Vocal Performance & Vocal Pedagogy

Live auditions at NEC are required for all Vocal Performance and Vocal Pedagogy applicants living in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, as well as all Voice applicants to the Harvard/NEC dual degree, Artist Diploma, and DMA programs regardless of their country of residence.

An online application and prescreening recording (audio-only) must be submitted by December 1 in order to be considered for a live audition.* Prescreening recordings must contain all the required repertoire as outlined below and will not be reviewed if repertoire is incomplete or substitutions are made. After reviewing our recording guidelines, please upload your prescreening audio files as part of your online application. Do not submit a video recording, DVD, or audio CD; only online audio files will be reviewed. After review, qualified applicants will be asked to present a live audition at NEC.

All live auditions must be performed with a collaborative pianist. There is a fee of $25, payable on the day of the audition, for a pianist provided by NEC. NEC pianists will warm up with applicants for ten minutes immediately before the audition.

* Voice applicants residing outside the United States, Canada, and Mexico who are not applying to the Artist Diploma or DMA programs may be considered for admission based on the submission of a final video audition recording through the online application rather than a live audition. Please visit the Audition Requirements page for more information. Video auditions should include the audition repertoire below. Please note that a live audition is strongly encouraged.  Applicants who wish to audition via video recording should not also submit a prescreening recording.  Final video auditions are due by February 1.

Repertoire Requirements

The repertoire requirements below apply to both the prescreening recording and the live audition (and to audition video recordings submitted by applicants who are not required to perform a live audition). Applicants may present different repertoire in the live audition than that in the prescreening recording, as long as all requirements are met.

All works should be performed from memory. At the live audition, singers will choose their first piece, and the voice faculty will typically choose a second selection from the applicant's prepared repertoire. Undergraduate singers are required to begin their audition with an art song.


An operatic aria is not required for undergraduate applicants; however, any undergraduate who wishes to include an aria in addition to the required repertoire on their prescreening and/or live audition may do so. The first piece presented at the live audition must be an art song.

Bachelor of Music and Tufts/NEC applicants should prepare three selections:

  1. One song in English
  2. One song in Italian (pre-1800 from any early Italian anthology)
  3. One song in a language of the applicant's choice

Harvard/NEC applicants should prepare four selections:

  1. One song in English
  2. One song in Italian (pre-1800 from any early Italian anthology)
  3. One song in German
  4. One song in French

Transfer applicants should prepare four songs, at least one in each of the following languages: Italian, English and either French or German. The Italian language requirement may be filled by singing an aria from the Early Italian Anthology.


Master of Music and Graduate Diploma applicants in Vocal Performance and Vocal Pedagogy should prepare six selections:

  1. Art song in Italian
  2. Art song in French
  3. Art song in German
  4. Art song in English
  5. One opera aria
  6. One oratorio aria

Graduate singers may choose to substitute a second contrasting operatic aria for one of the art songs, as long as all four major languages are represented in the six selections.


Applicant must prepare a full recital program consisting of 45 minutes of music covering at least three distinct stylistic periods and including repertoire in Italian, French, German and English. In addition to the recital repertoire, the applicant must present one operatic and one oratorio aria from any period. Unusual repertoire is of special interest. The applicant will select the first piece, and subsequent selections will be made by the audition panel. The audition will last approximately 20 minutes and will include a brief interview with the voice faculty.

Artist Diploma: Prescreening and audition requirements may be found in the Artist Diploma audition requirements page.

Audition Dates

Vocal Pedagogy Writing Requirement

Along with the prescreening recording outlined above, Master of Music applicants in Vocal Pedagogy must submit a writing sample in order to be considered for admission. Writing samples should be submitted as either a pdf or Microsoft Word document, and should be sent by email directly to Ian Howell, Director of Vocal Pedagogy, at ian.howell@necmusic.edu. The deadline for writing samples is January 1, 2015.

Please submit one essay from the list of options below. Please provide citations where appropriate.

  1. An academic research paper related to singing, vocal pedagogy, or voice science.
  2. A critical review of an article (from JOS or similar), book, or published methodology related to singing or vocal pedagogy.
  3. An essay describing your personal interest in vocal pedagogy.