Prescreening & Audition Procedures

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Information for prospective composition students applying to Manhattan School of Music.

Composition Prescreening Requirements

To be considered for an invitation to a live audition, you must upload recordings and score images directly on your online application. Scores should demonstrate a variety of instrumentations, forms, and genres. For undergraduates, at least one of a maximum of three scores must be represented by an acoustic instrument(s) recording. For graduate work, one score must be of an orchestral work and at least two of the scores must be represented by an acoustic instrument(s) recording.  Although MIDI versions are acceptable, acoustic recordings are always preferred if available.

NOTE: Graduate, professional studies and doctoral applications submitted without an orchestral work WILL NOT be considered.

Composition Audition Requirements

You will be asked to complete a two-part examination/audition taking place over two days. (The procedure for doctoral applicants may take as long as four days. Please see the doctoral program for more details.) Students unable to be present for all parts of the exam/interview cannot be evaluated for admission.

Part I: Entrance Examination
A 3-hour written test covers dictation, sight-singing, harmony, counterpoint, set theory, orchestration, analysis of musical examples, and composition exercises in imitative counterpoint and tonal melody harmonization.  You will also be assigned a take-home composition assignment to be completed before the interview.

Get specific info about the exam →

Part II: Audition/Interview
On the following day, you will meet with members of the composition faculty for an interview (15 minutes for Bachelor’s and Master’s applicants and 15-20 minutes for Doctoral applicants).  While demonstration of instrumental proficiency is not required, it is encouraged. You must bring bound paper copies of your scores, along with a recording of each, for review during the interview.  Recordings should be brought in on an mp3 device, CD, or laptop. It is highly advisable to have your recordings available on more than one format. IMPORTANT NOTE: The faculty will not have access to any recordings or scores uploaded during the pre-screening process.




Visit our General Audition Information page to learn about:

  • Audition dates
  • Accompanists
  • Recorded auditions
  • Admissions results