Conservatory Audition Requirements

Repertoire Requirements by Instrument

Merit’s Conservatory music audition will assess your current skills, musicianship, sight-reading ability, etc.

Students should prepare repertoire for the highest level they feel comfortable preparing for.Students interested in multiple programs will need to audition for each program.

Questions? Contact Autumn Selover at aselover@meritmusic.org.

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↓ Find your instrument and click the “+” to view the audition requirements. Requirements are organized by ensemble level.

A saxophone player during an audition

Orchestra

CHAMBER ORCHESTRA –  The Conservatory String Orchestra is an intermediate level ensemble. It is comprised of up to 50 violin, viola, cello, and bass students who are generally in 5th – 10th grades. Programming consists of modern and traditional string orchestra repertoire.

MERIT PHILHARMONIC – The Merit Philharmonic is Merit’s top orchestral experience for talented young musicians. It is comprised of up to 65 string, wind, brass, and percussion students who are generally in 9th – 12th grades. Programming consists of modern and traditional orchestral repertoire. Woodwind, Brass, and Percussion students interested in auditioning for the Merit Philharmonic must first be accepted into the Wind Symphony. 

Violin

MERIT CHAMBER ORCHESTRA

Repertoire: 2 contrasting solos at the same level of difficulty as A. Vivaldi’s Concerto in A Minor, First Movement or higher. (Memorization is strongly encouraged)
Orchestra Excerpts: Click here for file.
Scales: metronome ♩=60 (Separate and slurred up to 4 per bow) Students must play 1 major and 1 melodic minor scale and arpeggio. One of these must be a 3 octave scale. (Scales and arpeggios must be memorized)

Sight-reading: (provided at audition)



MERIT PHILHARMONIC

Repertoire: 2 contrasting solos at the same level of difficulty as J.S. Bach’s Violin Concerto in A Minor, First Movement or higher. (Memorization is strongly encouraged)
Orchestra Excerpts: Click here for file
Scales: metronome ♩=60 (Separate and slurred up to 8 per bow; may be asked to demonstrate martelé, stacatto, or spicatto stroke) Students must play one 3 octave major and one 3 octave melodic minor scale and arpeggio. (Scales and arpeggios must be memorized)
Sight-reading: (provided at audition)

Viola

MERIT CHAMBER ORCHESTRA

Repertoire: 2 contrasting solos at the same level of difficulty as A. Vivaldi’s Concerto in D Minor, First Movement or higher. (Memorization is strongly encouraged) 
Orchestra Excerpts: Click here for file.
Scales: metronome ♩=60 (Separate and slurred up to 4 per bow) Students must play 1 major and 1 melodic minor scale and arpeggio. One of these must be a 3 octave scale. (Scales and arpeggios must be memorized)

Sight-reading: (provided at audition)


MERIT PHILHARMONIC


Repertoire: 2 contrasting solos at the same level of difficulty as J.C. Bach’s Concerto in C Minor, First Movement or higher. (Memorization is strongly encouraged)
Orchestra Excerpts: Click here for file
Scales: metronome ♩=60 (Separate and slurred up to 8 per bow; may be asked to demonstrate martelé, stacatto, or spicatto stroke) Students must play one 3 octave major and one 3 octave melodic minor scale and arpeggio. (Scales and arpeggios must be memorized)
Sight-reading: (provided at audition)

 

Cello

MERIT CHAMBER ORCHESTRA

Repertoire: 2 contrasting solos at the same level of difficulty as Chanson Trieste by Tchaikovsky. (Memorization is strongly encouraged)

Orchestra Excerpts: Click here for file.

Scales: metronome ♩=60 (Separate and slurred up to 4 per bow) Students must play 1 major and 1 melodic minor scale and arpeggio. One of these must be a 3 octave scale. (Scales and arpeggios must be memorized)

Sight-reading: (provided at audition)


MERIT PHILHARMONIC

Repertoire: 2 contrasting solos at the same level of difficulty as Rondo from J.B. Breval’s Cello Concerto No. 2 in D Major or higher. (Memorization is strongly encouraged)

Orchestra Excerpts: Click here for file

Scales: metronome ♩=60 (Separate and slurred up to 8 per bow; may be asked to demonstrate martelé, stacatto, or spicatto stroke) Students must play one 3 octave major and one 3 octave melodic minor scale and arpeggio. (Scales and arpeggios must be memorized)

Sight-reading: (provided at audition)

