1. How do I apply to Music at the University of Waterloo?
If you wish to study music here, you must first apply for admission to the University of Waterloo, since the Music is a program of the University under the Faculty of Arts. Music degrees are granted by the University of Waterloo. Applications for admission should be made through Ontario Universities' Application Centre (OUAC)
2. Do I have to audition to get into Music at the University of Waterloo?
Eventually, yes. (See also #5 below)
There are two different possible stages of audition periods:
1. As a future student. Auditions are usually in February/March.
These are for entrance scholarships for those who intend to study music as their major (or double major), and no guarantee of entrance into the Music program.
2. As a current student. Auditions are at the beginning of every fall, winter and spring term.
As a music major (majors are not chosen until at least 2nd year): you will need to demonstrate Grade 8 RCM performance level for an audition.
To graduate with a degree in music, you will need to demonstrate approximately a Grade 10 Royal Conservatory level of competence in an instrument or voice. You may already come with this skill, or you may achieve it through private study. In either case, if you are not interested in a Music Studio course, you do not need to audition to study music at University of Waterloo. Typically though, students attain the required performance level through the Music Studio courses.
As an elective course for music studio: If you are interested in studying an instrument for credit while at the University of Waterloo, you need to audition for a course called Music Studio. Music Studio offers individual instruction in voice, piano, guitar and all orchestral instruments. Lessons are weekly and are typically 45 minutes in length. You receive one lesson a week for twelve weeks. You may take up to two terms of studio (approximately 24 weeks of lessons) as arts elective courses, without being a music major. You should have a skill level of approximately Grade 8 Royal Conservatory or its equivalent if you wish to enroll in a Music Studio course. If you are not interested in a Music Studio course, you do not need to audition.
3. How do I arrange an audition for Music Studio?
You should contact the Music Department Administrative Assistant by phone or by email to arrange an audition. Following the audition, you may wish to contact the Undergraduate Music Advisor to arrange an interview to discuss your musical background, the requirements for studio and for the degree program you wish to take.
4. What do I need to do for the audition for Music Studio?
You need to prepare two pieces (or selections from a larger work) of contrasting style. It is preferable but not required that these be performed from memory. You will also be asked to sight-read a short musical passage. Vocalists will be asked to sight-sing. If you are an instrumentalist or a vocalist, you will be provided with a piano accompanist at no charge to you.
See full audition details.
5. Do I have to be accepted before I audition, or do I audition before I can be accepted?
You do not need to pass an audition before being accepted to the University of Waterloo. See #2 above.
The audition for music studio and your acceptance by the University are two separate procedures. Your acceptance to the University of Waterloo is not influenced by your music studio audition.
You may choose to take one of two paths:
1. early Spring audition (March/April), - as a Future Student, or
2. September/January/May audition - as a Current Student.
If you wish, you may audition for music studio in April even if you do not have an offer from the University of Waterloo. You do not need to worry that your acceptance to the University will be turned down if your audition does not go well. Your acceptance to the University of Waterloo is not affected by your audition. The advantage to this method is that you know right away if you will be able to take music studio in the fall. The disadvantage is that you do not know if you have been accepted by the university. If you are not accepted by the university, you cannot study music here no matter how well your audition goes. You may also wish to wait and see if you get accepted by the university before auditioning. For those with early offers can audition in April. If you receive a later offer, your audition would take place in September during the orientation week. Please keep in mind that your acceptance to the University of Waterloo does not guarantee that you will pass your audition to music studio. You should have a skill level of approximately Grade 8 Royal Conservatory or its equivalent if you wish to enrol in a Music Studio course. If you do not have this skill level, you may not be accepted into music studio, even if you have been accepted by the University of Waterloo. The advantage to this method is that you already know that you have been accepted by the university. The disadvantage is you will not know until the fall whether or not you can take a Music Studio course and study an instrument for credit at the University of Waterloo. Auditions take place at the beginning of every new term, so it is possible to study privately and then re-audition.
6. I have applied to get into music at UWaterloo, but no one has contacted me to set up an audition. What do I do?
As mentioned in #5 above, it is not necessary to audition before you are accepted to the University of Waterloo, but there are definitely advantages to audition early.
To set up an audition, you need to contact the music department office. See details.
What if I don't pass my audition the first time? Can I try again? Usually, you can try again. At your audition, the panelists listening to you may give you an option to try again. If you are very close to the level required, but not quite there, they may recommend that you take some private lessons before trying again.
7. What if I don't get accepted by the University of Waterloo? Can I still take music courses?
No. In order to study music here, you must be accepted by the University of Waterloo.
8. I live quite far from UWaterloo, and it will be impossible to travel to take an audition. May I send a recording?
Normally we only hear people in person.
However, while studio courses are being offered as remote lessons only, we will accept video submission auditions. See details.
Auditions take place at several times throughout the year and you can audition once you arrive on campus as a student.
9. I have registered for MUSIC 116 and my timetable says "arrange". What do I do?
You have registered for your first term of a music ensemble. The University of Waterloo Music department at Conrad Grebel University College offers eight ensembles: Chapel Choir, Chamber Choir and University Choir for vocalists; Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, World Music Ensemble and Instrumental Chamber Ensembles for instrumentalists. See the ensemble web page of this website for more information on ensembles. In order to join an ensemble, you need to audition. Auditions are held during registration week and the first week of class in September, the first week of class in January and the first week of class in May. Sign up for auditions are online on our website. You may also email Angelica Allen (the Ensemble Coordinator) to arrange an audition.
