Live auditions at NEC are required for all Percussion applicants living in North America, as well as all applicants to the Harvard/NEC dual degree program, DMA, and Artist Diploma programs regardless of their country of residence.

Prescreening Recording

Prescreening recordings are required only for DMA and Artist Diploma applicants. DMA prescreening repertoire requirements are the same as the live audition requirements. Artist Diploma requirements are found on the Artist Diploma audition requirements page. After reviewing the recording guidelines, please upload your prescreening recording files as part of your online application.

Final Recorded Auditions (video only)

Applicants residing outside of North America who are not applying to the Artist Diploma, DMA, or Harvard/NEC dual degree programs may be considered for admission based on the submission of a final recorded audition. Given the competitive nature of our programs, applicants are strongly encouraged to present a live audition at NEC.

Repertoire requirements for the final video audition recording are the same as those for live auditions. Final audition video recordings are due by February 1, but all other application and supporting materials are due by December 1. No recording will be reviewed without a completed application.

Live Audition Requirements


Applicants should prepare a solo in each of four categories:

  • Snare
  • 2 Mallet
  • 4 Mallet
  • Timpani 

The mallet selections should be chosen for musical content and technical difficulty. Applicants may also be asked to demonstrate scales and arpeggios. The snare drum selection should clearly demonstrate your level of technical ability. Rudiments and orchestral rolls at different dynamics may be asked as well. Applicants should be prepared to sight-read on any instrument.


Applicants should prepare an advanced solo in each of four catergories:

  • Snare (e.g. Studies by Delecluse or something of similar difficulty)
  • 2 Mallet
  • 4 Mallet (e.g. Stout Two Mexican Dances or something of similar difficulty)
  • Timpani (e.g. Carter Etudes or something of similar difficulty)

In addition, graduate applicants should prepare 4 excerpts from the standard repertoire in snare, mallets, and timpani (12 excerpts total). 

Audition Dates