Studio Guitar

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

Graduate Spring Application Deadline

October 1st

Looking for Fall Admission?
Click here for your requirements

Current USC Thornton Student?
Click here for additional information

Graduate Application Requirements for Spring Admission

This section is for all 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 a graduate program in Studio Guitar must submit a video recording (audio only will not be accepted) 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. Applicants will be notified of prescreen results and live audition details via email from the corresponding Thornton department.

Both the prescreen recording and the live audition may be performed on electric or acoustic guitar, or both if necessary. (Note: If you travel by air to the live audition, it is only essential for you to bring an electric guitar.)

The prescreen video recording performances may be self-accompanied, accompanied by other musician(s), or by a band as long as the applicant is prominently featured. Pre-recorded accompaniment is acceptable.

The prescreen video 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. Avoid using corrective studio effects such as pitch or timing correction, and each selection should be performed in one take and not edited.

For all Grad applicants, the prescreen recording should include the following:

Twenty minutes of solo and ensemble pieces, including 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. Applicants may include other styles such as contemporary pop/rock, blues, folk-rock, R&B/urban, country, fusion, or any genre that best showcases your abilities.

Current USC Thornton 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 (keb@usc.edu) in the Thornton Admission office with any questions or concerns regarding audition scheduling.

Introduction Video

All applicants must include a one-minute verbal introduction video to be uploaded to the Thornton SlideRoom portal, 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 Popular Music and Guitar programs?
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 Studio Guitar 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 Studio Guitar applicants. Recommendation letters are to be submitted online through the Thornton SlideRoom portal via the “References” section by October 1. We cannot guarantee the review of any material received after October 1.

Perform Audition if Invited

The results of the prescreen will determine whether an applicant will be invited to perform a live audition. Applicants will be notified of prescreen results and live audition details via email from the corresponding Thornton department. 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 perform their live auditions 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 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

Live auditions are typically 15 minutes long. Prepare selections for this audition according to the instructions provided below. The pieces performed may be the same as submitted on the prescreen video recording or entirely different selections. The faculty panel may wish to hear pieces in their entirety or excerpts. The faculty reserves the right to modify the audition format in order to effectively evaluate each candidate’s potential.

The live audition may be performed on electric or acoustic guitar, or both if necessary. (Note: If you travel by air to the live audition, it is only essential for you to bring an electric guitar.)

USC Thornton will provide amplifiers and audio playback equipment (CD and iPod inputs) at the live auditions. Please bring your instrument cable and tune your instrument before entering the room. You are welcome to bring your pedals, but keep in mind that any additional setup will cut into your audition.

Applicants should be prepared for the following at their live audition:

  • Sight-reading of a selection to be provided by a USC Thornton representative at the audition.
  • Solo performance of a standard song or a jazz classic (standard song such as All the Things You Are or jazz classics such as Take the “A” Train) played in chord-melody style (harmonized in the solo guitar style of Joe Pass or George Van Eps).
  • Performance of a standard song or a jazz classic. Applicants should be prepared to play the melody, play an improvised solo on the form, and then play rhythm accompaniment for another soloist. This selection will be performed either in a duo setting with a faculty member or a trio setting with bass and drums.
  • A bassist and a drummer from the program will be present to assist with your audition.
  • Performance of jazz blues selection with the bassist and drummer.
  • Optional: additional material that demonstrates any other specific areas of expertise and interest, including styles such as contemporary jazz, fusion, pop, rock, bluegrass, blues, etc., performed in a duo setting or with pre-recorded accompaniment.
  • Major and minor scales and modes covering the entire fingerboard (at the discretion of the faculty and time permitting).
  • Major and minor triads on four different strings sets, seventh chord voicings, and extended harmonies (at the discretion of the faculty and time permitting).