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Undergraduate Music Audition Requirements

Brass

Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Bass Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba

Instrumental auditions must be performed without accompaniment. For Transfer students only, please prepare the graduate requirements for your audition.

  • An étude;
  • Two movements of contrasting nature and tempi from a sonata or concerto;
  • Please prepare all major scales and arpeggios;
  • Possible sight-reading.

Recorded audition information.

Composition

Pre-screen required.

  • Applicants to the BM in Composition should submit a portfolio of between two and five works (no more), at least one of which must be for two or more instruments, and at least two of which were written in the last two years.
  • Scores should be legibly notated (by hand or by computer).
  • Recordings of your works, if available, are encouraged.
  • Include an accompanying score for each submitted recording.
  • Write a short essay describing your musical influences and enthusiasms and what you hope to achieve as a composer.
      (Note: This is separate from the writing sample about your interest in The Boston Conservatory on the online application.)
  • Applicants may be asked to interview, in which case an in-person interview is preferred.

All of the above pre-screen materials must be submitted online via DecisionDesk. Register and upload your materials to DecisionDesk by the December application deadline. The submission fee is $10. For more information, please click here.

Pre-screen materials sent via mail will not be accepted, and you will be asked to submit online. 

Harp

Instrumental auditions must be performed without accompaniment.

Harp applicants must prepare the following:

  • An étude or technical study
  • Two single-movement pieces of contrasting mood
  • One orchestral excerpt and one orchestral cadenza

Applicants should also be prepared to sight-read at the live audition.

Recorded audition information.

Percussion

Instrumental auditions must be performed without accompaniment.

Applicants must demonstrate proficiency in the areas described below. You are encouraged to program creatively so as to represent your skills well, and also demonstrate something unique about yourself as a musician.

Snare Drum
Perform both of the following, totaling about four minutes:

  • Concert étude. Suggested composers: Délécluse, Cirone, Aleo, Peters.
  • Rudimental solo. Suggested composers: Pratt, Tompkins, Wilcoxon.

Mallets (xylophone, marimba, vibraphone—your choice)

Perform both of the following, totaling at least four minutes:

Note: For two-mallet and/or four-mallet solo, creative adaptations of any other composers' works are most welcome. In general, pieces with tempo fluctuations and a variety of rhythms and characters are preferred over perpetual motion pieces. 

Timpani

Perform the following, totaling about three minutes:

  • Solo piece for four drums, about three minutes in duration. Suggested composers: Woud, Hochrainer, Firth, Délécluse, Lepak, Macarez, Carter.

Note: Etudes that demonstrate standard orchestral timpani musicianship (e.g., Woud or Hochrainer etudes) are preferred over Carter solos.

Recorded audition information.

Piano

Applicants must prepare ALL of the following audition requirements. Applicants with incomplete audition repertoire will not be accepted. 

  • Baroque—a prelude and fugue from the Bach Well-Tempered Clavier or an equivalent Baroque work;
  • Classical—a complete sonata in traditional form, or comparable work; (i.e., Beethoven “Eroica” Variations)
  • Romantic—a major work of the applicant’s choice;
  • 20th Century—a work by a major composer, such as Bartók, Debussy, Ravel, Prokofiev, Copland, lves, Schoenberg or Messiaen.

All works are to be performed from memory. 

Note: All recorded auditions for piano must be in video format. Audio recordings will not be accepted. There must be a visual representation of the pianist in order to be considered for admission. 

Recorded audition information.

Strings

Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass

You may perform your audition with piano accompaniment, but it is not required. The Boston Conservatory will not provide accompanists for the audition. If you wish to play with piano, you must provide the accompanist. A piano will be available in the audition. For help finding accompanists, you may contact the String Department Chair, Mr. Andrew Mark.

  • An etude or short technical work that best demonstrates your ability to shift freely around the instrument with good control of bowing articulation
  • Two movements of unaccompanied Bach (bass players may substitute with another work of their choice)
  • A complete first or last movement from the standard concerto repertoire
  • Prepare a scale of your choice (major or minor) in 3-4 octaves performed with a minimum of 4 notes slurred per bow, plus the corresponding arpeggios. The arpeggio cycle of Flesch or Galamian is preferred and should be performed 3 notes slurred to a bow.
  • There will be brief sight reading at the live audition.

Recorded audition information.

Voice

Pre-screen required.

All voice applicants require the submission of a pre-screen recording (audio or video; video preferred) by the December application deadline.

The required method for submitting your recording is online via DecisionDesk. You will need to register and submit your pre-screen by the deadline. CDs or DVDs are not permitted. 

This pre-screen recording must be accompanied, and should include representative pieces which fulfill the audition requirements (below). They do not have to be the repertoire you plan to sing for your audition. All works are to be performed from memory. If you are invited for a live audition, a staff accompanist will be provided by The Boston Conservatory.

  • An Italian art song from the 17th or 18th century
  • An art song in German or French
  • An art song in English (not in translation)
  • No operatic arias, please

*Please note that Bachelor of Music applicants cannot audition for the Opera Emphasis option until their sophomore year at the Boston Conservatory.

Recorded audition information.

Woodwinds

Bassoon, Clarinet, Flute, Oboe, Saxophone

Instrumental auditions must be performed without accompaniment.

Note: If you are submitting a recorded audition, please make sure that there is no accompaniment and that the recording has not been edited and does not contain reverb.

  • An étude
  • Two movements of a contrasting nature from a sonata or concerto

Recorded audition information.

Recorded Auditions

Our required method of receiving audition recordings and pre-screens is online through DecisionDesk. However, Composition applicants may choose to mail their portfolios to the Admissions Office.

For more information about recorded auditions, please click here.

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