Undergraduate Audition Repertoire

The impact of COVID-19 has altered the Fall 2021 admissions cycle. We will not be holding on-campus auditions.

For both performance and non-performance programs:

Recorded Video Auditions:

  • You can submit recordings from live performances – as long as the recording is not too distant overall, and that the sound of your instrument is very clear.
  • For all recordings, less reverberant sound capture is more indicative of the singer’s abilities and therefore a more suitable and effective submission.

Applicants should follow the recorded audition requirements for their specific instrument.

Brass and Woodwinds

Audition repertoire

The repertoire for your instrument should demonstrate your ability to play in a lyrical manner and to articulate clearly in both legato and staccato styles.

  • Prepare a technical étude.

Brass:

  • Prepare one major solo piece with piano accompaniment from the traditional repertoire for your instrument. 

Woodwind: (Piano accompaniment is encouraged not required)

Flute

  • Fauré Fantasie (applicants to Non-performance programs can prepare a similar work instead of the Faure Fantasie)
  • Piece of candidate’s choice - 4 minutes
  • Study of candidate’s choice - 3 minutes

All other Woodwind instruments:

  • Prepare two contrasting solo works from the traditional repertoire for your instrument. Partial works are acceptable.
     

Early Music

Audition repertoire

Includes: Baroque Violin, Viola, Cello, Viola da Gamba, Lute, Flute, Recorder, Oboe, Early Brass.

  • Prepare at least 20 minutes of repertoire.
  • From the baroque period (approximately 1600-1750), include:
    • at least two movements (slow and fast) from a sonata by a German or Italian composer;
    • an unaccompanied work (transcriptions of material originally written for another instrument are accepted);
    • at least two movements, including a prelude, from a suite by a French composer.

Early Music Voice

Audition repertoire

For Fall 2021 admission, you can present material with or without the use of a piano. You can use a pre-recorded track, or sing a cappella, whatever is available to you. As a reminder all material should be sung from memory.

We require that you include at least two songs or arias from the baroque repertoire or earlier.

For performance programs (BMus and Licentiate):

  • Prepare five contrasting songs or arias to be performed from memory.
  • Represent at least three of the four major languages (English, French, German, Italian).

For non-performance programs:

  • Prepare three contrasting songs or arias to be performed from memory and representing at least two languages.

Guitar

Audition repertoire

  • Videos must be complete, unedited takes, with no edits between pieces
  • Include your name and instrument in your video's file name
  • Submit a list of your recorded pieces in the order in which they appear in your video
  • Videos should be approximately 10-15 minutes in length
  • Prepare three pieces of contrasting styles, one of which may be an étude selected from the classical guitar repertoire.
  • Select works with musical and technical content appropriate to your knowledge and abilities.

Harp

Audition repertoire

  • Prepare three pieces of different styles.
  • Include a 20th-century composition and an étude. 

Harpsichord

Audition repertoire

  • Prepare three pieces in contrasting styles, adding up to at least 20 minutes.
  • Include:
    • A work by J.S. Bach.
    • A work by one of the French clavecinistes (Couperin, Rameau, D'Anglebert, Duphly, etc).
    • Another work of your choice.

Jazz

Recorded audition repertoire

For Bass, Electric Bass, Guitar, Piano, Saxophone, Trombone, Trumpet, Vibraphone, Voice:

Screening material is not required for recorded video auditions.

  1. Submit a video recording of three jazz pieces (ballad, blues and one standard) and play the head and improvise. The use of back-tracks will be allowed for Fall 2021 admission.
  2. Submit one transcription (including a PDF of the score) and one classical study.
  3. Piano and guitar applicants: Include (play) chords behind someone else's solo. Voice applicants: Improvise. Bass applicants: Play a head, walk and solo.
  4. Virtual interviews and online interactions may be scheduled for select applicants. Applicants may be contacted after admission material has been submitted. You are not required to sign up in advance.

For Jazz Drums:

  1. Submit a video recording of three jazz pieces (blues, standard and a piece of your choosing) with a variety of tempos, forms and feels. The use of back-tracks will be allowed for Fall 2021 admission. Videos may also include recordings of live performances. Examples of pieces that could be performed: Billie's Bounce; Au Privave; Straight No Chaser; Tenor Madness; Sonny Moon for Two; Blues Walk, All the Things You Are; So What, Green Dolphin Street; Stella by Starlight; Four; Night and Day. Be prepared to demonstrate the following proficiencies on your recording:
    • For each selection, accompany melody/solos and play an improvised solo (unaccompanied solo, accompanied solo, or trading).
    • Demonstrate your ability to play with brushes as well as sticks and to change smoothly from brushes to sticks.
  2. Transcription:
    • Submit a PDF of one short transcription (1-2 choruses) of an important jazz drummer (such as Max Roach, Joe Morello, Roy Haynes, Art Blakey). The object is to evaluate accuracy, style, time concept, articulation, phrasing and sound. The transcription must be done by you and should be memorized.
    • Submit a video of you playing it along with the original recording.
  3. Submit a short study/etude (2-3 minutes) to show rudimental skills.
  4. Virtual interviews and online interactions may be scheduled for select applicants. Applicants may be contacted after admission material has been submitted. You are not required to sign up in advance.

