YSU Admissions information

Entrance Audition Guidelines - An Overview:

Our applicants possess a wide variety of musical backgrounds and we encourage all interested candidates to schedule an audition/interview, as we pride ourselves on providing a personalized, flexible, and excellent percussive arts education to highly motivated individuals regardless of your particular musical interests.

Auditions for Music Major Status: Following admission to the University, each prospective student must demonstrate certain musical proficiency levels in a percussion audition/interview for admittance to the Dana School of Music. An on-campus audition and interview is preferred, but a pre-recorded audition is possible pending Dr. Schaft's approval. 

Audition Appointments: The Dana School of Music hosts annual published entrance audition dates for admission the following academic year. The 2022-23 Entrance Audition dates are Jan 21, Feb 18, & Feb 26, 2023. 

Audition and Scholarship Deadlines: See YSU Financial Aids for academic scholarships deadlines. For music scholarship consideration, you must complete your audition by the last published Dana audition day in February. Additional entrance auditions may occur throughout the year pending studio vacancies. Current majors are automatically re-considered for scholarship renewal and any scholarships that become available.

 Audition Policies: 

  1. Please complete the Dana School of Music Audition Form to request an audition appointment. 
  2. You will be sent an audition appointment confirmation.
  3. Auditions last 30-minutes and are held in Dr. Schaft’s studio - 2234 Bliss Hall.
  4. Each candidate is also provided a 30-minute warm-up immediately beforehand. Please check-in at Dr. Schaft's office 30-minutes before your audition and we will show you to the warm-up studio. Both the audition and warm-up rooms are similarly equipped: Malletech 5-octave marimba, Malletech xylophone, Musser vibraphone, congas, drumset, 4 timpani, and concert snare drums. Bring your own sticks/mallets and an extra copy of your music for the audition committee. Please-no hard plastic or acrylic mallets on xylophone, medium or hard marimba mallets, wood mallets on timpani, or loud playing in the low register of the marimba.
  5. Our website contains directions to campus, directions to my office, and parking info Directions, Parking, Map.
  6. Audition repertoire guidelines are included below.

Recorded Audition Policy:

Due date - Saturday February 26, 2023, 9:00AM Eastern Time. Send all your audition materials in a single email with the subject heading of "audition files" to Dr. Glenn Schaft, Director of Percussion Studies at
Your email should contain two attachments: 
    1. PDF of your résumé including: contact info, school related musical experience, other musical experience, academic and musical honors and awards, private percussion teacher names and how long you studied with each, and names of three references including title/position, phone, and email. 
    2. Unlisted YouTube Video file link containing your various musical excerpts edited into a single video file via a software editing program such as I-Movie or YouTube: begin your video with stating your name and desired music degree. Follow with various musical excerpts as described below in the Audition Repertoire section. Recordings should be a high quality audio/visual file labeled with name, repertoire title, composers, recording dates, and performers.  

Each undergraduate percussion candidate is allotted a 30-minute audition/interview.

  1. Performance: Choose approximately 15 minutes of music representing your highest musical achievements. We are interested in your potential, intrinsic motivation, commitment to becoming your best, and your musical achievement — especially your concept of motion/sound production, awareness of rhythm and pitch, and a sustained habit of productive practice. Memorization of repertoire is left to your discretion. Typically, a candidates percussion teacher will make recommendations in your weekly private lessons as to audition repertoire suitable for your level of achievement and this repertoire will be prepared for your college auditions. If your private lesson teacher has not made recommendations, we have listed some standard repertoire pieces and books below. 
  2. Interview: review your resume, discussion of your university goals and degree plans, career goals, and answering your questions. Your résumé should include: contact info, school related musical experience, other musical experience, academic and musical honors and awards, private percussion teacher names and how long you studied with each, and names of three references including their title/position, phone, and email. Either this can be submitted in print at the audition or emailed in-advance to Dr. Schaft ( as a PDF attachment with the subject heading "audition files”.

Undergraduate Audition Repertoire for Percussion Major Status:

  • Please demonstrate whatever experience your possess on the various instruments such as snare drum, keyboard percussion, timpani, and drumset. 
  • Your audition should be prepared with the most qualified college preparatory teacher(s) available. Please contact Dr. Schaft for private lessons or teacher referrals.
  • Prospective music education majors (BME) should ideally demonstrate a balanced instrumental experience including snare, keyboard, timpani, and drumset.
  • Prospective performance majors (BM) should demonstrate instrumental versatility and substantial achievement on one instrument. 
  • Prospective majors in Jazz Studies (BMJ) or Music Recording (BMR) repertoire: similar to above with significant drumset emphasis.
  • Prospective jazz vibraphone majors (BMJ) should play a solo or etude and improvise over a blues and/or standard song form.
  • Prospective Composition majors (BMC) will perform a percussion audition and submit a portfolio of scores and recordings of representative compositions (use CD format).


