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 will last about 15 minutes.
How to Sign up for Your Audition
You can sign up for an audition time slot using our YouCanBookMe site (login required).
For late ratings auditions, contact your instrumental department or send an email to email@example.com.
How 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.
In preparation for your audition, please do the following:
- Warm up on your instrument.
- Make sure your instrument is in tune.
- Log in five minutes early.
- Ensure your internet connection is working properly.
- Test the audio and video on your computer.
- Review your audition packet from below.
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
This includes the sheet music that you will be asked to perform during your audition. Download and print the packet for your instrument.
- Baritone Horn Audition Packet
- French Horn Audition Packet
- Trombone Audition Packet
- Trumpet Audition Packet
- Tuba Audition Packet
- Drum Set Audition Packet
- Hand Percussion Audition Packet
- Marimba Audition Packet
- Orchestral Percussion Audition Packet
- Steelpan Audition Packet
- Vibraphone Audition Packet
- Banjo Audition Packet
- Cello Audition Packet
- Harp Audition Packet
- Mandolin Audition Packet
- Viola Audition Packet
- Violin Audition Packet
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.
All students are required to take the Entering Student Proficiency Assessment (ESPA), which allows us to place you in your core courses with other students who have similar levels of experience in music harmony and arranging. Access to this online exam will also be sent to your Berklee.edu email address. Students will receive one email with access to Berklee's online portal and a second email to provide access to the ESPA online exam itself. The ESPA online exam will be available for students to take anytime from 9:00 a.m. (EDT) on Wednesday, May 13, until 5:00 p.m. (EDT) on Sunday, May 17. The exam must be complete by 5:00 p.m. (EDT) on May 17.
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).