Conservatory Audition Requirements

Audition requirements for the 2021/2022 school year are available below

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

Students should prepare repertoire for the highest level they feel comfortable preparing for. For more information about each program and our ensembles, click here. Students interested in multiple programs will need to submit separate videos for each program.

Audition registration is now open! Video submissions are due May 1st.

Questions? Contact Amy Bischoff at abischoff@meritmusic.org.

ORCHESTRA

MERIT STRING 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 to view excerpts for the 21/22 year

Scales: Students must play 1 major and 1 minor scale and arpeggio from the following list. One three octave scale is required. Metronome ♩=60, separate and slurred up to 4 per bow

  • Two octave scales and arpeggios, both major and minor; G, A, Bb, C, D, F
  • Three octave scales and arpeggios; G major, A major

(Scales and arpeggios must be memorized)

Sight-reading (sight reading examples will be posted 2 weeks prior to audition deadline)

  • Must be able to fluidly sight-read melody line in 1st-3rd position that contains some accidentals
  • Must be able to accurately count and sight read a simple melodic line with dotted rhythms, 8th and 16th notes

STRING ORCHESTRA RETURNING STUDENTS

All current String Orchestra students planning to return to String Orchestra for the 2020/2021 academic year should prepare: 

MERIT PHILHARMONIC

Repertoire: 2 contrasting solos at the same level of difficulty as J.SBach’s Violin Concerto in A Minor, First Movement or higher. (Memorization is strongly encouraged) 

Orchestra Excerpts: Click here to view excerpts for the 21/22 year

Scales: Students must play 1 major and 1 minor scale and arpeggio from the following list.

  • Three octave scales and arpeggios, both major and minor; G, A, Bb, B, C, D, Eb, F

(Scales and arpeggios must be memorized) 

Sight-reading (sight reading examples will be posted 2 weeks prior to audition deadline)

  • Must be able to fluidly sight-read 1st-7th position that contains some accidentals
  • Must be able to accurately count and sight-read a simple melodic line with dotted rhythms, 8th and 16th, triplets, 3 against 2, and syncopated rhythms

MERIT PHILHARMONIC RETURNING STUDENTS

String Orchestra students returning to Merit planning on auditioning up into Merit Philharmonic must prepare the “new student” Merit Philharmonic audition requirements (see above).

All current Merit Philharmonic students planning to return to Merit Philharmonic for the 2021/2022 academic year should prepare:

  • a solo piece of their choice.
  • orchestral excerpts (click here to view excerpts for the 21/22 year)
  • 1 three octave major scale and 1 three octave melodic minor scale and arpeggio of student’s choice. One scale must contain at least 4 sharps or flats

MERIT STRING 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 to view the excerpts for the 21/22 year

Scales: Students must play 1 major scale and 1 minor scale and arpeggio from the following list. One three octave scale is required.

  • Two octave scales and arpeggios, both major and minor: C, D, Eb, F, G, Bb
  • Three octave scales and arpeggios: C major, D minor

(Scales and arpeggios must be memorized) 

Sight-reading (Sight reading examples will be posted 2 weeks prior to the audition deadline)

  • Must be able to fluidly sight-read melody line in 1st-3rd position that contains some accidentals
  • Must be able to accurately count and sight-read a simple melodic line with dotted rhythms, 8th and 16th notes

STRING ORCHESTRA RETURNING STUDENTS

All current String Orchestra students planning to return to String Orchestra for the 2020/2021 academic year should prepare: 

MERIT PHILHARMONIC

Repertoire: 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 to view excerpts for the 21/22 year

Scales: Students must play 1 major and 1 minor scale and arpeggio from the following list. Metronome=60, slurs up to 8 per bow, separate up to 6 per beat, martele up to 2 per beat, spiccato 4 per note, hooked bows, mix of slur and separate bow strokes

  • 3 octave scales and arpeggios, both major and minor; C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb

(Scales and arpeggios must be memorized) 

Sight-reading (Sight reading examples will be posted 2 weeks prior to the audition deadline)

  • Must be able to fluidly sight-read 1st-7th position that contains some accidentals
  • Must be able to accurately count and sight read a simple melodic line with dotted rhythms, 8th and 16th, triplets, 3 against 2, and syncopated rhythms
  • Must be able to fluidly sight-read a melodic line in treble clef

MERIT PHILHARMONIC RETURNING STUDENTS

String Orchestra students returning to Merit planning on auditioning up into Merit Philharmonic must prepare the “new student” Merit Philharmonic audition requirements (see above).

