Auditions and Screening: Graduate Diploma in Performance

Screening material (due by December 1st)

Jazz applicants and female voice applicants must submit a video screening recording for pre-selection by December 1st.

Jazz screening video repertoire

  • All instruments except jazz drums: Screening video recording must include a rhythm section with live musicians and 3 pieces from 4 categories (maximum one tune from each):
    • blues
    • ballads
    • standards
    • original compositions
  • Jazz Drums: 3 pieces, one of which can be an original composition:
    • 2 pieces with a swing feel (2 different tempos)
    • 1 with a str. 8th

Voice screening video repertoire

  • 5 contrasting pieces, in four major languages, representing operatic and song repertoire.
  • You can include recent recital or professional performances.

For instructions on how to upload your material, follow our application guide.

Auditions

How to prepare for your on-campus audition

We encourage you to audition live at the Schulich School of Music. During your visit, you can tour McGill University, meet faculty and students and we can find out more about you and your eligibility for the diploma program. To prepare:

  • Check your audition repertoire requirements early. Choose material that you are comfortable playing and that showcases your musicianship and technical proficiency.
  • Prepare to be interviewed about your experience and your educational and professional goals.
  • If you are coming from outside Canada, check with Immigration Canada for travel document requirements.

What happens on audition day

  • Accompanists are provided free of charge for your audition time only. Rehearsal costs vary and are your responsibility. Contact your accompanist at least 48 hours before your audition to arrange rehearsal times, provide music, etc. You can also bring your own accompanists, at your expense. Jazz applicants are provided with a rhythm section free of charge for the audition time only and cannot rehearse with them.
  • You must bring a list of pieces to be performed, including études and ensemble music, to the audition. Jazz applicants: In addition, bring copies of your music.
  • The panel may interrupt your audition at any point in a piece to ensure that auditions proceed on schedule.
  • Practice rooms will be available during the audition period. They are located in the East Wing of the Strathcona Music Building. You can also warm up in these rooms.

Audition dates

Check uApply for your individual audition date, time, location, and accompanist information.

You must graduateadmissions.music [at] mcgill.ca (email our admissions staff) to confirm whether or not you will attend.

2018 audition dates by instrument:

  • Bassoon: Sunday, February 18th
  • Cello: Saturday, February 17th and Sunday, February 18th
  • Clarinet: Saturday, February 24th
  • Double Bass: Sunday, February 18th
  • Early Music instruments/Harpsichord: Saturday, February 24th
  • Early Music Voice: Sunday, January 28th
  • Flute: Saturday, February 24th
  • French Horn: Saturday, February 3rd
  • Guitar: Saturday, February 10th
  • Harp: Saturday, February 10th
  • Jazz Bass: Friday, February 9th to Sunday, February 11th
  • Jazz Drums: Friday, February 9th to Sunday, February 11th
  • Jazz Guitar: Friday, February 9th to Sunday, February 11th
  • Jazz Piano: Friday, February 9th to Sunday, February 11th
  • Jazz Saxophone or Jazz Flute: Friday, February 9th to Sunday, February 11th
  • Jazz Trombone: Friday, February 9th to Sunday, February 11th
  • Jazz Trumpet: Friday, February 9th to Sunday, February 11th
  • Jazz Voice: Friday, February 9th to Sunday, February 11th
  • Oboe: Sunday, February 18th
  • Organ: Friday, February 16th and Saturday, February 17th
  • Percussion: Friday, February 9th
  • Piano: Saturday, February 3rd and Sunday, February 4th
  • Piano - collaborative: Sunday, January 28th
  • Saxophone: Saturday, February 24th
  • Trombone: Saturday, February 3rd
  • Trumpet: Friday, February 2nd
  • Tuba/Euphonium: Saturday, February 3rd
  • Viola: Sunday, February 18th
  • Violin: Friday, February 16th to Sunday, February 18th
  • Voice: Friday, January 26th to Sunday, January 28th

Recorded auditions

If you cannot participate in on-campus auditions due to travel constraints, you must upload a video recording by December 15th which will be considered your final audition.

