Please review the general audition requirements and recording guidelines below, and then use the links to the left to access the repertoire for your major/instrument. 

Prescreening Recordings

Most majors require the submission of a prescreening recording before a live audition invitation will be made. Prescreening recordings must be submitted through our online application by December 1.

Prescreening recordings are required of:

  • All Artist Diploma and DMA applicants, regardless of major (video recordings required)

Prescreening portfolios are required of:

Prescreening recordings and composition portfolios are due December 1. Prescreening recordings can be audio or video, except for applicants to Trumpet, Conducting, Artist Diploma, and DMA, who should submit video files. Applicants to Composition should upload their scores as Adobe PDF files along with any accompanying sound files. Applicants to Jazz Composition should upload both their composition files and accompanying sound recordings and their required prescreening performance recordings.

After review, qualified applicants will be invited come to NEC for a live audition or interview. Invitations will be sent by email approximately one month prior to the audition or interview date. Applicants who submit a prescreening recording and are not invited for a live audition will be notified that they have not been selected to move forward.

Live Auditions at NEC

Live auditions (or interviews for composition, music theory, and musicology applicants) at NEC are required of:

  • All applicants to Collaborative Piano, Conducting, Flute, Piano, and the DMA, Artist Diploma, Harvard/NEC dual degree, and Chamber Music programs, regardless of country of residence
  • Applicants for all other majors who reside in North America (United States, Canada, and Mexico).

Confirmation of a live performance audition or interview date will be sent by email approximately one month prior to the audition. Applicants who cancel an audition for documented unforeseen difficulties (e.g., illness, inclement weather, injury) may request placement on a waiting list for a later date should openings occur.

Harvard/NEC dual-degree applicants should prepare the undergraduate audition repertoire.

Collaborative pianists are required for Voice and Opera auditions and for DMA applicants for Flute, Violin, Viola, and Cello. Pianists are not required for other instrumental auditions, although applicants wishing to audition with their own pianist (personally arranged) may do so. For a fee of $25, NEC will provide a pianist for Voice and Opera auditions. For a fee of $25, NEC will provide a vocalist and/or instrumentalist for Collaborative Piano auditions. A rhythm section is provided free of charge for Jazz auditions.

Live Audition (or Interview) Repertoire / Requirements:
Artist DiplomaContemporary ImprovisationPercussion
BrassHistorical PerformancePiano
Chamber MusicJazz CompositionStrings
Collaborative PianoJazz PerformanceVocal Performance
CompositionMusicologyVocal Pedagogy
ConductingMusic TheoryWoodwinds

Live audition repertoire choices do not need to match those submitted for the prescreening.


Final Recorded Auditions (video only)

Applicants are strongly encouraged to present a live audition at NEC, and certain majors or programs require a live audition for admission. For other programs and majors, however, it is possible to submit a recorded audition.

If a prescreening recording is required of your intended major or program, you must submit this as a part of the online application. If you pass the prescreening round, you will be invited to submit a final video audition recording in January. Repertoire requirements for the final video audition recording are the same as those for live auditions. Full pieces, with accompaniment when appropriate, should be submitted, unless otherwise indicated. Final audition video recordings are due by February 1. While final video auditions are due February 1, all other application and supporting materials are due by December 1. No recording will be reviewed without a completed application.

Recording Guidelines

All recordings must be uploaded as part of the online application. The following digital file formats are supported, as are Adobe PDF files for composition scores.

  • Audio: MP3, MP4, WAV, WMA, Ogg Vorbis
  • Video: AVI, M4V, MOV, MP4, MPG, WMV

Each piece must be performed in a single, unedited take (with the exception of Contemporary Improvisation recordings). Each piece or composition score should be submitted as a separate file and clearly labeled with the composer's name, title of work, and movement (if applicable). It is not necessary to submit a professionally produced recording, but the sound quality should be very good. For video recordings, applicants should make sure that proper lighting is used and that the camera shows full range of movement and use of instrument.

Audition Schedule