Music Department

Applied Music Program



Since 2001, the Santa Monica College Applied Music Program has been providing talented music students the opportunity to have affordable private instruction in their particular applied music discipline in preparation for transfer as music majors to four-year universities or conservatories.

Taught by the Music Department’s highly-qualified faculty from the Southern California area, this program helps students to transfer to most four-year music programs at the 3rd-year level. The Applied Music Program offers its students private instruction in any acoustic instrument, voice, composition, or other applied discipline in which the student is qualified. Qualifications are determined by audition at the end of each Fall and Spring semester. Once in the program, Applied Music students are required each semester to enroll in Music 92 (Applied Lessons), Music 94 (Concert Music Class), an SMC performance ensemble, a Piano Class (60A, 60B, 60C, 60D, 61A and 61B), and the appropriate theory and musicianship classes (Music 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8). All required music classes are to be taken at SMC and not at any other institution. Applied students are also required to spend at least five hours per week practicing on campus.

If you are seriously considering a major in music, here is an opportunity to develop your skills at Community College tuition rates and then finish your music degree at a four-year institution. Additionally, each applied music student who completes four semesters in the applied program and successfully transfers as a music major to a four-year institution within 2.5 academic years is eligible for a cash scholarship of up to $1,000. Each applied music student who successfully transfers as a music major to a four-year institution within 1.5 academic years of completing one, two, or three semesters in the applied program is eligible for a cash scholarship of up to $250 for each semester completed in the program. Those students who have already earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music are not eligible. Additionally, the applied program is not for students who plan to transfer directly into a graduate music program.

Santa Monica College is ranked the #1 transfer institution to the University of California, California State University, the University of Southern California, and Loyola Marymount University, as well as many other four-year schools, universities, and music conservatories.

The Audition Process

Qualified students are permitted to take Applied Music for credit during the Fall and Spring semesters at Santa Monica College and are expected to make a commitment to all four semesters in the program. Auditions to qualify will take place at the end of the Fall and Spring semesters (the application deadline and audition date are listed at the bottom of this page).

Pre-Audition Screening

Each applicant will submit an application form and MP3s or links to uploaded videos of their recent performances of the repertoire that they plan to perform at the audition. Composers should submit two contrasting PDF scores and an MP3 of each composition. Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to include the signature of their current private music instructor or their SMC Performance Class Instructor (voice class, piano class, guitar class, etc.). The full-time faculty will review all applications and supporting materials, and a select group will be invited by email to audition in person.


All applicants who pass the Pre-Audition Screening will be assigned an audition appointment time that may not be rescheduled if the student misses their assigned time. Depending on the performance specialty, an accompanist is preferred (to be supplied by the applicant). Applicants who require an accompanist may also arrange in advance to use the designated Music Department Staff Accompanist in the event that they cannot arrange for an outside accompanist. There is a $25 fee for using the SMC Staff Accompanist that includes an eight-minute rehearsal and the audition. Each audition appointment will be scheduled for seven or eight minutes but may be shorter, at the discretion of the Audition Panel.

Below are the audition repertoire requirements for each general applied area:

Classical Instrumentalists should perform at least two selections of contrasting style or from different historical periods. Memorization is not required but is encouraged.

Classical Vocalists should sing two selections from the Classical repertoire including one in a foreign language. Both selections must be performed from memory.

Classical Pianists should perform one piece by Bach, Mozart, or Beethoven and one piece from a contrasting historical period. All selections must be performed from memory.

Composers should present two contrasting compositions in either a live performance or a CD audio recording. They should also submit at least three copies of the fully-notated full score for each work (no lead sheets or MIDI files, please).

Jazz Instrumentalists should perform one Classical composition and a jazz ballad, up-tempo jazz standard, or blues. Memorization is not required but is encouraged.

Jazz Vocalists should perform one Classical song and a jazz ballad or up-tempo jazz standard. All selections must be performed from memory.

Jazz Pianists should perform one Classical piece and a jazz ballad, up-tempo jazz standard, or blues. All selections must be performed from memory.

The audition panel will be comprised of the Full-Time Music Faculty and qualified Adjunct Faculty members. Applicants will be informed by email within one to two weeks of the result of the audition. New students who are accepted must inform the Applied Music Coordinator by email within 30 days of their plan to matriculate and enroll in the Applied Program.

Any applied student who takes more than a one-semester leave of absence from the applied program will be required to re-audition in order to be readmitted.

Detailed information about the Applied Music Program can be found in the Applied Audition Form below.

THE APPLICATION DEADLINE IS FRIDAY, MAY 14, 2021, AT 11:59 P.M., for admission to the program in Fall 2021. There are no exceptions made for this deadline.

The Applied Music Program audition interviews will be held via Zoom during the morning of Saturday, June 5, 2021.

Application for Applied Music Program Admission in Fall 2021