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School of Music

I. Application & Admission

A. Application Requirements for Degree-Seeking Students

Butler University offers the following graduate degrees in music:

  • Master of Music in Composition
  • Master of Music in Conducting - choral track
  • Master of Music in Conducting - instrumental track
  • Master of Music in Music Education - both thesis and non-thesis options
  • Master of Arts in Musicology
  • Master of Music in Performance - piano, voice, and orchestral instrument
  • Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy

MM Degrees with a Double Major

Students may also earn a MM degree with a double major by combining two of the above areas. One area will be declared the primary major; the other will be the secondary major. Applicants will need to complete the relevant audition/interview for both majors. For complete details download the MM Degrees with a Double Major.

Contacting the Office of Admission

Office of Graduate Admission
Butler University
4600 Sunset Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46208-3485

Toll Free: 888-940-8100
Fax: 317-940-8150
Email: admission@butler.edu
Web: www.butler.edu/admission
CEEB code: 1073

Contact the School of Music

Prof. David Murray
Director of Graduate Studies in Music
Butler University
4600 Sunset Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46208-3485

Local: 317-940-9064
Toll Free: 800-368-6852, ext. 9064
Email: dmurray@butler.edu

 

Applications for graduate admissions in music must be completed by January 15.

Standard admission requirements (for every degree plan):

  1. The Application for Graduate Admission, available online or from the University Graduate Admissions Office, must be completed. There is a $35 application fee; this fee is waived if the application is filed online. Former Butler students are also not required to submit the application fee.
  2. The separate JCA Music Graduate application supplement must also be completed; it is available online. Upon completing the supplemental application, applicants will request an audition date from a prescribed list. The School of Music office will work with the applicant directly to finalize an audition schedule that works well with the student and department. For degrees requiring pre-screening materials (all except for Performance and Music Education), all pre-screening materials must be submitted and approved before an audition can be confirmed.
  3. An official transcript from each college or university previously attended must be sent directly from the issuing institution to the University Graduate Admissions Office. If the college attended has an electronic transcript option, the transcript can be sent electronically directly from the College/University to admission@butler.edu. An undergraduate degree must be completed before graduate study can begin. If the undergraduate degree is other than music, the requirements of Butler's Bachelor of Arts degree will be used by the Director of Graduate Music Studies, together with the appropriate faculty, to create an individualized plan of study, including any remedial work. Remedial work may also be required in other instances depending upon the undergraduate degree and the graduate degree program.
  4.  For MA Musicology applicants only: The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test. Applicants for other majors do not need to submit GRE scores. This requirement is waived for applicants who have already completed a graduate degree in any field. 
  5. Three letters of recommendation are required. The letters must be on letterhead stationery that reflects the place of employment of the person providing the recommendation; the recommender should comment on the applicant's musical and academic abilities. The letters should be sent to the Office of Graduate Admissions, Butler University, 4600 Sunset Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46208-3485, or can be sent electronically via the online application system. 
  6. For international students, a TOEFL score of 550 (paper-based test), 213 (computer-based test), or 79 (internet-based test) is required. This requirement is waived if the undergraduate degree is from an American university, or from a country where English is the official language. Also acceptable is an IELTS (International English Language Training System) score of 6.0. In addition, the applicant must demonstrate financial resources sufficient to meet all education and living expenses prior to visa issuance. Additional details are available from the Admissions Office at 317-940-8100 or toll-free at 888-940-8100.

Specific admission requirements, by degree:

All pre-screening materials, including electronic scores, recordings, papers, videos, etc. should be submitted directly to the School of Music office (music@butler.edu) or 
Prof. David Murray
Director of Graduate Music Studies
Butler University
4600 Sunset Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46208-3485 

  • Composition: A pre-screening is required. The candidate must submit at least three scores and recordings of representative compositions.  Scores should be submitted directly to the School of Music office (music@butler.edu), preferably as PDF files (links to online files or PDF attachments).  Recordings should be sent as links to online sources (i.e. SoundCloud, YouTube, DropBox, etc.).  Selected candidates will then be invited to campus for a personal interview with the composition faculty. Ideally this would be in-person, but interviews via Skype, etc. may be permissible with approval of the composition faculty. Applicants should bring paper copies of scores to a live interview.
     
