Young Cellists Having Fun

Welcome to the NEC Prep Auditions page!

On this page, you can find descriptions of our enrollment types, tips on what to audition for, and when our auditions take place. We offer courses and lessons on an à la carte basis, so you can pick and choose what suits you best!

Whether you are a student who has just begun your musical journey or have already reached an advanced level of study, we invite you to make NEC your musical home. Our world-class faculty is committed to providing children of all ages with the best possible learning experience through offerings that range from private lessons and ensemble coachings to classroom instruction and intensive certificate programs. Prep students also have the opportunity to hone their performance skills through participation in workshops, recitals, and concerts throughout NEC, including the world-renowned Jordan Hall.

Come grow with us, connect with other creative young people, and make a joyful noise. We look forward to seeing you here!

What should I audition for?

There are as many approaches to meaningful musical education at NEC Prep as there are students. No two paths are exactly alike, but our goal is always to provide a deep and rigorous learning experience. Because our offerings are à la carte, your child can enter at any level of musical training, choose to enroll in just one activity (ensembles, lessons, classes) or any combination thereof and move at his or her own pace. If you seek a more formal curriculum, we can provide that experience through our certificate programs with emphasis on serious and professional training. We’ll help you find the best fit for your child!

Here are some basic guidelines to have in mind:

  • Private instrumental lessons are the necessary foundation for technical and musical growth.
  • Classes in music theory, Eurhythmics, composition, history, jazz, and the like provide additional context and understanding that inform students’ performances and musical development.
  • Ensembles of all kinds are offered at Prep—small chamber groups to full symphony orchestras—and help develop the skills that can only be learned through playing with other musicians.
  • Chorus is something we recommend for all musicians, regardless of instrument! Singing enhances instrumental playing, and it’s a great human experience.

NEC Prep is an open enrollment music school that meets mostly on Saturdays.

We welcome students from all levels, ranging from absolute beginner to the highly advanced. Students may enroll in any program of lessons, classes, and ensembles for which they qualify. Early childhood studies involve children as young as 4 years old in Eurhythmics classes, and older and more advanced students can choose from a full range of music theory, jazz, and private instrumental, composition, and voice studies.

All Preparatory School students are part of a unique musical community. Peer support and the sharing of ideas and talents are encouraged by many features of the program. It is the goal of the Preparatory School to provide each student a stimulating environment best suited to his or her age and education level. About half of the students who graduate from the Preparatory School each year go on to study music at conservatories and liberal arts colleges.

It is the responsibility of parents and students to coordinate their individual Saturday schedule of lessons, classes, and ensembles. It is usually most effective to start by considering large ensemble rehearsal schedules, followed by theory classes and chamber music, and then to work with the private teacher to schedule the lesson around the student’s other activities. Prep School staff and faculty will do all they can to assist you in this process. Students registered for at least twelve private lessons each semester are eligible for discounted rates on ensembles and classes, as well as participation in workshops, recitals, masterclasses, and the annual concerto competition.

For more information about audition types, please choose from the following links:

Auditions Timeline

Spring Large Ensemble Auditions (May)

Large ensemble auditions for the following academic year, take place each spring, in May. Scheduling for these auditions opens in March and can be scheduled online by clicking here. Spring entrance auditions are followed by fall (September) seating/placement auditions to determine a student's placement within the accepted ensemble. NEC Prep large ensembles consist of our Orchestras & Wind Ensembles, Youth Jazz Orchestra (YJO), Choruses, and Baroque Ensembles.

Please note that current large ensemble members who are enrolled in Jr. MYWE, Sr. MYWE, Baroque Ensembles, YJO, and students who would like to advance to a higher level ensemble must reaudition each year. Students who are satisfied with the current placement need not re-audition.

For more information about large ensemble auditions, click here.

Click here to sign up for a Spring 2017 audition! (beginning March 1, 2017)

Fall Auditions (August/September)

Students who have been accepted into a large ensemble take seating auditions for their individual ensembles. In addition to large ensemble seating/placement auditions, auditions for private lessons, chamber music, jazz, theory classes, voice classes, piano classes, Youth Brass Ensemble (YBE), and electives take place each September. Please note: students only need to take a private lesson placement if they do not currently have a private teacher.

January Jazz Department Auditions

Additional auditions are held in January specifically for our Jazz Department for all Jazz offerings except Youth Jazz Orchestra (which holds its auditions in May with space-availability auditions in September). Scheduling for our January Jazz Department Auditions begins in December via email at

Ongoing Auditions

Rolling admission is always possible for private lessons. Rolling admission to our other offerings is strictly at the discretion of the instructors. For more information, please contact us.


Not sure where to start? Please feel free to contact the NEC Prep staff during our office hours.

Phone: (617) 585-1160