Some ensembles are harder to get into than others. For instance, the Chapel Choir and Chamber Choir are smaller choirs. The singers chosen are strong vocalists, with an extensive background in choral singing. Generally speaking, if you have experience in playing in ensembles in high school, or in other groups, and/or have taken private music lessons, you stand a good chance of getting into the ensemble of your choice. Learn more about music ensembles and the audition requirements for each at the ensembles web page.
10. How do I get into a music ensemble?
In order to take a music ensemble course, you must audition. See #9 above.
11. Can I take a music ensemble for credit?
Yes. Each term of ensemble is given a 0.25 credit, to a maximum of eight terms. Within the Faculty of Arts, up to two pairs of 0.25 credit courses may be counted as term course (0.50) equivalents, and counted towards degree requirements. Your first term of ensemble, no matter what ensemble you are in, is 116. Your next term of ensemble, no matter what ensemble you choose, is 117 and so on. In other words, register using the lowest course number for your first term, the next highest for your second term, etc.
If you wish to receive credit for a music ensemble you must register for it on your timetable (through the University of Waterloo Registrar's office) before the drop/add period ends. The course number is MUSIC 116 (with 117, 216, 217, 316, 317 used for succeeding terms). The division is "GE." The course is offered on a credit/fail basis.
12. Do I have to take a music ensemble for credit?
13. What is required in a music ensemble?
Whether you are taking ensemble for credit or not, students must attend rehearsals regularly. Generally, you are permitted to miss no more than two rehearsals a term. Each ensemble will perform a final concert close to the end of the term. It is mandatory to attend the dress rehearsal (an extra rehearsal right before a concert) and the final concert. The good new is - there are no exams!
14. I would like to take some music lessons. Can I do this at University of Waterloo?
Yes, under certain conditions.
If you are interested in studying an instrument for credit while at the University of Waterloo, you need to audition for a course called Music Studio. Music Studio offers individual instruction in voice, piano, guitar and all orchestral instruments. Lessons are weekly and normally are 45 minutes in length. You receive one lesson a week for twelve weeks. You may take up to two terms of studio (approximately 24 weeks of lessons) as arts elective courses, without being a music major. You should have a skill level of approximately Grade 8 Royal Conservatory or its equivalent if you wish to enroll in a Music Studio course. For information about the audition process, see "How do I arrange an audition for Music Studio?" and "What do I need to do for the audition?" within these FAQs.
15. What is required in the Music Studio course?
Once you have passed the audition, you need to drop by the Music Office. The Administration Assistant will give you a permission number to register online for the course. You must also pay a Music Studio fee on top of your regular tuition, payable to Conrad Grebel University College. Lessons are weekly and normally are 45 minutes in length. You receive one lesson a week for twelve weeks.
You must also participate in master classes, which are scheduled throughout the term. A master class is a larger version of a lesson. All students studying your instrument participate in a group class. Every student is required to perform at least once in front of his or her peers and the master class instructor. Students who are enrolled in 226 and 227 are encouraged to participate in students recitals. These recitals take place near the end of the term. Students enrolled in 326, 327, 426 and 427 must participate in students recitals.
The final exam is called a jury. Juries are held after the last day of class. In this jury, you will be asked to perform two of the pieces you have been working on throughout the term. You will perform in front of two music professors. Your mark is based on your instructor's evaluation. This evaluation is worth 60% of your final mark. Your jury counts for 30% of your final mark, and your participation in master class counts for 10% of your mark. The master class grade may not normally raise the grade which would otherwise be the result of the instructor and jury grades.
Finally, you are required to register participate in a music ensemble course. This course is worth a quarter credit; Music Studio is worth a half credit.
16. Are there any music lessons for beginners available for credit?
No. The music department does not offer lessons for beginners. You need to have a skill level of grade 8 from the Royal Conservatory of Music or its equivalent to enroll in music lessons. Music lessons are available privately off campus. These lessons are not available through the University of Waterloo, and are not available for credit. If you are interested in starting some music lessons for your own enjoyment, email the Music Department.
17. Do you rent out instruments?
Conrad Grebel University College has a very limited (and I mean really limited) number of instruments available to students who are taking an ensemble course. Instruments are not available for any activities outside the Department of Music. You may rent an instrument for a term. The instrument is due back after the final concert. For more information on what is available, contact the music office at 519-885-0220 x24226.
18. Can anyone use the practice rooms?
The practice rooms at Conrad Grebel are for the use of those currently:
- in a music program,
- taking music studio or an ensemble
- in a music course that requires their use
- you live in the Conrad Grebel residence.
- Please note: in Fall 2020 due to the Covid 19 situation the practice rooms are closed, unless you are a Conrad Grebel resident.
Only those in music studio can actually book a time slot in a practice room. Otherwise, it's first come, first serve, and only if you fit a category explained above.
Please check with the Turn Key desk in the Student Life Centre to book out their piano/practice room. Each UW Residence should also have a "music room" for those living there.