College of Music

University of Colorado Boulder

Undergraduate Admission Information

This page is designed to help you get through the application/audition process that is required of the University Office of Admissions and the College of Music. Please keep in mind that the these are, in some ways, two separate entities requiring some different information to make a complete application. 

The University Office of Admissions is the area most familiar to high school counselors. It is where they send transcripts and where you send the main application for CU. They look at grade point average, class standing, test scores (SAT or ACT), an essay, etc. to make a determination about acceptance. Online applications are available at the above link. 

The College of Music looks at the same information but has additional requirements - specifically a completed audition application, an audition, a letter of recommendation and a short (1 page) essay. Check out the College of Music application homepage. 

Application deadlines tend to continually narrow. It is possible to begin an application during your junior year. Late fall of your senior year is quite late to begin the application process (it's still possible to get it done but much more difficult). Please don't hesitate to contact me early on - I'm happy to help as much as I can.

Degree Plans

The College of Music offers several degree plans for undergraduates.

The Bachelor of Music (BM) dgree has 3 options for trombonists:

1) BM - the traditional performance program

2) BM (Jazz Studies Emphasis) - a plan similar to the traditional BM but with specific course and performance requirements in Jazz Studies

3) BM in Jazz Studies - a degree that predominately emphasizes jazz performance

The Bachelor of Music Education (BME), and the Bachelor of Arts in Music (BA) degrees are also offered by the College.

Additionally, special certificates are offered in jazz studies and in music technology. Our certificates provide opportunities for more in depth study in these areas, and are add-ons to any of the three degrees.

The Audition

Auditions are scheduled on Saturdays early in our Spring Semester for admission the following fall. The audition days include time for prospective students and parents to meet with faculty and administrators of the College of Music, as well as with representatives from the financial aid office. If these are inconvenient, or if there is a great distance to travel, individual auditions can be set up; recordings are also acceptable

The audition serves two purposes: 1) to determine the performance level of the student for acceptance into a music degree program and 2) for the most outstanding students, to determine if a music scholarship can be offered. 

The audition is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your performance ability. We are trying to as inclusive as possible and hope that each student who auditions plays his or her best. Our main objective in the audition is to determine if your background and abilities are at a level where you can be successful in a music degree at CU. 

The audition usually last about 10-15 minutes. This offers enough time for you to play two contrasting pieces - melodic and technical. This is not really a lot of time, especially if I am not familiar with you or your background. Obviously the better I know you and your background, the better I can evaluate your potential for success. Preliminary audition recordings are welcome. I can also offer some free sample lessons, where we can get to know each other in the setting where we will be working.

Audition material will vary widely depending on your experience. I view the audition as an aural resume - representative samples of where you are musically. Please perform whatever you are most comfortable playing - solos, etudes, orchestral excerpts, jazz (required for BM with Jazz Studies Emphasis), and others - all acceptable. I am always much more impressed with a well prepared, well performed piece of moderate difficulty than I am with a very difficult piece played poorly. Piano accompaniment is not required, but a pianist can be provided with plenty of advanced notice. 

Please keep in mind that the University Office of Admissions will not finalize an acceptance for a student wanting to major in music without a successful audition. The earlier we can get this done, the better.

Other Preparation

It is always a great idea to have some background in music theory (scales, keys, triads etc.) and in piano. These are basic skills for the musician. If at all possible, try to get some experience in these areas before starting your college study. Some background beyond playing your instrument will make your first few years much easier. If it is not possible to get this experience, beginning level classes are offered at CU in both theory and piano which will count toward your degree.

After Graduation

What happens to you after graduation is a continuing concern of all faculty in the College of Music. Try this link to see a really unique program at CU: Entrepreneurship Center.

The Campus and Boulder

Take a look at our beautiful campus:
 Virtual Campus Tours

Please don't hesitate to call or E-mail with any questions you may have regarding the admission and audition process. I am happy to be your person to talk to at CU.

Bill Stanley

Assoc. Professor of Trombone


(303) 492-5469