Organ

Audition repertoire

Your audition will last approximately 30 minutes. 

  • Prepare three pieces, including:
    • a Prelude and Fugue from North German school (Buxtehude, Bruhns, Lubeck, Bach),
    • a slow movement from a Bach trio sonata or Bach D minor trio (BWV 583),
    • a short romantic or contemporary piece.
  • Memorization of at least one piece is preferable, but not compulsory.

Percussion

Audition repertoire

Snare drum:

  • long roll; closed roll
  • one rudimental solo
  • one solo from Delécluse méthode de caisse-claire, Lepak, or Cirone or similar
  • orchestral excerpts: Ravel: Bolero; Prokofiev: Peter & the Wolf

Keyboard:

  • one 2-mallet solo; one 4-mallet solo
  • orchestral excerpts: Mozart: The Magic Flute; Ravel: Ma mère l'oye

Timpani:

  • one study from Mitchell Peters: Intermediate Timpani Studies, Saul Goodman: Timpani Method, or J. Delécluse studies or similar

If the current circumstances prevent you accessing some of the required instruments (such as timpani), please contact our percussion area coordinator, fabrice.marandola [at] mcgill.ca (Prof. Fabrice Marandola), to arrange for substitutes.


Piano

Audition repertoire

At least three solo pieces (i.e., no concertos) must be presented:

-- one from category a
-- one from category b, and
-- one from category c, d, e, or f

a) At least one movement of a sonata (or a group of variations) from the 18th/early 19th century, e.g., Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert.
b) One piece from the 19th century, e.g., Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Brahms.
c) One piece from the 17th/18th century, e.g., Bach, Scarlatti, Rameau, Handel, Couperin.
d) One piece from the end of the 19th/early 20th century, e.g., Fauré, Debussy, Ravel, Albeniz, Schoenberg, Reger, Scriabin, Rachmaninoff.
e) One piece from the 20th century (up to c.1950), e.g., Bartok, Webern, Hindemith, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Messiaen.
f) One piece from the contemporary repertoire, e.g., Stockhausen, Boulez, Berio, Xenakis, Mather, Cherney, Rea, Tremblay, Vivier.

For Performance programs (B.Mus., L.Mus.), a minimum of 20 minutes of repertoire should be offered including one substantial work.  Memorization is required, with the exception of recent contemporary works (category f).

For non-performance programs, 15 minutes (or more) must be prepared, with memorization optional.


Strings

Audition repertoire

Performance Applicants:

Piano accompaniment, where applicable, is encouraged, but not required.

Audition Video Requirements Strings

  • Videos must be complete, unedited takes
  • You may record individual works and/or movements as separate tracks, but you must combine all tracks into one video file before submission
  • Include your name and instrument in your video's file name
  • Submit a list of your recorded pieces in the order in which they appear in your video

Violin:

  • Unaccompanied Bach: 2 contrasting movements
  • First and second movements from a classical, romantic or 20th-century concerto
  • All concertos and unaccompanied Bach to be played from memory.

Viola:

  • Unaccompanied Bach: two contrasting movements
  • First and second movements of a pre-classic, classical, romantic or 20th-century concerto or sonata
  • All concertos and unaccompanied Bach to be played from memory.

Cello:

  • Unaccompanied Bach: 2 contrasting movements
  • First and second movements of any pre-classic, classical or romantic concerto
  • All concertos and unaccompanied Bach to be played from memory.

Double Bass:

  • 2 contrasting movements of a standard concerto or sonata, with piano accompaniment (please provide the piano part)
  • Any movement from a solo Bach suite (in any key) or any study for solo double bass
  • 2 contrasting exerpts from the standard orchestral repertoire
  • Memorization of the audition repertoire is not required.

For Non-performance Programs:

Piano accompaniment, where applicable, is encouraged, but not required.

Cello, Viola, Violin:

Please prepare the first movement of a concerto plus 2 movements of Bach with memorization optional.

Double Bass:

Please prepare the first movement of a concerto, any movement of Bach or Etude and one orchestral excerpt with memorization optional.


Voice

Video-recorded repertoire

For Fall 2021 admission, you can present material with or without the use of a piano. You can use a pre-recorded track, or sing a cappella, whatever is available to you. As a reminder all material should be sung from memory.

For performance programs (BMus and Licentiate):

  • Prepare five contrasting songs or arias to be performed from memory.
  • Represent at least three of the four major languages (English, French, German, Italian).

For non-performance programs:

  • Prepare three contrasting songs or arias to be performed from memory and representing at least two languages.
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