Audition Guidelines

Your audition is a chance for us to get to know each other. Here's how to start planning for your audition:

Your 30-minute audition will include: 

  • Repertoire - Music you choose to present. VanderCook does not work from a standard repertoire list so you should select two pieces you enjoy, are comfortable playing and show contrast of tempo/style.

  • Scales - An important part of any musician's training. The more confident you are of your major (and minor) scales, the better prepared you are for college work.

  • Sightreading - A demonstration of your ability to correctly interpret notated music.

  • Conversation - To explore your interest in music and commitment to sharing it through teaching. You may also ask questions about the school and your work here.

How to Prepare

  1. Practice! Spend time each day learning and getting comfortable with what you will perform.

  2. Two weeks prior to an audition, vocalists should send us three copies of the pieces they plan to perform as a courtesy to the staff accompanists. Instrumentalists need not send music in advance but should bring 3 copies of the piece(s) they plan to perform on the date of their audition.

  3. Dress for an interview. From the moment you step in the door, we see you as a future teacher!

  4. Auditionees are provided 20-30 minutes prior to their audition to warm up.

Percussion Guidelines

Beyond scales and sight-reading, try to prepare as many of the following as possible:

  • A snare drum solo or etude

  • A 2-mallet and 4-mallet keyboard selection

  • A tympani solo or etude

  • Some basic drumset beats

Instrumental Guidelines

  • Play two or more pieces/movements on your primary instrument that contrast in style, tempo, or mood.

  • Play three or four scales. The more you know, the better, but a smooth, steady performance with good tone and intonation is more important than speed.

  • Sight-read a few short exercises.

Choral Guidelines

  • You may bring your own accompanist, or you may request an accompanist two weeks prior to your audition. (Audition music should be sent immediately following a request for an accompanist.)

  • Sing two or more pieces that show your vocal range and sense of contrasting styles.  Show off different aspects of your ability to communicate the music.

  • Demonstrate that you can sing scales in tune.

  • Sight-read a few short exercises.

Remaining 2020 Audition Date

Thursday, April 16, 2020

New, beginning Spring of 2020:

VanderCook will host Audition Day Tuesdays on every Tuesday (excluding March 17, 2020).

Schedule Your Audition

Don't see a day that works with your schedule? Contact us today to set up a private appointment: or 312.788.1120.

You can also schedule your audition as part of your application, or by contacting the Admissions Office.


VanderCook College of Music

3140 South Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616-3731
(312) 225-6288

Stay Connected


Continuing Education  




Powered by Website design and development by, Inc