Undergraduate Auditions

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.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all fall 2022 auditions will be held in virtual and remote formats. There will be no in-person auditions. Applicants will receive direct email communications with more details. Updated 1/6/2022


1. Submit the Bienen School Supplement

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

Important Audition Dates

Date
Registration Rule
November 23, 2021
Early Decision auditions must be completed by
January 31-February 21, 2022
Regular Decision virtual auditions
February 15, 2022
Deadline to submit recorded auditions

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. 


2. Prepare for Your Audition

See Audition Requirements

 

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.

Accompaniment

Please see your program's individual Audition & Program Requirements page for information about accompaniment requirements. 


3. Audition

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all fall 2022 auditions will be held in virtual and remote formats. There will be no in-person auditions. Applicants will receive direct email communications with more details. Updated 1/6/2022

Early Decision and QuestBridge auditions are held on an ad-hoc basis during the month of November.

COVID-19 Policies for On-campus Auditions

On-campus auditions for fall 2022 admission have been cancelled. All auditions will be held in virtual and remote formats. Updated 1/6/2022

The Bienen School requires that all visitors to our buildings adhere to the following policies and guidelines to participate in an on-campus audition:

  • All visitors must present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours of the visit in order to participate. You will be asked to provide documentation when you check in for your audition at the Office of Music Admission. Do not send this documentation in advance.
  • Visitors who neglect to bring documentation of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours have the option of completing a rapid COVID-19 test on campus at the Jacobs Center, located at 2001 Sheridan Road. Those who take advantage of this option will need to complete this test and share results in order to be eligible to have an in-person audition. Please allow at least two hours for this process as we cannot guarantee a short wait for a rapid test. Failure to comply with these requirements will result in the cancellation of the in-person audition.
  • All visitors must wear a mask covering their mouth and nose while inside all buildings. If you do not bring a mask, they will be available at the entrance of the Ryan Center for the Musical Arts. Mask usage during the audition is encouraged if it is possible given the instrument.
  • A student may be accompanied in our buildings by up to two guests. However, guests may not enter the audition room with the student but must also wear masks, regardless of vaccine status.
  • Students and guests must follow all University guidelines.
  • Visiting students and/or guest(s) who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 must notify the faculty member and cancel the in-person audition. For a full list of symptoms, please see the University's health monitoring page.
  • Visiting students and/or guests who do not follow safety guidelines and policies or faculty/staff instructions will be asked to leave.
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Prepare for your audition

View Audition & Program Requirements