  • Conducting - Choral: A pre-screening video of the applicant conducting a rehearsal or performance (front view) is required. Selected candidates will then be invited to campus for an audition, consisting of conducting, a solo performance on either voice or piano, and an interview with the choral conducting faculty of the School of Music. Applicants must also complete the aural skills exam. Consisting of three parts, this portion of the audition process will allow the admission panel to assess the candidate’s readiness for advanced musical study and ensemble leadership.
     
  • Conducting - Instrumental: A pre-screening video (front view) of a recent performance and rehearsal is required.  This should include at least two selections of contrasting style and/or period; ideally, the rehearsal and performances will contain the same repertoire. Applicants may submit a DVD or a link to online footage; this should be submitted at the time of application.  Selected candidates will then be invited to campus for a live conducting audition and interview with the instrumental conducting faculty. This will include a written exam of skills and knowledge and a short demonstration on the candidate's primary instrument.  Applicants should confer with the instrumental conducting faculty member with whom they wish to study concerning audition repertoire. 
     
  • Music Education (thesis and non-thesis options): The applicant must arrange for a personal interview with the music education faculty of the School of Music.
     
  • Musicology: A pre-screening is required. The applicant must submit a scholarly paper representing undergraduate music history work.  Selected candidates will then be invited to campus for a personal interview with the musicology faculty of the School of Music. The GRE General Test is also required (see above).
  • Performance: An audition is required; an audition recording, preferably video, may be sent in lieu of a live audition. A list of audition requirements is available online.
  • Piano Pedagogy: Applicants must first submit a video that demonstrates teaching abilities, through a DVD or a link to an online video. This video should be 20 minutes in length and show the applicant working with two different students. A polished performance by the student is not an expectation; instead, choose excerpts that illustrate effective teaching and student learning. Include captions on a separate document with each student’s first name, age, total years of study, and years of study with you. Selected candidates will then be invited to campus for a live audition. Applicants should plan to play from memory selections from at least three of the following areas: J. S. Bach: Prelude and Fugue or larger work; Classical sonata by Haydn, Mozart or Beethoven; significant work from the Romantic Period; standard 20th- or 21st-century work. You will also be asked to sight-read as part of this audition.

B. Audition Requirements

Each audition includes a short interview.

  • Voice: Prepare 30 minutes of memorized repertoire from which the audition committee will choose. The audition will last approximately 20 minutes. Repertoire must include at least one selection in French, Italian and German, as well as one aria from opera or oratorio. Repertoire should represent various periods and styles. Auditioners should bring a copy of undergraduate transcripts (unofficial) and a résumé detailing his/her performance history and repertoire. Auditioners may bring their own accompanist or, with sufficient notice, one will be provided.
     
  • Strings: Be prepared to play for 20-30 minutes, with repertoire representing at least three different periods (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Contemporary). No accompanist will be provided or required, however you may bring your own accompanist if you choose. At least one piece must be memorized. Sight-reading may also be included in your audition.
     
  • Brass and Woodwinds: Applicants should be prepared to play entire work(s) from the standard repertoire. Selected works should be musically and technically advanced, i.e. suitable as major works on a senior recital. An accompanist is strongly recommended. Etudes, scales, arpeggios, and orchestral excerpts may also be included. Students should confer with the faculty member with whom they wish to study about specific requirements and appropriate repertoire.
     
  • Percussion: Applicants must perform one major solo in 3 of the 5 instrumental areas listed below.  In addition, each applicant should prepare 2 contrasting orchestral excerpts for snare drum, xylophone, and timpani. A demonstration of sight-reading ability on snare drum, marimba, and timpani may be asked.
    • Snare Drum: concert style and/or rudimental style 

    • Marimba

    • Timpani
    • Multiple-Percussion or Latin Percussion: an audio recording and score of a recent solo performance will satisfy the Multiple-Percussion requirement.
      • For Latin Percussion: demonstration of techniques on bongos, congas, and timbales

