Audition Information

Most NEC programs require live auditions. All live auditions take place on campus, giving you the opportunity to visit Boston and get to know the NEC community.

Live auditions are scheduled after submission of a completed application and are arranged by invitation only after review of the prescreening recording. Please carefully review the Audition Repertoire for your major.

Students interested in January admission should contact the Admissions Office to inquire about anticipated program openings before completing an application. Auditions for January enrollment are typically by recorded audition. Applicants may be asked to present a live audition based on their major and/or proximity to Boston. Spring enrollment is never available in the Artist Diploma, Doctor of Musical Arts, Professional Piano Trio Training, Professional String Quartet Training, or Dual Degree programs.

Prescreening Recordings

All performance majors require the submission of a prescreening recording. These recordings must be submitted through our online application by December 1. After review, qualified applicants will be invited come to NEC for a live audition or interview. Invitations will be sent by email by the second week of January. Applicants who submit a prescreening recording and are not invited for a live audition will be notified by the second week of January that they have not been selected to move forward.

Recording Guidelines

All recordings must be uploaded as part of the online application. The following digital file formats are supported, as are Adobe PDF files for composition scores.

  • Video: MPEG, MPG, MP4, MOV, AVI, WMV, M4V, VOB

Video recordings are required. Each piece must be performed in a single, unedited take (with the exception of Contemporary Improvisation recordings). Each piece or composition score should be submitted as a separate file and clearly labeled with the composer's name, title of work, and movement (if applicable). It is not necessary to submit a professionally produced recording, but the sound quality should be very good. Applicants should make sure that proper lighting is used and that the camera shows full range of movement and use of instrument.


Applicants to Composition must submit a portfolio of representative works (and recordings, if available). Composition applicants for DMA and Harvard/NEC will be screened for invitation to an in-person interview here in Boston. Compositions applicants to all other programs will be reviewed based on the submitted portfolio only; an interview is not required.

Musicology and Music Theory applicants must submit materials that demonstrate preparedness for graduate studies. There is no performance audition for Musicology and Music Theory applicants, but finalists will be asked to arrange a remote interview with faculty.

Prescreening and Audition Repertoire:

Artist Diploma
Chamber Music
Collaborative Piano
Contemporary Improvisation
Jazz Composition
Jazz Performance
Music Theory
Vocal Performance
Vocal Pedagogy

Live audition repertoire choices do not need to match those submitted for the prescreening. 

Harvard/NEC dual-degree applicants should prepare the undergraduate audition repertoire.

Live Auditions at NEC

Live auditions are required of:

  • All applicants to CelloCollaborative Piano, Conducting, Flute, Piano, Viola, and Violin regardless of country of residence
  • All applicants to DMA, Artist Diploma, Harvard/NEC dual degree, and Chamber Music programs, regardless of country of residence
  • Applicants to all other majors who reside in North America (United States, Canada, and Mexico).

For those majors with more than one available audition date, applicants are given the opportunity to indicate their date preference in the application for admission. While we try to schedule applicants for their preferred dates, we are unable to do so in all cases due to space limitations. Therefore,  500 Internal Server Error

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confirmed via email by the Admissions Office. Confirmation of the live audition date will be sent approximately one month prior to the audition. All audition dates are subject to change and/or cancellation due to faculty availability. Applicants who cancel an audition for documented unforeseen difficulties (e.g., illness, inclement weather, injury) may request placement on a waiting list for a later date should openings occur.

Pianists for Live Auditions

Collaborative pianists are required for Voice and Opera auditions. For a fee of $25, NEC will provide a pianist for Voice and Opera auditions.

Collaborative pianists are required for DMA applicants for Flute, Violin, Viola, and Cello, and any MM or GD applicants in Cello who opt to present a sonata. It is recommended that all applicants in Violin, Viola, and Cello perform with a collaborative pianist, especially for sonata repertoire. Pianists are not required for other instrumental auditions, although applicants wishing to audition with their own pianist (personally arranged) may do so.

For a fee, NEC will provide a vocalist and/or instrumentalist for Collaborative Piano auditions.

A rhythm section is provided free of charge for Jazz and CI auditions.


Final Recorded Auditions

Applicants are strongly encouraged to present a live audition at NEC, and certain majors or programs require a live audition for admission. For other programs and majors, however, it is possible to submit a video audition.

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