General guidelines

In addition to the guidelines on this page, be sure to follow the music audition guidelines for all students.

Audition guidelines for voice

Two art songs or arias:

  • Consider songs that contrast in tempo, mood, character, style, and period.
  • Both songs must be memorized.
  • Both songs must have piano accompaniment.
  • Original language is preferred.
  • Foreign language songs are encouraged, but not required.
  • One song may be a musical theatre piece.
  • Popular songs are not acceptable.
  • No a cappella singing.     

Repertoire suggestions

The following lists are provided to represent sample repertoire only and are not meant to be exclusive listings of acceptable works that may be performed. Please contact your personal music instructor if you need additional help in choosing acceptable audition material. Popular songs are not an accepted form of audition repertoire.

Two memorized songs with piano accompaniment; foreign language is not required. Suggested resources include the following:

  • Art songs or arias, such as solos from:
    • First Book anthologies series, Joan Boytim, editor
    • 26 Italian Songs & Arias, John Glenn Paton, editor
    • One excerpt may be from the musical theatre repertoire – see Singer’s Musical Theater Anthology series, Richard Walters, editor

Audition tips


  • Do the research on your selections:
    • Do you understand the English poetry?
    • Do you know the exact translation of your foreign language text? 
    • If the song is from a musical or opera, who is the character and what is the setting of the scene? 
  • Music theater: 
    • Does the selection make sense for your voice type? 
    • Is it a character that fits you vocally and emotionally? 
    • Are you singing with a healthy production? 
    • Avoid coarse language or things intended to shock.  
    • Vocal auditions are about musical ability and your presence as a singer.
  • Opera arias or sacred oratorio: 
    • Sing age-appropriate arias; listeners are more impressed with your singing a song well than falling short in a too-complex aria. 
    • Get instruction in foreign language diction; again, it’s preferred that you sing well in English or Italian rather than poorly in German, French, or Russian.


  • Situate yourself in the crook of the piano so that the pianist can see your breath preparation. 
  • If you are doing a musical theater piece or opera aria, you may make some small steps or gestures that complement your piece. Do not use choreography or blocking. Instead, practice in a mirror to project facial expressions and visual focus that best expresses the song.