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Application submissions have concluded for placement exams. 

Performance & Placement Exam

On-campus performance placement exams will occur March 13-14, 2020 to assess the musicianship of in-coming students. Each student must make an appointment in advance of these dates. 

In addition to acceptance to CSUSM all freshmen and transfer students must meet basic performance proficiency standards for their instrument and complete a written theory placement exam (at 70%) in order to begin taking core courses leading to the B.A. in Music or Music Minor programs. Students should prepare a brief performance that demonstrates these proficiencies Standard Etude Repertoire. Each student will have a maximum of 15 minutes to complete the proficiencies listed below. Faculty will evaluate the overall performance considering technique, expression, intonation and interpretation. 


  • Scales and arpeggios in all major and harmonic minor keys; hands together in four octaves. 
  • Proficient sight-reading skills. 
  • Proficient harmonization skills to provide basic harmonies to any melody - ability to read standard Roman numeral symbols. 
  • Three solo pieces from three different eras: baroque, classical, romantic, 20th century, or contemporary.  

Contact: Dr. Cheng for approval of repertoire. 


Perform three songs; one each from three different categories/genres:

  • Western art songs
  • Jazz / American musical theater
  • Folk (of any ethnic tradition)
  • Country
  • Religious
  • Contemporary pop / R&B

All three selections must be memorized, two of the song selections must use an accompanist, and one should be sung a Capella.  Pre-recorded accompaniment will not be accepted.  CSUSM will provide an accompanist for a $20 fee, and a score must be provided at least two-weeks prior to the audition.  

Contact Dr. Imara for approval of repertoire.


Potential composition students must demonstrate proficiency on piano (intermediate level), voice or one of the band/orchestral instruments listed below.  Additionally, composition students must submit two examples of original musical works.  This may include songs, compositions for a solo instrument, and/or ensembles. 

Contact: Dr. Imara for approval of repertoire.

Music Technology

Potential music tech students must demonstrate proficiency on piano, voice or one of the band/orchestral instruments listed below.  

Contact: Dr. Bradbury for approval of repertoire and other qualifications.

Percussion & Drum Set

  • One standard solo or etude (marimba)
  • Major scales – one octave [through 4 sharps and 4 flats] (marimba)
  • Two contrasting etudes from standard repertoire (snare drum)
  • Play time demonstrating at least three different rhythmic styles; e.g. samba, Afro Cuban (clave, mambo), funk, rock, shuffle, etc. (drum set)
  • Trade 4’s, 8’s or chorus on a standard jazz composition (drum set)
  • Sight reading

Orchestral Strings & Guitar

  • Major scales – one octave [through 4 sharps and 4 flats]
  • Solo or etude from Standard Repertoire
  • Sight reading
  • An excerpt from a piece of any genre that best reflects your overall musicianship.  [No orchestral excerpts]

Woodwinds & Brass

  • Major scales – one octave [through 4 sharps and 4 flats] & chromatic scale
  • Sight reading
  • An etude from the Standard Etude Repertoire
  • An excerpt from a piece of any genre that best reflects your overall musicianship [no orchestral or wind ensemble excerpts]

Standard Etude Repertoire for Band & Orchestral Instruments



  • McLeod
  • Slama
  • Staska


  • Andersen
  • Berbiguier
  • Cavally
  • Moyse


  • Jeanjean
  • Polatscheck
  • Rose
  • Sadigursky


  • Barret
  • Ferling
  • Ployhar
  • Sellner
  • Staska


  • Berbiguier Ferling
  • Klose
  • Mule
  • Niehaus


F Horn

  • Andraud
  • Maxime/Alphonse
  • Ployar
  • Reynolds
  • Shoemaker

Low Brass

  • Anton
  • Rochut
  • Slama


  • Bordogni
  • Hering
  • Raph/Rochut
  • Staska


  • Arban
  • Bitsch
  • Brandt
  • Hering



  • Don't
  • Fiorillo
  • Kreutzer
  • Wohlfahrt


  • Don't
  • Fiorillo
  • Kreutzer
  • Wohlfahrt


  • Bach
  • Duport
  • Klengel
  • Lee
  • Minsky
  • Schroeder


  • Balci
  • Kreutzer
  • Simandl


  • Bernal
  • Carcassi
  • Moszkowski



  • Buton
  • Cirone
  • Difilippantonia
  • Richards

Snare Drum

    • Aleo
    • Cirone