GSA Instrumental Music Auditions

Audition Deadline:  Applications must be into the GSA office no later than December 15, 2017

To Do:

Complete an ONLINE APPLICATION TO AUDITION or You may also Print the Application and fax, email or snail mail it

Complete Two Teacher Recommendation forms - these will be mailed to you, once your completed audition application has been received, along with your audition date and time.


The Audition Committee is committed to making every applicant feel as comfortable as possible during auditions.   The Committee is interested in your current level, your potential and your ability to describe your passion for music.

1.  On audition day, applicants will meet the Audition Team and fill out a brief information form.

2.  Applicants will be given several minutes to warm up in a private audition room.

3.  Applicants will be called into the the audition room to meet the Audition Committee and perform prepared scales or other rudimentary skills (percussion).  *Select any scale or group of scales that you feel represents your current level of musicianship and dedication.

4.  Applicants will perform two prepared pieces of any length.   Memorization is strongly encouraged.   *Select any two pieces that you feel represent your current level of musicianship and dedication.  When selecting your prepared pieces, keep in mind that it's good to pick works that are contrasting in style / character / tempo.   It's also wise to prepare entire works or movements, even though the Committee might not have time to hear both pieces in their entirety.*

5.  Applicants will be given a brief ear-training and rhythmic exercise (no preparation is necessary).

6.  Applicants will be asked to sight-read.   Everyone, including guitarists / bassists will be asked to single-note sightread.  Jazz applicants may be asked to improvise with live musicians or a prerecorded track.   Jazz piano and guitar applicants will be asked to demonstrate basic comping from chord symbols provided.   If any of these ideas are new to the applicant, a simple web search will help explain some of the basics.  Applicants who might feel uncomfortable with any of these concepts are still encouraged to audition.  The Committee will ask for some of these skills, but not being able to perform one or more of the tasks will not necessarily disqualify any applicant.

7.  Applicants will be asked a series of questions about their interest in music (no preparation is necessary).

  • Piano accompaniment is not required, but strongly encouraged.
  • Applicants are encouraged to dress professionally for the audition.
  • In some cases, applicants may be invited to participate in a second round of auditions.
  • In addition to a main instrumental performance area, applicants interested in composition are encouraged to bring printed copies of selected original compositions.  If available, bring only live recordings played by live musicians of original works.  If a live performance has not yet occurred, the printed music alone is equally acceptable on its own.  Feel free to include your original work as part of your prepared audition pieces.
  • Applicants auditioning on more than one instrument are assigned a double block of time and must complete the full requirements for both instruments.
  • Please be warmed up, tuned and ready to go for your audition time (i.e. do not waste audition time with setup needs).   The Audition Team is available to assist.
  • Electric guitar/bass musicians may use GSA amps, but are encouraged to bring their own setup to avoid surprises on unfamiliar equipment.


Drum set applicants must demonstrate basic rudiments on snare  and basic styles/grooves on set.   Drum set is provided; applicant must provide their own sticks/mallets for all instruments.

Orchestral percussion applicants must call the GSA Office to schedule a specific time with GSA faculty and equipment.

Optional:  It is very useful for all applicants to attend at least one GSA performance before auditions.   It is great for an applicant to be able to discuss a recent performance they attended during their audition.   Visit to find out about upcoming performances.

Most important:  All of the information above can seem overwhelming to many young musicians.  No matter where you might consider yourself in your musical journey, you are strongly encouraged to audition.  It might be one of the best decisions you have ever made.   Simply come as you are, better than you were before.

Parents and students, if you have any specific questions about auditioning for the Instrumental Music dept, please feel free to call Jeff Phelps at 757-995-1682 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Main Office

Main Office: 
757-451-4715 Fax 
254 Granby Street
orfolk, Virginia 23510