Must be able to fluidly sight read a melodic line in tenor clef

 

Double Bass

MERIT STRING ORCHESTRA

Repertoire: 2 contrasting solo pieces or etudes of the student’s choice. (Memorization is strongly encouraged)

Orchestra Excerpts: Click here for file.
Scales: metronome ♩=60 (Separate and slurred up to 4 per bow) Students must play 1 major and 1 melodic minor scale and arpeggio. (Scales and arpeggios must be memorized)

Sight-reading: (provided at audition)



MERIT PHILHARMONIC

Repertoire: 2 contrasting solo pieces or etudes of the student’s choice. (Memorization is strongly encouraged)
Orchestra Excerpts: Click here for file

Scales: metronome ♩=60 (Separate and slurred up to 8 per bow; may be asked to demonstrate martelé, stacatto, or spicatto stroke). Students must play 1 major and 1 melodic minor scale and arpeggio. (Scales and arpeggios must be memorized)

Sight-reading: (provided at audition)

 

Band

CONCERT BAND –  The Concert Band is the entry-level band for the Conservatory. It is comprised of up to 80 winds, brass, and percussion students who are generally in 6th – 8th grades.

SYMPHONIC BAND – The Symphonic Band is an advanced wind group. It is comprised of up to 80 wind, brass, and percussion students who are generally in 8th – 10th grades. Programming consists of challenging high-school repertoire.

WIND SYMPHONY – The Wind Symphony is one of Merit’s premier ensembles. The Wind Symphony provides a rigorous experience for talented and motivated young musicians, representing some of the finest wind playing in the country. It is comprised of up to 80 wind, brass, and percussion students who are generally in 10th – 12th grades. Programming consists of modern and traditional repertoire, as well as new commissions. The Wind Symphony rehearses each Saturday, as well as each Tuesday evening. Woodwind, Brass, and Percussion students interested in auditioning for the Merit Philharmonic must first be accepted into the Wind Symphony. 

Band Audition Requirements: All band auditions will consist of two contrasting excerpts, scales/rudiments, and a sight-reading portion

Flute

CONCERT BAND

All current Concert Band students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble.

 

  • Required Etudes: Normal, measures 5-20, 38-66; (Risk) Everything for a Dream, measures 1-8, 12-20
  • Scales: Four scales total: 2 major scales selected by audition panel, one self-selected scale, chromatic scale 
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition)

Audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

 

SYMPHONIC BAND

All current Symphonic Band students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble.

 

  • Required Etudes: Second Suite in F – 1. March, pickup to JD.C. al Fine; 3. Song of the Blacksmith, pickup to Cend
  • Scales: Five scales total: 4 major scales selected by audition panel, one self-selected scale
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition)

Audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

 

WIND SYMPHONY


All current Wind Symphony students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble. Students who wish to also be considered for the Merit Philharmonic should indicate this on their audition sign up form.

 

  • Required Etudes: Vivace in F Minor; Andante cantabile in C# minor
  • Scales: ILMEA scale sheet (see below)
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition)
  • *Merit Philharmonic Excerpt: Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun Excerpt available here.

Audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

 

Merit Philharmonic *Wind Symphony students are also eligible to play in the Merit Philharmonic Orchestra. If you are interested in playing with Merit Philharmonic, prepare to play the orchestral excerpt along with your Wind Symphony Audition. You must play with the Wind Symphony in order to participate in Merit Philharmonic.

 

Oboe

CONCERT BAND

All current Concert Band students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble.

  • Required Etudes: Normal, measures 5-19, 39-66; (Risk) Everything for a Dream, measures 12-29
  • Scales: Four scales total: 2 major scales selected by audition panel, one self-selected scale, chromatic scale
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition)

Audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

 

SYMPHONIC BAND

All current Symphonic Band students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble.

  • Required Etudes: Second Suite in F – 1. March, pickup to JD.C. al Fine; 2. Song Without Words, A – end 
  • Scales: Five scales total: 4 major scales selected by audition panel, one self-selected scale
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition)

Audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

 

WIND SYMPHONY


All current Wind Symphony students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble. Students who wish to also be considered for the Merit Philharmonic should indicate this on their audition sign up form.

  • Required Etudes: Etude #14 – Scherzo; Etude #29 – Andante amabile
  • Scales: ILMEA scale sheet (see below)
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition)
  • *For Merit Philharmonic audition only: “II. Andantino in modo di canzone” Excerpt available here.

