Only students who have submitted a complete application will be granted an audition for admission to the ChiArts Music Department. Please visit the application pages for more information.
Backstage Passes will be held this fall to help students prepare for the audition process. Participation in the Backstage Passes is strongly recommended. Registration closes a week before each event.
Students of all abilities and levels of experience may audition for admission to the music program. ChiArts recognizes the need to provide opportunities for students who have high levels of musical training and for students who have not had training in a formal setting, but demonstrate strong natural ability and a desire to learn.
Students must bring their own instruments (except piano and percussion) to the audition. Double bass students who do not own their instrument should notify the ChiArts staff in advance of the audition. Electric bass students are encouraged to apply and may audition on the electric bass with the understanding that if accepted they will also be studying the upright bass (previous knowledge not required to audition).
How to Audition for the Voice Department – Advice Video
Instrumental Music Audition Overview
- Perform your two best pieces
- Play three scales (preferred two major, one chromatic)
Voice Audition Overview
- Perform your two best songs
- Students may be asked to complete vocal exercises at their audition
See below for specific information
Brass & Woodwinds, Strings, Bass, and Piano Audition Requirements:
Please play one 60-90 second piece. Although only one piece is required, we strongly recommend submitting two contrasting pieces (one fast and one slow, one happy and one sad) for consideration.
It is recommended to select a piece that shows off your sound, expressiveness, and technique. Accompaniment is not allowed for instrumental auditions.
Examples of Brass & Woodwinds selections can be found linked here by instrument: Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Saxophone, Trumpet, Horn, Trombone, Euphonium, and Tuba.
- Students may be asked to play up to three prepared scales (preferred two major, one chromatic).
Optional: students may send a copy of their audition sheet music to the admissions department for the adjudicators to review.
- Virtual: Please submit one 60-90 second piece as well as three prepared scales (preferred two major, one chromatic).
Percussion Audition Requirements:
If possible, please prepare this music.
If you do not read music, please prepare a piece on any percussion instruments to the best of your ability. If that instrument is snare or mallets, please prepare some rudiments or scales if possible.
Virtual: Please submit a video of you performing the prepared music linked above. Make sure your instrument, hands, and face are in the video recording
Guitar Audition Requirements:
Students should perform two selections of solo (unaccompanied) instrumental music, featuring a combination of melody and accompaniment. It is recommended that these two songs contrast (one happy song and one sad song, or one fast song and one slow song, etc.)
Examples of appropriate solo guitar selections are linked here: Guitar Selection 1, Guitar Selection 2, Guitar Selection 3, Guitar Selection 4, Guitar Selection 5, Guitar Selection 6, Guitar Selection 7
- Examples of appropriate bass selections are linked here: Bass Selections
Students may be asked to play up to three prepared scales (preferred two major, one chromatic).
Virtual: Please submit two 60-90 second pieces as well as three prepared scales (preferred two major, one chromatic).
Advice from the Instrumental Music Department on Virtual Video Auditions
Vocal Audition Requirements (Non-Musical Theatre*)
*The Musical Theatre Conservatory and Vocal Conservatory are separate conservatories. Musical Theatre applicants, please see the theatre requirements.
- In-Person Voice Auditions:
Students will perform two songs of their choice. It is recommended that students choose two contrasting songs (one fast and one slow, one happy and one sad, etc).
An accompanist will be provided, or students may bring a pre-recorded accompaniment (karaoke track). Acapella (unaccompanied) singing is discouraged but permitted.
Students may be asked to complete vocal exercises at their audition.
- Audition songs should best show the quality of your voice. Disney songs, show tunes, patriotic songs, church hymns, and art songs are appropriate. Students who are not sure what to bring should select from our recommended list of songs, found here. Many Chicago Public Libraries also have sheet music available to borrow.
- Virtual Auditions:
Students should submit videos of them performing two songs of their choice. It is recommended that students choose two contrasting songs (one fast and one slow, one happy and one sad, etc).
Students must submit videos repeating the vocalizations demonstrated in the videos below created by staff.