katherine evans

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.

A short guide to undergraduate auditions

Paul Joseph/UBC

Paul Joseph/UBC

By Katherine Evans, Manager of Admissions

Greetings! By now most Bachelor of Music applicants will have received a definitive audition date and time for early March 2019. Some of you may have taken a lot of auditions, or this may be your very first one. It’s a chance for you to get acquainted with the School of Music — our facilities, our faculty, and our current students — and a chance for you to demonstrate the musical skills you’ve been working on! We really want to make the audition process stress-free and enjoyable, so we've put together a few tips.

Planning Your Audition

1.     Leave extra time to get to UBC Music early. Parking is available pretty close to the music building and the bus loop is about a 10-minute walk. You will want to be able to visit the welcome desk in the lobby, settle yourself in a practice room, and have plenty of time to warm up before finding your audition room.

2.     Hydrate & make sure you have something with you to eat.  Food options on campus are growing daily but most are still at least a 10-minute walk away – time you may not want to take from your pre-audition routine. The Music Undergraduate Society will have cookies and coffee available in the lobby.

3.     Ready? Take a deep breath, remember to think of the music, and have a good time!  The faculty is enthusiastic and ready to hear you play or sing your very best.  They love to meet applicants and learn about their talent and potential.

What to expect

How long are the auditions?

Auditions are generally are 15 – 20 minutes long.

What does it feel like when you walk into the audition room?  

The auditions are professional, but definitely friendly. Everyone on the faculty audition panel wants to hear you play your best. One of the faculty or student assistants will usher you into the audition room and make sure that you have a moment to get settled.

Is there an interview portion of the audition?

There is no formal or mandated interview portion of your audition, but in almost all cases the faculty panel will take a few minutes to talk with you about your musical experience – they’ll ask you about something you’ve written in your application essay, or about a piece of music you’ve chosen to perform…it’s an informal opportunity for you all to get to know each other.

Is there a music theory exam or separate sight-singing exam on the day of my audition?

No, there’s no longer a theory exam required. Instead, applicants who are accepted into the BMUS program and choose to attend, will take a theory placement exam in the first week of school.  More details are here: https://music.ubc.ca/new-undergrad-students under “Music Placement Test".

Is a collaborative pianist (accompanist) required at my BMUS audition?

At the undergraduate level, working with a pianist is optional for all auditions except voice. Because a pianist is mandatory for voice auditions, a UBC staff pianist is available free of charge to play at all voice auditions. Anyone auditioning for voice may also work with the pianist of their choice.

A little insight from our faculty...

Richard Epp, vocal coach extraordinaire, plays at about 95% of the voice auditions at UBC. He’s given us a little insight into this process below:

Audition time is exciting at UBC for everyone who works here. We are as excited to hear you and to get to know you as you are to be here. I play for the voice auditions and have played most of the standard repertoire. I am also very good at following singers :)

When I come out to the lobby to bring you into the audition space, I will introduce myself and have a quick look at your music. I may ask for your tempos, but if I start at a tempo that you are not used to, just sing it the way you are used to and I will follow you. If I don’t know the piece I will ask for the tempo and then I may take ten seconds just to look at the music. If you are doing a very obscure piece you can just send me an email with the info.

In the audition the people listening may be writing down notes, reading your file, etc. Don’t let that throw you. They hear many people during the day and the chances are they are writing down things they liked, how beautiful your voice is and how much potential you have, as opposed to what they didn’t like. So, take a deep breath, be confident and have fun.”

Questions or concerns?

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me at katherine.evans@ubc.ca!

Updated from Feb. 21st, 2018

New recordings


Two new compositions by Professor Keith Hamel — “Touch” and “Corona” — appear on Music4Eyes+Ears, a multimedia project created by pianist Megumi Masaki. The project “explores how sound, image, text and movement can interact in live performance.”

Watch the album trailer


Professor Stephen Chatman released Dawn of Night (CMC Centrediscs, 2017), a collaboration with Conductor Hilary Apfelstadt and the University of Toronto’s Macmillan Singers that weds original music with the poetry of Joanna Lilley, Christina Rossetti, Sarah Teasdale, and Tara Wohlberg and others.

Listen to Dawn of Night (Spotify)


Composer and sessional instructor Jocelyn Morlock (MMus’96, DMA’02)’s new album, Halcyon (CMC Centrediscs), features a who’s who of great Canadian musicians, including baritone Tyler Duncan (BMus’98), cellists Ariel Barnes and Joseph Elworthy, conductor Leslie Dala (MMus’96), pianists Corey Hamm and Erika Switzer (BMus’97, MMus’00), vibraphonist Vern Griffiths (BCom’90, BMus’94), violinist Nicholas Write, and soprano Robyn Driedger-Klassen (BMus’00). Morlock’s new piece “Petrichor” appears on Duo Concertante's Incarnation, and her Juno Award-winning composition “My Name Is Amanda Todd” appears on the National Arts Centre’s Life Reflected. 

Listen to Halcyon (Spotify)


Also in December, Sessional lecturer Alan Matheson and Wade Mikkola released the second volume of their Souvenirs project, a collection of jazz interpretations of Finnish composers, on AMK Recordings.

Listen to Souvenirs (Spotify)



The Vancouver-based saxophone quartet Saxophilia, featuring sessional lecturer Julia Nolan and alumnus Colin MacDonald (BMus ’93), released their debut self-titled album in December on Redshift Records. The album includes compositions by Professor Dorothy Chang, alumnus Peter Hannan (BMus ’75), John Burke, and Colin MacDonald. Listen to Saxophilia (Spotify)

Julia Nolan also appears on Chor Leoni Men’s Choir’s new album, Wandering Heart, on Elektra Women’s Choir’s latest, Your One and Only Life, and on Sea and Sky Ensemble's Chromaticity.

Composer Denis Bedard’s new album, Works for Organ and Other Instruments, features Nolan on saxophone and Katherine Evans, the School of Music’s Manager of Admissions, on trumpet.