Audition materials are available here.  *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

Merit Philharmonic *Wind Symphony students are also eligible to play in the Merit Philharmonic Orchestra. If you are interested in playing with Merit Philharmonic, prepare to play the orchestral excerpt along with your Wind Symphony Audition. You must play with the Wind Symphony in order to participate in Merit Philharmonic.

Clarinet

CONCERT BAND

All current Concert Band students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble.

  • Required Etudes: 
    • Clarinet Etudes
      • Clarinet 1 – Normal, measures 5-20, 38-66; (Risk) Everything for a Dream, measures 9-24
      • Clarinet 2 – Normal, measures 5-19, 39-66; (Risk) Everything for a Dream, measures 12-29 
    • Bass Clarinet Etudes: Normal, measures measures 5-37 (no repeat), 55-66; (Risk) Everything for a Dream, measures 13-29  
  • Scales:
    • Clarinet Scales: Five scales total: 4 major scales selected by audition panel, one self selected scale (see scale sheet below)
    • Bass Clarinet Scales: Four scales total: 2 major scales selected by audition panel, one self-selected scale, chromatic scale
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition)

Clarinet audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

Bass clarinet audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

 

SYMPHONIC BAND

All current Symphonic Band students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble.

  • Required Etudes
    • Clarinet Etudes: Second Suite in F – 1. March, measure 2, HD.C. al Fine; 2. Song Without Words , Solo A3. Song of the Blacksmith, C – end
    • Bass Clarinet Etudes: Normal, measures 5-37 (no repeat), 55-66; (Risk) Everything for a Dream, measures 13-29
  • Scales
    • Clarinet Scales: Five scales total: 4 major scales selected by audition panel, one self-selected scale
    • Bass Clarinet Scales: 4 major scales selected by audition panel, one self-selected scale
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition)

Clarinet audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

Bass clarinet audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

 

WIND SYMPHONY

All current Wind Symphony students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble. Students who wish to also be considered for the Merit Philharmonic should indicate this on their audition sign up form.

    • Required Etudes
      • Clarinet Etudes: Etude #17 Adagio cantabile; Etude #18 – Allegro vivace 
      • Bass Clarinet Etudes: Etude #9 –Allegro non troppo: Etude #15 – Allegro
    • Scales
      • Clarinet Scales: ILMEA scale sheet (see below)
      • Bass Clarinet Scales: ILMEA scale sheet (see below)
    • Sightreading: (provided at audition)
    • *For Merit Philharmonic audition only: “III. I pini del GianicoloExcerpt available here.

Clarinet audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

Alto, bass and contra clarinet audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

 

Merit Philharmonic *Wind Symphony students are also eligible to play in the Merit Philharmonic Orchestra. If you are interested in playing with Merit Philharmonic, prepare to play the orchestral excerpt along with your Wind Symphony Audition. You must play with the Wind Symphony in order to participate in Merit Philharmonic. 

Bassoon

CONCERT BAND

All current Concert Band students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble.

  • Required Etudes: Normal, measures 5-19, 22-54 (no repeat); (Risk) Everything for a Dream, measures 13-29
  • Scales: Four scales total: 2 major scales selected by audition panel, one self-selected scale, chromatic scale
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition)

Audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

 

SYMPHONIC BAND

All current Symphonic Band students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble.

  • Required Etudes: Second Suite in F – 1. March, pickup to J – D.C. al Fine; 3. Song of the Blacksmith, C – end 
  • Scales: Five scales total: 4 major scales selected by audition panel, one self-selected scale
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition)

Audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

 

WIND SYMPHONY

All current Wind Symphony students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble. Students who wish to also be considered for the Merit Philharmonic should indicate this on their audition sign up form.

  • Required Etudes: Etude #15 Lento; Etude #29 – Allegro con fuoco 
  • Scales: ILMEA scale sheet (see below)
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition)
  • *For Merit Philharmonic audition only: The Marriage of Figaro Excerpt available here.

Audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

 

 

Merit Philharmonic *Wind Symphony students are also eligible to play in the Merit Philharmonic Orchestra. If you are interested in playing with Merit Philharmonic, prepare to play the orchestral excerpt along with your Wind Symphony Audition. You must play with the Wind Symphony in order to participate in Merit Philharmonic.