All current Merit Philharmonic students planning to return to Merit Philharmonic for the 2021/2022 academic year should prepare:

  • a solo piece of their choice.
  • orchestral excerpts (click here to view excerpts for the 21/22 year)
  • 1 three octave major scale and 1 three octave melodic minor scale and arpeggio of student’s choice. One scale must contain at least 4 sharps or flats

MERIT STRING ORCHESTRA

Repertoire: 2 contrasting solos at the same level of difficulty as Marcellos Sonata Op. 1 No. 2 or higher. (Memorization is strongly encouraged) 

Orchestra Excerpts: Click here to view the orchestra excerpts for the 21/22 year

Scales: Students must play 1 major and 1 minor scale and arpeggio from the following list. Metronome ♩=60 (Separate and slurred up to 4 per bow)

  • C Major – three octaves
  • D major – two octaves
  • F major, 3rd position – two octaves
  • G major, 4th – two octaves
  • C, D, F, or G melodic minor – two octaves

(Scales must be memorized)

Sight-reading (Sight reading examples will be posted 2 weeks prior to the audition deadline)

  • Must be able to fluidly sight-read melody line in 1st-4th position that contains some accidentals.
  • Must be able to accurately count and sight read a simple melodic line with dotted rhythms, 8th and 16th notes.

STRING ORCHESTRA RETURNING STUDENTS

All current String Orchestra students planning to return to String Orchestra for the 2021/2022 academic year should prepare: 

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 to view the orchestra excerpts for the 21/22 year

Scales: Students must play 1 major and 1 minor scale and arpeggio form the following list. Metronome ♩=60, up to 8 notes per bow

  • C, D, F, and G major – three octaves
  • C, D, F, G, melodic minor – three octaves

(Scales must be memorized)

Sight-reading (Sight reading examples will be posted 2 weeks prior to audition deadline)

  • Must be able to fluidly sight-read melody line in 1st through thumb position that contains accidentals
  • Must be able to accurately count and sight read a simple melodic line with dotted rhythms, 8th and 16th, triplets, 3 against 2, and syncopated rhythms
  • Must be able to fluidly sight read a melodic line in tenor clef

MERIT PHILHARMONIC RETURNING STUDENTS

String Orchestra students returning to Merit planning on auditioning up into Merit Philharmonic must prepare the “new student” Merit Philharmonic audition requirements (see above).

All current Merit Philharmonic students planning to return to Merit Philharmonic for the 2021/2022 academic year should prepare:

STRING ORCHESTRA

Repertoire: Solo piece or etude of the student’s choice (Memorization is strongly encouraged) 

Orchestra Excerpts: Click here to view the excerpts for the 21/22 year

Scales: Students must play 1 major and 1 minor scale and arpeggio from the following list:

  • 2 octave major scales (F, G, C, E, A)
  • 2 octave melodic minor (F, G, C, E, A)

(Scales must be memorized) 

Sight-reading (Sight reading examples will be posted 2 weeks prior to audition deadline)

  • Must be able to fluidly sight-read melody line that contains some accidentals and shifting
  • Must be able to accurately count and sight read a simple melodic line with dotted rhythms, 8th and 16th notes

STRING ORCHESTRA RETURNING STUDENTS

All current String Orchestra students planning to return to String Orchestra for the 2021/2022 academic year should prepare: 

MERIT PHILHARMONIC

Repertoire: Solo piece or etude of the student’s choice

Orchestra Excerpts: Click here to view the excerpts for the 21/22 year

Scales: Students must play 1 major and 1 minor scale and arpeggio from the following list:

  • 2 octave major scales
  • 2 octave melodic minor scales

(Scales must be memorized)

Sight-reading (Sight reading examples will be posted 2 weeks prior to the audition deadline)

  • Must be able to fluidly sight-read melody line in multiple positions that contains accidentals
  • Must be able to accurately count and sight read a melodic line with dotted rhythms, 8th and 16th, triplets, 3 against 2, and syncopated rhythms

MERIT PHILHARMONIC RETURNING STUDENTS

String Orchestra students returning to Merit planning on auditioning up into Merit Philharmonic must prepare the “new student” Merit Philharmonic audition requirements (see above).

