Audition on Campus or by Online Recording

Download the 2017-2018 Audition and Program Requirements (PDF)

Audition On Campus

2017-18 Audition Dates

Early Decision Auditions are held on an ad-hoc basis during the month of November.

Regular Decision Undergraduate Auditions

  • February 8-18, 2018*

*Trombone, Oboe, and Violin auditions will be held January 26 and February 2, 2018. If you are visiting us on a regular class day, feel free to observe a class or rehearsal.

To be considered for an on-campus audition, you must register online by December 1 and upload any required prescreening recordings. If you are invited for the final round of auditions, you will receive notification after your Common Application has been submitted. This notification will include information on how to schedule your audition.  Do not book your travel arrangements until you have received official, written confirmation from the Bienen School of Music. 

NOTE: Applicants applying via QuestBridge to the Bienen School of Music must complete their performance audition (or upload a final recording) before November 25, regardless of whether applying Early or Regular Decision.

On the day of your audition

  1. Check-in with a Bienen School of Music representative; he/she will be on hand to direct you to warm-up rooms, audition rooms, and other locations on campus.
  2. If requested, bring with you the completed Undergraduate Musical Background Form, which will include the list of selections you have prepared for your audition. You may attach your résumé to this form. You will hand the form to the audition panel when you enter the room.
  3. Arrive to your audition room at least 15 minutes early.
  4. Have copies of your music with you as a reference. Vocalists must bring organized copies of music for the accompanist. You should not send music ahead of time.
  5. Plan to spend the day at Northwestern, in case auditions are running late. On audition days, there are multiple opportunities to meet with students & faculty, and to attend admission and parent sessions. You may also qualify for free tickets to selected concerts.
  6. On weekdays you are welcome to observe classes or attend ensemble rehearsals.
  7. Dress appropriately, as for a professional audition or job interview.
  8. Arrive early to give yourself ample time to warm-up and find your audition room.

Audition By Recording

If you cannot complete an on-campus audition, you must upload a recording to use as your final audition. If you are not planning to visit campus for the live audition, you should upload your final recording during your Audition Registration by December 1. 

Recorded Audition Checklist

  1. Make sure that you have uploaded all of the requirements before you hit the final submit button in your Audition Registration. For a listing of the audition requirements, download the 2017-2018 Audition and Program Requirements (PDF).
  2. Check to see whether your desired major requires a video or audio recording.
  3. Play your recording for multiple people, and have them listen for the sound quality. Give yourself time to re-record if any of the tracks are unclear.
  4. Applicants for majors in the Department of Music Studies (composition, music education, music theory, music cognition, musicology) may be required to include additional portfolios, essays or writing samples in addition to a performance audition. If your intended major requires any of these materials, you can upload them at the same time that you upload your audition recording. All materials are due February 1.


Please contact the Office of Music Admission and Financial Aid at or 847-491-3141.

Request information from the Bienen School of Music.