Instrumental Music FAQs

Can I minor in Music but study another major?
Yes, it is possible to major in another arts area and minor in music (Strings or Band).  Students must select Instrumental Music as their second audition choice on the application form.  If students are successful in the instrumental music audition, they can enrol in the instrumental music elective in grade 9.

What should I prepare for the audition?
You will be asked to play two contrasting solo pieces.  You may be asked to play a scale.  You will also be asked to do some sight reading and rhythmic clap back.

Can you tell me more about the pieces?
Two contrasting pieces means two pieces of music that are different in nature.  Generally, it means one fast and one slow.  It could mean two pieces from different time periods (romantic and baroque) or genres (classical and jazz).
The pieces should be written as solo for your instrument (generally, pieces like this are written for your instrument and piano).  It should not be your part from your school ensemble, or a study from your school method book.

Do I need an accompanist?
You will be playing your pieces unaccompanied. You do not need to bring an accompanist.  There will be no accompanist supplied for you.

What if I play piano, electric bass or guitar?
Unfortunately, students may not audition on piano, electric bass or guitar as our programs are based on orchestral or band instruments (strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion). We have no class-room based courses in piano or guitar.

What if I play percussion?
For your audition you will be playing a piece on both a non-tuned instrument, such as a snare drum and/or drum set and a piece on a tuned instrument such as bells or xylophone.  If you do not have access to these a piece on piano will be accceptable.  It is important that you are able to read percussion music.  This will be required for the sight reading component as well.

What are my chances of getting in?
Your chances of getting into the music program at ESA depend on a number of factors.  First, the number of applicants changes from year to year, and your chances of getting in are dependant on the number of applicants.  Further, less common instruments have a greater chance of gaining admission based on our instrumentation needs.
Most importantly, we look for potential.  You do not necessarily need to be very advanced on your instrument, but if you demonstrate an ability to learn quickly, good musical instincts and a passion for the instrument, you have a great chance of getting into ESA.

What instruments are in greatest demand?
We are always in short supply of the following instruments: french horn, oboe, bassoon, trombone, viola.

How do I increase my chances of getting in?
The best thing you can do while preparing for an audition is take some private lessons on your instrument.  Even 3 or 4 lessons can make a world of difference in terms of your success in the audition process.
Second, show us what you play best.  It is more impressive to see a less challenging piece played confidently and accurately than a piece beyond your limits that you struggle through simply because you feel it is more impressive.
Finally, think about playing an ‘instrument in demand’.  ESA is not the only institution that has need for these instruments; youth orchestras, university music programs, professional music organizations all have need for these less popular instruments.  Playing one of these instruments could make you an ‘in demand’ player for the rest of your music making life!