All current Merit Philharmonic students planning to return to Merit Philharmonic for the 2021/2022 academic year should prepare:

WOODWINDS/ BRASS/ PERCUSSION

CONCERT BAND

AllcurrentConcert Band students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Required Etudes: 2 Etudes (PDF) 

Scales: 5 Major Scales (PDF)

SYMPHONIC BAND

Allcurrent Symphonic Band students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Required Etudes: 2 Etudes (PDF) 

Scales: 8 Total Major Scales(PDF):

  • 4 Required: E Major, Ab Major, D Major, Eb Major (written key, not concert pitch) 
  • 4 Additional Scales of your choosing 
  • All scales should be performed in the pattern and number of octaves indicated on the scale sheet 

WIND SYMPHONY

Allcurrent Wind Symphony students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Wind Symphony Flute audition music (PDF)

Repertoire: 

  • Students are strongly recommended to prepare the marked excerpts from the 2021-22 ILMEASenior Band Etudes (see file above). The University of Illinois faculty has put together performances of each ILMEA etude that can be used as a resource in preparing your audition. You can find a comprehensive list of these videos here. 
  • In lieu of the ILMEA etudes, students may also choose to perform two contrasting 30-60 second excerpts from any of the solo works off this list 

Scales:Excerpts from ILMEA Scale Sheet (see file above) 

MERIT PHILHARMONIC

Students auditioning for Wind Symphony may also audition for the Merit Philharmonic. Students will need to submit two audition videos in order to audition for Merit Philharmonic. Students MUST audition for and be accepted into Wind Symphony in order to be considered for Merit Philharmonic.

Merit Philharmonic Flue Excerpts (PDF)

CONCERT BAND

AllcurrentConcert Band students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Required Etudes: 2 Etudes (PDF) 

Scales: 5 Major Scales (PDF) 

SYMPHONIC BAND

Allcurrent Symphonic Band students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Required Etudes: 2 Etudes (PDF)

Scales: 8 Total Major Scales (PDF): 

  • 4 Required: E Major, Ab Major, D Major, Eb Major (written key, not concert pitch) 
  • 4 Additional Scales of your choosing 
  • All scales should be performed in the pattern and number of octaves indicated on the scale sheet 

WIND SYMPHONY

Allcurrent Wind Symphony students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Wind Symphony Oboe audition music (PDF)

Repertoire: 

  • Students are strongly recommended to prepare the marked excerpts from the 2021-22 ILMEASenior Band Etudes (see file above). The University of Illinois faculty has put together performances of each ILMEA etude that can be used as a resource in preparing your audition. You can find a comprehensive list of these videos here. 
  • In lieu of the ILMEA etudes, students may also choose to perform two contrasting 30-60 second excerpts from any of the solo works off this list 

Scales:Excerpts from ILMEA Scale Sheet (see file above) 

MERIT PHILHARMONIC

Students auditioning for Wind Symphony may also audition for the Merit Philharmonic. Students will need to submit two audition videos in order to audition for Merit Philharmonic. Students MUST audition for and be accepted into Wind Symphony in order to be considered for Merit Philharmonic.

Merit Philharmonic Oboe Excerpts (PDF)

CONCERT BAND

AllcurrentConcert Band students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Required Etudes:2 Etudes (PDF) 

Scales: 5 Major Scales (PDF) 

SYMPHONIC BAND

Allcurrent Symphonic Band students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Required Etudes: 2 Etudes (PDF) 

Scales: 8 Total Major Scales (PDF): 

  • 4 Required: E Major, Ab Major, D Major, Eb Major (written key, not concert pitch) 
  • 4 Additional Scales of your choosing 
  • All scales should be performed in the pattern and number of octaves indicated on the scale sheet 

WIND SYMPHONY

Allcurrent Wind Symphony students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Wind Symphony Clarinet audition music (PDF)

Repertoire: 

  • Students are strongly recommended to prepare the marked excerpts from the 2021-22 ILMEASenior Band Etudes (see file above). The University of Illinois faculty has put together performances of each ILMEA etude that can be used as a resource in preparing your audition. You can find a comprehensive list of these videos here. 
  • In lieu of the ILMEA etudes, students may also choose to perform two contrasting 30-60 second excerpts from any of the solo works off this list 

Scales:Excerpts from ILMEA Scale Sheet (see file above) 

MERIT PHILHARMONIC

Students auditioning for Wind Symphony may also audition for the Merit Philharmonic. Students will need to submit two audition videos in order to audition for Merit Philharmonic. Students MUST audition for and be accepted into Wind Symphony in order to be considered for Merit Philharmonic.

