Electronic Digital Instrument Audition Guidelines
Should You Choose the Electronic Digital Instrument?
The electronic digital instrument (EDI) program is designed for musicians who perform digital instruments live in real time. Currently, this program is not able to service music producers who make music in the studio and who do not perform.
As an EDI principal at Berklee, you must take the required core music classes in music theory, ear training, and harmony. Therefore, you must have some foundational training in playing a musical instrument and in music theory to be successful in our intensive core music curriculum.
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. We are also interested in seeing how you function in an ensemble setting. While each component is important, we recognize it is common for applicants to have imbalances in their musical abilities.
The EDI is a system based on three components:
- A computing device
- User-configured software
- Performance controllers
Combined, these act as a single instrument capable of a wide range of musical expression, to be displayed during the audition.
What You Should Bring
You will need to provide all components of your instrument including hardware, software, adapters, and cables.
Your Audition Day Checklist
- Computer and power cord/cables/charger.
- Controllers (grid, keyboard, mix, or other): there is a 49-key midi controller available on site if you need it, but if you need your own controller to feel comfortbale, then please bring it.
- Appropriate cables for your setup: our PA system allows for female XLR, balanced 1/4", and 1/8" cable connections.
- An audio interface and/or mixer if you need one: we will provide tables and music stands.
- Headphones if you'd like to check your sound before playing in the room.
You will have only 15 minutes to set up and warm up for the audition, so please be mindful of bringing a performance system that you can set up relatively quickly that will still allow you to demonstrate your musical abilities.
Vocalists: You may choose to bring a microphone and cable, but it is not necessary. There will be a microphone, cable, and mic stand on site.
Your Prepared Piece
Your audition for Berklee must be performed live using your EDI.
Your prepared piece should be:
- performed live (cannot be pre-recorded),
- approximately three–five minutes in length, and
- in any style that demonstrates your instrumental proficiency and your overall musicianship.
Your selection should showcase your ability in areas such as:
- live looping,
- loop variation,
- live effects processing,
- finger drumming, and/or
- live synth playing.
Berklee embraces and values all musical styles, so you should perform a piece that you are comfortable with and that displays your strengths as a musician. Select a piece that puts your best foot forward and highlights what you feel represents your best playing, rather than a piece you think the audition team wants to hear. 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.
You may choose to perform an original piece that showcases your individual style, or here are some examples and additional guidelines that may help with your selection:
- A cover of a tune from a well-known artist or band (any style)
- A live remix
- A composition from a pre-existing repertoire or a movement, sonata, concerto, or etude
If you require accompaniment for your prepared piece, you may bring a background track to play along with. Avoid using the original tracks of artists or bands as play-alongs. If you are playing to a track, we prefer 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.
Please note: if you are using a backing track, you must provide any necessary adapters to allow you to connect to an 1/8" cable. For example, if you are using an iPhone 7 or beyond, you need to bring your lighting to 3.5 mm headphone jack adapter.
We would like to hear you improvise over a short progression or drum beat to gauge where you are in your instrumental development.
Explore practice exercises for improvisation and blues skills.
You will be asked to read a written notation example and play it on your instrument with the correct pitches and note durations. 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 musical notation.
You will be asked to play the material on your digital controller. If you have more than one controller, choose the one that will be the most comfortable for you.
You will be asked to participate in exercises such as:
- call-and-response (playing on your controller or singing back short rhythms and melodies),
- identifying intervals and chord qualities, and/or
- pitch matching (singing or playing back a series of pitches).
You may also be asked to demonstrate your typical practice routines and warm-up exercises (scales, arpeggios, etc.).
You should be prepared to demonstrate common scales, chords, or arpeggios. Please have a simple piano sound ready to play, with very little reverb and a clear and short attack at the start of the sound, for this portion of the audition. A common piano or electronic piano sound usually works best.
You should be prepared to demonstrate accurate timekeeping along with variations and improvisations on basic drum kit sounds. Grooves can be straight 4/4 grooves or syncopated grooves in various electronic music styles. Please have a drum kit loaded into your software for easy access, and use sounds that don’t have much reverb or other effects on them.
You will participate in a brief interview with one of our admissions representatives to discuss your goals, aspirations, and what you will bring to Berklee.
The board of admissions encourages you to share your creative work; however, instead of bringing supplemental material to your interview, please provide a link to your streaming account (YouTube, SoundCloud, Spotify, etc.) or a personal website when you submit your application.
Learn more about the interview process, and read practice questions.