Prescreening & Audition Procedures

Created with Sketch.

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

Composition Prescreening Requirements

All composition applicants must submit scores and recordings for prescreening in order to be considered for an invitation to a live audition.

Scores and recordings of 3-5 original compositions should be uploaded to the application. The scores, in PDF format, should demonstrate variety as much as possible.  Recordings can be audio and video recordings, in various formats.  Audio recordings of live performances are preferable, but MIDI renderings are also acceptable.

Composition Audition Requirements

Composition applicants invited to the live auditions may audition in-person or via video conference.  The audition consists of three components:

1. Entrance Examination

All applicants will take an online test covering the following topics:

  • Aural Skills: Identification of intervals and chords, melodic and harmonic progressions, textures and timbres
  • Instrumentation: Basic knowledge of instrumentation such as tuning, transposition, range, etc.
  • Terminology 1: Basic knowledge of instrumentational terminology such as sul ponticello, Flatterzunge, cédez etc.
  • Terminology 2: Basic knowledge of musical terminology such as inversion, stretto, subset etc.
  • Score Identification with an emphasis on music since 1950
  • Essay on a specific score

2. Composition Assignment

All applicants will receive a short composition assignment.  The purpose of the assignment is for the faculty to see how an applicant responds to a specific musical situation.

3. Interview

All applicants will meet with members of the composition faculty for an interview.  The interview is 15 minutes for Bachelor (BM) and Master (MM) applicants and 20 minutes for Doctoral applicants.  During the interview, applicants will discuss their music with the faculty.



Visit our General Audition Information page to learn about:

  • Audition dates
  • Accompanists
  • Recorded auditions
  • Admissions results