Audition Information

We are delighted that you are applying to NEC! If you have any questions throughout the process, please do not hesitate to contact us. We strongly recommend that you contact the Admissions team member who specifically handles your major or degree program.

Due to the ongoing global pandemic, NEC will be adapting our application and admissions procedures for the Spring 2021 and Fall 2021 application periods. We hope that these changes will allow everyone to have a safe and successful application experience.

Please be sure to read all of the application instructions thoroughly, and note that some of the significant changes include:

  • Applicants for most majors will submit a recorded video audition (or portfolio for Composition, Theory, and Musicology applicants) as described in our Audition Requirements. There will not be live auditions on NEC's campus. Prescreening will only be required of applicants in Violin, Viola, and Cello. Applicants to the Artist Diploma, Doctor of Musical Arts, and Harvard/NEC dual degree programs may be asked to connect in February for a follow-up live-stream interview and audition, but all other applicants will be evaluated musically based on the recorded audition (or portfolio).
  • To allow applicants the necessary time to submit a recorded audition, the application deadline for most majors for Fall 2021 will be January 8, 2021. Applicants in Violin, Viola, Cello, and Voice must submit by a December 1, 2020 deadline.
  • We understand that it may be challenging to make arrangements for rehearsal/recording spaces, pianists, and other collaborative musicians. Please let us know if you have any questions regarding your situation; we will be happy to work with you to find a solution.

Students interested in January admission should contact the Admissions Office to inquire about anticipated program openings before completing an application. Spring enrollment is never available in the Artist Diploma, Doctor of Musical Arts, Professional Piano Trio Training, Professional String Quartet Training, or Dual Degree programs.

Applicants to Composition must submit a portfolio of representative works (and recordings, if available). Composition applicants for DMA and Harvard/NEC will be screened for invitation participate in a remote interview. Compositions applicants to all other programs will be reviewed based on the submitted portfolio only; an interview is not required.

Musicology and Music Theory applicants must submit materials that demonstrate preparedness for graduate studies. There is no performance audition for Musicology and Music Theory applicants, but finalists will be asked to arrange a remote interview with faculty.

Audition Repertoire:

Artist Diploma
Chamber Music
Collaborative Piano
Contemporary Improvisation (CI)
Jazz Composition
Jazz Performance
Music Theory
Vocal Performance
Vocal Pedagogy

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

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.

  • Video: MPEG, MPG, MP4, MOV, AVI, WMV, M4V, VOB

Video recordings are required. 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 good. Applicants should make sure that proper lighting is used and that the camera shows full range of movement and use of instrument.