Saxophone

CONCERT BAND

All current Concert Band students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble.

  • Required Etudes
    • Alto Saxophone Etudes: Normal, measures 5-20, 39-66; (Risk) Everything for a Dream, measures 512, 21-29
    • Tenor Saxophone Etudes: Normal, measures 519, 39-66; (Risk) Everything for a Dream, measures 9-16, 25-29 
    • Baritone Saxophone Etudes: Normal, measures 5-19, 22-54 (no repeat); (Risk) Everything for a Dream, measures 5-20 
  • Scales
    • Alto Saxophone Scales: Four scales total: 2 major scales selected by audition panel, one self-selected scale, chromatic scale
    • Tenor Saxophone Scales: Four scales total: 2 major scales selected by audition panel, one self-selected scale, chromatic scale
    • Baritone Saxophone Scales: Four scales total: 2 major scales selected by audition panel, one self-selected scale, chromatic scale 
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition)

Alto saxophone audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

Tenor saxophone audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills

Baritone saxophone audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills

 

SYMPHONIC BAND

All current Symphonic Band students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble.

  • Required Etudes
    • Alto Saxophone Etudes: Second Suite in F – 3. Song of the Blacksmith, pickup to C – end; 4. Fantasia on the ‘Dargason’, beginning – B 
    • Tenor Saxophone Etudes: Second Suite in F – 1. March, H – D.C. al Fine;3. Song of the Blacksmith, pickup to C – end
    • Baritone Saxophone Etudes: Second Suite in F – 3. Song of the Blacksmith, C – end; 4. Fantasia on the ‘Dargason’, pickup to E 
  • Scales
    • Alto Saxophone Scales: Five scales total: 4 major scales selected by audition panel, one self-selected scale
    • Tenor Saxophone Scales: Five scales total: 4 major scales selected by audition panel, one self-selected scale
    • Baritone Saxophone Scales: Five scales total: 4 major scales selected by audition panel, one self-selected scale
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition)

Alto saxophone audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

Tenor saxophone audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

Baritone saxophone audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

 

WIND SYMPHONY

All current Wind Symphony students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble. Students who wish to also be considered for the Merit Philharmonic should indicate this on their audition sign up form.

  • Required Etudes: Etude #2Largo cantabile; Etude #6 – Allegro
  • Scales: ILMEA scale sheet (see below)
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition)

Audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

Horn

CONCERT BAND  

All current Concert Band students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble.
  

  • Required Etudes: Normal, measures 5-19, 39-66; (Risk) Everything for a Dream, measures 8-20, 25-29
  • Scales: Four scales total: 2 major scales selected by audition panel, one self-selected scale, chromatic scale
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition) 

Audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

 

SYMPHONIC BAND  

All current Symphonic Band students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble.  

  • Required Etudes: Second Suite in F – 1. March, Beginning – four measures after C; 3. Song of the Blacksmith, pickup to Cend
  • Scales: Five scales total: 4 major scales selected by audition panel, one self-selected scale
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition) 

Audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

 

WIND SYMPHONY  

All current Wind Symphony students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble. Students who wish to also be considered for the Merit Philharmonic should indicate this on their audition sign up form. 

  • Required Etudes: Adagio in F Major; Etude #73 – Tempo quasi Polonaise
  • Scales:ILMEA scale sheet (see below) 
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition) 
  • For Merit Philharmonic audition only: Shostakovich Symphony No. 5, 1st movement Excerpt available here. 

Audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

 

Merit Philharmonic  *Wind Symphony students are also eligible to play in the Merit Philharmonic Orchestra. If you are interested in playing with Merit Philharmonic, prepare to play the orchestral excerpt along with your Wind Symphony Audition. You must play with the Wind Symphony in order to participate in Merit Philharmonic.

Trumpet

CONCERT BAND  

All current Concert Band students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble.  

  • Required Etudes: 
    • Trumpet 1 – Normal, measures 5-20, 39-66; (Risk) Everything for a Dream, measures 8-20, 25-29
    • Trumpet 2Normal, measures 5-20, 39-66; (Risk) Everything for a Dream, measures 13-29
  • Scales: Four scales total: 2 major scales selected by audition panel, one self-selected scale, chromatic scale 
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition) 

Audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

 

SYMPHONIC BAND  

All current Symphonic Band students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble. 
 

