Admissions, Auditions & Scholarships

Key Dates

  • Deadline to apply for StFX Academic Scholarship: March 1. Submissions must be complete by March 1. Refer to Admissions Key Dates.
  • Deadline to apply for a Music Department Scholarship: March 1
  • Deadline to audition for the music program: April 30 - we will accept applications after this date but cannot guarantee a seat. Please email to inquire about auditioning.

Note: It is possible to receive both a StFX Academic Scholarship and a Music Department Scholarship.

Admission to StFX Music
To be admitted to the Music Program at StFX, you must be accepted by both the University and the Music Department. Information on how to apply to the university is here:  

To be accepted into the StFX Music Department, you must pass an audition. Download an audition form here, fill it out on your computer, email it back to the Music Department at, and arrange an appointment for your audition.

Residents of Nova Scotia (including Cape Breton Island), New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island are strongly encouraged to audition in person. If that is not possible you may arrange to stream a live audition through FaceTime or Skype. If this is also not possible we will accept video auditions through:

  • 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
PO Box 5000
Antigonish, Nova Scotia
B2G 2W5

Audio-only auditions (mp3, CD, etc.) will not be accepted. The required content of your audition is described in the next section “Audition Information”.

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

Transfer students
We now have articulation agreements with Holland College and Nova Scotia Community College:

Holland College:
Graduates of Holland College Music Performance Diploma may be eligible to receive two years' credit toward StFX’s Bachelor of Music, or 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 Music, or 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

Students wishing to transfer to StFX from these colleges should email the music department at

StFX Music Department Scholarships

These are based on musical talent, and are independent of academic grades. Talent will be assessed by audition.

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

Beginning in the 2020-21 school year, scholarships are renewable for four years. The deadline to apply for a music department scholarship is March 1.

To apply for a Music Department Scholarship:

  1. Schedule an audition or submit a video recorded audition with the music department. (See details under next section “Admission to St. FX Music”.)
  2. Submit an essay (500-1000 words) describing your musical past (musical experience and training) and future (aspirations, inspirations, or goals). Include your name on your paper, and email the essay, with subject line “Scholarship Application Essay” to

Note: Candidates may also be interviewed via streaming video (Skype or FaceTime).

Private Scholarships
StFX occasionally hears about music scholarships that are funded by private donations and administered outside of the university. Students from Cape Breton may be interested in applying for the Ruth Goldbloom Award for the 2022-23 academic year. The application deadline is April 30.  

Interested persons should submit a biographical outline including career aspirations, education to-date and some indication of financial need. Please mail completed applications to: The Charles and Mary MacLennan Foundation, 62 Highland Drive, Truro, NS B2N 1B9

The Professor Emeritus Jack O’Donnell, C.M. Music Scholarship is awarded prior to the fourth year of study to the Bachelor of Music candidate with the highest grade average in their third year. 

The Daniel and Frances Anzelc Cordeau Music Scholarship is awarded to a first-year Music student that self-identifies as being of Slovenian ancestry. There is one scholarship of $7000 per year, renewable for four years, awarded to a single student every four years. Application deadline is April 1, 2022. The next scholarship will be awarded in May of 2022. 

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


  1. Play Major, Jazz Melodic Minor, and Harmonic Minor scales in the key of G (2 octaves preferred, 1 octave mandatory).
  2. Play a walking bass line over the changes of a 12-bar blues. There should be three variations.
  3. Play a jazz standard of your choice (not a blues), including the melody and a walking line that fits the changes.
  4. Live auditions should be prepared to sight-read.

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


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 drum set.

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


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.

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


Auditions for new students should include two contrasting pieces, done solo or within a group. At least one piece must be jazz, and include improvisation.

Demonstration of technique must also be prepared.
Piano requirements for transfer students are as follows:

  1. Technique
    • Major scales, Melodic minor and Harmonic minor scales in all 12 keys
    • Major and Minor Triads in all inversions, solid and broken form
  2. Play one classical etude of your choice demonstrating performance technique.
  3. Play one jazz standard of your choice, demonstrating an ability to play the melody and chords as well as improvising over the form of the piece.
  4. In person auditions will also include some basic questions on chord and scale knowledge, as well as a brief sight-reading test.

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


Audition Requirements, except transfer students:

  1. Play a medium tempo jazz standard (example: Now’s the Time, Blue Bossa, Autumn Leaves, etc...).  Play the melody and your improvised solo over the chord changes. If you are auditioning live, please bring a play-along recording of the songs you wish to play.
  2. There are no technical requirements although it would be adviseable to be able to play all major scales.
  3. Live auditions may include sight reading.

Audition requirements for transfer students:

  1. Play one of the following standards: “All The Things You Are”, “All of Me”, “Solar”.  Play the melody and an improvised solo.
  2. All Major Scales, Melodic (Jazz) minor Scales
  3. Perform a transcription of your choice

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


Brass Studio (Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Cornet, Trombone, French Horn, Euphonium)
Message from Professor, Paul Tynan:

During your brass studies while at StFX 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 StFX where we work on all the above.

 Want to hear what your new teacher sounds like?

Click here for an example of StFX 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); and 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):

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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