Merit Philharmonic Clarinet Excerpts (PDF)

CONCERT BAND

AllcurrentConcert Band students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

SYMPHONIC BAND

Allcurrent Symphonic Band students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Required Etudes: 2 Etudes (PDF) 

Scales: 8 Total Major Scales (PDF): 

  • 4 Required: E Major, Ab Major, D Major, Eb Major (written key, not concert pitch) 
  • 4 Additional Scales of your choosing 
  • All scales should be performed in the pattern and number of octaves indicated on the scale sheet 

WIND SYMPHONY

Allcurrent Wind Symphony students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Wind Symphony Bassoon audition music (PDF)

Repertoire: 

  • Students are strongly recommended to prepare the marked excerpts from the 2021-22 ILMEASenior Band Etudes (see file above). The University of Illinois faculty has put together performances of each ILMEA etude that can be used as a resource in preparing your audition. You can find a comprehensive list of these videos here. 
  • In lieu of the ILMEA etudes, students may also choose to perform two contrasting 30-60 second excerpts from any of the solo works off this list 

Scales:Excerpts from ILMEA Scale Sheet (see file above) 

MERIT PHILHARMONIC

Students auditioning for Wind Symphony may also audition for the Merit Philharmonic. Students will need to submit two audition videos in order to audition for Merit Philharmonic. Students MUST audition for and be accepted into Wind Symphony in order to be considered for Merit Philharmonic.

Merit Philharmonic Bassoon Excerpts (PDF)

CONCERT BAND

AllcurrentConcert Band students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Required Etudes: 2 Etudes (PDF)

Scales: 5 Major Scales (PDF)

SYMPHONIC BAND

Allcurrent Symphonic Band students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Required Etudes: 2 Etudes (PDF) 

Scales: 8 Total Major Scales (PDF): 

  • 4 Required: E Major, Ab Major, D Major, Eb Major (written key, not concert pitch) 
  • 4 Additional Scales of your choosing 
  • All scales should be performed in the pattern and number of octaves indicated on the scale sheet 

WIND SYMPHONY

Allcurrent Wind Symphony students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Wind Symphony Saxophone audition music (PDF)

Repertoire: 

  • Students are strongly recommended to prepare the marked excerpts from the 2021-22 ILMEASenior Band Etudes (see file above). The University of Illinois faculty has put together performances of each ILMEA etude that can be used as a resource in preparing your audition. You can find a comprehensive list of these videos here. 
  • In lieu of the ILMEA etudes, students may also choose to perform two contrasting 30-60 second excerpts from any of the solo works off this list 

Scales:Excerpts from ILMEA Scale Sheet (see file above) 

CONCERT BAND

AllcurrentConcert Band students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Required Etudes: 2 Etudes (PDF) 

Scales: 5 Major Scales (PDF) 

SYMPHONIC BAND

Allcurrent Symphonic Band students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Required Etudes: 2 Etudes (PDF) 

Scales: 8 Total Major Scales (PDF): 

  • 4 Required: E Major, Ab Major, D Major, Eb Major (written key, not concert pitch) 
  • 4 Additional Scales of your choosing 
  • All scales should be performed in the pattern and number of octaves indicated on the scale sheet 

WIND SYMPHONY

Allcurrent Wind Symphony students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Wind Symphony Horn audition music (PDF)

Repertoire: 

  • Students are strongly recommended to prepare the marked excerpts from the 2021-22 ILMEASenior Band Etudes (see file above). The University of Illinois faculty has put together performances of each ILMEA etude that can be used as a resource in preparing your audition. You can find a comprehensive list of these videos here. 
  • In lieu of the ILMEA etudes, students may also choose to perform two contrasting 30-60 second excerpts from any of the solo works off this list 

Scales:Excerpts from ILMEA Scale Sheet (see file above) 

MERIT PHILHARMONIC

Students auditioning for Wind Symphony may also audition for the Merit Philharmonic. Students will need to submit two audition videos in order to audition for Merit Philharmonic. Students MUST audition for and be accepted into Wind Symphony in order to be considered for Merit Philharmonic.

