Audition/Portfolio Guidelines

Prospective students must complete all Admissions Requirements as well as the specialization portfolio or audition requirements to be considered for admission.

General Portfolio Guidelines

To be considered for admission to CalArts’ School of Music, you must submit a portfolio containing examples of your artistic work. The faculty are interested in seeing and hearing portfolio materials that offer a sense of who you are as an artist. Don’t ask what we want to see—show who you are. Applicants from a wide range of backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

To view requirements for each specialization, please click on a link from our list of specializations down below. 

Artist Statement

Your portfolio must include an Artist Statement of 250–500 words that includes all of the following:

  • Your background in the study of music.

  • Your main musical passions right now.

  • What you hope to learn and accomplish at CalArts.

  • What attracts you to the particular Specialization to which you are applying.

  • Your long-term goals as a professional musician.

Audition Guidelines

Applicants applying to the Instrumental Arts, VoiceArts, or Performer-Composer BFA and MFA programs are required to participate in an in-person interview and audition OR a virtual interview. The audition is a chance for our faculty to get to know you and to ask and answer questions. You may present materials from your portfolio at the audition.

After submitting your application, you will receive an email that grants you access to sign up for an audition location in one of several cities. We will then contact you with an audition time. If you cannot attend an in-person interview/audition, you may participate in a virtual interview and we will treat your portfolio as your audition. More information on the auditions, dates and locations, and registration can be found on our Audition Schedule page.

Applicants applying to the Performer-Composer DMA program will be contacted if they’ve been selected as a finalist. Finalists will be invited to audition at the CalArts campus to give an hour lecture on a subject of their choice and a 40-minute performance of their original repertoire. There will also be an interview following the performance with the DMA Committee.

Applicants applying to the Jazz or World Music BFA and MFA programs are required to participate in a virtual interview. There will be no in-person audition. Following your application submission, we will review your application and contact you to schedule your interview.

The Composition & Experimental Sound Practices, Experimental Pop, and Music Technology BFA and MFA programs do not hold required auditions or virtual interviews. Instead, if needed by our faculty, we will contact you about scheduling a virtual interview.

Undergraduate Applicants

Graduate Applicants

Doctorate Applicants