Admissions, Auditions & Scholarships


The Music Department of STFX University announces:

 The Daniel and Frances Anzelc Cordeau Music Scholarship

This scholarship - $7000 each year for four years – will be awarded to a promising first year music student. 


Applicants must self-identify as to their Slovenian heritage and background, if applicable.  Preference will be shown to applicants of Slovenian background. In the event that no student of Slovenian background applies, the recipient of the award will be chosen based on their musical ability.  Applications will include an essay written to explain their musical experience and aspirations; the essay should also explain their Slovenian background.

All applicants must audition.  Live auditions are preferred; video auditions will be accepted.  Audition materials should conform to the guidelines specified for their instrument or voice (see below).  Additional materials, such as prepared solo pieces or examples of original work are strongly suggested.  All materials will be judged on their musicality.

Application Deadline

Applications for Fall 2018 entry will be taken until 1 April 2018.  The recipient of the award will be determined no later than 1 May 2018.

To apply, please download this form, and return it to or by mail to:

Music Department
St Francis Xavier University
PO Box 5000
Antigonish NS B2G 2W5

If your audition will be submitted on video, please include a link to a downloadable file.  If your audition is to be done in person, please contact us for scheduling:


St. FX Music Department Scholarships

These are based on musical talent, and are independent of grade averages.  (It will be possible to receive both a STFX Academic Scholarship and a Music Department Scholarship.)  Talent will be assessed by audition.

Candidates must apply to STFX University before applying for one of these scholarships.

Scholarships are in the amount of up to $5000 each.

To apply for a Music Department scholarship:

1.       Download an audition form here.  It can be filled out on your computer.  Save it as a .pdf, then email it back to the Music Department at

2.       Schedule an audition by email at or phone at 902.867.2106.  

3.       Candidates from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island are required to audition in person.  For all others, a live audition is strongly recommended, but not required.  If a live audition is not possible, we will accept one on video, either uploaded or on DVD.

4.       Candidates are required to submit an essay (no more than 500 words) describing their musical past (musical experience and training) and future (aspirations, inspirations, or goals). 

5.       We may interview candidates via streaming (Skype or FaceTime). 


Admission to St. FX Music:

To be admitted to the Music Program at STFX, you must be accepted by both the University and the Music Department.

 To be accepted into the STFX Music Department, you must pass an audition.  

To set up a live audition, please click here.  Residents of Nova Scotia (including Cape Breton Island), New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island are strongly encouraged to audition in person.

We will accept auditions in several formats:

  • Downloadable video (via Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, or other cloud-based service)
  • Private YouTube channel (you may be contacted for access permission)
  • DVD 

Send DVDs to this address:

Music Department
St Francis Xavier University
Box 5000
Antigonish, Nova Scotia B2G 2W5
(902) 867-2106

You may also arrange to stream a live audition through FaceTime or Skype.

Audio-only auditions (mp3, CD, etc.) will not be accepted.  

Auditions must be accompanied by an audition form.  Click here to download a printable form, or send an email to

Acceptance to the University does not guarantee acceptance to the music program, nor vice versa. The Admissions Office will contact you about your admission status only after it has been notified by the Music Department.

Transfer students

We now have an articulation agreement with Holland College and Nova Scotia Community College:

Holland College

Graduates of Holland College Music Performance Diploma may be eligible to receive two year’s credit toward StFX’s Bachelor of Music (Honours) or Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Music and be eligible to complete the StFX degree after two year’s full-time study.

Nova Scotia Community College

Graduates of the NSCC Diploma in Music Arts may be eligible to receive two year’s

credit toward StFX’s Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Music and be eligible to complete the StFX degree after two year’s full-time study

Students wishing to transfer to St. FX from these colleges should email the music department:


Audition information:


Auditions for the bass studio can be on upright or electric bass.


6.       Play Major, Jazz Melodic Minor, and Harmonic Minor scales in the key of G

7.       Play a walking bass line over the changes of a 12-bar blues. There should be three variations.

8.       Play a jazz standard of your choice (not a blues), including the melody and a walking line that fits the changes.

9.       Live auditions should be prepared to sight-read.



All auditioning students must demonstrate fundamental skills on snare drum and drumset. It is preferable that you audition in person, but as that is not often practical, a recorded audition on video is acceptable.

For sight-reading selections, you must include a PDF scan or Finale copy of the chart in your submission.

Recorded audition materials

Snare drum:
Play a rudimental and/or orchestral snare solo or etude. Please include a copy of the selection in your submission. Demonstrate your knowledge and proficiency at various rolls and rudiments of your choosing.

Drum set:
Showcase your drumset skills. Video yourself with a combo, big band, or with a play-along rhythm track of your choice.

Demonstrate your knowledge of jazz styles, traditional and modern, at various tempos. (4/4 and 3/4 time signatures, including the use of brushes)

Demonstrate your ability to play in a rock, funk, and/or fusion style.

Demonstrate your familiarity with Afro-Cuban and Brazilian styles. (Bossa Nova, Samba, Mambo, Afro-Cuban 6/8 etc.)

Solo in any of these various settings, including trading fours, filling, and improvising over a form.

Demonstrate your skill level at chart reading.  Include a copy of the chart in your submission.

Live auditions

You will be required to demonstrate all of the above, while given the added opportunity to show your ability to interact musically with an ensemble.