Merit Philharmonic Horn Excerpts (PDF)

CONCERT BAND

AllcurrentConcert Band students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Required Etudes: 2 Etudes (PDF) 

Scales: 5 Major Scales (PDF)

SYMPHONIC BAND

Allcurrent Symphonic Band students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Required Etudes: 2 Etudes (PDF) 

Scales: 8 Total Major Scales (PDF): 

  • 4 Required: E Major, Ab Major, D Major, Eb Major (written key, not concert pitch) 
  • 4 Additional Scales of your choosing 
  • All scales should be performed in the pattern and number of octaves indicated on the scale sheet 

WIND SYMPHONY

Allcurrent Wind Symphony students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Wind Symphony Trumpet audition music (PDF)

Repertoire: 

  • Students are strongly recommended to prepare the marked excerpts from the 2021-22 ILMEASenior Band Etudes (see file above). The University of Illinois faculty has put together performances of each ILMEA etude that can be used as a resource in preparing your audition. You can find a comprehensive list of these videos here. 
  • In lieu of the ILMEA etudes, students may also choose to perform two contrasting 30-60 second excerpts from any of the solo works off this list 

Scales:Excerpts from ILMEA Scale Sheet (see file above) 

MERIT PHILHARMONIC

Students auditioning for Wind Symphony may also audition for the Merit Philharmonic. Students will need to submit two audition videos in order to audition for Merit Philharmonic. Students MUST audition for and be accepted into Wind Symphony in order to be considered for Merit Philharmonic.

Merit Philharmonic Trumpet Excerpts (PDF)

CONCERT BAND

AllcurrentConcert Band students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Please select for either trombone or bass trombone.

Required Etudes:2 Etudes

Scales: 5 Major Scales 

SYMPHONIC BAND

Allcurrent Symphonic Band students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Please select for either trombone or bass trombone.

Required Etudes: 2 Etudes

Scales: 8 Total Major Scales: 

Trombone Scale Sheet (PDF)

Bass Trombone Scale Sheet (PDF)

  • 4 Required: E Major, Ab Major, D Major, Eb Major (written key, not concert pitch) 
  • 4 Additional Scales of your choosing 
  • All scales should be performed in the pattern and number of octaves indicated on the scale sheet 

WIND SYMPHONY

Allcurrent Wind Symphony students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Wind Symphony Tenor Trombone audition music PDF

Wind Symphony Bass Trombone audition music PDF

Repertoire: 

  • Students are strongly recommended to prepare the marked excerpts from the 2021-22 ILMEASenior Band Etudes (see files above). The University of Illinois faculty has put together performances of each ILMEA etude that can be used as a resource in preparing your audition. You can find a comprehensive list of these videos here. 
  • In lieu of the ILMEA etudes, students may also choose to perform two contrasting 30-60 second excerpts from any of the solo works off this list 

Scales:Excerpts from ILMEA Scale Sheet (see files above) 

MERIT PHILHARMONIC

Students auditioning for Wind Symphony may also audition for the Merit Philharmonic. Students will need to submit two audition videos in order to audition for Merit Philharmonic. Students MUST audition for and be accepted into Wind Symphony in order to be considered for Merit Philharmonic.

Merit Philharmonic Trombone excerpts PDF

Merit Philharmonic Bass Trombone excerpt PDF

CONCERT BAND

AllcurrentConcert Band students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Required Etudes: 2 Etudes (PDF) 

Scales: 5 Major Scales (PDF) 

SYMPHONIC BAND

Allcurrent Symphonic Band students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Required Etudes: 2 Etudes (PDF) 

Scales: 8 Total Major Scales (PDF): 

  • 4 Required: E Major, Ab Major, D Major, Eb Major (written key, not concert pitch) 
  • 4 Additional Scales of your choosing 
  • All scales should be performed in the pattern and number of octaves indicated on the scale sheet 

WIND SYMPHONY

Allcurrent Wind Symphony students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Wind Symphony Euphonium audition music (PDF)

Repertoire: 

  • Students are strongly recommended to prepare the marked excerpts from the 2021-22 ILMEASenior Band Etudes (see file above). The University of Illinois faculty has put together performances of each ILMEA etude that can be used as a resource in preparing your audition. You can find a comprehensive list of these videos here. 
  • In lieu of the ILMEA etudes, students may also choose to perform two contrasting 30-60 second excerpts from any of the solo works off this list 

Scales:Excerpts from ILMEA Scale Sheet (see file above) 

CONCERT BAND

AllcurrentConcert Band students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Required Etudes: 2 Etudes (PDF) (revised with cuts January 26)

Scales: 5 Major Scales (PDF) 

SYMPHONIC BAND

Allcurrent Symphonic Band students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Required Etudes: 2 Etudes (PDF) 

Scales: 8 Total Major Scales (PDF):

