Program Details



The Winds class includes brass instruments (i.e. trumpet, trombone, French horn, baritone, tuba), woodwind instruments (i.e. flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon) and percussion instruments. The Strings class is made up of orchestral stringed instruments (i.e. violin, viola, cello and double bass).

Units of Study

Technical Skills Throughout the program, students work on developing the technical skills of their particular instrument or voice. Using warm-up exercises, scales, exercises, studies and repertoire appropriate for each grade level, students work daily to master skills.

Performance There are many opportunities for students to gain performance experience in the program. Starting in the classroom itself, students develop the confidence to perform for peers in a comfortable environment. Building on this, solo recitals in the senior grades let students use their skills in public performances. Along with solo work, students perform in chamber ensembles with one student on a part. Large ensembles, such as choir, band and string ensemble are a required part of every student’s musical experience at Canterbury. Students can gain further ensemble experience by auditioning for Jazz and Vocal ensembles.

Music Literacy and Keyboard All students study music theory and ear-training to increase their ability to read and hear music. Basic study of the piano keyboard helps students with theory and ear-training and gives them useful keyboard skills.

Composition Using traditional instruments and the voice, as well as electronic instruments and computer composition software, students will have opportunities each year to learn how to compose original music. Students work on individual compositions and compositions for chamber groups in a variety of musical styles.

Music History and Listening Throughout the program, students learn about musical styles through the ages. By listening and analyzing music of the various periods, students become familiar with the structure and historical content behind these styles. Attending live performances and writing musical reviews increases the student’s knowledge of contemporary music and music of the past.

Audition Information

Instrumental Music Auditions

Group Orientation Workshop (1 hour)

The group orientation workshop is held on the same day for all music applicants. It will provide information on the specifics of the audition process and the expectations of the audition panel. The purpose is to help students understand what is required in the music audition and to propose ways for students to prepare themselves. The workshop will:

  • Help take the anxiety out of coming for an audition
  • Review the audition requirements
  • Show what evaluation criteria will be used
  • Suggest how to choose and prepare the best piece of music for you
  • Discuss the deportment and attitude the panel is looking for at the audition

Students attend the workshop in January a few weeks before their individual audition. All music applicants should be in attendance even if they have not yet received any auditions dates and times via web-response. No advance preparation is required and parents may wait outside the music room during the workshop while the students are given audition information and time for specific questions.

Students only will have an opportunity to visit the separate music area (Vocal, Winds/Percussion, Strings) for which they are auditioning and ask questions of the specialist music teacher for that area.

Individual Audition/Interview (20 minutes)

All students will be provided with a date/time for their individual performance audition and interview in front of a panel of music teachers. After the performance requirements (listed below) have been completed, the panel will discuss with the student the reasons for entering the program, their school and extracurricular activities, and their commitment to music.

The panel will also review the student’s most recent report card (or progress report) as a record of academic achievement, attitude, work habits and attendance. The audition/interview segment will last approximately 20 minutes. Students will have an opportunity to ask questions about the school and the program and to tell the audition panel about themselves.

Give yourself plenty of time before the audition to relax and get mentally prepared. A practice room will be available for you to warm-up.


It is recommended that students get assistance from a Music teacher when selecting and preparing their music for the audition.

Instrumental Audition Music

  • Repertoire: Prepare one (1) piece (max. 3 min.) of the candidate’s choice which will best demonstrate the candidate’s performance level (please omit repeats). The student must bring a copy of the music for the audition panel.
  • Scales: Play one (1) major scale of the student’s choice 2 octaves ascending and descending. Play one (1) other major scale of the student’s choice 1 octave ascending and descending with the following articulation: 2 notes slurred, 2 notes staccato. N.B. Percussion students must be able to perform the scales on a keyboard (i.e. xylophone, bells) with mallets.
  • Sight-reading: Sight read a short passage at an appropriate level.
  • Ear Training: Complete a simple ear test demonstrating the ability to match pitches and clap rhythms (i.e. play back a simple musical phrase played by audition panel).
  • Theory: Identify basic note and rest types (i.e. whole note, half note, eighth rest, etc.) and the names of the notes of both the treble and bass clef staves.

Candidates will be assessed on the following:

  • Posture, hand position and embouchure
  • Tone quality, breath support, intonation
  • Technical accuracy (pitches, rhythm and articulation)
  • Musicianship (phrasing, dynamics, style)
  • Presence (etiquette, decorum)

All Students Applying to Grades 10, 11 or 12

Students applying to Music for grades 10, 11 or 12 will need to write a theory test based on the previous year's exam. Applicants should contact the Arts Coordinator to schedule the theory test. It will be written in the Students Services office.

Each book listed below should be learned and studied in its entirety to prepare for this portion of the audition.

Grade 10: Elementary Music Rudiments, Basic. by Mark Sarnecki, Frederick Harris Music

Grade 11: Elementary Music Rudiments, Intermediate. by Mark Sarnecki, Frederick Harris Music

Grade 12: Elementary Music Rudiments, Grade 2. by Mark Sarnecki, Frederick Harris Music