Keyboard Collaborative Arts

Master of Music (MM), Graduate Certificate (GCRT)

Graduate Spring Application Deadline

October 1st


Looking for Fall Admission?

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Current USC Thornton Student?
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Graduate Application Requirements for Spring Admission

This section is for Master’s (MM) and Graduate Certificate (GCRT) applicants including current USC students applying for a USC graduate program (Spring semester only).

All applicants are required to submit two separate application forms:

  1. USC Application for Graduate Admission
  2. Thornton’s SlideRoom application form

The total application fee is $115 ($90 for the USC Graduate Application and $25 for the SlideRoom Media/Materials upload). All required materials must be received by October 1. Application materials will not be accepted via mail or email. If both required application forms are not submitted by the appropriate deadline, your application will be removed from consideration.

Applicants experiencing hardship or extenuating circumstances due to natural disaster or public health concerns in their local area that may affect their ability to satisfy application requirements may contact the Thornton Office of Admission at uscmusic@usc.edu to explore possible accommodations. Though we cannot guarantee that accommodations/exceptions will be possible, applicants are encouraged to contact the Admission Office as soon as possible to allow the maximum amount of time to consider the options.

Applying For

Spring Admission

Auditions Required?

Yes, 2 rounds

Questions?

Email: uscmusic@usc.edu | Phone: (213)740-8986

Complete the USC Application

Applicants must complete the USC Graduate Application and submit all other application materials required by the October 1st deadline.

USC Graduate Application Fee

The application fee for the USC Graduate application is $90. Application fee waivers are available to qualified applicants, and must be requested before submitting the USC Graduate Application. If you plan to apply for a waiver of the USC Graduate Application fee, please do so at least two weeks before the application deadline. The deadline will not be extended for applicants who fail to request a fee waiver in time. Details and instructions can be found here.

Transcripts

All transcripts are due October 1st. Please carefully read the transcript requirements below.

Scans (PDF format) of official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended must be uploaded into the USC Graduate application. Official transcripts are issued by the registrar’s office of each institution. Unofficial transcripts or documents printed from an on-line student system will not be accepted. Failure to upload scans of official transcripts may significantly delay the release of a final admission decision.

Please note that official transcripts must also be submitted separately to the USC Graduate Admission office following the guidelines here.

Program Materials Section

When completing the USC Graduate application, it is important to pay special attention to the following items that you will find in the “program materials” section of the application:

  • Thornton SlideRoom portal – A link to access the Thornton SlideRoom portal will be provided in this section.
  • The Documents tab – Documents submitted in this section will not be accessible to the Thornton faculty. Thornton faculty will only be able to review documents submitted via the Thornton SlideRoom portal. In order to complete this section, you must check the box indicating that you do not wish to upload documents in this section.
  • The Questions tab – Enter your SlideRoom Confirmation number where indicated (you will receive your SlideRoom confirmation number upon submission of the SlideRoom form).
International Applicants

Click here for important additional requirements and instructions.

Complete the SlideRoom Portfolio

All applicants must complete the Thornton SlideRoom portfolio by the October 1st deadline.

All Thornton supplemental materials must be uploaded through SlideRoom, which you will access through the link provided in the “Program Materials” section of the USC Graduate Application.

SlideRoom Requirements

SlideRoom Application Portal

A link to the SlideRoom portal is located inside the USC Application for Graduate Admission, in the “Program Materials” Section.

The SlideRoom application fee is $25 (fee waivers are not available). Thornton supplemental materials will not be accepted via mail or email.

The SlideRoom form must be submitted before the USC Application for Graduate Admission (Applicants can start both forms and work on them at the same time). Once SlideRoom is submitted, you will need to enter your SlideRoom confirmation number into the “Questions” tab, also located in the “program materials” section of the USC Graduate application.

Prescreen Recorded Audition

Applicants to Keyboard Collaborative Arts must submit a recording to be prescreened by the faculty. The results of this prescreen will determine whether an applicant will be invited to perform a live audition on the USC campus in Los Angeles. The prescreen recording must include:

  1. One art song
  2. One movement of an instrumental piece

Both pieces should be performed with partners.

Résumé

The résumé should list musical, professional, and academic experience and is generally 1-2 pages in length.

Repertoire List

This list should include works studied and performed. Etudes, scale studies, arias, art songs, chamber music, solo pieces, and original compositions are all examples of what could be included in this list.

Statement of Purpose (Optional)

Graduate applicants are encouraged to prepare a brief statement of their professional goals, as well as their purpose in applying for the Keyboard Collaborative Arts program. The Statement of Purpose is typically 1-2 pages in length.

Transcripts

All transcripts are due October 1st. Please carefully read the transcript requirements below.

Scans (PDF format) of official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended must be uploaded into SlideRoom. Official transcripts are issued by the registrar’s office of each institution. Unofficial transcripts or documents printed from an on-line student system will not be accepted. Failure to upload scans of official transcripts may significantly delay the release of a final admission decision.

Please note that official transcripts must also be submitted separately to the USC Graduate Admission office following the guidelines here.

Letters of Recommendation

1-3 recommendation letters are required from graduate KCA applicants. Recommendation letters are to be submitted online through the Thornton SlideRoom portal via the “References” section by December 1. We cannot guarantee the review of any material received after December 1.

Perform Audition if Invited

The results of the prescreen will determine whether an applicant will be invited to perform a live audition. Notice of the results of the prescreen audition will be sent to applicants via email in late December.

