Classical Guitar

Bachelor of Music (BM) or Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Master of Music (MM) or Graduate Certificate (GCRT)
Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

If you are planning to apply to the Artist Diploma program please follow the audition requirements on the Artist Diploma page.

Note: This information applies only to classical guitar applicants. For studio/jazz guitar, please refer to the studio/jazz guitar requirements.

Applicants to Classical Guitar must submit a DVD recording to be pre-screened by the faculty. The results of this DVD pre-screen will determine whether an applicant will be invited to perform a live audition on the USC campus in Los Angeles. Pre-screen recordings must include video. Audio recordings will not be accepted.

Note: Recordings will not be accepted via mail or email for this program. Recordings must be submitted online through the “Fall DecisionDesk portal” by the December 1st deadline. Any application not complete by December 1 may be removed from consideration.
To access the Fall portal to submit your recording click on the following link:

USC Thornton Fall Portal (Available Sept 1)

Please note: Current Thornton Classical Guitar students applying for a graduate program are not required to submit a prescreen recording, however they must indicate on the application that they are a current Thornton student or they will not automatically be scheduled for a live audition. Current USC students are encouraged to contact Kit Bellamy in the Thornton Admission office with any questions or concerns regarding audition scheduling.

Pre-screen recording requirements

The prescreen DVD should include the following for all degrees of application:

  • The submitted DVD must contain two pieces of contrasting character and those pieces must be from different style periods. Ideally, one piece should be composed before 1900 and the other should be composed after 1900. The DVD recording should be about 12 minutes long.

Live audition requirements

It is not necessary that the repertoire submitted as pre-screening material be included in what will be performed at the live audition and the pre-screening material does not need to conform to the live audition repertoire requirement described below. Live audition repertoire should include the following:

  • BA and BM applicants: Three selections of contrasting styles from the standard solo literature should be prepared for the live audition. If any of the selections are taken from a multi-movement sonata or concerto, applicants need only prepare one movement of the piece. In addition, applicants should be prepared to demonstrate knowledge of both apoyando (rest stroke) and tirando (free stroke), as well as be prepared to play selections from the Giuliani 120 Studies for the Right Hand. Sightreading may also be required at the time of audition.
  • MM, GC, and DMA applicants: Thirty minutes of standard solo and/or ensemble pieces from the classical guitar literature should be prepared for the live audition.

In the event that a student is not able to perform the live audition at USC, s/he may request that a pre-screen DVD recording be considered in lieu of the live audition. It is extremely important to note, however, that only a DVD recording which includes both the required pre-screen audition repertoire and the required live audition repertoire would be considered in lieu of a live audition. CD recordings will not be considered in lieu of a live audition nor will any recording that does not include the required live audition repertoire.

Important note

Undergraduate applications are not accepted for Spring admission to this program unless the applicant is already enrolled at USC. All applicants for spring admission are also required to submit a recording for pre-screening. Spring applicants will be notified via email regarding their prescreen decision.