Please review the information below for our general audition requirements and recording guidelines, and then use the links to the left to find the required repertoire for your major/instrument.
Live Auditions at NEC
Live auditions at NEC are required of:
- all applicants to Collaborative Piano, Conducting, Flute, Piano, and the D.M.A., Artist Diploma, Harvard/NEC dual degree, and Chamber Music programs, regardless of country of residence;
- applicants from the United States, Canada, and Mexico applying to Contemporary Improvisation, Double Bass, Guitar, Jazz Studies, Violin, Viola, Violoncello, Vocal Performance and Vocal Pedagogy;
- applicants in all remaining majors living within 500 miles of Boston.
Live interviews at NEC following portfolio prescreenings are required of:
- composition applicants to the D.M.A. or Harvard/NEC Double-Degree programs regardless of country of residence;
- composition applicants from the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
Confirmation of a live performance audition or composition 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. However, due to the large number of scheduled auditions, few slots usually open.
Harvard/NEC double-degree applicants should prepare the undergraduate audition repertoire.
Accompanists are required for Voice and Opera auditions and for D.M.A. applicants invited to a live audition for Flute, Violin, Viola and Cello. Accompanistsare not required for other instrumental auditions, although applicants wishing to audition with their own accompanist (personally arranged) may do so. For a fee of $25, NEC will provide an accompanist 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.
Prescreening for Live Auditions
While applicants in the categories above must participate in a live audition or composition interview to be considered for admission, some majors require the submission of a prescreening recording before a live audition invitation will be issued. Prescreening recordings must be submitted through our online application.
Prescreening recordings are required of:
- all undergraduate, M.M. and G.D. applicants to Conducting, Contemporary Improvisation, Flute, Jazz Composition, Jazz Performance, Piano, Violin, Viola, Violoncello, Vocal Performance and Vocal Pedagogy, and Chamber Music;
- all Artist Diploma and D.M.A. applicants, regardless of major.
Prescreening recordings and composition portfolios are due December 1. Prescreening recordings should be audio-only files except for applicants to Conducting, Artist Diploma, and doctoral Percussion, who must 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. Review the recording guidelines at the bottom of this page.
After review, qualified performance and Jazz Composition applicants will be invited to present a live audition at NEC. Qualified Composition applicants will be invited for an interview. 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 in the application process.
Recorded Auditions (Video only)
Applicants are strongly encouraged to present a live audition at NEC. However, performance applicants who are not required to attend a live audition may submit a final audition video recording by February 1. Recordings received after February 1 will be reviewed at the discretion of the department. No recording will be reviewed without a completed application. Unless indicated in the specific guidelines for your major/instrument using the link to the left, repertoire requirements for final video auditions are the same as those for live auditions. Full pieces should be included unless otherwise indicated.
Applicants who plan to send a final video audition instead of attending a live audition should not also submit a prescreening recording.
While final video auditions are due February 1, all other application and supporting materials are due by December 1.
All recordings must be uploaded as part of the NEC application for admission on DecisionDesk. The following digital file formats are supported, as are Adobe PDF files for composition scores and Microsoft Word docs for Contemporary Improvisation applicants' essay.
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.