Audition Process and Requirements

Thank you for your interest in the Music Program at VIU.

An audition to assess your music skills is required as part of the application process.  A representative of the Music faculty will contact you directly to book a date and time for a live audition.  If you are unable to attend a live audition, we also accept video auditions by electronic submission:  mp3s, mp4s, YouTube, videos, DVDs, or CDs.  If any of the following information is unclear, we recommend you take these requirements to your private music teacher to ensure you fully understand what we are asking you to submit.

Live Audition

Please arrive one-half hour before your scheduled audition time.  You’ll be given the opportunity to warm up prior to the audition. The Music Building is Bldg. #320. Nanaimo campus map.  

Electronic Media Submissions

We also accept electronic media submission of an mp3, mp4, or Video. Upload the video to YouTube and send us the link. You can password protect it if you wish.  Please be sure your face, hands, and body are clearly visible on the Video, that you have adequate lighting, and that you take care to present the best examples of your playing that you can.  If you are not able to make a video of your audition, please ensure that your audio is of very good quality.

Send electronic audition submissions to Sasha Koerbler, Music Department Chair and Academic Advisor within the Music Programs: 
and ‘CC’ (copy) to Annette Woolf, Administrative Assistant, at 

Audition Requirements

(all instruments except drums)

During the audition, your performance level and musicality will be assessed by Music Department faculty members. Please note the following requirements:

  • You must perform two contrasting songs. We prefer performances in a Jazz style.  However, if you are not yet comfortable with the Jazz idiom, play two pieces that demonstrate your performance level in the genre you know best.
  • If you have composed an original piece, feel free to play it.
  • We will also assess the level of your technique. If you can, prepare some major scales and arpeggios in a few different keys. If you have studied the modes such as Dorian, Mixolydian, etc., please be prepared to play some of them.
  • Guitar and piano players:  Please play and name some different chords that you know.
  • If you can, improvise on blues and II – V – I chord progressions in a couple of major and minor keys.
  • Drummers:  Please see audition requirements further down on this page.

As part of your audition we would like to know about your Musical experience and your goals.

  • In a live audition, we will interview you.
  • For recorded auditions, please include a brief letter or email message outlining your Musical experience and your goals.

Drum Audition Requirements

Swing (Jazz) Timekeeping

  1. At a medium tempo (Quarter note = 120 – 160bpm), trade ‘8s’ with yourself: Play 8 bars of time, followed by 8 bars of solo. Do this for a total of 32 bars (8 bars time, 8 bars solo, 8 bars time, 8 bars solo).
  2. Repeat the above process using brushes.
  3. Play 12 bars of ballad tempo (Quarter note = 50bpm or slower) using brushes.


  1. Play 8 bars of Bossa Nova.
  2. Play 8 bars of any other Latin groove with which you are familiar (Mambo, Rumba, Songo, etc.)
  3. Play 32 bars of transitioning from Latin to swing timekeeping, e.g. 8 bars of Bossa Nova, 8 bars of Swing, 8 bars of Bossa Nova, 8 bars of Swing.


Play each rudiment gradually transitioning from Open (slow) to Close (fast) and back to Open. Make the transition as smooth as possible.

  1. Double-Stroke Roll
  2. Flam Tap
  3. Single Ratamacue
  4. Double Paradiddle

Snare Drum Etude/Reading Demonstration

  1. Play ‘Rolling in Rhythm,’ Page 14 of Charlie Wilcoxon’s Modern Rudimental Swing Solos for the Advanced Drummer, no slower than Quarter note = 80bpm.
  2. Play ‘Exercise One,’ Page 38 of Ted Reed’s Progressive Steps to Syncopation for the Modern Drummer, no slower than Quarter note = 100bpm.

Student’s Choice

  1. Provide an example of your playing that you feel best demonstrates your ability and interest. This could be anything from an example of Metal Drumming, Funk or Hip Hop, soloing in the style of a certain player you admire, or an original groove or idea that you create.
  2. Finally, please speak briefly about the musicians you admire and draw inspiration from, what you hope to achieve by attending VIU, and where you see yourself 4 to 6 years from now.

Audition Accompanists

The Music Department does not provide accompanists for auditions. If you require accompaniment, you will need to provide your own, whether it is live or recorded backing tracks. It is, of course, acceptable to perform your audition solo, without accompaniment.

Advanced Placement

Please contact the Music Department Chair if you wish to apply for Advanced Placement.

Transfer Students

We welcome Transfer Students. Students transferring from other institutions to the Jazz degree program will be required to play an audition.

Previous Learning Assessment (PLA)

Applicants with considerable performing experience might be eligible for advanced placement. Learn more about Prior Learning Assessment.  


If you have any questions, please contact:

Sasha Koerbler
Music Department Chair and Academic Advisor to Music programs 

We look forward to meeting you and listening to you play.