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Preparing for College Auditions

by | Aug 29, 2022 | Performance Skills, Voice

Once you’ve decided on which Universities or Conservatories to submit applications to, you may be wondering what comes next! While some schools will require pre-screening materials to be submitted with your paper application, others may wait to hear you until you are invited to a formal in-person audition. Here are some typical things to expect and consider as you begin the journey to a music major in college:


  • Background, Goals, Personal Statement: Many applications will request your personal statement about your goals, background, and desire to pursue music professionally. In fact, writing this essay is a wonderful exercise for a teen or young adult considering a music major, whether the university or conservatory requires it or not! Picture where you hope this music degree will take you and work your way back from that goal; what skills do you hope to learn to help you reach your goal? Why is this school the right fit to help you realize this vision for your future? What about yourself as a musician and singer do you hope to share with the world and in what way?
  • Repertoire Lists: Whether this is a requirement or not, including a list of songs or repertoire that you have studied or worked on in the past (especially songs that are relevant to your major) is a great idea to help show the kind of singer you are and what interests you!
  • Pre-screening Recordings: Not all schools require pre-screening recordings, but if they do, be sure to review the requirements carefully. Often, it is mandatory that recordings not be edited, that the songs be recorded in their original keys, and some schools may even have requirements about live vs. recorded accompaniment or how you film the recordings.
  • Fees: Be sure to double-check whether an additional audition fee is required in addition to your application fee, or whether you must pay for a pianist for your live audition.

Live Auditions

  • Generally 2-4 Songs (at the undergraduate level; more for post-graduate!)
  • Variety of Languages (most commonly Italian, French, or German in addition to English)
  • Contrasting Selections (For Musical Theatre majors, generally Uptempo + Ballad; for Voice Performance majors, generally songs from different musical periods and/or different musical modes)
  • Resume/Headshot/Repertoire Lists (these may be optional, but never a bad idea to include!)
  • Complete Memorization for all required pieces
  • Performance Skills (Acting/ Stage Presence)

Entrance Exams

  • Sight-Singing (with or without solfege)
  • Music Theory and Harmonics
  • Sometimes not administered until you are admitted; in which case, these will be used as placement tests to determine your required courses.

Preparing for all of this may seem like a lot, but with careful planning you’ll breeze through! Be sure to give yourself time to go through all elements of your audition package carefully. From what you decide to wear on audition day to how you introduce yourself as you walk into the room, the smallest details help build the overall picture of who you are (and how seriously you take your future). Be thorough and take your time as you gather your materials and practice your selected music. Your attention to detail will be appreciated! Plus, it will help you feel confident and proud of your audition package regardless of the result. Put your best foot forward!

Remember, as a prospective music major, you are being judged against many other talented singers from across the country (and sometimes, the world!). The competition in college programs can be fierce. Even if you don’t gain acceptance into all of your chosen schools, remember that sometimes there just isn’t room for everyone who is qualified– not receiving an invitation to enroll does not necessarily reflect on your ability or potential. You may be able to re-audition next year or transfer in later from a less competitive school. Never give up your dreams. Wishing you the best this audition season!

Care for some back-up as you prepare? The talented teachers at Cardon Voice have all been in your shoes, and know what university and conservatory professors are looking for. We would love to help support your preparation efforts! Schedule your complimentary consultation today to get started.

Questions? Get in touch!