Study with us
Learn from the best
Our students learn from renowned professionals with a passion for teaching. Our instructors are active in the international music world and perform, record, compose, conduct and publish regularly. They attract acclaimed guest artists to our masterclasses and provide wide-ranging opportunities for students to perform.
Pursue your musical styles
You will pursue your instrument in a conservatory-like atmosphere, with the freedom to explore many musical styles. You will combine technical study with an intensive study of repertoire and will benefit from a focus on both solo performance and ensemble playing.
Perform in our ensembles
University of Manitoba ensembles are an integral part of our music programs. Ensembles cover all major genres and range in size from an 80-piece concert band to small chamber groups.
Discover our financial supports
The financial support offered to qualifying students is among the most generous in Canada. More than 60 per cent of our students hold Desautels Faculty of Music or UM scholarships and bursaries.
Be inspired in our spaces
Study what you love; love where you study. A stunning transformation of our facilities has created an impressive performing arts complex, with a new concert hall opening in spring 2021. Our rehearsal rooms, music library, labs and recording studio are yours to explore.
Spacious, light-filled practice rooms
Ratio of faculty members to students
Value of scholarships, bursaries and prizes awarded annually
The Bachelor of Music four-year program allows students to pursue a degree within the following concentrations: Performance, Composition, History, Education and General Music.
Expected duration: 4 years
For the first two years of study, all Bachelor of Music students follow the General program, which provides essential academic, performance and ensemble training. After the second year, students can choose to stay in the General program or they may move into one of the concentrations provided they meet the requirements.
Throughout the duration of the program, students can explore a wide range of elective courses; will receive individual lessons through Major Practical Study; and will participate in two ensembles each year.
Bachelor of Music (General)
The BMus General program provides excellent preparation for a wide range of career paths. All Bachelor of Music students follow this program for the first two years of study. Many students choose to remain in the General program, where there is considerably more flexibility in elective courses in years three and four.
Bachelor of Music (Composition)
Composition students develop their skills in our state-of-the-art electro-acoustic lab, aided by award-winning composition professors whose works are regularly performed and broadcast. Students may apply to move into the Composition concentration at the end of second year if they have the written recommendation of composition faculty and have maintained minimum grades of B in specified courses.
Bachelor of Music (History)
In the History concentration, students learn from dynamic scholars who are internationally respected for their research and publications. The areas covered by core and elective courses range from early music to 21st century popular genres. Students may apply to move into the History concentration at the end of second year if they have maintained minimum grades of B+ in specified courses.
Bachelor of Music (Performance)
Students in the Performance concentration are mentored by outstanding artists whose teaching is informed by years of professional experience. Students may apply to move into the Performance concentration at the end of second year if they have maintained a satisfactory standing and receive the recommendation of the second-year jury panel.
Bachelor of Music (Music Education)
This innovative program provides a route for future music educators to complete an in-depth study of music and music education before moving on to a Bachelor of Education After Degree. Students choose one of four concentrations: Early/Middle Years, Choral, Instrumental, or Guitar/Strings and can use their electives for further study in music or to gain background in one of the other music education concentrations.
Students are accepted into Music Education program in third year provided they are in good academic standing and have successfully completed MUSC 2100 (Introduction to Music Teaching and Learning) and MUSC 2460 (Conducting).
Sample course offerings
- MUSC 1004: Introduction to Music in History 1 (3 credit hours)
- MUSC 1280: Musical Style and Structure 1 (3 credit hours)
- MUSC 2072: Jazz History 1 (3 credit hours)
- MUSC 2110: Music Theory 3 (3 credit hours)
- MUSC 3044: Renaissance Music History (3 credit hours)
- MUSC 3090: Introduction to Ethnomusicology (3 credit hours)
- MUSC 4130: History of Women in Music (3 credit hours)
- MUSC 4140: History of Canadian Music (3 credit hours)
For full course descriptions, please visit the Academic Calendar
The following are minimum academic requirements for entry into the BMus program. Meeting these requirements does not guarantee acceptance into the program.
Direct entry applicants are those who have not attended a post-secondary institution or have completed fewer than 24 credit hours at a recognized university or college. Direct entry applicants require the following:
- Manitoba high school graduation including 5 full credits at the Grade 12 level in courses designated S, G, U or C
- A minimum 70% average over the following, with no less than 60% in each course:
- English 40S
- Mathematics 40S
- Two academic 40S courses
Advanced entry applicants are those who have completed one year (24 credit hours) or more of studies in another faculty at the University of Manitoba or another recognized post-secondary institution.
All applicants (Direct or Advanced Entry) must successfully pass the following non-academic requirements, in addition to the applicable academic requirements:
- Theory entrance exam
Level of musicianship
Prospective students should have achieved a minimum level of musicianship and theory comparable to the Royal Conservatory of Music or Conservatory of Canada:
- Grade 9 for strings
- Grade 8 for piano
- Grade 7 for voice, woodwinds and brass
- Grade 6 for organ
Meeting these requirements does not guarantee acceptance into the program
If you do not meet the requirements for Direct entry into the BMus program, your application will be automatically considered for admission to University 1. You do not have to reapply or pay a second application fee.
How to apply
Domestic student application fee: $100
International student application fee: $120
Step 1: Apply online
Applications to the University of Manitoba are completed online. To begin your application, select the "Start or continue your application" button. The online application includes several parts:
- Application fee (non-refundable)
- Two letters of recommendation from a music/band teacher, and/or private music instructor
- A personal essay of 250-300 words which outlines your musical aspiration and plans to achieve them.
- Portfolio (For Composition applicants)
- Proof of English Language proficiency (if applicable)
To be considered for Desautels Faculty of Music scholarships, applicants must meet the application deadline and audition during the advertised audition dates. Applicants will be notified 2-3 weeks after the application deadline to arrange their audition and interview.
