When you apply to music school, you’ll submit a prescreening recording along with a formal application that details your academic background and musical accomplishments. Then, a committee will decide if you will be invited to visit the campus for a personal audition.
The procedure for music school auditions varies. Some schools have audition days scheduled throughout the year, while others only have one or two days that are set aside for this purpose. However, you are generally expected to be able to audition in person. If you have special circumstances that prevent traveling to the campus, you will likely need to obtain prior approval to submit an audition video.
Auditions are usually between 10 and 15 minutes in length. For a formal audition day, the committee will have appointments scheduled continuously. Do not be late to your audition under any circumstances. If you miss your appointment, there is a possibility that you might not be allowed to reschedule.
There are usually designated practice rooms near the audition area for you to use as you are preparing for your music school audition. If the school provides an accompanist for vocal auditions, you may be able to schedule rehearsal time with the accompanist for an additional fee.
Getting Ready for the Audition
Vocal pieces for music school auditions often need to be memorized. You may be able to bring your own accompanist, however. Instrumental pieces for music school auditions generally don’t need to be memorized, but you may also be expected to sight read as part of your performance.
Some music schools allow students to choose their own pieces for an audition, while others require a specific list of songs. If you are allowed to choose your own music, try to pick pieces in contrasting styles to demonstrate your range as a performer. If you are singing, it is often recommended to choose one song in a foreign language, such as French or German.
As you are preparing for your music school audition, remember that the auditioning process is similar to a job interview. Make sure you are nicely groomed and wearing professional clothing. Although you may be able to bring a parent or a friend with you for the campus visit, you should not allow them to observe the audition itself.
Auditions and Scholarship Awards
At many music schools, the same audition is used to determine both admission and freshman scholarship awards. However, if you are interested in financial aid for music school, you will want to confirm the procedure with an admissions officer from the program. Although some schools automatically consider all students for scholarships, others require that you submit an additional application before your music school audition.
Second Chance Auditions
If you were nervous during your audition, you may feel like your performance wasn’t an accurate representation of your musical ability. Depending upon the policies of the music school you wish to attend, you may be allowed to audition a second time. Ask an admissions officer in the program for details, since you will likely have a limited timeframe in which to complete a second audition. There may also be an additional fee required to audition a second time.