    • Drum Set: demonstration of time keeping in contrasting styles (jazz, rock, funk, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian) and a prepared solo - with or without audio accompaniment
  • Piano: 
    • Performance: Applicants should plan to play from memory selections from at least three of the following areas: J. S. Bach: Prelude and Fugue or larger work; Classical sonata by Haydn, Mozart or Beethoven; Significant work from the Romantic Period; Standard 20th or 21st-century work. You will also be asked to sight-read as part of this audition.
    • All other degrees: Applicants should plan to play from memory three important contrasting works from different styles and periods (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Contemporary).
  • Piano Pedagogy: Applicants should plan to play from memory selections from at least three of the following areas: J. S. Bach: Prelude and Fugue or larger work; Classical sonata by Haydn, Mozart or Beethoven; Significant work from the Romantic Period; Standard 20th or 21st-century work. You will also be asked to sight-read as part of this audition.
    • Applicants must also submit a video that demonstrates teaching abilities, through a link to an online video or DVD. This video should be 20 minutes in length, show the applicant working with two different students, and must be submitted at least one week prior to the interview. A polished performance by the student is not an expectation; instead choose excerpts that illustrate effective teaching and student learning. Include captions or a separate document with student’s first name, age, total years of study, and years of study with you.

C. Acceptance

The Graduate Office of Admissions will notify each applicant by mail as to whether admission has been granted. Any qualifying conditions will be indicated in the acceptance letter.

Upon admission, a student is assigned to an academic advisor.

To change from one music degree program to another, a student must submit a new graduate application to the Office of Graduate Admissions and be admitted into that program.

Students who do not enter with a bachelor's degree in music will be required to complete the coursework required for Butler's Bachelor of Arts degree in music in addition to the graduate coursework prescribed for their degree program.

D. Diagnostic Exams

Graduate Music Diagnostic Exams will be administered at the audition or at a designated new graduate student registration day.

The following exams will be administered:

  • music theory - required of all degree plans
  • music history - required of all degree plans
  • diction - required of vocal performance and choral conducting majors
  • translation - required of music history majors. The student may choose either French or German; a dictionary may be used.

A student who does not pass one or all of these exams will be required to take the required remedial course in their area of deficiency. These remedial courses count as elective credit in the student's degree plan, but will not fulfill specific course area requirements. Students may not re-rake any of the following graduate diagnostic exams: music history, music theory, diction. Students who do not pass the translation exam for music history must re-take the exam to demonstrate proficiency.

All incoming graduate students are required to take the appropriate exams, including Butler University graduates.

For advice on preparing for the history and theory exams, please review the preparation notes. Information about the Musicology Translation Exam can be found here. Please contact the School of Music office with any questions.

E. Non-degree Graduate Students

A person holding a baccalaureate degree from a regionally-accredited college or university who wishes to take graduate work for purposes other than obtaining an advanced degree (e.g., for teacher licensure to transfer to another institution, or for self-enrichment) may file a non-degree application. Application forms may be obtained from and submitted to the Office of Graduate Admission, and are also available online.

An official transcript with a baccalaureate degree posted must be mailed directly from the issuing institution to the Office of Graduate Admission. Applications must be received one week prior to the first day of class.

If a non-degree student chooses to enter a graduate degree program, the student must complete a graduate degree-seeking application and follow the applicable admissions procedures for the appropriate major.

All non-degree students are urged to become degree-seeking by the time they have completed 9-12 semester hours of graduate credit. A student can petition the Director of Graduate Music Studies to have up to 12 hours of non-degree work applied toward the degree program.

F. Renewed Enrollment

Any student whose attendance is interrupted by one academic year or more must file an Application for Renewed Enrollment. The application should be submitted to the following:

  • Office of Graduate Admission - if the student is seeking enrollment into a new degree program or changing status from non-degree to degree-seeking
  • Office of Registration and Records - in all other circumstances

Students enrolled in a graduate program at Butler University 10 or more years ago may be considered for re-admission for graduate study. Candidates must submit a new graduate degree-seeking application (see section above on applying for graduate admission) and meet current admission requirements.

Only coursework taken subsequent to the new admission will be counted toward degree requirements. All academic records, however, will be maintained so that the transcripts will reflect all of the studies and cumulative grade point average undertaken at Butler University.

An official transcript for any college work taken since a student's last enrollment at Butler must be mailed directly from the issuing institution to the Office of Registration and Records.