We also like to assess pitch-aural skills in the interview part of the process via:

  1. Pitch matching — hum pitches (use syllable “la”) played for you on vibraphone
  2. Sing, (solfege, scale degree numbers, or syllable “la”) major or natural minor scale and arpeggio one octave up and down

Suggested Solo or Etude Repertoire:

Snare drum

     1.  Orchestral style solo or etude: such as M. Peters-Advance SD Studies # 1, 3, 5 9, Cirone-Portraits In Rhythm # 3, 4, 14, 15,

     2. Rudimental style solo selected from sources such as MENC State Class A Adjudicated Event Snare Solo, or similar level repertoire such as Abel-2040's Sortie, Pratt-Drum Corps On Parade or My Friend Norman, Pratt-Conquering Legions of Rome or Cider Jug, Wanamaker-Hurricane or Bridgemen, Wilcoxon-Battin Em Out, trad. Downfall of Paris.

Keyboard - marimba, xylophone, or vibraphone

  1. Two Octave Scales - chromatic scales, 12 major scales and arpeggios, 12 natural minor scales and arpeggios — two octaves.
  2. OMEA Class A or B Solo or etude of your choice — two or four mallets. Memorization is left to your discretion.

Drumset - Demonstrate timekeeping and soloing in various styles: swing, jazz waltz, Brazilian-bossa nova or samba, Afro-Cuban-mambo or songo, rock, and funk. Play 8-measure cycles; 4-bar time-feel groove and 4-bar solo, repeating this form.

Timpani - Two, three, or four drum solo or etude from: Peters – Fundamental Method for Timpani or similar i.e. Goodman, Friese/Lepak, Carroll, Hochrainer,etc.

Hand Drums - A brief solo on congas, djembe, frame drum.

Graduate Studies Audition Repertoire - Percussion Performance. Each graduate candidate is allotted a 60-minute audition/interview. 

    Snare Drum - two advanced solos or etudes of contrasting styles

    Marimba - two-mallet solo and four-mallet solo

    Orchestral Excerpts - two selections each for snare drum, xylophone, glockenspiel, timpani

    Drumset - various groove styles and soloing capabilities 

    Additional repertoire options: vibraphone solo, multiple percussion solo (submit pre-recorded file), hand drum solo

Audition outcomes — You will receive a Dana School of Music audition results notification letter (typically early March) about a week after the final published Dana audition date. Our studio enrollment cap is generally 15-20 students.

  1. Acceptance as a percussion major—we believe you are capable of successfully completing your proposed degree program and will email you a “percussion division letter of intent”. You should complete the letter and return it, postmarked by May 1, to indicate your attendance plans and to provide feedback about your YSU visitation day and audition experience. We cannot hold your studio position or guarantee scholarship funding beyond this national standard deadline. Once accepted as a major, please see Advisement & Registration.
  2. Denial of admission—four possible outcomes:

    1. Long-term denial. You did not demonstrate the musical aptitude or achievement necessary to pass the first semester applied percussion course and are denied admission to major and minor level applied lessons and percussion ensemble. We believe that significant deficiencies exist and that you should not re-audition for at least one year or pending significant private study and achievement.
    2. Waiting list. We believe you possess the musical aptitude and achievement necessary to pass the first semester applied percussion course and a re-audition is not necessary; we simply have no available studio openings at present. Notification of full-acceptance, pending studio vacancies, typically occurs by May 7. Upon notification of acceptance, see advisement & registration.
    3. Short-term or minor deficiencies. We recommend that you study privately to address minor deficiency(s) specified during your audition or in your audition results letter and then re-audition in late-July or early-August before the beginning of fall semester. We recommend this option if we believe you are capable of correcting short-term deficiencies before your first semester at YSU.
    4. Minor level recommendation. We believe you possess sufficient musical aptitude to be accepted at the major level pending an re-audition, but require at least one semester of minor level applied percussion lessons MUAC 1500A) at YSU with our faculty to correct specified deficiencies. You will study with the percussion faculty and receive practice room access. You must perform a jury (audition for major status) during final exam week of that semester. Pending a passing lesson and jury grade (letter grades A-C), you will be admitted to major level status. Generally, we only permit one semester of minor level study. 

Audition for Music Minor Status - A brief audition and interview is required. Please contact Dr. Schaft for an appointment. Audition assesses rhythmic skills, aural skills, instrumental achievement, sight-reading, and receptivity to instruction via a mini-lesson. Please demonstrate whatever experience your possess on the instrument(s) you wish to study such as drumset, snare drum, keyboard percussion, timpani, hand drums.

Theory. A mandatory theory placement exam is designed to place you in the appropriate theory class and is administered on the Dana audition days or at the beginning of each semester. In order to prepare for this exam and develop your written and aural theory skills, Dr. Jena Root  Coordinator of the Theory Dep.t, recommends:

  1. General fundamentals (including written theory)
  2. Flash cards available on the YSU flashcard page
  3. Teoria
  4. Leo Kraft's A New Approach to Ear Training is a huge volume of melodic and harmonic dictation exercises, with CDs and answers included. Great for studying on your own in a methodical, disciplined way.

See info on theory at Dana.

Piano. As a music major, piano is considered your minor instrument, and four semesters of study or equivalent proficiency, is required in Bachelor of Music degrees. The Piano Placement Exam, given each audition day, determines placement in the appropriate level Keyboard Musicianship Class. If you possess piano experience, please take the exam to determine if you might proficiency out of any of the required courses. If you do not possess previous classical piano training, enroll in the first course, MUAC 1581.