Auditions and Screening: Graduate Diploma in Performance

Screening material

For Fall 2023,  screening will be required for all classical voice and jazz applicants seeking to attend a live audition. The deadline to submit material is December 1st.

Auditions

How to prepare for your on-campus audition

Applicants with disabilities who require accommodations in order to participate in the audition process must notify the undergraduateadmissions.music [at] mcgill.ca (admissions office) in advance of their audition date.

  • Check your audition repertoire requirements (see tab above). 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.

On audition day:

IMPORTANT:  PLEASE REVIEW THE FOLLOWING
  • Review and adhere to Health Guidelines (includes info on mask, distancing.)
  • Review the required screening questions on the morning of your planned visit and refrain from coming to campus if you answer yes to any of the questions. If you cannot attend your on campus audition you will be given the opportunity to submit a recorded audition. Please contact the admissions office as soon as possible in this situation.
  • In order to limit the number of people in our buildings we ask that only applicants and accompanists (if applicable) who are auditioning enter the music buildings. We apologize to parents, family, etc. for this inconvenience.
  • For applicants travelling from outside Canada please ensure you adhere to all Travel Guidelines.
  • For applicants who wishes to bring their own accompanist please contact jennifer.stephenson [at] mcgill.ca (Ms Jennifer Stephenson) in the performance office for additional information.

Audition dates 2023:

Applicants with disabilities who require accommodations in order to participate in the audition process must notify the undergraduateadmissions.music [at] mcgill.ca (admissions office) in advance of their audition date.

2023 audition dates by instrument:

  • Early Music: Saturday, February 25
  • Early Music Voice: Saturday, February 25
  • Voice: Friday, January 27 to Sunday, January 29
  • Double Bass: Sunday, February 19
  • Flute: Sunday, February 5
  • Guitar: Sunday, February 26
  • Harp: Saturday, February 25
  • Organ: Saturday, February 11
  • Cello: Sunday, February 5
  • Clarinet: Sunday, February 19
  • Saxophone: Sunday, February 19
  • French Horn: Saturday, February 4
  • Trumpet: Saturday, February 4
  • Trombone: Saturday, February 11
  • Tuba/Euphonium: Saturday, February 11
  • Percussion: Sunday, February 19
  • Oboe: Sunday, February 12
  • Bassoon: Sunday, February 12
  • Viola: Saturday, February 4
  • Violin: Friday, February 3 to Sunday, February 5
  • Piano: Saturday, February 4 to Sunday, February 5

 

  • Jazz Saxophone/Flute: Saturday, February 4 to Sunday, February 5
  • Jazz Trumpet: Saturday, February 4 to Sunday, February 5
  • Jazz Trombone: Saturday, February 4 to Sunday, February 5
  • Jazz Guitar: Saturday, February 4 to Sunday, February 5
  • Jazz Bass/Electric Bass: Saturday, February 4 to Sunday, February 5
  • Jazz Drums: Saturday, February 4 to Sunday, February 5
  • Jazz Piano: Saturday, February 4 to Sunday, February 5
  • Jazz Voice: Saturday, February 4 to Sunday, February 5

Screening Video Requirements for Classical Voice , Early Music Voice and Jazz applicants (due December 1st)

Classical and Early Music Voice Screening

  • 5 contrasting pieces, in four major languages, representing song repertoire and opera, oratorio, or both.
  • You can include recent recital or professional performances.

 

Jazz Screening

All instruments must submit 3 contrasting pieces. Original compositions are not required but appreciated. You must improvise on all the “jazz” selections.

Brass:
Play one piece from each of the three categories below:

  1. A be-bop composition
  2. A classical étude
  3. A piece of your own choice

Saxophone:
Play one piece from each of the three categories below:

  1. A be-bop composition
  2. A transcribed solo with the recording
  3. A piece of your own choice

Piano:
Play one piece from each of the three categories below:

  1. A ballad
  2. A up-tempo swing (200 BPM minimum)
  3. A piece of your own choice (any style)
  • At least 2 pieces must be performed with a live rhythm section (best possible level!)
    (Play-along recordings accepted only in cases where such musicians cannot be found by the applicant)
  • 1 piece can be solo piano piece (appreciated but not required)
  • At least 1 piece must be a jazz standard

Drums:

  • 2 of the 3 pieces should have a swing feel (with 2 different tempos)
  • 1 piece of your own choice
  • These pieces must be performed with a live musicians-NO PLAY-ALONG RECORDINGS

Bass:
Play one piece from each of the three categories below:

  1. A blues (examples: Billie's Bounce; Au Privave, Straight No Chaser, Tenor Madness, Sonny Moon for Two, Blues Walk).
  2. A jazz standard (examples: Solar, All the Things You Are, Green Dolphin Street, What Is This Thing Called Love, Stella by Starlight, Four, Night and Day).
  3. A tune with a contrasting feel from the above. This could be either:
    - A ballad (examples: Body and Soul, What's New, I Can't Get Started, I Fall in Love Too Easily)
    - A latin or str. 8th tune (examples: Blue Bossa, Corcovado, The Girl From Ipanema, Recordame) or
    - A tune in 3/4 (examples: Someday My Prince Will Come, Alice In Wonderland, Bluesette, A Child Is Born).
  • These pieces must be performed with a live rhythm section (i.e. piano or guitar, and drums) NO PLAY-ALONG RECORDINGS
  • The blues and the standard should be contrasting tempos, one medium and one medium-up.
  • For each piece, demonstrate your ability to accompany a soloist and take an improvised solo.
  • Walk a bass line in 2 and in 4 for the blues and the standard.
  • Play the melody for at least two of the pieces.