You may choose your own selections from the required styles to play live with a combo.

You will also be given sight reading material for both snare drum and drumset.


The guitar audition is a way for us to measure how hard you have worked so far with the tools available to you - and therefore, how hard you are likely to work once you are here. It also is an indicator of how much remedial instruction, if any, you will need if you are admitted.

Prepare at least two jazz standards, to be played with accompanying tracks (i.e., Aebersold or Band-in-a-box).  These need not be difficult tunes, but they must be jazz standards.

·         Play the melody

·         Comp through the chord changes

·         Play a jazz solo with the accompaniment

Under some circumstances, guitar auditions can be done live on streaming video. Please contact Kevin Brunkhorst for details.

Submissions will be judged on musicality (good tone and time) and basic guitar knowledge ('chops' or technical skill, demonstrated knowledge of chord voicings or voice leading).

You will be asked about your overall knowledge and familiarity with jazz. You should know the major figures and major recordings in jazz and jazz guitar.



Auditions for new students should include three contrasting pieces, done solo or within a group. At least two of the pieces must be jazz, and at least one of them should include improvisation. One piece may be classical. Demonstration of technique (scales, arpeggios, etc.) should also be included.

Piano requirements for transfer students can be found on this document: Jazz Piano Transfer Requirements (pdf).

The audio file that corresponds to it is here: There'll Never Be Another You

The sheet music for that is here: There'll Never Be Another You (pdf)

If you have questions, or wish to set up an audition, please contact us at 


Audition requirements:

1.       Play a song from the standard jazz repertoire, including the melody and improvisation over the chord changes, preferably from memory. If you are auditioning live, please bring a play-along recording of the song you wish to play.

2.       Play a ballad without accompaniment. Only the melody is required.

3.       Live auditions may include sight reading.

There are no specific requirements for scales or arpeggios, but it is in your favour to know at least all of the major scales. Also, you should perform anything outside of the jazz repertoire that is of particular interest to you.

If you have questions, or wish to set up an audition, please email 


Your audition, whether live or recorded, must include the following:

1. A jazz standard of your choosing to be played with an Aebersold recording or live band.

2. A legato etude from Bordogni Book 1

3. All major scales.

The audition can be set up through the music department administrative assistant at

For this audition, you will be given a short theory quiz to further assess your musical background.

These auditions are simple and relatively concise.  They are the best way for the department to assist you in your curricular objectives. 


Message from trumpet teacher, Paul Tynan:

During your trumpet studies while at St. FX we’ll work on command of the instrument, technique, sound production, repertoire and reading ability.  My goal for you is to make sure that you, as a player, will be able to function in most any situation you may find yourself in musically. You will have a weekly lesson at St. FX where we work on all the above.

Want to hear what your new teacher sounds like?

Click here for an example of St. FX Trumpet Professor Paul Tynan playing at the famous New York City venue, Smalls Jazz Club, with The New York Jazz Exchange.

Audition Requirements, except transfer students:


·         Major scales (in two octaves where possible)

Musical Selections:

·         Two pieces of any style - one lyrical, and one technical.

·         A piece of music of your choosing from the jazz tradition.

If there is any piece you would like to play in addition to the above you are welcome to play it.

Audition requirements for transfer students:

Required Standards:

·         “Stella by Starlight” by Victor Young. MM=150+

·         “You Don’t Know What Love is” by Gene DePaul/Don Raye. Performed as a ballad.

Scales (played in eighth notes at Quarter = MM 88bpm, two 8va when possible):

All Major scales

·         Chromatic scale (low C to High C)

·         All Jazz Melodic minor scales

If you have questions, or wish to set up an audition, please contact Paul Tynan: 


Audition Requirements, except transfer students:

1.       One medium or up-tempo jazz standard, accompanied. Vocal improvisation (scat-singing) is encouraged but not required. 

2.       One jazz ballad, accompanied.

3.        One other tune of your choice in the style of your choosing. This may be an Italian aria, art song (German, French or English), musical theatre tune, or contemporary popular song of any style.

4.       Optional: One original composition may be performed in addition to the above selections.

5.       a) Major and Harmonic Minor scales on the vowel of your choice, one octave ascending and then descending. This is to demonstrate technique across your range. At least three keys will be chosen which are most appropriate for your voice range.  Examples: Soprano/Tenor: C, E, G (and above); Baritone/Mezzo-Soprano/Alto:A, D, Eb (F); Bass: F, A, D (E)

b) The following chords as arpeggios, ascending and descending: major 7th, minor 7th, dominant 7th

6.       Submit a one-page description of your musical background. Include any and all private study, performance experience and theory study. Discuss your goals as a vocalist/musician.

Audition Requirements, transfer students (in addition to the above):

7.       Improvise over your medium or up-tempo tune selection.  Examples: Autumn Leaves, Beautiful Love, It Could Happen To You, Lullaby of Birdland, How High The Moon

8.       Play a jazz ballad at the piano using standardized chord voicings. You may choose to sing the melody (self-accompany).  Examples: Autumn Leaves, Embraceable You, My Funny Valentine, Angel Eyes, But Beautiful

9.       Submit a repertoire book with a minimum of 12 jazz standards and compositions varying in style and tempo. Lead sheets must be written/printed in your key. If accepted, you will be expected to perform the music memorized in the first private lesson.

If you have questions, or wish to set up an audition, please contact Ryan Billington at