Step 2: Audition
The audition may take up to 30 minutes. Whether you are auditioning in-person or by video recordings, the audition will involve:
- performing up to 10-12 minutes of prepared music that fulfill the audition requirements specified by the area;
- a brief interview covering a range of areas including your background and experience in music performance;
- assessing aural and technical skills.
Accompanists: Vocal and instrumental pieces must be accompanied. Making arrangements for accompanists on the day of audition or video recording is the responsibility of the student.
Composition audition and portfolio requirements
Submit a portfolio containing scores and recordings of your compositions. The portfolio should reflect your experience and interest as a composer, and, ideally, should cover range of instruments and creative approaches. There is no specific number of compositions that we require, but a typical portfolio contains around five pieces. Quality is more important than quantity, and you should not submit more than eight compositions (but normally not fewer than three).
Scores: We prefer scores to be submitted digitally; only pdf files are acceptable.
Recordings: Recordings of live performances are preferred. Computer simulations are acceptable, but should not replace available live recordings. (Regardless, we will not judge the quality of the performance on a recording, only the composition itself). If recordings are not available, you may submit only scores. If you submit an electroacoustic piece, a score may not be necessary. Recordings may be uploaded to an online site such as SoundCloud or equivalent, and should be submitted as either mp3 files or wav files.
You must perform one or two short pieces, or sections of pieces, on your primary instrument or voice. Normally these are not your own compositions. This portion of the audition will be similar to an instrumental audition, but shorter (5–7 minutes). Either or both of the pieces may be accompanied or unaccompanied.
There will be a short test to check your basic musicianship skills (sight-reading, rhythm and melody playback, interval singing, etc.).
There will be a brief interview covering a range of areas, including your background and experience in composition.
Piano audition requirements
Your audition should include:
- Three pieces in contrasting styles (a minimum grade 8 Royal Conservatory of Music).
- At least one piece performed from memory.
There may be a short test to check your basic musicianship skills (sight-reading, rhythm and melody playback, interval singing, etc.).
There will be a brief interview covering a range of areas, including your background and experience in piano performance.
String and guitar audition requirements
For all instruments and audition pieces, memorization preferred but not required.
- J.S. Bach: Any movement from Sonata or Partita for violin solo
- First movement, or second and third movements of any standard violin concerto
- Piece of own choice for violin solo or violin and piano
- J.S. Bach: Any movement from Sonata or Partita for violin solo, or any movement from Suite for cello solo.
- Any Baroque or Classical concerto, first movement
- Piece of your own choice for viola solo or viola and piano
- Prelude and Courante movement from the same J.S. Bach Solo Cello Suite, your choice
- Two movements from a standard cello concerto (i.e., Haydn C or D major, Dvorak, Schumann, Elgar, Shostakovich); Tchaikovsky Rococo variations (choose up to four variations to perform)
- A piece of your own choice for solo cello or cello sonata (no arrangements or transcriptions)
- Two contrasting pieces of applicant’s choice
- Three orchestra excerpts: by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart or Strauss
- One major scale, one harmonic minor scale, one minor scale of your choice in two or three octaves
Sight-reading may be required.
- One movement of a Baroque or Renaissance suite
- One movement of a Classical or Romantic major work (concerto, sonata, suite, etc.) for guitar
- One piece representing a 20th/21st century work for guitar
Voice audition requirements
Your audition should include three contrasting pieces in at least two languages.
- One of the pieces must be in English.
- Two of the three pieces should be from the classical repertoire and one can be drawn from either the folk or musical theatre repertoire.
There may be a short test to check your basic musicianship skills (sight reading, rhythm and melody playback, interval singing, etc.).
There will be a brief interview covering a range of areas, including your background and experience in vocal performance.
Woodwinds, brass and percussion audition requirements
Perform two contrasting selections, at least one of which must be with piano accompaniment. (Approximately 10-12 minutes of music)
Perform two contrasting selections, at least one of which must be with piano accompaniment. (Approximately 10-12 minutes of music)
Prepare three contrasting works on snare drum, keyboard percussion and timpani. Percussionists may, but are not required, to perform works with piano accompaniment.
- Play any major scale.
- Play a chromatic scale starting on any note.
- Play a short piece at sight.
- Speak rhythms at sight while clapping or tapping a steady beat.
Students play back a short melody after hearing it played.
Students sing O Canada, or another well-known song of the student’s choice.
There will be a brief interview covering a range of areas, including your background and experience in performance.
Step 3: Write the Theory Entrance exam
The Theory Entrance exam assesses competency in music rudiments and is usually written on the day of the audition. A grade of 70% or higher is required for admission to the Desautels Faculty of Music. Royal Conservatory Advanced Rudiments or equivalent is generally adequate preparation.
If you have successfully completed MUSC 1930 – Rudiments of Music at the University of Manitoba or the Theory Entrance Exam Preparation (TEEP) class through Prep Studies, you are exempted from writing theory exam on the day of your audition. TEEP exam results are only valid for a single admission year.
Notification of Decision
Decisions will be posted to the applicant's portal. Applicants must log in to their application portal to view the decision and to accept or decline their offer by the deadline date indicated in the letter. It is imperative that email accounts remain current and that emails and application portals are regularly checked.
Audition and Theory Entrance exam dates
|Interview||February 13 - 24, 2023|
|Theory Entrance exam||February 13 - 24, 2023|
Admission and application inquiries
424 UMSU University Centre
University of Manitoba
66 Chancellors Circle
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2 Canada
Room 424 UMSU University Centre
65 Chancellors Circle
University of Manitoba (Fort Garry campus)