfield University. If after reading this information, you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us at (570) 662-4710 or e-mail the Music Department Chair, Dr. Nathan Rinnert.

In addition to successful completion of an audition, prospective music majors must apply to Mansfield University through the Admissions Office. Click here to apply online. Acceptance at Mansfield University is granted on a modified rolling admission plan. Early application is recommended for maximum enrollment opportunity. To set up an audition time, click here.

Students wishing to minor in music, or participate in ensembles may also audition for possible scholarships.

Juniors, sophomores, and freshmen check out our April Clinics on the left index.

Audition Requirements

Auditions include the following components:

  • Principal Instrument/Voice
  • Piano Placement Examination
  • Music Theory Examination
  • Aural Skills Evaluation

Principal Performing Area - Instrumental:

Prepare two or three pieces in contrasting style that best show your technical and musical potential. Performing from memory is recommended but only required for piano performance majors. Scales, arpeggios and sight reading are requested at the audition in all studios. Percussionists should prepare in three areas, including snare drum or multi-percussion, mallet percussion and timpani. Drum set is not required but may be heard if time allows. Accompanists are not needed for instrumental auditions. Please note that audition expectations are higher for performance majors than for the other non-performance degree programs. Students are accepted at Mansfield University in the following performing areas: piano, violin, viola, violoncello, bass, guitar, flute, oboe, bassoon, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet or cornet, French horn, trombone, baritone or euphonium, tuba, and percussion.

Principal Performing Area - Voice:

Prepare two pieces in contrasting style that best demonstrate your musical and technical potential. Vocalists may bring an accompanist but this is not required as our staff will gladly serve as your accompanist. Vocalists are encouraged to sing one song in a foreign language (required of performance majors). NOTE: Vocal performance majors are required to sing three songs from memory, in at least two languages, and the overall expectations of the audition are quite high.

Principal Performing Area - Guitar:

Prospective guitar students should prepare two contrasting selections and must audition on a classical (nylon) string guitar.

Letter of Recommendation

The music department requests that all applicants have a minimum of two letters of recommendation. Print out the form and request that your reference writers mail the completed form to the address below. Recommendations may also be brought to the audition in sealed envelopes with the author’s signature across the seal.

Mansfield University Music Department - Attn. Audition Committee
Butler Music Center
18 Campus View Drive
Mansfield University
Mansfield PA 16933

Piano Placement Examination:

Prospective students with one or more years of recent piano study are encouraged to take the piano placement exam. Please be prepared to perform a piano piece that demonstrates your level of skill. Also be prepared to play scales, arpeggios, cadences and sight read an easy selection.

Music Theory Examination:

This diagnostic test helps us determine your music theory background and aids in your placement in theory courses. It includes the following components:

  1. Key signatures
  2. Intervals, chords, and scales
  3. Recognition of rhythmic patterns
  4. Ability to write a simple melody from memory

Aural Skills Evaluation:

During the primary area audition, prospective students will be evaluated for aural skills (ear training) aptitude. In addition, students will be asked to sing a simple folk song, carol, hymn or patriotic song to demonstration effective vocal intonation.


If you have any questions please contact the Music Office at 570-662-4710.

for January 2019 start or Fall 2019:

  • Monday, November 12th
  • Saturday, January 19th
  • Monday, February 18th
  • Saturday, March 16th
  • other dates can be arranged

Set up an Audition Time

Transfer Students

Mansfield University’s Music Department welcomes transfer applications for students interested in any of our degree programs. You must be accepted by both the university and the music department to gain admission to any music program. Be aware that 50% of your major requirements must come from Mansfield University in order to graduate with a degree from MU.

Undergraduate general education credits will be evaluated by the University Transfer Office in Admissions. Music transfer courses are evaluated by the chair of the music department at both the undergraduate and graduate level. At the graduate level, only 6 graduate credits may be accepted in transfer.

All transfer credits in music must have earned a grade of C or better and come from an accredited NASM institution. Transfer credits in studio lessons will be awarded based on the level of performance demonstrated at the audition. Some music courses may be accepted in degree areas, elective areas or they may not be accepted at all.

We recommend all transfer students apply to MU prior to their music audition and send transcripts to both the music department and the university for evaluation in advance of their live audition.

All other aspects of the audition are the same for transfer students. Please refer to audition requirements for further information.

Other Important Information

Primary Instrument/Voice - Students are admitted to the Department of Music with the understanding that they will be given private studio instruction on one principal performance medium. While many students may have ability on more than one instrument, it is imperative that they develop excellence on one primary medium. It is our strongest recommendation therefore, that students audition on just one instrument, placing their best effort into one area where their passion is best exemplified.

Recorded auditions - When distance prohibits a live audition, a recorded audition is acceptable for provisional acceptance. In this situation, the recording must be unedited and include a minimum of two works of contrasting style and several examples of major and minor scales. Students accepted provisionally under these circumstances must pass a live audition when they arrive on campus and must complete the sight reading, music theory, and aural skills portions of the audition process. For additional information contact the Music Department chairperson.

Personal Interview - If you wish to speak with the department chairperson or a designee at the audition please request this before the audition and we will schedule this for you. Although considerable information will be shared at the general department meeting and with the auditioning faculty, we are happy to speak with you personally should the need arise.

Audition Results Notification – Prospective students who audition in November or December will be notified concerning their audition status by January 31. Students who audition in January, February, or March will be notified of their audition status by March 31. Any student who auditions after March 31 will be contacted within 2 weeks of their audition. Official notice concerning the status of the application will also be sent to the Admissions Office.

Rolling Admissions Policy - Rolling admissions is a term used to indicate that new student enrollment is based largely upon seating availability. Essentially, we have a limited capacity in our various music programs. The limits are by studio as well as degree. As students complete or leave our program, they create an open seat. Each year we anticipate student graduation and plan for the total number of students we can accept for the following year. We target enrollment for every studio, with an average of four or five seats opening up in each studio annually. Our average freshmen class is approximately 70 students.