Applied to the BMUS program? Here’s an update on the process

By Katherine Evans, Admissions Manager

By now, you have probably submitted your general application to UBC and chosen “BMUS” as one of your choices of degree program. You’ve also been directed to submit and pay for the Supplementary Audition Form, and sent a 2019 Reference Form link to your two references for them to submit on your behalf.  

If you are planning on playing an audition in-person, you should have recently received an audition date and time for one of the first two weekends of March. We are not often able to take requests about audition days because the audition schedule is instrument-specific and can depend on faculty schedules, but if you have a conflict with your date or time, please let me know and we will try our best to accommodate. If you live far away and are planning to submit a video audition, you should have received instructions via email about how to upload it. The upload deadline this year is February 25, 2019.

If you are applying for the Composition major, you have uploaded your recordings and sent your portfolio in hard-copy to the Music School and it will arrive by March 1. (If it’s a few days later than March 1st, that’s okay too.)

Haven’t received an audition time? Haven’t received directions to upload your audition video? Having issues of any kind about the audition process? Let us know! We’re looking forward to meeting you on the audition day or watching your audition video submission.

Now, take a moment to sit back — well done! You can imagine having a beautiful experience on your audition day.  The sun is shining, a cheerful UBC student greets you when you check in at the welcome desk, and the faculty are all in a good mood because the Music Undergraduate Association has coffee, tea, and cookies available in the lobby.  You will be able to warm up in a private practice room and bring your best performance level into the audition experience.

What would your life be like as a UBC Music student? You love music, love playing your instrument, and are excited to explore the incredible academic resources of an amazing institution! You will spend lots of time in the Music Building, Roy Barnett Recital Hall, Old Auditorium, and the Chan Centre, as well as the Music, Art, and Architecture Library in the Barber Learning Centre and the AMS Student Nest too. 

We’ve posted some audition advice for you on the Admissions Blog and you may also want to check out UBC’s guide to life on campus.

How do I choose an undergrad program?

By Katherine Evans, Admissions Manager

Thinking about applying to an undergraduate degree program at the School of Music? The School of Music offers coursework that can be studied in two different degree programs: the Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Arts with a major in Music.

If you are committed to studying music as your major, you can choose both of these options on the UBC application. If one of your choices is going to be a different degree option like Science or Commerce, then you will really need to know which music option is right for you. It’s great to read through these options now, because after the UBC application deadline — January 15th you can’t change your degree choices on the UBC application.

Important clarification: degree versus major

Each degree program that you choose on the UBC general application has a separate admissions process.

  • Choose “BMUS” to apply to the Bachelor of Music (BMUS) degree and then, using the BMUS Supplementary Application, apply to one of the majors within the BMUS degree. Advanced Performance (i.e Opera Performance or Orchestral Instrument Performance) Composition, Music Scholarship, and General Studies - with a concentration on your audition instrument - are all majors within the BMUS degree. 

  • Choose “BA” to apply to the  Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree — as part of which you can declare a Music major.

Every applicant is different!

 Each of you has a unique background and combination of interests and will have to consider carefully the degree that is right for you.  Below are a couple of basic scenarios that Music admissions sees a lot — but feel free to contact me (Katherine) or our music advisor, Robert Ablenas, to discuss your options.  

I want to study my instrument/voice with a private teacher during my degree

The BMUS is the primary music degree offered at UBC. Applicants who are interested in music performance – Advanced Performance, Composition, General Studies with a major in an instrument or voice - and have a primary interest in Western classical music should choose the Bachelor of Music (BMUS) as one of their two options on the UBC application in order to pursue these goals.

I want to take lots of music courses at UBC, but I don’t have Western classical instrument/voice training

This is true of many applicants who have extensive experience working in other genres of music, creating computer and electronic music, or working with music technology. In this case, the Bachelor of Arts program may be right for you.  You can apply to the program without an audition component. As part of the BA you can enrol in a broad range of theory, history, and some composition courses, consider the Applied Music Technology minor, and explore other subjects in the liberal arts.

I like playing my instrument and being involved in music, but I’m not sure/I don’t want to make it the focus of my university career.

Stay involved in Music at an advanced level by participating in the School of Music large ensembles! In whatever field you choose, you are welcome to audition for ensembles and enrol in them for credit, dependent on the requirements of your academic program. Auditions are held in the first week of school in September.  Take a look!

I want to major in music and take private lessons on my instrument, but I have a strong interest in another subject too.