In addition, a solo classical etude played with the bow may be included if you wish but is not required. Electric bass players may perform the optional etude without the bow. Voice and any other instruments: Choose 3 pieces from these 4 categories (maximum one tune from each): 1) A blues 2) A ballad 3) A jazz standard 4) An original composition

Voice and any other instruments:
Choose 3 pieces from these 4 categories (maximum one tune from each):

  1. A blues
  2. A ballad
  3. A jazz standard
  4. An original composition

Recorded auditions

If you cannot participate in on-campus auditions due to travel constraints, you must upload a video recording by December 15th which will be considered your final audition.

  • Make sure the sound quality on your video recording is excellent. Re-record a piece if it does not sound clear. Your recordings should be less than 8 months old.
  • You can submit recordings from live performances.
  • We accept avi, mov, mp4 or wmv formats. 
  • Follow the instructions to upload your video by December 15th. Upload times depend on file size and speed of service provider.

Repertoire:

  • The repertoire for on-campus and recorded auditions is the same.
  • String applicants: If you want to be considered for the Lloyd Carr-Harris (LCH) String Scholarship but you are not attending on-campus audition, include an unedited one-take video recording of a full major concerto (all movements) in addition to the required repertoire.

Audition repertoire

Brass

Choose one of the following repertoire options:

  • Chamber Music: 60 minutes of recital material (solo and/or chamber music) in various styles.
  • Orchestral: 40 minutes of recital material, 20 minutes of standard orchestral excerpts.
  • Solo: 60 minutes of solo recital material in various styles.

Early Music Instruments

Includes: Baroque Violin, Viola, Cello, Viola da Gamba, Flute, Recorder, Oboe, Early brass, Fortepiano, Harpsichord.

  • Prepare a balanced and stylistically diversified 60-minute program.
  • Represent the most important styles of the 17th- and/or 18th-century appropriate for your instrument.
  • Include works from the repertoire on which you wish to focus your studies.

Early Music Voice

  • Five contrasting selections, including at least 4 different languages (Italian, German, French, English) and at least 3 arias chosen from the oratorio, opera, and cantata repertoire; one recitative must be included. All the selections should have been composed before 1800, and at least one selection should be by a female composer.

" For live auditions, you will be allowed to choose your first selection.

Guitar

For Live Auditions

  • Prepare 40 minutes of free choice repertoire, demonstrating at least three contrasting styles. The audition panel will select approximately 25 minutes from your program to listen to.
  • Applicants may include chamber music as part of their audition repertoire
  • You may be asked to sight-read

Please note that for recorded auditions, guitar applicants must submit one 40-minute video with all pieces recorded in one take.

Harp

  • Prepare approximately 40 minutes of repertoire.
  • Include four works in different styles, including a 20th century composition and an étude.
  • You may be asked to sight-read.

Jazz

Recorded audition repertoire

  • Perform five pieces of various tempos and styles from the standard jazz repertoire, including a ballad and a rhythm tune.
  • Perform an original composition.
  • Include a list of 25-30 standard jazz tunes from your performing repertoire and a lead sheet of the original composition.
  • All instruments: performances must be accompanied by live musicians.

On-campus audition repertoire

  • Prepare 25-30 tunes from the standard jazz repertoire. You can submit your list of tunes to the panel at the audition, and they will make a selection for you to play.
  • Supply lead sheets for the live rhythm section in order to avoid harmonic discrepancies.
  • Perform one of the three original compositions submitted with your application.
  • Drummers: Bring your own cymbals!

Organ and Church Music

Select one of the options below:

  • Option 1: Prepare 60 minutes of recital repertoire. Include a major work by J.S. Bach as well as pre-Bach, romantic and contemporary selections. You can choose between a mechanical action or electric action instrument. You can also present on two different instruments. You can use a registration assistant at the mechanical action console, but you should do your own registration at the electric console.
  • Option 2: Focus on one specialized part of the organ repertoire, such as North German Baroque, French romantic music or a specific composer, such as Bach or Messiaen. In this case, you can choose to only perform works that are consistent with your desired specialization.

Percussion

  • Be prepared to demonstrate ability on all basic percussion instruments, i.e., timpani, keyboard percussion, snare drum, multiple percussion.
  • If you are auditioning on campus (which is preferred) and your percussion solos require a large setup, you can submit videos of them to the Percussion Area Coordinator in advance of your audition.

Collaborative Piano

1. Prepare one selection, memorized, from the solo piano repertoire (your choice). It should be from a major composer and at least 8 minutes long.

