Prescreening & Audition Procedures

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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 should be uploaded to the application. The scores should demonstrate a variety of instrumentations, forms, and genres and should be in PDF format. The application will accept of variety of audio file types for the recordings.

Undergraduate Prescreening Requirements
Undergraduate composition applicants should provide scores and recordings of 3-5 original compositions. Acoustic recordings are preferable, but MIDI renderings are acceptable.

Graduate Prescreening Requirements
Graduate composition applicants should provide a portfolio of scores and recordings of 3-5 original compositions as part of their application. Acoustic recordings are preferable, but MIDI renderings are acceptable.

Composition Audition Requirements

Composition applicants must be present on campus for the two-day audition process in order to complete an Entrance Examination on the first day and an Audition/Interview on the second day. In some cases, the Entrance Examination and the Audition/Interview might not occur on consecutive days, so some applicants will be scheduled to be in New York for a total of three days.

Day 1: Entrance Examination
All applicants will take a 3-hour written test covering dictation, sight-singing, harmony, counterpoint, set theory, orchestration, analysis of musical examples, and composition exercises in imitative counterpoint and tonal melody harmonization. The test will include a composition assignment to be completed overnight and presented to the faculty at the interview.

Get specific info about the exam →

Day 2: Audition/Interview
On a subsequent day, composition applicants will meet with members of the composition faculty for an interview. The interview is 15 minutes for Bachelor and Master applicants and 15-20 minutes for Doctoral applicants.

While demonstration of instrumental proficiency is not required, it is encouraged.

All applicants will present a portfolio of scores in hard copy, along with a recording of each, for review during the interview. Recordings should be provided on a CD or on a device that can be patched into a stereo system like a phone, laptop, or mp3 player. If using a newer device without a headphone connection, you must bring your own adaptors. It is highly advisable to have your recordings available in more than one format.

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