Good news! The B.Mus. degree is really flexible in this way. If you are a B.Mus. student, you can choose to double-major with any other field in the Faculty of Arts (except a few, small specialty programs) without any additional application. Have a look through all the available majors!  

If you have a very strong interest in Science and Music.

Consider our dual B.Sc. + B.Mus degree program! Please note that this is a dual degree with the Bachelor of Science degree program only. There is no dual degree program between Music and the Bachelor of Applied Science (BASC).  

If you are interested in Computer Science, you might also consider a Bachelor of Music degree with a double-major in Computer Science within the Faculty of Arts.

Video: The importance of one-on-one studio instruction

One-on-one studio instruction is an important part of undergraduate study at the UBC School of Music. In this video, Professor Terence Dawson and fourth-year piano student Serina Mui talk about their weekly lessons and the role that mentorship plays in students’ development:

Learn more about the Bachelor of Music and other undergraduate degree programs at the School of Music

Strings, harp and guitar at the UBC School of Music

At the UBC School of Music, strings, harp and guitar students train with world-class faculty and join a community of talented, dynamic students and future collaborators. You'll have the opportunity to make lifelong friendships and establish exciting musical partnerships!

The goal of the Strings, Harp and Guitar Division is to develop the "complete player" — musicians who are equally comfortable performing solo, chamber, and orchestral repertoire. Students also have the opportunity to join our baroque mentorship program. We provide a nurturing and caring environment where private studio lessons are the foundation of your training.

Our faculty are dedicated, passionate teachers and mentors, as well as internationally renowned, award-winning musicians. You can explore all Strings, Harp and Guitar faculty here.

Our students and alumni are similarly successful, performing in orchestras around the world, from the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra to the Berlin Philharmonic, and in ensembles such as Borealis String Quartet and the Fine Arts Quartet. They teach at major universities in Canada and the U.S., and even blaze new trails in pop music


How to apply

Interested in applying to one of our undergraduate programs? The deadline is Jan. 15, 2019.

Interested in applying to one of our graduate programs? The deadline is Dec. 1, 2018

WATCH: UBC Chamber Strings perform alumna Eileen Padgett's Ordinary Beauty at String Fest 2017.



Large and small and incredibly diverse, our student ensembles range in size from trios and quartets to the 110-member UBC Symphony Orchestra. Strings, Harp and Guitar students perform in the Symphony Orchestra, Contemporary Players, Early Music, Collegium Musicum, UBC Opera productions, and diverse chamber ensembles. Check out our huge concert archive to get a sense of just how good our students are.

WATCH: The UBC Symphony Orchestra perform Schubert's Symphony No. 9



As much as possible, the School of Music helps students to explore and develop different career opportunities while still studying. There are a multitude of post-degree paths for musicians and music scholars. So whether you plan to pursue a career as an orchestral musician, a scholar, an educator, or a producer, you can get a head start by:

Graduates from the Strings, Harp and Guitar Division currently work in major symphony orchestras, opera orchestras, chamber ensembles, musical theatre, early music group, and music production around the world. Many of our graduates also hold prestigious appointments in universities, colleges, and public schools. 

WATCH: UBC Chamber Strings perform Elgar's Serenade for Strings, Op. 20



Our music students rehearse and perform in UBC's world-class concert halls and performance spaces. From the state-of-the-art Chan Centre for Performing Arts, one of North America's premier musical venues, to the historic Old Auditorium and intimate Roy Barnett Recital Hall, you will have the opportunity to train and grow as a professional musician in front of enthusiastic audiences.


The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts is one of three venues where UBC Music students rehearse and perform. Photo: Tim Matheson



Prospective students can meet faculty members by attending any number of concerts on campus from now until April. We invite you to attend our large ensemble concerts, performed by the UBC Choirs, Bands, and Orchestra, Opera productions held in the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts and the Old Auditorium.

Email for free tickets for certain events. A lot of our chamber music, divisional recitals, and student recitals are already free — just come and see.  If you’re applying from a distance, check out our concerts on Livestream and imagine yourself here!



Do you have questions about the application process? You are not alone! Sometimes the application process can seem complicated. If you'd like to talk to someone about the graduate or undergraduate programs here at the School of Music, please do get in touch. 

Katherine Evans, Manager of Admissions, is your primary contact for the undergraduate (B.Mus. and Diploma) programs. Juliet O'Keefe, the Graduate Admissions Secretary, is your contact for graduate program information. Robert Ablenas is our Music Advisor and can provide detailed information about certain programs.

Updated from January 5th, 2018