Electronic Digital Instrument Audition Guidelines

The Audition

What is needed?
The electronic digital instrument (EDI) is a system based on three components:

  1. A computing device
  2. User-configured software
  3. Performance controllers

Combined, these act as a single instrument capable of a wide range of musical expression to be displayed during the audition.

Prepared Piece: Berklee embraces and values all musical styles, so you should prepare a piece that you are comfortable with and that displays your strengths as a musician. It should be approximately three–five minutes in length, in any style that demonstrates your instrumental proficiency and your overall musicianship. Do not choose a piece or a style of music you think the audition team wants to hear. Rather, select a piece that puts your best foot forward and highlights what you feel represents your best playing. Ultimately, the audition is a discovery process, and we want to find out what you do well.

We recommended that you seek the guidance of your private instructor and/or musical mentor when selecting your prepared piece. Here are some examples and additional guidelines that may help with your selection:

  • A tune from a well-known artist or band (any style)
  • A composition from the instrumental/voice repertoire or a movement, sonata, concerto, or etude
  • 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 from the above listing (no longer than three minutes).

If you require accompaniment for your prepared piece, you may bring an accompanist, play-along track. It is not recommended to use the original tracks of artists or bands as play-alongs. If you are playing to a track, it is preferred that you use standard play-along/music-minus-one or karaoke tracks so that you are not playing your part along with the part on the recording. 

Improvisation: We would like to hear you improvise over a short progression to gauge where you are in your instrumental development. Your prepared piece may include improvisation, but it is not required.

Blues: You should be prepared to play over a standard I-IV-V blues progression.

Reading: The examples range from basic to complex in order for the audition team to gauge your reading ability. You will have 15 minutes before your audition to warm up on your instrument and review the reading material before being asked to play the examples in the audition.

Ear Training: You will be asked to participate in call-and-response exercises. The audition team will play short rhythms and melodies, which you will either sing back or play back on your instrument. You may also be asked to identify intervals and chord qualities. The audition team will also gain a sense of your ability to match pitch during this section of the audition.

You may also be asked to demonstrate your technical facility via typical practice routines and exercises (scales, arpeggios, etc.).

Some Valuable Things to Remember

We have provided online audition practice materials (play-along exercises) that will help you prepare for the improvisation and blues sections of the 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 interested in seeing how you function in an ensemble setting.

We take a holistic approach in our evaluation process where each component of the audition helps the audition team assess your overall abilities as a musician. While each component is important, we recognize it is common for applicants to have imbalances in their playing abilities. We realize many applicants may not have advanced skills in improvisation, reading, ear training, or multiple musical styles, but our curriculum materials are designed to help students build skills in these areas.

The Interview

You will participate in a 15-minute interview with our admissions representative to discuss your goals and aspirations, and what you will bring to Berklee. The board of admissions encourages applicants to share their creative work. Instead of bringing supplemental material to your interview, please provide a link to YouTube, MySpace, or a personal website when you submit your application.