Auditions and Screening: Graduate Diploma in Performance

Screening material (due by December 1st)

Due to the large number of applicants and limited audition spots, all Jazz applicants and mezzo and soprano voice types must submit video screening material (avi, mov, mp4 or wmv format) by December 1st before being selected to attend an on-campus audition. If you are currently a mezzo or soprano at McGill completing a music degree, you are exempt.

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.


How to prepare for your on-campus audition

  • Check your audition repertoire requirements (see tab above). Choose material that you are comfortable playing and that showcases your musicianship and technical proficiency.
  • If you are coming from outside Canada, check with Immigration Canada for travel document requirements.


On Audition Day:

If you are experiencing travel delays on the day of your audition or you are unable to attend your audition, please email our melanie.collins [at] (Recruitment Office)


  • A minimum of one hour prior to your audition, you must check-in at the Strathcona Music Building lobby (555 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec).
    *Check-in is also mandatory for current students.
  • Practice rooms are available during the audition period.
  • During check-in, directions to your audition location and practice rooms will be provided.

Tours will be given by the Schulich Ambassadors during the lunch break.
Details will be available at the check-in desk.


  • 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.


The Audition:

  • You must bring a list of pieces to be performed, including études and ensemble music.
  • Prepare to be interviewed about your experience and your educational and professional goals.
  • Jazz applicants: In addition, bring copies of your music.
  • The panel may interrupt your audition at any moment in a piece to ensure that auditions proceed on schedule.
  • Auditions last approximately 15 minutes.





Where to Stay:

Book a hotel in Montreal:

Special accommodations have been arranged with several our downtown hotels. All hotels are within walking distance of the Schulich School of Music.

Special room prices are available to the McGill University community: staff, students, visitors, etc. 

If you are making reservations by phone, be sure to mention McGill University.

Events & Montreal:

Consult our Events Calendar for Schulich School of Music concerts and related events.

See the Discover Montreal website for happenings in the Greater Montreal area.

Audition dates

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

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

2019 audition dates by instrument:

  • Bassoon: Sunday, February 17, 2019
  • Cello: Fri., Feb. 15 – Sat., Feb. 16, 2019
  • Clarinet: Sunday, February 3, 2019
  • Double Bass: Friday, February 8, 2019
  • Early Music instruments/Harpsichord: Sunday, February 17, 2019
  • Early Music Voice: Sunday, February 3, 2019
  • Flute: Saturday, February 2, 2019
  • French Horn: Saturday, February 2, 2019
  • Guitar: Sunday, February 10, 2019
  • Harp: Saturday, March 2, 2019
  • Jazz Bass: Fri., Feb. 8, Sat., Feb. 9, 2019
  • Jazz Drums: Fri., Feb. 8, Sat., Feb. 9, 2019
  • Jazz Guitar: Fri., Feb. 8, Sat., Feb. 9, 2019
  • Jazz Piano/Vibraphone: Fri., Feb. 8, Sat., Feb. 9, 2019
  • Jazz Saxophone/Jazz Flute: Fri., Feb. 8, Sat., Feb. 9, 2019
  • Jazz Trombone: Fri., Feb. 8, Sat., Feb. 9, 2019
  • Jazz Trumpet: Fri., Feb. 8, Sat., Feb. 9, 2019
  • Jazz Voice: Fri., Feb. 8, Sat., Feb. 9, 2019
  • Oboe: Saturday, February 2, 2019
  • Organ: Fri., Feb. 22, Sat., Feb. 23, 2019
  • Percussion: Friday, February 8, 2019
  • Piano: Sat., Feb. 23, Sun., Feb. 24, 2019
  • Piano - collaborative: Saturday, January 26, 2019
  • Saxophone: Saturday, February 16, 2019
  • Trombone: Saturday, February 2, 2019
  • Trumpet: Saturday, February 9, 2019
  • Tuba/Euphonium: Saturday, February 23, 2019
  • Viola: Saturday, February 9, 2019
  • Violin: Fri., Feb. 15 – Sun., Feb. 17
  • Early Music Voice: Sunday, February 3, 2019
  • Voice: Fri. Feb. 1 - Sun. Feb. 3, 2019

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.


  • 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


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).


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.


  • 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.


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.


  • 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


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


  • 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).


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 aria must have significant recitative and one aria 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



All Graduate Programs:

  • Mozart Concerto in G or D Major, complete, with cadenzas
  • Bach Sonata in E Minor, 1st and 2nd Movements
  • Prokofiev Sonata 1st Movement
    Choose between A or B

    A. Any piece from Flute Music by French Composers or Dutilleux Sonatine
    Piece of candidate’s choice 5 minutes

    B. Orchestral Excerpts (Orchestral Excerpts for Flute with Piano Accompaniment, Jeanne Baxtresser & Martha Rearick, Theodore Presser Company):
  • Ravel, Maurice: Daphnis et Chloé Suite no. 2
  • Debussy, Claude: Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, L. 86
  • Beethoven, Ludwig van: Leonore Overture no. 3, op. 72
  • Bach, Johann Sebastian: Aus Liebe will mein Heiland sterben, Soprano aria from St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244
  • Mendelssohn, Felix Bartholdy: Symphony no. 4, “Italian”, op. 90
  • Brahms, Johannes: Symphony no. 4, op. 98
  • Stravinsky, Igor: Firebird Suite (1919 version)
  • Stravinsky, Igor: Petrouchka (1947 revised edition)
All other woodwind instruments:

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