Audition Guidelines

The information below will help you plan and prepare for your audition:

Applicants accepted to Berklee will be taking core music classes including harmony, ear training, and arranging classes in addition to private instrumental studies and ensembles, so the audition is formatted to assess students' overall musicianship. In addition, we are also interested in seeing how you function in an ensemble setting. 

Arrival Time

Please plan to arrive at the audition and interview site no later than 30 minutes before your warm-up time in order to prepare. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to accommodate any travel delays.

What to Bring

  1. Your instrument: You must bring your instrument to the audition if you play acoustic or electric bass, brass, guitar, hand percussion, a string instrument (including the harp, mandolin, and banjo), or woodwinds. 
  2. Your accompaniment: If you require accompaniment for your prepared piece, you may bring an accompanist or an iPod/smartphone. Berklee does not provide an accompanist to applicants.
  3. Your equipment: Bass players, guitarists, and string players (including mandolin and banjo players) are reminded to bring a tuner, instrument cable(s), and any effects needed for their prepared piece. Drummers should bring their 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. Vocalists may choose to bring a microphone and cable, but it is not necessary.

Audition rooms are typically equipped with a piano, a drum set, guitar and bass amplifiers, a PA system, and music stands.

A standard drum set with cymbals is provided for drum set players. Double-bass pedals are not provided. Vibraphone and marimba players who are auditioning in Boston do not need to bring their own instruments since Boston audition rooms are equipped with a vibraphone and/or marimba.

What the Audition Entails

Each audition includes a prepared piece, improvisation, blues, sight-reading, and ear training. You will follow the basic outline of each section of the audition below. Please be sure to also view the additional guidelines for your specific instrument department toward the bottom of this page.

We have provided online audition practice materials (play-along exercises) that will help you prepare for the improvisation and blues sections of the audition.

You may be asked to demonstrate your technical facility via typical practice routines and exercises (scales, arpeggios, etc.). You should also be prepared to demonstrate the ability to showcase the unique characteristic of your preferred music style (Floyd Rose technique, slide technique, finger-picking technique, etc.).

Watch current Berklee students discuss their audition piece in this video:

Additional Guidelines by Instrument

Please use the links below to review additional audition requirements related to your specific instrument:

*Due to rental limitations, orchestral percussion, marimba, and vibraphone principals are required to audition and interview in Boston. Electronic digital instrument (EDI) principals will be limited to specific locations for their audition and interview.

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