  • Make sure the sound quality on your video recording is excellent. Re-record a piece if it does not sound clear. Your recordings should be less than 8 months old.
  • You can submit recordings from live performances.
  • We accept avi, mov, mp4 or wmv formats. 
  • Follow the instructions to upload your video by December 15th. Upload times depend on file size and speed of service provider.

Repertoire:

  • The repertoire for on-campus and recorded auditions is the same.
  • String applicants: If you want to be considered for the Lloyd Carr-Harris (LCH) String Scholarship but you are not attending on-campus audition, include an unedited one-take video recording of a full major concerto (all movements) in addition to the required repertoire.

Audition repertoire

Brass

Choose one of the following repertoire options:

  • Chamber Music: 60 minutes of recital material (solo and/or chamber music) in various styles.
  • Orchestral: 40 minutes of recital material, 20 minutes of standard orchestral excerpts.
  • Solo: 60 minutes of solo recital material in various styles.

Early Music Instruments

Includes: Baroque Violin, Viola, Cello, Viola da Gamba, Flute, Recorder, Oboe, Early brass, Fortepiano, Harpsichord.

  • Prepare a balanced and stylistically diversified 60-minute program.
  • Represent the most important styles of the 17th- and/or 18th-century appropriate for your instrument.
  • Include works from the repertoire on which you wish to focus your studies.

Early Music Voice

Prepare 30 minutes of repertoire, performed from memory. Include:

  • 2 Arias from Opera or Oratorio, including Passion and Cantata (1600 - 1800); at least one must be with recitative.
  • 1 Recitative and Aria from a French or Italian Cantata.
  • 5 contrasting songs chosen from the Baroque, Renaissance and/or Medieval periods.
  • 4 languages (English, French, German and Italian are required).

Guitar

If you want to focus on chamber music:

  • Prepare 60 minutes of recital repertoire, including 40 minutes of chamber music and 20 minutes of solo material.
  • Include works of contrasting character from at least three different periods.

If you want to focus on solo repertoire:

  • Prepare 60 minutes of recital repertoire, including 20 minutes of chamber music (i.e., a guitar concerto with piano accompaniment).
  • Include works of contrasting character from at least three different periods.

Harp

  • Prepare approximately 40 minutes of repertoire.
  • Include four works in different styles, including a 20th century composition and an étude.
  • You may be asked to sight-read.

Jazz

Recorded audition repertoire

  • Perform five pieces of various tempos and styles from the standard jazz repertoire, including a ballad and a rhythm tune.
  • Perform an original composition.
  • Include a list of 25-30 standard jazz tunes from your performing repertoire and a lead sheet of the original composition.
  • All instruments: performances must be accompanied by live musicians.

On-campus audition repertoire

  • Prepare 25-30 tunes from the standard jazz repertoire. You can submit your list of tunes to the panel at the audition, and they will make a selection for you to play.
  • Supply lead sheets for the live rhythm section in order to avoid harmonic discrepancies.
  • Perform one of the three original compositions submitted with your application.
  • Drummers: Bring your own cymbals!

Organ and Church Music

Select one of the options below:

  • Option 1: Prepare 60 minutes of recital repertoire. Include a major work by J.S. Bach as well as pre-Bach, romantic and contemporary selections. You can choose between a mechanical action or electric action instrument. You can also present on two different instruments. You can use a registration assistant at the mechanical action console, but you should do your own registration at the electric console.
  • Option 2: Focus on one specialized part of the organ repertoire, such as North German Baroque, French romantic music or a specific composer, such as Bach or Messiaen. In this case, you can choose to only perform works that are consistent with your desired specialization.

Percussion

  • Be prepared to demonstrate ability on all basic percussion instruments, i.e., timpani, keyboard percussion, snare drum, multiple percussion.
  • If you are auditioning on campus (which is preferred) and your percussion solos require a large setup, you can submit videos of them to the Percussion Area Chair in advance of your audition.

