How to Audition (Undergraduate)

Everyone who applies to an undergraduate music research or performance program at McGill must play an instrument and audition.

You can come to an on-campus or regional audition, or submit a recorded audition.

Regional auditions

If you apply to McGill University by December 1st, you can choose to audition in Boston, New York, San FranciscoVancouver or Calgary instead of coming to Montreal. You will meet with a Schulich School of Music representative, who will record your audition. This recording is considered your final audition and it will be assessed in Montreal by an audition panel. 

Eligibility

Most instruments are eligible, except:

  • Harpsichord, organ, jazz drums (all other jazz instruments are eligible). 
  • Percussionists cannot audition in Boston, New York or San Francisco. You may be able to audition in Calgary or Vancouver. If you choose this option, we will let you know soon after you apply whether it’s possible. If it’s not, you will still be able to send us a recorded audition or come to a live audition in Montreal.

All other applicants who submit a complete application by December 1st and who meet minimum McGill admission requirements can audition regionally. Nobody needs to submit screening materials.

How to prepare

The Admissions Office will send you regional audition details after they receive your application on December 1st. Prepare material based on the audition repertoire requirements for your instrument. 

Check accompaniment requirements for your instrument carefully:

Brass

You must bring your own accompanist, at your own expense. We suggest that you audition with live piano accompaniment for the pieces that include it (sonatas, concertos, other works with piano accompaniment).

Early Music

You can use back tracks.

Guitar

You must bring your own accompanist, at your own expense. We suggest that you audition with live piano accompaniment for the pieces that include it (sonatas, concertos, other works with piano accompaniment). 

Harp

Bring your own harp. You must also bring your own accompanist, at your own expense. We suggest that you audition with live piano accompaniment for the pieces that include it (sonatas, concertos, other works with piano accompaniment). 

Jazz

  • Jazz Guitar/Jazz Bass applicants: Bring your own amp and cable. 
  • You must bring recorded accompaniment to the audition (you can use “I Real Pro,” “Pro Band,” “Jazzplayer” or any app of your choice). Tracks can be stored on a smartphone or tablet (mac or android).  Speakers will be provided at the audition, but you must bring your own wires to connect with a headphone jack.

Percussion

You must bring your own accompanist, at your own expense. We suggest that you audition with live piano accompaniment for the pieces that include it (sonatas, concertos, other works with piano accompaniment). 

Piano

Accompaniment is not allowed.

Strings

We strongly recommend that you bring a piano accompanist. If you can't, recorded accompaniment can be used. If you audition without accompaniment, it will be harder for us to assess your audition.​

Voice

You must bring your own accompanist, at your own expense. We suggest that you audition with live piano accompaniment for the pieces that include it (sonatas, concertos, other works with piano accompaniment). 

Woodwinds

You must bring your own accompanist, at your own expense. We suggest that you audition with live piano accompaniment for the pieces that include it (sonatas, concertos, other works with piano accompaniment). 

What happens on regional audition day

  • Bring a list of the pieces that you will be performing to your audition.
  • If applicable, make sure your accompanist comes with you to the audition or that you have your recorded accompaniment and related equipment.
  • You will meet with a Schulich School of Music representative, who will record your audition.
  • You may be interrupted at any point in a piece, to ensure that auditions proceed on schedule.
  • Auditions last approximately 15 minutes.

On-campus auditions

We encourage everyone to come to McGill to audition. You can visit the campus and city, meet faculty and students and we can find out more about you and your eligibility for your intended program. 

Eligibility

  • If you are a jazz or female voice applicant, you are not guaranteed a spot at on-campus auditions. When you choose the "on-campus audition" option in your application, you must also submit screening material for us to review (instructions and repertoire). Selected applicants are then invited to audition.
  • All other applicants who submit a complete application by January 15th and who meet minimum McGill admission requirements are guaranteed an on-campus audition if they select this option in their application.

How to prepare

  • Check your screening and/or audition repertoire requirements early. Choose material that you are comfortable playing and that showcases your musicianship and technical proficiency.
  • If you are coming from outside Canada, check with Immigration Canada for travel document requirements.

What happens on audition day

  • Accompanists are provided free of charge for your audition time only. Rehearsal costs vary and are your responsibility. Contact your accompanist at least 48 hours before your audition to arrange rehearsal times, provide music, etc. You can also bring your own accompanists, at your expense. Jazz applicants are provided with a rhythm section free of charge for the audition time only and cannot rehearse with them.
  • You must bring a list of pieces to be performed, including études and ensemble music, to the audition. Jazz applicants: In addition, bring copies of your music.
  • The panel may interrupt your audition at any point in a piece to ensure that auditions proceed on schedule.
  • Practice rooms will be available during the audition period. They are located in the East Wing of the Strathcona Music Building. You can also warm up in these rooms.
  • Auditions last approximately 15 minutes.

Recorded auditions

If you cannot participate in on-campus or regional auditions due to date conflicts or travel constraints, you must upload a video recording through our music upload form. This will be considered as your final audition. Your recording should be up to 30 minutes long, depending on the requirements listed for your instrument.

  1. Review your repertoire requirements. If we have not provided sample pieces, choose your own material from your instrument’s traditional repertoire. Select material that highlights your musicianship and technical proficiency.
  2. Make sure the sound quality on your video recording is very good. Re-record a piece if it does not sound clear. Your recordings should be less than 6 months old.
  3. Follow the instructions to upload your video(s) by February 1st.  We accept 'avi', 'mov', 'mp4' and 'wmv' formats. Upload times will depend on file size and upload speed (determined by service provider).
  4. Include a list of your recordings and repertoire with your uploaded materials.
  5. If you are a composition applicant, you can upload your composition samples (due by February 1st) at the same time.