  • Required Etudes:Second Suite in F – 1. March, Beginning – B; 3. Song of the Blacksmith, SoloF
  • Scales: Five scales total: 4 major scales selected by audition panel, one self-selected scale
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition) 

Audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

 

WIND SYMPHONY  

 

All current Wind Symphony students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble. Students who wish to also be considered for the Merit Philharmonic should indicate this on their audition sign up form. 

 

  • Required Etudes: Etude #12Allegro moderato; Fantasie Brilliante #3 – Andantino “Theme” 
  • Scales:ILMEA scale sheet (see below) 
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition) 
  • *For Merit Philharmonic audition only: Overture to Tannhäuser Excerpt available here.

Audition materials are available here.  *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

Merit Philharmonic *Wind Symphony students are also eligible to play in the Merit Philharmonic Orchestra. If you are interested in playing with Merit Philharmonic, prepare to play the orchestral excerpt along with your Wind Symphony Audition. You must play with the Wind Symphony in order to participate in Merit Philharmonic.

Trombone

CONCERT BAND  

All current Concert Band students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble.  

  • Required Etudes: Normal, measures 5-19, 22-54 (no repeat); (Risk) Everything for a Dream, measures 8-20, 25-29
  • ScalesFour scales total: 2 major scales selected by audition panel, one self-selected scale, chromatic scale 
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition) 

Audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

 

SYMPHONIC BAND  

All current Symphonic Band students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble.   Required

  • Required Etudes: 
    • Trombone Etudes: Second Suite in F – 1. March, BeginningB; 3. Song of the Blacksmith, BeginningB 
    • Bass Trombone Etudes: 3. Song of the Blacksmith, C – end; 4. Fantasia on the ‘Dargason’, five measures after E six measures before G
  • Scales:
    • Trombone: Five scales total: 4 major scales selected by audition panel, one self-selected scale 
    • Bass Trombone Etudes: Five scales total: 4 major scales selected by audition panel, one self-selected scale 
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition) 

Trombone audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

Bass trombone audition materials available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

 

WIND SYMPHONY 
 

All current Wind Symphony students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble. Students who wish to also be considered for the Merit Philharmonic should indicate this on their audition sign up form. 

    • Required Etudes:  Etude in Gb Major – Adagio cantabile; Etude in B Minor – Moderato
    • Scales:ILMEA scale sheet (see below) 
    • Sightreading: (provided at audition) 
    • *For Merit Philharmonic audition only:

Trombone audition materials are available here.  *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

Merit Philharmonic *Wind Symphony students are also eligible to play in the Merit Philharmonic Orchestra. If you are interested in playing with Merit Philharmonic, prepare to play the orchestral excerpt along with your Wind Symphony Audition. You must play with the Wind Symphony in order to participate in Merit Philharmonic.

Euphonium

CONCERT BAND

All current Concert Band students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble.  

  • Required Etudes: Normal, measures 5-19, 22-54 (no repeat); (Risk) Everything for a Dream, measures 8-20, 25-29 
  • Scales: Four scales total: 2 major scales selected by audition panel, one self-selected scale, chromatic scale 
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition) 

Audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

 

SYMPHONIC BAND  

All current Symphonic Band students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble.  

  • Required Etudes: Second Suite in F – 1. March, Beginning – B, Solo – G; 3. Song of the Blacksmith, five measures after Bend 
  • Scales: Five scales total: 4 major scales selected by audition panel, one self-selected scale
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition) 

Audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

 

WIND SYMPHONY

All current Wind Symphony students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble. Students who wish to also be considered for the Merit Philharmonic should indicate this on their audition sign up form. 

  • Required Etudes: Etude #12Allegro moderato; Fantasie Brilliante #3 – Andantino “Theme” 
  • Scales:ILMEA scale sheet (see below) 
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition) 

Audition materials are available here*Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

Tuba

CONCERT BAND  

All current Concert Band students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble.  

  • Required Etudes: Normal, measures 5-19, 22-54 (no repeat); (Risk) Everything for a Dream, measures 8-24 
  • Scales: Four scales total: 2 major scales selected by audition panel, one self-selected scale, chromatic scale
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition) 

Audition materials are available here.*Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

 

SYMPHONIC BAND  

All current Symphonic Band students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble.  

