Applying to and auditioning at music college: What every student should know

The website of every music school gives all the details students need to know when applying and auditioning to them. Making a list of keeping a chart of these for each school is important when deciding which schools to choose. The quality of the applications and auditions of music students is likely to determine their acceptance more than their grade point averages or test scores. Here are some helpful tips music students should know to help them get accepted.

Choosing music schools

The standard advice is that students should apply to about six to eight music schools. Two or three of these should be the top schools they would like to attend but where they are not sure of admission due to the high admission criteria. Two or three schools should be those where they are likely to be accepted and another two should be those where they are almost sure they’ll be accepted.

Visit schools

Students should visit at least some of the music schools on their list. It’s helpful for them to arrange well in advance to take a lesson with a professor during a visit. This can help them to decide if they are on the right track and they can find out what specifics they need to work on to improve before an audition. They could also listen in on music rehearsals at the school and talk to current students to get a feel for the school culture and whether they feel they would fit in.

Preparing for an online application

Most applications are online and start going live in early September. Students should contact recommenders early and ask them whether they would be willing to write letters on their behalf. Students also need to request transcripts well ahead of deadlines.

Pre-screen auditions

Many music schools require students to send a pre-screen video audition before considering them for live auditions. They may have different requirements in terms of accompaniment, repertoire and audio quality.

Students should try to record using quality equipment and choose a location with good lighting and acoustics. They should listen back to recordings to detect any background noise or unwanted distortions and record as many times as necessary to get a quality recording. The music applicant pool is fairly saturated, which means a pre-screen video needs to be treated seriously.

Write an ideal personal statement

The personal statement that students have to submit with their application is an important reflection of their strengths and personality. British students can find writing help if they choose one of personal statement writers from Edubirdie. They will find the best writers who have experience in writing personal statements. These writers know what to include and what not to include. They can make sure students capture the attention of the admissions board and are remembered for all the right reasons.

Write a resume

Section one of a resume should include all personal contact information. Section two should include all music-specific information and experience. Students should list any competitions they have participated in and awards. All related experience should be included to complete the picture of them as musicians.

Preparing for auditions

Students will have to prepare for auditions at all the different schools they apply to and it is important for them to have updated lists of audition requirements and prepare a chart to keep track of deadlines, audition repertoire, fees etc. This could prevent double-booking and possibly having to pay rescheduling fees.

Picking audition repertoire

Some schools require fundamental demonstrations, like scales. Others focus on larger works, such as sonatas and concertos. Students should identify where repertoire overlaps so they can prepare pieces that work for a number of auditions. For example, if school A and school B both ask students to prepare a movement from a large work, like a concerto, they can prepare the same movement for both auditions.

Choosing audition day options

Students can highlight various audition day options for schools before selecting a first or second choice. As audition dates are confirmed by schools, students can then start making travel and hotel arrangements.


Keeping the above tips in mind will help to give prospective music students a good start to applying and auditioning at music school. It helps to be very organized and they must remember that pre-screenings are a way to filter out applicants so it’s wise to treat them seriously. They should also pick audition material they are comfortable with but that shows their technical skill and own musical interpretation.

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Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.
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