Instrumental Arts (BFA & MFA)

Before applying, please make sure to familiarize yourself with the InstrumentalArts Programs/Specializations, faculty, facilities, curriculum and view student work.

Please note that you must complete all Admissions Requirements as well as the portfolio requirements to be considered for admission.

Portfolio Guidelines

Via the portfolio section of the CalArts Application, you are invited to submit a portfolio containing a minimum of three examples of your artistic work. This artistic portfolio should include:

  • A minimum of three video samples demonstrating your performing abilities.

  • At least one substantial piece chosen from the repertoire for your instrument.

  • A range of styles.

  • If you are an active improviser or composer, you are encouraged to include audio, video, or score submissions that demonstrate these areas of your creative practice.

Please number your examples beginning with what you consider to be your strongest ones—reviewers will examine them in the order that you indicate. Please label each example including: title, composer (if other than yourself), names of other participants (if applicable), and dates recorded. In a separate document describe why you have chosen the particular videos and works in your portfolio. You may link to media hosted on external websites, but please ensure that reviewers will have permission to view this media. 


Live auditions/interviews are encouraged when practical, and audition/interview days are scheduled on campus and in several other cities. For a live audition, applicants may prepare music from the online portfolio and/or new material, in any combination that fits best.