  • Required Etudes: Second Suite in F – 1. March, Beginning – B; 3. Song of the Blacksmith, Beginning – A 
  • Scales: Five scales total: 4 major scales selected by audition panel, one self-selected scale
    •  
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition) 

Audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

 

WIND SYMPHONY  

All current Wind Symphony students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble. Students who wish to also be considered for the Merit Philharmonic should indicate this on their audition sign up form. 

  • Required Etudes: Etude #30 – Moderato pesante; Etude #38 – Andante con moto 
  • Scales:ILMEA scale sheet (see below) 
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition) 
  • *For Merit Philharmonic audition only: Fountains of Rome Excerpt available here.

Audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

 

Merit Philharmonic *Wind Symphony students are also eligible to play in the Merit Philharmonic Orchestra. If you are interested in playing with Merit Philharmonic, prepare to play the orchestral excerpt along with your Wind Symphony Audition. You must play with the Wind Symphony in order to participate in Merit Philharmonic.

Percussion

CONCERT BAND

All current Concert Band students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble. 

  • Required Etudes:
    • Snare Drum: Normal, measures 5-19, 22-37
    • Bells: Normal, measures 5-19, 30-53 (no repeat); (Risk) Everything for a Dream, measures 17-29 
  • Scales: Four scales total: 2 major scales selected by audition panel, one self-selected scale, chromatic scale
  • Rudiments:  
      • Buzz Roll 3 ways: forte dynamic only, piano dynamic only, piano to forte then back to piano 
      • Paradiddle (play as 16th notes, minimum tempo quarter = 90 bpm) 
      • Flam Tap (slow to fast) (play as 16th notes, minimum fastest tempo quarter = 60 bpm) 
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition) 

Audition materials are available here. *Students may also play a short, prepared piece in lieu of the posted excerpt that showcases similar range and technical skills. 

 

SYMPHONIC BAND 

All current Symphonic Band students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble. 

  • Snare Drum Etude: Second Suite in F – 1. March, Beginning – B; 3. Song of the Blacksmith, Beginning – A
  • Mallet Etude: Encanto m. 41-55
  • Scales: Five scales total: 4 major scales selected by audition panel, one self-selected scale 
  • Rudiments:  
    • Buzz Roll 3 ways: forte dynamic only, piano dynamic only, piano to forte then back to piano  
    • Double Stroke Roll 3 ways: forte dynamic only, piano dynamic only. piano to forte then back to piano
    • Paradiddle (play as 16th notes, minimum tempo quarter = 90 bpm) 
    • Flam Tap (slow to fast) (play as 16th notes, minimum fastest tempo quarter = 60 bpm) 
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition) 

Audition materials are available here.  

 

WIND SYMPHONY 

All current Wind Symphony students MUST re-audition to keep their spot in this ensemble. Students who wish to also be considered for the Merit Philharmonic should indicate this on their audition sign up form. 

  • Etude: Etude #6 (snare)Largo expressivo; Etude #7 (mallet) – Allegro 
  • Scales: TBD
  • Rudiments:  
  • Sightreading: (provided at audition) 
  • *For Merit Philharmonic audition only: Beethoven – Symphony No. 9 Excerpt available here.

Audition materials are available here.

Merit Philharmonic *Wind Symphony students are also eligible to play in the Merit Philharmonic Orchestra. If you are interested in playing with Merit Philharmonic, prepare to play the orchestral excerpt along with your Wind Symphony Audition. You must play with the Wind Symphony in order to participate in Merit Philharmonic.

Jazz (Instrumental)

Students in Merit’s Jazz Division participate in a comprehensive, daylong program consisting of theory/improvisation, big band rehearsal (Concert Jazz Ensemble or Merit Jazz Ensemble), combo rehearsal, weekly recital hour, and electives. Jazz students are generally in 8th – 12th grades and have had several years of playing experience. Students in Merit’s Jazz Division have the opportunity to perform in many venues across the city of Chicago including Chicago’s renowned Jazz Showcase.

CONCERT JAZZ ENSEMBLE – The Concert Jazz Ensemble is an intermediate level ensemble for Conservatory students that have a basic understanding of and experience with jazz performance styles and improvisation. It is comprised of saxophone, trumpet, trombone, and rhythm section (piano, guitar, bass, drum-set, and vibraphone). This ensemble is recommended for students who are generally in 8th to 10th grades and have one to two years of jazz ensemble experience.  *Conservatory students not majoring in Jazz Studies may be eligible to participate in this ensemble pending completion of a seating audition in the fall.

