Studio Guitar

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

Note to Undergraduate Guitarists: The Thornton School offers three different programs for undergraduate guitarists- Jazz studies, popular music performance, and classical guitar performance. Undergraduate jazz guitar applicants, please refer to the Jazz Studies requirements. Undergraduate popular music guitar applicants, please refer to the Popular Music Performance requirements. Undergraduate classical guitar applicants, please refer to Classical Guitar requirements.

Applicants to a graduate program in Studio Guitar must submit an audition recording (in video format- audio only will not be accepted) to be evaluated by the faculty. The results of the first round of consideration will determine whether an applicant will advance to the second round of consideration.

Video recordings will not be accepted via mail or email for this program. Video recordings must be submitted online through the “Fall SlideRoom portal” by the December 1st deadline. Any application not complete by December 1 may be removed from consideration.

GRADUATE STUDIO GUITAR APPLICANTS– For instructions on how to access the SlideRoom portal to submit your recording click HERE

Important notes:

  • DMA applicants are required to submit a “Doctoral Introductory Video” as part of their SlideRoom Portfolio. For detailed instructions click here.
  • Current USC Thornton students applying for a graduate program may not be required to submit an audition recording for the first round of consideration. ¬†Applicants may be allowed to use a recital or jury as their audition, and some departments might allow current Thornton students to make special arrangements for an audition in lieu of uploading a recording. Please check with your teacher or department chair BEFORE you submit the SlideRoom form to determine what is possible in your case.¬† In all cases, current Thornton students must indicate on the application that they are a current Thornton student or they may not advance to the second round of consideration. Current Thornton students are encouraged to consult the special Application Requirements for Current Thornton Students posted on The Thornton Admission website. ¬†Questions about advancing to the second round of consideration may be directed to your department chair or Kit Bellamy in the Thornton Admission office.

First Round of Consideration

The audition recording (in video format- audio only will not be accepted) may be performed on electric or acoustic guitar, or both if necessary.

The audition recording performances may be self-accompanied, accompanied by other musician(s), or by a band only if it is safe for you to do so (and as long as the applicant is prominently featured). Pre-recorded accompaniment tracks is acceptable.

The audition recording should best demonstrate the applicant’s performance, artistic, and creative abilities. Videos do not need to be highly produced and should accurately represent the candidate’s abilities. Do not use corrective studio effects such as pitch or timing correction and each selection should be performed in one take and not edited.

  • Twenty minutes of solo and/or ensemble pieces, which includes a minimum of two standard songs such as All the Things You Are or jazz classics such as Take the “A” Train, and a minimum of one original composition. Other styles such as contemporary pop/rock, blues, folk rock, R&B/urban, country, fusion, or any style that best showcases your abilities may also be included.
  • All applicants must include a one-minute verbal introduction in the audition video, providing answers to the following questions:
    • What are your goals and aspirations in pursuing a career in music?
    • What do you expect to gain from and contribute to the Guitar programs?

    Second Round of Consideration

    Details regarding the second round of consideration for this program will be sent in late December via email to applicants who are advanced from the first round of consideration. No additional repertoire will be required for the second round of consideration, but may include interactive activities such as an online performance audition and/or interview.