Prescreening & Audition Procedures

Created with Sketch.

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

In response to the global events of 2020, and our subsequent inability to hold live in-person auditions, Manhattan School of Music will only hold recorded and virtual auditions in 2021.

Prescreening requirements have not been affected by this change. Applicants to all areas with a prescreening requirement will be asked to include prescreening materials in their application, which is due December 1, 2020. Prescreening decisions will be released on December 18, 2020.

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

Applicants will be required to complete a virtual exam, short composition assignment, and a live Zoom interview with the faculty to review their composition portfolio. View the requirements for your major below or download a pdf here.

Composition Exam: All applicants will take an online test covering the topics below. The exam will be available virtually beginning January 22, 2021 and will be due February 1, 2021. Applicants should set aside an uninterrupted 3-hour block in which to complete the exam.

  • 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.

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. The assignment will be sent to all applicants on January 22, 2021 and will be due February 1, 2021.

Interview: All applicants will meet with the composition faculty for a live Zoom interview. The interview is 15 minutes for Bachelor (BM) and Master (MM) applicants and 20 minutes for Professional Studies (PS) and Doctoral (DMA) applicants. During the interview, applicants will discuss their music with the faculty.

Composition Portfolio: The faculty will have access to all materials submitted during prescreening. After prescreening decisions are released, applicants will have the opportunity to submit additional scores and recordings. All materials must be uploaded by February 1, 2021 in order to be reviewed.