Placement Auditions and Assessments
Placement Auditions for Incoming Students
All students are required to complete a placement audition during orientation. The purpose of the placement audition is to assess your current skill level relative to the curriculum. This assessment will help the college place you into an appropriate ensemble, private lesson, and lab that will best support your educational needs, along with students of similar ability.
You will audition with faculty members from your instrumental department and the Ensemble Department. While auditions differ by department, you are typically asked to perform with accompaniment as well as sight-read, improvise, and play or sing a short piece from your repertoire. Auditions usually last about 15 minutes.
To prepare for your audition:
- Review the preparation materials for your instrument.
- Students may perform any music for their assessment, including original songs and classical music.
Vocalists may accompany themselves on acoustic guitar or piano (this is recommended only if you are highly proficient on your accompanying instrument). Alternatively, vocalists may use a backing track that has been downloaded and does not require internet access, or a faculty member can accompany them on piano if the student provides a chord chart/lead sheet or sheet music that can be easily sight-read.
- This page is updated to include links to the audition packet for each instrument. This includes the sheet music for musical examples you will be asked to perform during your audition. Download and print the packet for your instrument.
- During check-in, you will receive your audition time slot.
What to bring to your audition:
- Your instrument (unless you are a pianist or percussionist)
- The audition packet below (you can print it out closer to your audition time)
Visit campus business services to learn more about on-campus printing instructions.
Download information about what you will be asked to perform during your audition.
- Baritone Horn Cover Sheet
- French Horn Cover Sheet
- Trombone Cover Sheet
- Trumpet Cover Sheet
- Tuba Cover Sheet
Electronic Production and Design Department
- Drum Set Cover Sheet
- Hand Percussion Cover Sheet
- Marimba Cover Sheet
- Orchestral Percussion Cover Sheet
- Steelpan Cover Sheet
- Vibraphone Cover Sheet
- Banjo Cover Sheet
- Cello Cover Sheet
- Harp Cover Sheet
- Mandolin Cover Sheet
- Viola Cover Sheet
- Violin Cover Sheet
You can download and print the sheet music you will be asked to perform during your audition once the files are posted here. Check back closer to your audition time.
Proficiency Assessment and Exams
The proficiency assessment and exams enable the college to determine whether advanced levels of arranging, harmony, and ear training are right for you and to place you in classes with students of similar musical knowledge. All first-semester students will take an entering student proficiency assessment. The assessment is specifically for placement; you cannot pass or fail the assessment, and no grade will be assigned to it.
The ESPA is delivered in two phases:
- Online ear training assessment: An online ear training assessment is available through the college's student portal. All students are required to complete the online ear training assessment. This portion of the assessment can be completed in about 20 minutes.
- Written assessment: You will take a comprehensive, written assessment once you arrive on campus. The on-campus written assessment takes about two hours to complete and is scheduled during orientation week.
All non-native English speakers are required to take the English proficiency exam, which is administered during orientation week.
The English proficiency exam is not required for native English speakers.
This exam offers you the opportunity to receive credit for Traditional Harmony (CM-211 and CM-212), provided that you demonstrate strong comprehension of the subject matter. Before taking the Traditional Harmony and Counterpoint exam, you need to pick up an outline of test materials from the Professional Writing Center.
If you successfully test out of Traditional Harmony and Counterpoint and you are registered for either CM-211 or CP-211, then you will need to drop the course from your schedule by the add/drop deadline. Most students complete this credit by exam in their second semester on campus or later.
For answers to questions about the Traditional Harmony and Counterpoint exam, contact the Composition Department (login required).
This exam offers you the opportunity to receive credit for Introduction to Music Technology (MTEC-111), a required course for all Berklee College of Music degree and diploma students, provided that you demonstrate strong knowledge of the subject matter. View the study guide and exam schedule.
If you successfully test out of Introduction to Music Technology and you are registered for this course, it will be dropped from your schedule.
The Mathematics Placement Exam is an online assessment for undergraduate students. Students in certain majors will be required to achieve a score of 75 percent or higher on the Mathematics Placement Exam or enroll in LMSC-130 Concepts of Mathematics in order to take required courses for their major.
Learn more about the Mathematics Placement Exam (login required).