Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the questions we are most often asked by applicants to the school:

How are admissions determined?
Your admissibility to the University will depend on your academic record: your high school record if you are entering university directly from high school, or your college or university record if you are a transfer student. If you have completed less than one full year of university-level studies, the decision will be based on a combination of your post-secondary and high school record. The specific requirements for admission to the university are outlined in the Admission Preview Handbook and in the University Calendar. High school counsellors should also be able to give you this information.

In addition to qualifying for admission to the university, you must also satisfy the School of Music's entrance requirements, which include:

  1. An in-person audition
  2. An interview
  3. Two letters of recommendation

What level do I have to be on my instrument in order to audition?
There are no specific requirements as to level, since we are more concerned with your musical potential than we are with what "grade" you are in. It also depends on the instrument, since one can expect to become a competent bassoonist or double bassist in a very few years - given talent and ambition - but you can't do the same on, for example, the violin. However, if we have two candidates who are equally talented vying for one spot, we will choose the more advanced performer. Pianists will normally need to be at least at a conservatory Grade IX level.

Can I play two movements from the same sonata for my two contrasting pieces?
If you must, but we would prefer to have you play two movements by different composers, and preferably from different historical periods.

Do I have to be knowledgeable in theory?
The School of Music requires that entering students be fluent in rudiments (at the level of the Royal Conservatory's Advanced Rudiments course). For additional information, please see:

Will there be an entrance exam in theory?
There is no theory test as part of the admission procedure. During the first week of classes, however, a rudiments test will be administered to all entering first-year students in order to determine whether they have fulfilled the rudiments requirement. For a sample test, see:

When should the letters of recommendation be received?
No later than March 31 at the School of Music or two weeks before your scheduled audition (whichever date is earlier).

What if I don't know "two qualified musicians" to write the letters?
We prefer to have letters from musicians if at all possible. If you absolutely cannot provide letters from two musicians, letters from your high school teachers or from former employers will help.

How long will the audition take?
The audition and the interview will only take a few minutes each, but since you cannot sign up for the interview until you arrive, you may have to wait for some time between the two. You should not make other plans for the morning or afternoon of your audition day.

Can I audition in more than one instrument?
Certainly. In fact, we sometimes ask students with experience in a second instrument to audition in that area if we think it would improve their chances of being accepted to the program.

What kind of technical work might I be asked to do in the audition?
You should be prepared to demonstrate your knowledge of scales. If you are a string or wind player, it's unlikely you will be asked for more. If you are a pianist you may also be asked for some other standard technique, such as arpeggios or octaves.

Will I be asked to do sight-reading?
 Yes, you should expect to do some sight-reading.

Is it better to audition in person or is sending a recording alright?
We do accept a number of students each year on the basis of recordings submitted. However, we can better evaluate your capabilities if you audition in person, and it is to your advantage to do so, if at all possible.

If I decide to audition by recording (CD or DVD), what should I put on it?
Two contrasting selections (six, if auditioning in voice), just as if you were auditioning in person. You should take care, however, that the recording is of good technical quality. Take some care with microphone placement. Listen to the entire recording before sending it, to make sure that everything is there that should be. Label it clearly, with your name, instrument, and selection titles. String auditions should submit a DVD.

Is it required that my audition be accompanied, or can I play solo?
Singers should be accompanied; for instrumentalists it's not necessary, although accompaniment is strongly recommended for saxophone auditions.

Will you provide an accompanist for my audition?
Accompanists are provided for singers only.

How long will the interview take, and is it done at the same time as the audition?
The interview usually takes about 10 minutes. You will sign up for an interview time as soon as you arrive on your audition day. It may be immediately after your audition, but on busy days you may have to wait for some time.

What kind of questions will I be asked in the interview?
The interview has two purposes: to give us a chance to answer any questions you may have, and to give you the opportunity to let us know about other musical strengths you may have. We will want to know something about your musical background and also what your career goals may be. You should feel free to ask questions.

How many students will you accept in my instrument?
It depends on the instrument and also on the level of the competition in that instrument. We can accept the largest number of students in piano, voice, and strings, but piano and voice are also two of the most competitive areas. The number of students we can accept in other areas depends on how many we can accommodate in the School's ensembles.

Do I have to apply for scholarships or bursaries in music?
Generally, no. The School awards a number of entrance scholarships in music each year based on the results of the auditions and interviews. However, if attending UVic depends on whether or not you receive a scholarship, you should let us know this. There are also scholarships and bursaries for which you do need to apply: see the Admission Preview Handbook for details or contact Student Awards and Financial Aid,

How soon will I know if I've been accepted?
You should hear back from us by approximately the end of April, which is about two weeks after the last audition date.

If I'm not accepted, can I still take courses in music?
We are able to take a limited number of non-BMus students in some of our first-year courses, such as first-year theory and history, and we try to give preference to students who have auditioned for us. If you are in this situation you should have your name put on a waiting list in the Music Office as soon as possible. You can also audition for any of the School's large ensembles in September. You would not, unfortunately, be able to take Individual Tuition (lessons) on your instrument. Lessons are only available to BMus students.

Can I apply again in another year?
Of course. Many applicants do re-apply, and a good number are successful.

If I'm accepted but find I'm unable to attend that year, can I defer my acceptance for a year?
No.  You would have to re-audition.

Do I have to demonstrate skill at the piano, if piano is not my main instrument?
No. You will have to satisfy a keyboard proficiency requirement before graduating, but there is no keyboard requirement for entrance.

Why do you need a photocopy of my transcripts, when I need to send an official copy to Admissions?
It is in your best interest that we know as much as possible about your musical and academic background. If your audition is marginal but you are a strong student academically, this may improve your chances of being accepted.

Can I begin studies in music in January?
No. You must begin in September.

How will courses I have taken at a post-secondary institution transfer to UVic?
University courses will normally transfer without difficulty. College courses which are part of a university transfer program will also normally transfer automatically. College courses taken outside B.C. will be evaluated individually. We reserve the right, however, to place you in what we believe is the appropriate year of Individual Tuition (performance). It sometimes happens that a student who has been in a college music program for a year is required to repeat the first year of performance, but this is not usually the case.

Can I get university credit for completing conservatory examinations?
No, only university and college-level courses are eligible for university credit.


space FacebookTwitterFacebookyoutubeyoutube