Each year, Bienen School faculty will listen to thousands of the nation’s most promising young musicians to determine who will be selected for admission to Northwestern University.
Step-by-step instructions for auditioning for the Bienen School of Music are outlined below.
In most cases, a performance audition is required.*
*NOTE: Bachelor of Arts and Music Composition applications do not have an audition component, but must submit music application materials via our Bienen School Supplement following the deadlines listed on our Application & Timeline page.
Start Your Bienen School Supplement
Composition applicants for Regular Decision have until February 1, 2022 to upload the required portfolio. However, if you wish to apply to both the Composition program and to a performance major, you should submit a second Supplement with the necessary performance major prescreening (if applicable) and audition requirements.
*Applicants auditioning by recording do not receive prescreening decisions; applicants will only receive a final admission decision.
We recommend starting early by taking the audition requirements to your music teacher. Prepare for your audition by bringing musical selections that best showcase what you do well. It is better to beautifully perform a piece that requires moderate skill, as opposed to a mediocre performance of a very difficult piece.
For prescreening recordings and final audition recordings, it is not necessary to have them made in a professional studio. The most important aspect is that the sound quality of your recording is excellent, so find a good microphone and play your recording for multiple people before you submit it.
Please see your program's individual Audition & Program Requirements page for information about accompaniment requirements.
Details on fall 2022 audition format options will be updated online as soon as possible. At this time, the Bienen School plans to hold in-person auditions, with live virtual audition options available for select instrument areas. Recorded auditions will also be accepted, though a live audition is strongly preferred.
All applicants who have started a Bienen School Supplement will be emailed directly with more details.
Early Decision and QuestBridge auditions are held on an ad-hoc basis during the month of November.