MERIT JAZZ ENSEMBLE –  As the most advanced big band in the Jazz Studies department, the Merit Jazz Ensemble features the Conservatory’s most experienced Jazz Studies majors as well as upper-level Band students with considerable experience in jazz performance and improvisation. It is comprised of saxophone, trumpet, trombone, and rhythm section (piano, guitar, bass, drum-set, and vibraphone). This ensemble is recommended for students who are generally in 10th to 12th grades and have two to four years of jazz ensemble experience. *Conservatory students not majoring in Jazz Studies may be eligible to participate in this ensemble pending completion.

Jazz Audition Requirements: All jazz auditions will consist of two jazz charts (melody and improvisation) and two scales 

Jazz Saxophone

Scales: 

  • Alto/Bari Saxophone: F Major & Gb Major, 2 octaves, in eighth notes at ♩= 70
  • Tenor Saxophone: C Major & Db Major, 2 octaves, in eighth notes at ♩= 70


Repertoire:

Saxophone players should be prepared to play the melody and an improvised solo for each of the following tunes: “Buzzy” (a 12-Bar Blues in Bb) and “I Love You” (in F).

Jazz Trumpet

Scales:  D Major & F Major, 1 octave, in eighth notes at ♩= 70

Repertoire:
Trumpet players should be prepared to play the melody and an improvised solo for each of the following tunes: “Buzzy” (a 12-Bar Blues in Bb) and “I Love You” (in F).

Jazz Trombone

Scales: Eb Major & G Major, 1 octave, in eighth notes at ♩= 70

Repertoire:

Trombonists should be prepared to play the melody and an improvised solo for each of the following tunes: “Buzzy” (a 12-Bar Blues in Bb) and “I Love You” (in F).

Jazz Guitar

Scales:  A Major & Eb Major, 2 octaves, in eighth notes at ♩= 70

Repertoire:

Guitarists should be prepared to play the melody, comp, and play an improvised solo for each of the following tunes: “Buzzy” (a 12-Bar Blues in Bb) and “I Love You” (in F).

Jazz Piano

Scales: D Major & Bb Major, 2 octaves hands together, in eighth notes at ♩= 70

Repertoire:

Pianists should be prepared to play the melody, comp, and play an improvised solo for each of the following tunes: “Buzzy” (a 12-Bar Blues in Bb) and “I Love You” (in F).

Jazz Bass

Scales:  F Major & Bb Major, 2 octaves, in eighth notes at ♩= 60

Repertoire:

Bassists should be prepared to play the melody, a walking bass line, and improvised solo for each of the following tunes: “Buzzy” (a 12-Bar Blues in Bb) and “I Love You” (in F).

Jazz Drum-set

Style: Please demonstrate 16 measures of Bossa Nova groove (in 4/4 time) at ♩= 130

 

Repertoire:

Drummers should be prepared to play time, play an improvised solos, and trade fours for each of the following tunes: “Buzzy” (a 12-Bar Blues in Bb) and “I Love You” (in F).

Jazz Vibraphone

Scales:  Ab Major & D Major, 2 octave, in eighth notes at ♩= 70


Repertoire:

Vibraphonists should be prepared to play the melody, comp, and play an improvised solo for each of the following tunes: Buzzy (a 12-Bar Blues in Bb) and I Love You (in F).

Piano

Spots in Merit’s Conservatory piano program are limited and highly sought-after. Students participate in a variety of activities including piano duets, music theory, weekly recital hour, and studio class. Top pianists may also be required to participate in chamber ensembles. Because spots in the Conservatory piano program are so competitive, pianists must re-audition each year.

Pianists interested in audition for Merit’s Conservatory can choose to prepare the requirements from either Category A or Category B below. Please select the category that best matches your current skill level. All auditioning pianists should prepare:

  1. Solo piece(s) from the suggested repertoire list below
  2. The appropriate scales listed below for your selected category
  3. Piano duet: this year’s selected duet repertoire will be posted on Merits website on Monday, April 1stYou must learn both the primo and secondo parts.
  4. Sight-reading repertoire will be provided to you during your live audition
Piano

AUDITION INSTRUCTIONS

 

New Students (students who are not enrolled in the 2023/2024 Conservatory Piano Program) will need to submit a video recording as part of a prescreening process. Recordings must include performances of the TWO solo pieces from your selected category (see below) but do not need to include scales, duet repertoire, or sightreading. Submissions can include separate videos for each solo piece; however, each piece must be performed in its entirety in one take. In other words, performance videos may not be edited or spliced together to include multiple takes of the same piece. All videos included in your prescreening submission must have been recorded no earlier than January 1, 2024. Piano pre-screen applications close on April 1, 2024. Results will be sent to families by April 8, 2024.

