Berklee Graduate Program Auditions
Please note that auditions are required for—and only for—applicants to the Master of Music in Contemporary Performance (Production Concentration) program. See below for that program's specific requirements.
Master of Music in Contemporary Performance (Production Concentration)
Once your application to the Master of Music in Contemporary Performance (Production Concentration) program is submitted and complete, you will be contacted by Berklee’s Office of Admissions to schedule your audition and interview. Auditions are held on specific dates at our Valencia, Spain, and Boston, Massachusetts, campuses, online, and in cities around the world. Interviews are normally scheduled on the same day and location as your audition.
Please plan to arrive at the audition and interview site no later than 30 minutes before your appointment in order to warm-up and prepare. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to accommodate any travel delays.
The audition staff will be looking primarily at quality of sound, interpretation/style, intonation, stage presence, rhythm, musicality, preparation, and quality of improvisation. The audition staff may ask you to demonstrate other musical or technical abilities depending on your unique strengths. The audition will be approximately 20–30 minutes long and may consist of the four parts outlined below:
Part One: Prepared Piece
Your prepared piece should demonstrate significant understanding of musicality, expression, phrasing, appropriate articulation; excellent intonation and tonal quality; and clarity of articulation or enunciation of notes (and lyrics for vocalists). Your audition performance should be delivered in a manner that is appropriate for the style of the piece.
Berklee embraces and values all styles of music, so you should prepare a piece that you are comfortable with and that displays your strengths as a musician. It should be approximately three to five minutes in length and should be in any style that demonstrates your instrumental proficiency and your overall musicianship. Here are some guidelines that may help when selecting your prepared piece:
- You might choose a tune from a well-known artist or band (in any style).
- You might choose a jazz or blues standard tune (which may include rhythm changes) to which you have the option of adding your own improvisation.
- You might choose a composition from the instrumental/voice repertoire or a movement, sonata, concerto, or etude.
- You might choose a transcription of a well-known artist’s solo.
If composing or songwriting is your primary focus, you may choose to play an original piece that showcases your individual style. However, the original piece should be no longer than three minutes, and you should also prepare a second piece drawing on the guidelines above.
If you require accompaniment for your prepared piece, you may bring an accompanist, a play-along CD, or a digital music player. It is not recommended to use the original tracks of artists or bands as accompaniment.
Part Two: Sight Reading
While sight-reading, you should display strong accuracy of rhythm, pitch, and tone in order to achieve an interpretation that conveys musical substance with phrasing and expression appropriate to the style of the example provided.
Part Three: Improvisation
We would like to hear you improvise over a short progression to gauge where you are in your development. Your prepared piece may also include improvisation, but it is not required.
Part Four: Melodic and Rhythmic Playback
We recognize it is common for applicants to have imbalances in their playing abilities, and we realize that applicants may not have advanced skills in improvisation, reading, or ear training. We take a holistic approach in our evaluation process; each component of the audition helps the audition team assess your overall abilities as a musician and your potential for success at the master’s degree level.
There are two ways to audition and interview: on-site or online. Select an option below to see important guidelines for your desired audition location:
If you are auditioning on campus or on-site around the world, audition rooms are typically equipped with a piano, drum set, guitar and bass amplifiers, a PA system, a CD player, and music stands. If you are a vocalist, you may choose to bring a microphone and cable but it is not necessary. A standard drum set with cymbals for drum set players is provided. Double-bass pedals are not provided.
If you require accompaniment for your prepared piece, you may bring an accompanist, a play-along CD, or an iPod/iPhone/iPad. Berklee does not provide an accompanist to applicants.
You must bring your instrument to the audition if you play acoustic or electric bass, brass, hand percussion, any string instrument (guitar, harp, mandolin, banjo, etc.), or woodwinds.
If you are a bass or string player, remember to bring a tuner, instrument cable(s), and any effects needed for your prepared piece.
If you are a drummer, bring your sticks as well as a practice pad to use in the warm-up room, as many warm-up rooms will not have a drum set.
Due to rental limitations, orchestral percussion principals are required to audition and interview in Boston or Valencia.
If you are auditioning online, you must have:
- completed and submitted the application and paid the $150 application fee;
- access to a private room where you can participate without interruption;
- access to a computer with a good internet connection and audio/video capability;
- access to a set of headphones for use during the online audition and interview; and
- access to all instruments and accompaniment you need to participate.