Prepare for Your Audition

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

The 2017-2018 Audition and Program Requirements booklet explains exactly what is required for each major in the Bienen School of Music. This booklet only covers the music auditions and program requirements, so be sure that you have also submitted all requirements for your application to Northwestern University. We will not schedule an audition unless you have submitted your Common Application to Northwestern University.

Preparing for the Audition or Prescreening

We recommend starting early by taking the audition requirements to your music teacher. Prepare for your audition by bringing musical selections that best showcase what you do well.  It’s better to beautifully perform a piece that requires moderate skill, as opposed to a mediocre performance of a very difficult piece.

For prescreening recordings and final audition recordings, it is not necessary to have them made in a professional studio. We receive some very strong recordings made from home or school equipment, and even from mobile devices. The most important aspect is that the sound quality of your recording is excellent, so find a good microphone and play your recording for multiple people before you submit it. If one person thinks the sound quality is poor, it’s possible our faculty will feel that way, too.


Voice applicants are required to submit prescreening recordings with accompaniment. For on-campus voice auditions, an accompanist will be provided for you.  However, you are required to bring your own music for the accompanist to use. We recommend making photocopies of your music and neatly organizing your selections in a three-ring binder. Please do not place music in plastic sleeves as this causes glare for our pianists. For safety, do not use staples on your music. Do not send music in advance, but instead bring the music with you when you arrive for your audition.

Jazz Studies applicants require prescribed combo instrumentation, as described in the Audition and Program Requirements booklet.

Classical instrumental prescreening recordings and auditions must be unaccompanied. If you are performing a required excerpt that includes measures of rests, it is not necessary to count out the rests—you can move on to your next entry.


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

Request information from the Bienen School of Music.