Collaborative Piano

1. Prepare one selection, memorized, from the solo piano repertoire (your choice). It should be from a major composer and at least 8 minutes long.

2. Prepare selections from two of the following three Collaborative Concentrations:

  • Instrumental: A violinist will be provided by the School. Prepare the piano part from one of the following excerpts:
    • Beethoven, Violin Sonata No. 7, c minor, 1st movement, Allegro con brio  
    • Brahms, Violin Sonata No. 2 in A, Op. 100, 1st movement, Allegro amabile
    • Franck, Violin Sonata in A, 2nd movement, Allegro
  • Vocal: A singer will be provided by the School. Prepare the following songs:
    • Franz Schubert, Ganymed
    • Johannes Brahms, Meine Liebe ist grün
    • Claude Debussy, Il pleure dans mon coeur
    • Richard Strauss, Allerseelen
    • Samuel Barber, St. Ita's Vision
  • Opera: The operatic excerpts should be sung in the original language while playing the orchestral reduction from any standard piano/vocal score. Prepare:
    • Any Aria from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Sein wir wieder gut” from Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, or
    • “Here I Stand” from Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress

Piano

Prepare 40 minutes of memorized solo recital material from major composers (see below).

Include:

  • One or more movements of a sonata (or a set of variations) from the 18th/early 19th century, e.g., Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert.
  • One piece in a romantic style from the 19th century, e.g., Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Brahms.
  • One or more selections from these options:
    • A 17th/18th century piece, e.g., Bach, Scarlatti, Rameau, Handel, Couperin.
    • A piece from the end of the 19th/early 20th century, e.g., Fauré, Debussy, Ravel, Albeniz, Schoenberg, Reger, Scriabin, Berg, Rachmaninoff, Franck.
    • A 20th century piece (up to c.1950), e.g., Bartok, Webern, Hindemith, Stravinsky, Prokofieff, Messiaen.
    • A contemporary piece, e.g., Stockhausen, Boulez, Berio, Xenakis, Mather, Cherney, Tremblay (memorization for this category is optional).

Strings

If you want to be considered for the Lloyd Carr Harris String Scholarship (LCH), you must prepare all movements of your chosen concerto.

For cello, prepare (memorized):

  • One study by either Servais or Piatti.
  • The prelude and two other contrasting movements of a Suite by J.S. Bach.
  • A fast and a slow movement from any classical, romantic or modern concerto.

For double bass, prepare:

  • One movement from a Suite by J.S. Bach.
  • A concerto.
  • A contemporary work.
  • 4 orchestral excerpts.

For viola, prepare (memorized):

  •  One caprice by Campagnoli.
  • The prelude and two other contrasting movements of an unaccompanied Suite by J.S. Bach.
  • A fast and a slow movement from a major concerto.

For violin, prepare (memorized):

  • A complete major concerto from the 19th or 20th century.
  • Two contrasting movements from the solo sonatas and partitas by J.S. Bach.
  • A Paganini caprice.

Voice (Opera and Voice)

For your live audition:

Prepare 30 minutes of memorized material from which the audition panel will make a selection. At least one area must have significant recitative and one area should be in English. Include pieces in English, French, German and Italian.

If you want to focus on opera repertoire, prepare 6 from the first 7 categories:

  • 1 baroque aria (Pre-Gluck)
  • 1 aria by Mozart
  • 1 aria from the 19th century
  • 1 aria from the 20th or 21st centuries
  • 1 aria of choice in a language not represented from the above categories
  • 1 short mélodie
  • 1 short lied
  • optional additional selection from any operetta or musical theatre piece

If you want to focus on voice/recital repertoire, prepare:

  • 1 opera aria
  • 1 oratorio aria
  • 1 aria of choice
  • 2 mélodies
  • 2 lied
  • 1 song written after 1960
  • 1 song of choice

Woodwinds

Prepare 60 minutes of repertoire. Repertoire may include solo repertoire from various musical periods, orchestral excerpts, and études.