Achieving Your Musical Endeavors

What to Expect at a Music Audition

music audition

This post will give you a general idea of what is expected of you at a music audition.

Granted, every music audition is a little different and may have varying requirements. Most organizations will have pretty clear outlines of what is expected of you. The ones mentioned here are most common among auditions:


Scales are generally always required at every music audition.

In general, you need to know all major scales and chromatic scale. Some auditions will let you pick which scale you’d like to play for the judges. Other audition will at random pick out of the 12 major scales. No matter what level you are at, you need to learn your major scales and chromatic scale.

As for minor scales, those are generally expected of an intermediate player. Most auditions will let you know before hand if they require you know your minor scales in addition to your major scales.

If your audition is for a more advanced level (such as for a college audition), you should know you major and minor scales, as well as your melodic minor, harmonic minor, and blues scales.

Sight Reading

This is the part of the audition where someone will put a piece of music in front of you that you have never seen before and you are to try your best to play it.

Usually, you will be given a couple minutes to look at the piece and mentally go over it. Then you will be asked to play it straight through.


Some auditions may provide etudes for you to come to the audition prepared with. Other auditions may grant you the freedom to choose whichever etude you want to play for the judges.

Usually, you will play more than one etude that are contrasting to each other. Maybe a ballad, then a march, then a part of a sontata. Generally, you have one slower piece, one faster peice, and one more technically challenging peice. This is to show you have an array of ways you can play proficiently.

Listening/Ear Training

Some auditions may require a “call and response” session. This is an activity in which someone will play a short line and you are to repeat that line on your instrument by ear.
Other times, someone may play just one note on a piano and you are to match that note on your instrument.
This is to show your ear training skills and that you can learn by ear.

You can prepare for this with a friend by having them play short lines and you try to repeat it back on your instrument.


This is mostly for jazz auditions. In jazz, judges will want to see your improvisation skills.

You will most likely play a head tune and improvise over the chord changes.

I would advice having the head memorized if you know which song you are going to play before hand.

Last Few Things You Need to Know About Music Auditions

An audition may not require all of the above from you, but you can expect at least a few of the things mentioned above.

More over, you will want to research the thing you are auditioning for so that you know what the organization is about and what they want to see from you.

Here is an example for the audition requirements from Berklee College of Music. The website outlines exactly what to prepare, what the faculty is looking for in you, and how to succeed.

Remember, auditions are your time to shine. Best of luck in your musical journey!

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