Undergraduate Auditions

Each year, Bienen School faculty will listen to thousands of the nation’s most promising young musicians to determine who will be selected for admission to Northwestern University.

Step-by-step instructions for auditioning for the Bienen School of Music are outlined below.


1. Submit the Bienen School Supplement

In most cases, a performance audition is required.* Please note that auditions for fall 2021 admission will be 100% virtual. Please see below for further information. 

*NOTE: Bachelor of Arts and Music Composition applications do not have an audition component, but must submit music application materials via our Bienen School Supplement following the deadlines listed on our Application & Timeline page.

Start Your Bienen School Supplement

Important Audition Dates

Date
Registration Rule
November 23, 2020
Early Decision live virtual auditions must be completed by || NOTE: More information about Early Decision auditions has been sent directly to applicants and can be found below.
February 4-14, 2021
Regular Decision live virtual auditions || NOTE: More information about Regular Decision auditions will be sent directly to applicants and can be found below.

Composition applicants for Regular Decision have until February 1, 2021 to upload the required portfolio. However, if you wish to apply to both the Composition program and to a performance major, you should submit a second Supplement with the necessary performance major prescreening (if applicable) and audition requirements.


2. Prepare for Your Audition

See Audition Requirements

This year's virtual audition format will vary based on instrument. Many programs will require a live virtual Zoom audition or interview component, and faculty also will consult prescreening or audition videos as needed. Specific audition procedures and information will be sent to all applicants via email.

If your program requires prescreening:

  1. Submit your prescreening requirements and Bienen School Supplement by October 15 (Early Decision) or December 1 (Regular Decision).
  2. You will receive the results of your prescreening evaluation directly from the Office of Undergraduate Admission. You must submit your Common/Coalition application in order to receive your prescreening result.
  3. If you are invited for a final audition, our office will contact you with further information about your audition format. Depending on instrument, you may be required to submit additional recordings and/or meet with faculty on Zoom for a live virtual audition/interview. Not all instrument areas' auditions will have a Zoom component, and some areas will only hold interviews over Zoom, not auditions. Details will be sent directly to applicants. 
  4. If needed, our faculty will consult your prescreening materials when making admission decisions.   

NOTE: Fall 2021 clarinet, euphonium, horn, trombone, trumpet, and tuba auditions must be entirely prerecorded and there will not be any live virtual auditions. Some programs may conduct live Zoom interviews. Further information will be sent directly to applicants.

If your program does NOT require prescreening:

  1. Submit audition videos and your Bienen School Supplement by November 1 (Early Decision) or submit your Supplement by December 1 with audition videos uploaded no later than February 8 (Regular Decision). Please submit videos of all audition requirements.
  2. Our office will contact you with further information about your audition format. Depending on instrument, you may be required to meet with faculty on Zoom for a live virtual audition/interview. Not all instrument areas' auditions will have a Zoom component, and some areas will only hold interviews over Zoom, not auditions. Details will be sent directly to applicants. You must submit your Common/Coalition application in order to schedule a Zoom audition/interview.
  3. Our faculty will consult your audition videos when making admission decisions. 

NOTE: Fall 2021 double bass and oboe auditions must be entirely prerecorded and there will not be any live virtual Zoom auditions. Further information will be sent directly to applicants.

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 is 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. 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.

Accompaniment

Please see your program's individual Audition & Program Requirements page for information about accompaniment requirements. 


3. Audition 

The Bienen School will be holding live virtual auditions for fall 2021 admission. Please see more information above. 

In the event that you are unable to take part in a live virtual audition, please contact the Office of Music Admission after application deadlines have passed and prescreening results have been distributed to discuss submission options: musiclife@northwestern.edu.

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

Prepare for your audition

View Audition & Program Requirements