Keyboard Studies

Bachelor of Music (BM)

Application Deadline for Current USC Students

Spring Admission: October 1 | Fall Admission: December 1

Not a Current USC Student?
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Graduate Student?
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Undergraduate Application Requirements for Current USC Students

This section is for current USC students applying to the Bachelor of Music (BM) in Piano, including current Thornton students wishing to add or switch their major. All required materials for spring admission must be submitted by October 1. All required materials for fall admission must be submitted by December 1.

The total application fee is $25 for the Thornton Portfolio in SlideRoom. Recordings/materials must be submitted online through the SlideRoom Portfolio by the appropriate deadline and will not be accepted via mail or email for any program. We cannot guarantee the review of any material received after the deadline. Any application not complete by the appropriate deadline may 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

Fall and Spring Admission

Auditions Required?

Yes, 2 rounds

Questions?

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

Complete the SlideRoom Portfolio

Applicants must complete the USC Thornton Portfolio for Current USC Students via SlideRoom. Applicants are only permitted to select one program through the SlideRoom application. Applicants who would like to be considered for admission to a second Thornton program must contact Brittany Jimenez at seits@usc.edu prior to the application deadline to receive instructions on how to submit a second SlideRoom application.

To access the Current USC Student SlideRoom portal to submit your application click here.

Important Note: Once in SlideRoom, make sure to select the form titled “FOR CURRENT USC STUDENTS ONLY” and the appropriate term (spring or fall). All other forms will require you to have a Common Application and current USC students do not need to complete the Common Application.

Applicants will be asked to provide the following materials in the SlideRoom portfolio:

SlideRoom Requirements

Prescreen Recorded Audition

Applicants to programs in Keyboard Studies must submit a recording to be prescreened by the faculty. Video recordings are preferred but audio only recordings are acceptable. The results of this prescreen will determine whether an applicant will be invited to perform a live audition. Prescreen results will be sent to applicants via email in late December.

The Keyboard Studies faculty welcomes and encourages repertoire composed by marginalized and/or under-represented groups, including but not limited to, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and women. To view the list, please click here.

Each movement of each piece submitted for prescreen must be uploaded as a separate file in the media section of the SlideRoom portfolio (e.g., a Bach prelude and fugue must be uploaded separately, each movement of a Beethoven sonata must be uploaded separately). Each uploaded file must also be labeled to indicate the composer, title, and movement (if applicable). This labeling must be done in the designated “TITLE” field in the SlideRoom portfolio.

The prescreen recording should include the following works entirely from memory:

  1. Baroque – a Prelude and Fugue by J.S. Bach from The Well-Tempered Clavier
  2. Classical – a complete multi-movement sonata by a classical composer, up to and including Schubert, but excluding Beethoven opp. 49 and 79
  3. One piece from the Romantic, Impressionistic or Contemporary repertoire
  4. An etude

All applicants should carefully note that no concerti will be accepted as audition pieces and that all audition pieces must be memorized. Persons failing to prepare the full audition program following the guidelines described above on the prescreen recording will not be permitted to perform a live audition nor offered admission to the program.

Introductory Video for All Undergraduate Applicants

All applicants to undergraduate Thornton programs are required to submit a single-take, unedited, and preferably unrehearsed 1-2 minute video that offers a brief personal introduction and answers the following question: How do you envision using your USC Thornton education to become a force for positive change in the evolution of the music profession and music as an art form?

Young Artist Project Introductory Video

The classical music profession is changing, and we’re changing with it. USC Thornton’s undergraduate classical music curriculum (called “The ReDesign”) maintains a rigorous foundation of the finest conservatory training, while also offering flexibility for students to chart their own artistic pathway. We aim to create musical leaders who can not only take advantage of traditional opportunities, but also discover new ones – and even create their own. All four years are aimed at the two things most important to musicians: taking their musicianship to the highest levels and preparing for a thriving professional life.

At the heart of the ReDesign is the Young Artist Project. This individualized, mentored project is pursued during the junior and senior years of the program, and requires students to develop and fully realize a unique project related to their work as a classical musician. This could involve developing a hybrid performance, conducting original research, exploring new creative technologies, or applying creative expression to a pressing social issue.

To help us get to know our applicants and their unique identity as young musicians, all applicants to undergraduate programs in classical music performance and composition are required to submit (via SlideRoom) a single-take, unedited, and preferably unrehearsed video of no more than two minutes. In this video applicants must answer the following question: If you were pitching your Young Artist Project idea today, what is the most daring project you would propose and why?

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.

Academic Information

Current USC students are not required to submit transcripts but will be asked to upload a copy of their “Summary of Completed Courses” and “Registered Course List” available through myUSC.

To access your “Summary of Completed Courses”, log into myUSC (my.usc.edu) and click “OASIS”. Click “Continue” to access your course information and then select “Summary of Completed Courses”, which is the history of your completed courses including units and grades. Important note: the STARS report will not be accepted in lieu of the “Summary of Completed Courses”.

  • Note: If you are currently enrolled in your first semester at USC and have not yet completed any courses, upload a PDF document with the following statement: “I am currently enrolled in my first semester at USC and have not yet completed any courses at USC.”

To access your “Registered Course List”, log into myUSC (my.usc.edu) and click “OASIS”. Click “Continue” to access your course information and then select “Registered Course List”.

  • Note: you only need to upload your registered courses for the current fall semester.
Letters of Recommendation (Optional)

Optional letters of recommendation for the Thornton School may be submitted through the SlideRoom References section. Important notes for optional letters of recommendation:

  • Any optional letters of recommendation you want reviewed by the faculty must be submitted via the Thornton SlideRoom References form by the appropriate deadline (October 1 for spring admission, December 1 for fall admission). We cannot guarantee the review of any material received after the deadline.
  • Any recommendations sent via mail or email will not be reviewed by the faculty.

Perform Audition if Invited

The results of this 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 3-4 weeks after the application deadline, which will include the date and time of the audition, if invited.

Applicants who live more than 100 miles from the USC campus and are unable to travel to Los Angeles for their live audition can indicate their preference for an online audition on their Thornton application in SlideRoom. Applicants who live within a 100 mile radius of the USC campus are required to perform their live audition in-person.

Live Audition Requirements

The Keyboard Studies faculty welcomes and encourages repertoire composed by marginalized and/or under-represented groups, including but not limited to, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and women.

Applicants must prepare the following works entirely from memory for the live audition:

  1. Baroque – a Prelude and Fugue by J.S. Bach from The Well-Tempered Clavier
  2. Classical – a complete multi-movement sonata by a classical composer, up to and including Schubert, but excluding Beethoven opp. 49 and 79
  3. One piece from the Romantic, Impressionistic or Contemporary repertoire
  4. An etude

All applicants should carefully note that no concerti will be accepted as audition pieces and that all audition pieces must be memorized. Persons failing to prepare the full audition program following the guidelines described above will not be offered admission to the program.

Undergraduate Theory Exam

All undergraduate applicants (except in Composition and Music Industry) are required to complete a music theory examination as part of the live audition requirements. The exam will measure proficiency in basic music theory. Further details about how and when the exam will be administered will be provided in the audition confirmation sent to applicants invited for a live audition. Exam results alone will not prevent a student from being admitted to USC or the Thornton School. The Thornton Admission office cannot release exam details in advance of the exam. Inquiries regarding the content of the exam will not be answered.

Note: Current Thornton students who have already completed MUCO 132ab and MUCO 133ab are not required to take the exam.