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Requirements for Performance Programs

African Music and Dance Program (MFA only)

Please use our online portfolio submission system to present a high-quality recording(s) of yourself performing 15–20 minutes of music on an African instrument. We would prefer to hear both solo and ensemble recordings, if possible.

Balinese and Javanese Music and Dance Program (MFA only)

Please use our online portfolio submission system to present a high-quality recording(s) of yourself performing 15–20 minutes of music on an Indonesian instrument (gamelan). We would prefer to hear both solo and ensemble recordings, if possible.

Brass/Harp/Strings/Winds Program (BFA/MFA)

Either present a live audition or use our online portfolio submission system to submit recordings of your performance of three works in contrasting styles or from different historical periods. Live auditions are strongly recommended. The audition or recording must clearly demonstrate your level of performance and range of repertoire. In a live audition, expect to demonstrate your abilities in sight singing/sight reading and the identification by ear of various intervals, chords, scales and rhythmic patterns. When a live audition is not possible, you should submit evidence of ability in these musicianship skills. This evidence may take the form of letters from major teachers and/or transcripts of prior musical courses or private training.

Guitar Program (BFA/MFA)

Either present live or use our online portfolio submission system to submit recorded examples that reflect their musical interest and their best abilities as guitarists and musicians. There is no requirement for particular style or period. Audition pieces can be, but are not limited to, classical, jazz, rock, blues, world, flamenco or an original synthesis of styles. If your music encompasses a range of styles, we would like to hear representative examples, including your own compositions, if you have them. If you play primarily in groups, we would like to hear a group recording. In groups, clearly identify which part you are playing. Recorded auditions are assessed for the quality of the playing, not for the quality of the recording.

In a live audition, expect to demonstrate your abilities in music theory, sight singing/sight reading and the ability to perform and identify by ear various intervals, chords, scales and rhythmic patterns. When a live audition is not possible, you should submit evidence of ability in these musicianship skills. This evidence may take the form of letters from major teachers and/or transcripts of prior musical courses or private training. Please give us a history of how long you have been playing, what kind of music, and lessons and/or other studies you may have had so we can evaluate how you have progressed over time.

North Indian Music Program (MFA only)

Please use our online portfolio submission system to present a high-quality recording of yourself performing 15–20 minutes of music on a North Indian instrument. We would prefer to hear both solo and ensemble recordings, if possible.

Percussion Program (BFA/MFA)

Either present a live audition or use our online portfolio submission system to submit recordings of your performance of three works in contrasting styles or from different historical periods. Live auditions are strongly recommended. The audition or recording must clearly demonstrate your level of performance and range of repertoire. In a live audition, expect to demonstrate your abilities in sight singing/sight reading and the identification by ear of various intervals, chords, scales and rhythmic patterns. When a live audition is not possible, you should submit evidence of ability in these musicianship skills. This evidence may take the form of letters from major teachers and/or transcripts of prior musical courses or private training.

Piano Program (BFA/MFA)

Either present a live audition or use our online portfolio submission system to submit recordings of your performance of three works in contrasting styles (for example:  a Bach Prelude and Fugue, a Chopin etude and a George Crumb work.) Live auditions are strongly recommended. The audition or recording must clearly demonstrate your level of performance and range of repertoire. Memorization of the pieces to be performed is preferred. In a live audition, expect to demonstrate your abilities in sight-reading and the identification of chords, scales and rhythmic patterns. When a live audition is not possible, you should submit evidence of ability in these musicianship skills. This evidence may take the form of letters from major teachers and/or transcripts of prior musical courses or private training.

Keyboard Collaborative Arts (MFA)

Please present one major instrumental sonata (for example: a Beethoven sonata for piano and violin), three art songs in different languages (for example: songs by Schubert, Debussy and Barber) and one solo piano work. Memorization of the solo repertoire is strongly recommended. The audition will also include a sight-reading component. The auditionee is encouraged to bring their own collaborators (singers and instrumentalists) but in cases where this is not possible musicians will be provided by CalArts. Live auditions are highly recommended. If you can not attend a live audition please use our online portfolio submission system.

VoiceArts Program (BFA/MFA)

Live auditions

An accompanist will be provided for all auditions on the CalArts campus. You may also bring your own, if you wish. Taped accompaniment will be allowed only for pieces written specifically for voice and tape or for original compositions, and playback equipment must be requested in advance.

  • Bring clear, legible music for all selections in the key in which you will be singing and a résumé and photo.
  • Applicants will be asked to sight-read and all music must be memorized.

Recorded auditions

Live auditions are preferable whenever possible. If you can not attend a live audition, please use our online portfolio submission system. Recorded auditions must include both audio and video components.  Uploaded recordings must be of good fidelity and each selection must be one complete take with nonintrusive accompaniment. Live performances before an audience are preferred. Poor-quality, edited, overdubbed or processed recordings will not be considered. Recordings must be labeled clearly and completely, giving the order of selections on the recording, and for each selection, the title, composer, approximate timing, date recorded, and any relevant notes or comments. Please submit a résumé and photo along with the recording.

BFA1 (first-year undergraduate) applicants

  • Three selections total with at least one selection in a language other than English.
  • At least two selections should be from the classical repertoire (e.g., songs or arias by Handel, Mozart, Scarlatti, Schubert, Fauré, Barber, et al.).
  • One selection of your choice (e.g., a song from a musical, a jazz standard, an original composition, an additional classical selection, etc.).

BFA transfer applicants

  • Four selections total.
  • At least three selections should be from the classical repertoire, with at least one selection in a language other than English.
  • One selection of your choice (see BFA1 entry above).

MFA applicants

  • Five selections total, with at least three languages represented.
  • Three other selections should be drawn from Lieder, Melodie, Opera,
    Oratorio or Chamber music repertoire. One of these must be composed
    after 1950.
  • Two additional selections that are representative of your work or area of interest; we encourage multi-media or interdisciplinary selections and/or your own compositions when possible.

World Music Program (BFA only)

BFA1 (first-year undergraduate) applicants

Please use our online portfolio submission system to submit a high-quality uploaded recording of yourself performing on your instrument of choice. You should include approximately 15–20 minutes of music in which you play the main instrument. If you are performing in a group, please make sure to also perform solo material on the recording.

BFA transfer applicants

A live audition is required if applying as a transfer student. The faculty wishes to hear you perform 15–20 minutes of live music on your instrument. You should be performing on one of the world music instruments offered at CalArts.

World Percussion Program (MFA only)

Please use our online portfolio submission system to present a high quality uploaded recording of yourself performing 15–20 minutes of music on hand drums or other world music percussion instruments. We would prefer to hear both solo and ensemble recordings, if possible.

Learn more about the program, faculty, facilities and view and listen to student work.

Last edited by mryan on Sep 06, 2013
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