Applicants who are invited to perform a live audition will receive their prescreen decision and audition appointment details in the same email, in late December. Live auditions typically occur in late January and early February. Please do not make travel plans to audition at USC Thornton until you have received confirmation of your audition appointment.

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to visit our campus and live audition events can be the ideal opportunity for this kind of visit. We therefore encourage applicants to make every effort to perform their live audition in person on the USC campus.

Applicants who live more than 100 miles from the USC campus and are unable to travel to Los Angeles for their live audition due to financial hardship can request an online audition on their Thornton SlideRoom Portfolio. Please carefully note that a requested online audition may be scheduled on a date that does not fall on one of our regularly scheduled audition weekends, and it is not guaranteed that all online audition requests can be granted. It is also expected that any auditioning pianist who is scheduled for an online audition will provide their own partners for their audition.

Applicants who live within a 100-mile radius of the USC campus are required to perform their live audition in person. It is expected that pianists who live within a 100-mile radius of Los Angeles will provide their own partners for their audition. However, for pianists who come from further away or are new to the area, the faculty hearing the auditions will be happy to play instrumental parts on a second piano and are willing to sing vocal selections with auditioning collaborative pianists.

For auditioning pianists that come from far away, there are a number of very talented USC students, singers, and instrumentalists in the area who sometimes are willing to participate in the audition process as performing partners. They do this for a fee that is set by them; the KCA department does not become involved in the setting or payment of fees. Most would only rehearse on the day of the audition or perhaps the day before, though you may find someone who is willing to rehearse with you on a longer-term basis. If you would like a list of potential partners that you could contact yourself, please contact the Keyboard Studies Department Coordinator, Kyle Shafiee, with the repertoire you would like to offer for your audition and we will make some recommendations for persons you may contact. Any questions in regard to the collaborative repertoire may also be directed to the department coordinator at shafiee@usc.edu. There is no guarantee that we will be able to identify partners available at the time of your audition or that we will be able to identify partners to perform every piece. We do this only as a courtesy and not as a required service on our part.

Live Audition Requirements

For the live audition, applicants must submit a complete list of repertoire including: songs, arias, sonatas/multi-movement works, concerti, character pieces, complete operas; solo, choral, and ballet repertoire. The following repertoire is required for your live audition:

  1. Two complete, contrasting instrumental sonatas
  2. Four songs representing stylistic and linguistic variety
  3. One aria
  4. Two piano solos from contrasting stylistic periods performed by memory. Individual movements from multi-movement works, such as a single movement from a sonata or suite are acceptable.

Applicants should also be prepared for sight-reading and an interview as part of their live audition. The faculty will ask for demonstration of skills in diction and translation directly related to the texts of the songs and aria prepared for the audition. You may be asked to read the text aloud in the original language and may be asked to give the text translation in English.

During the live audition, you might be asked some of the following:

  • Why do you wish to pursue a degree or certificate in Keyboard Collaborative Arts?
  • Why would you like to study at USC Thornton?
  • What sort of repertoire might you like to focus on in your studies at USC Thornton?

The Keyboard Collaborative Arts faculty welcomes and encourages repertoire composed by marginalized and/or under-represented groups, including but not limited to, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and women. The Keyboard Department has compiled a list of works composed by Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) composers as a resource for musicians. To view the list, please click here.

All sonatas are to be performed with an instrumentalist; all songs and arias with a singer. The auditionee normally is expected to supply both instrumentalists and singers. Should this not be possible, the KCA department faculty will be happy to play and sing with the auditionee. It is customary to perform instrumental and vocal literature with scores. Audition repertoire may be selected from but is not limited to the following suggested list:

Example Instrumental Repertoire List

Violin:

Beethoven

  • Sonata in F major, Op. 24, “Spring”
  • Sonata in c minor, Op. 30, No. 2
  • Sonata in G major, Op. 30, No. 3

Brahms

  • Sonata in G major, Op. 78
  • Sonata in A major, Op. 100
  • Sonata in d minor, Op. 108

Mozart

  • Sonata in A major, K. 305
  • Sonata in B-flat major, K. 454

Viola:

Bloch

  • Suite for Viola and Piano

Brahms

  • Sonata in f minor, Op. 120, No. 1
  • Sonata in E-flat major, Op. 120, No. 2

Britten

  • Lachrymae, Op. 48

Hindemith

  • Sonata in F major, Op. 11, No. 4

Cello:

Beethoven

  • Sonata in g minor, Op. 5, No. 2
  • Sonata in A major, Op. 69

Brahms

  • Sonata in e minor, Op. 38

Debussy

  • Sonata in d minor

Mendelssohn

  • Sonata in D major, Op. 58

Example Vocal Repertoire List

German:

Brahms

  • Botschaft
  • Meine Liebe ist grün

Schubert

  • Der Wanderer
  • Die Forelle
  • Liebesbotschaft

Schumann

  • Frühlingsnacht
  • Mondnacht
  • Schöne Wiege meiner Leiden

Strauss

  • Allerseelen
  • Ständchen

Wolf

  • Auf einer Wanderung
  • In dem Schatten meiner Locken

French:

Debussy

  • from Ariettes Oubliées

Duparc

  • L’invitation au voyage
  • Phidylé

Fauré

  • En sourdine
  • Nôtre amour

English:

Barber

  • from Hermit Songs
  • I Hear an Army

Britten

  • from On This Island
  • Copland
  • from Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson

Arias

Mozart

  • Martern aller Arten

Strauss

  • Composer’s Aria

Stravinsky

  • Anne Truelove’s Recitative/Aria/Cabaletta