2. Prepare selections from two of the following three Collaborative Concentrations:

  • Instrumental: A violinist will be provided by the School. Prepare the piano part from one of the following excerpts:
    • Beethoven, Violin Sonata No. 7, c minor, 1st movement, Allegro con brio  
    • Brahms, Violin Sonata No. 2 in A, Op. 100, 1st movement, Allegro amabile
    • Franck, Violin Sonata in A, 2nd movement, Allegro
  • Vocal: A singer will be provided by the School. Prepare the following songs:
    • Franz Schubert, Ganymed
    • Johannes Brahms, Meine Liebe ist grün
    • Claude Debussy, Il pleure dans mon coeur
    • Richard Strauss, Allerseelen
    • Samuel Barber, St. Ita's Vision
  • Opera: The operatic excerpts should be sung in the original language while playing the orchestral reduction from any standard piano/vocal score. Prepare:
    • Any Aria from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Sein wir wieder gut” from Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, or
    • “Here I Stand” from Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress

Piano

Prepare 40 minutes of memorized solo recital material from major composers (see below).

Include:

  • One or more movements of a sonata (or a set of variations) from the 18th/early 19th century, e.g., Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert.
  • One piece in a romantic style from the 19th century, e.g., Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Brahms.
  • One or more selections from these options:
    • A 17th/18th century piece, e.g., Bach, Scarlatti, Rameau, Handel, Couperin.
    • A piece from the end of the 19th/early 20th century, e.g., Fauré, Debussy, Ravel, Albeniz, Schoenberg, Reger, Scriabin, Berg, Rachmaninoff, Franck.
    • A 20th century piece (up to c.1950), e.g., Bartok, Webern, Hindemith, Stravinsky, Prokofieff, Messiaen.
    • A contemporary piece, e.g., Stockhausen, Boulez, Berio, Xenakis, Mather, Cherney, Tremblay (memorization for this category is optional).

Strings

If you want to be considered for the Lloyd Carr Harris String Scholarship (LCH), you must prepare all movements of your chosen concerto.

For cello, prepare (memorized):

  • One study by either Servais or Piatti.
  • The prelude and two other contrasting movements of a Suite by J.S. Bach.
  • A fast and a slow movement from any classical, romantic or modern concerto.

For double bass, prepare:

  • One movement from a Suite by J.S. Bach.
  • A concerto.
  • A contemporary work.
  • 4 orchestral excerpts.

For viola, prepare (memorized):

  •  One caprice by Campagnoli.
  • The prelude and two other contrasting movements of an unaccompanied Suite by J.S. Bach.
  • A fast and a slow movement from a major concerto.

For violin, prepare (memorized):

  • A complete major concerto from the 19th or 20th century.
  • Two contrasting movements from the solo sonatas and partitas by J.S. Bach.
  • A Paganini caprice.

Voice (Opera and Voice)

For your live audition:

Prepare 30 minutes of memorized material from which the audition panel will make a selection. At least one aria must have significant recitative and one aria should be in English. Include pieces in English, French, German and Italian.

If you want to focus on opera repertoire, prepare 6 from the first 7 categories:

  • 1 baroque aria (Pre-Gluck)
  • 1 aria by Mozart
  • 1 aria from the 19th century
  • 1 aria from the 20th or 21st centuries
  • 1 aria of choice in a language not represented from the above categories
  • 1 short mélodie
  • 1 short Lied
  • optional additional selection from any operetta or musical theatre piece

If you want to focus on voice/recital repertoire, prepare:

  • 1 opera aria
  • 1 oratorio aria
  • 1 aria of choice
  • 2 mélodies
  • 2 Lieder
  • 1 song written after 1960
  • 1 song of choice

Woodwinds

Flute

All Graduate Programs:

  • Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, Concerto in G or D Major, 1st Movement, with cadenza
  • Bach, Johann Sebastian, Sonata in E Minor, BWV 1034, 1st and 2nd Movements
  • Prokofiev, Sergei, Sonata, Op. 94, 1st Movement
  • Piece(s) of the candidate’s choice (students are encouraged to perform a piece by a traditionally underrepresented composer however this is not mandatory).

    AND

    Choose between A or B
     

    A. Any piece from Flute Music by French Composers or an equivalent piece from the French repertoire.

    B. Orchestral Excerpts (Excerpts are found in Orchestral Excerpts for Flute with Piano Accompaniment, Jeanne Baxtresser & Martha Rearick, Theodore Presser Company)

    • Ravel, Maurice: Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2
    • Debussy, Claude: Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, L. 86
    • Beethoven, Ludwig van: Leonore Overture no. 3, op. 72
    • Bach, Johann Sebastian: Aus Liebe will mein Heiland sterben, Soprano aria from St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244
    • Mendelssohn, Felix Bartholdy: Symphony no. 4, “Italian”, op. 90
       
    All other woodwind instruments:

    Prepare 60 minutes of repertoire. Repertoire may include solo repertoire from various musical periods, orchestral excerpts, and études.

Back to top