 

 

Returning Students (students who are enrolled in the 2023/2024 Conservatory Piano Program) do not need to submit prescreening videos and will be welcome to register for an audition time slot on May 4th.  Returning students should plan to perform their solo piece, scales, duet piece, and sightreading during their live audition. 

 

 

AUDITION REQUIREMENTS


Category A

Scales – Please be prepared to play:

  • All major and harmonic minor scales up to 4 sharps or 4 flats
  • 4 octaves in parallel motion
  • Tempo: quarter note = 132 (the scale should be played in eighth notes/ two notes per metronome click)

Prepare two solo pieces from different historical periods listed below. At least one of the pieces must be from the Baroque or Classical period.

Note: Students enrolled in the 2023/2024 Conservatory Piano Department only need to prepare one solo piece.


Baroque
– a two-part invention by J. S. Bach (except Invention no.1 in C major) or polyphonic piece of similar difficulty.


Classical
– a fast movement from a sonata by Haydn, Mozart or Beethoven similar to the level of the sonatas listed below:

  • Beethoven- Sonata in G major, Op. 49 No 2, mov 1
  • Haydn – Sonata in C major, Hob. XVI:35, mov 1 or 3
  • Mozart – Sonata in C major, K. 545, mov 1

Romantic – a composition from the list below or another piece of similar level.

  • Chopin – Mazurka in A minor, Op.67 no.4
  • Grieg – from Lyrics Pieces: Elegie Op.38, or Butterfly from Op. 43
  • Tchaikovsky – March or April from The Seasons

20th/21st century – a composition from the list below or another piece of similar level.

  • Bartok – Evening in the Country
  • Dett – Honey (Humoresque) from In the Bottoms
  • Price – Silk Hat and Walking Cane from Dances in the Canebrakes
  • Prokofiev – Tarantella from Music for Children, Op.65
  • Shostakovich – Fantastic Dance No. 1 from Three Fantastic Dances

Piano duet – Please prepare one of the following compositions. You must prepare both the primo and secondo parts of the selected composition.

 

Sight-reading – You will be provided sight-reading repertoire during the live audition.

 

 

 

Category B

Scales – Please be prepared to play:

  • All major and harmonic minor scales up to 6 sharps or 6 flats
  • 4 octaves in parallel motion
  • Tempo: quarter note = 90 (the scale should be played in sixteenth notes/4 notes per metronome click)

Prepare two solo pieces from different historical periods listed below. At least one of the pieces must be from the Baroque or Classical period.

Note: Students enrolled in the 2023/2024 Conservatory Piano Department only need to prepare one solo piece.

 

Baroque – a three-part invention or prelude and fugue from the Well-Tempered Clavier by J. S. Bach (except Prelude and Fugue in C major, WTC vol. 1, BWV 846)

Classical – a fast movement from a sonata by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven similar to the level of the sonatas listed below (except Haydn Hob: XVI 35, Mozart K.545 or, Beethoven Op.49 No. 2)

  • Beethoven- Sonata No. 1in F minor, Op. 2 No. 1, mov I or IV
  • Beethoven- Sonata No. 10 in G major, Op. 14 No. 2, mov I or III

Romantic – any composition by Chopin, Liszt, Schumann, Brahms, Rachmaninov or other Romantic composer similar to the level of:

  • Chopin- Nocturne in E minor, Op. 72 No. 1

20th/21st century – a composition from the list below or another piece of similar level.

  • Barber – Excursions, Op. 20 No.1
  • Bonds – Troubled Water
  • Burleigh – From the Southland
  • Coleridge-Taylor – any movement from Valse Suite for Piano “Three-Fours”, Op. 71
  • Copland – Cat and Mouse Price- In Sentimental Mood
  • Prokofiev – Montaque and Capulets, Op. 75 No. 6
  • Shostakovich – any Prelude and Fugue
  • Villa-Lobos – Bachinanas Brasileiras, No. 4, Preludio
  • Walker- Prelude and Caprice

Piano duet – Please prepare one of the following compositions. You must prepare both the primo and secondo