  • 4 Required: E Major, Ab Major, D Major, Eb Major (written key, not concert pitch) 
  • 4 Additional Scales of your choosing 
  • All scales should be performed in the pattern and number of octaves indicated on the scale sheet 

WIND SYMPHONY

Allcurrent Wind Symphony students MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

Wind Symphony Tuba audition music PDF

Repertoire: 

  • Students are strongly recommended to prepare the marked excerpts from the 2021-22 ILMEASenior Band Etudes (see file above). The University of Illinois faculty has put together performances of each ILMEA etude that can be used as a resource in preparing your audition. You can find a comprehensive list of these videos here. 
  • In lieu of the ILMEA etudes, students may also choose to perform two contrasting 30-60 second excerpts from any of the solo works off this list 

Scales:Excerpts from ILMEA Scale Sheet (see file above) 

MERIT PHILHARMONIC

Students auditioning for Wind Symphony may also audition for the Merit Philharmonic. Students will need to submit two audition videos in order to audition for Merit Philharmonic. Students MUST audition for and be accepted into Wind Symphony in order to be considered for Merit Philharmonic.

Merit Philharmonic Tuba Excerpts (PDF)

Allcurrent percussionists MUST re-auditionto keep their spotin this ensemble. Recordings should be submitted by video, with the performer’s face and all of the instrument visible on screen. Students may submit separate videos for each requirement, or one full video with all requirements. 

CONCERT BAND

Concert Band percussion audition music PDF (Revised January 27)

Snare Drum Etude: See File Above (Revised January 27 to remove incorrect tempo recommendation)

Mallet Etude: See File Above (may be performed on any mallet instrument you have access to. If you do not have access to a mallet instrument, please email azweibel@meritmusic.org) 

Scales: (may be performed on any mallet instrument you have access to. If you do not have access to a mallet instrument, please email azweibel@meritmusic.org 

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)

SYMPHONIC BAND

Symphonic Band percussion audition music PDF

Snare Drum Etude: See File Above

Mallet Etude: See File Above (may be performed on any mallet instrument you have access to. If you do not have access to a mallet instrument, please email azweibel@meritmusic.org) 

Scales: (may be performed on any mallet instrument you have access to. If you do not have access to a mallet instrument, please email azweibel@meritmusic.org 

  • 8 Total Major Scales (PDF) 
    • 4 Required (E Major, Ab Major, D Major, Eb Major) 
    • 4 Additional Scales of your choosing 
    • All scales should be performed in the pattern indicated on the scale sheet  

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) 

WIND SYMPHONY

Wind Symphony percussion audition music PDF

Snare Drum Etude: See File Above

Mallet Etude: See File Above (may be performed on any mallet instrument you have access to. If you do not have access to a mallet instrument, please email azweibel@meritmusic.org) 

Scales: (may be performed on any mallet instrument you have access to. If you do not have access to a mallet instrument, please email azweibel@meritmusic.org 

  • 12 Major Scales  

Rudiments 

MERIT PHILHARMONIC

Students auditioning for Wind Symphony may also audition for the Merit Philharmonic. Students will need to submit two audition videos in order to audition for Merit Philharmonic. Students MUST audition for and be accepted into Wind Symphony in order to be considered for Merit Philharmonic.

Merit Philharmonic Percussion Excerpts (PDF)

JAZZ (INSTRUMENTAL)

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 record themselves playing along with the accompaniment tracks provided (tracks provided at a later date). Please play “Take the Coltrane” (a 12-Bar Blues in F) and “Solar. 

“Take the Coltrane” (12-Bar Blues in F) 

The play-along track includes three choruses of accompaniment.  Please perform using the following format: 

  • Chorus 1: Melody 
  • Choruses 2 & 3: Improvised Solo 

“Solar 

The play-along track includes three choruses of accompaniment.  Please perform using the following format: 

  • Chorus 1: Melody 
  • Chorus 2 & 3: Improvised Solo 

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

Repertoire:

Trumpet players should record themselves playing along with the accompaniment tracks provided (tracks to be provided at a later date). Please play “Take the Coltrane” (a 12-Bar Blues in F) and “Solar. 

“Take the Coltrane” (12-Bar Blues in F) 

“Take the Coltrane” sheet music PDF

The play-along track includes three choruses of accompaniment.  Please perform using the following format: 

  • Chorus 1: Melody 
  • Choruses 2 & 3: Improvised Solo 

“Solar 

“Solar” sheet music PDF (updated 2.22.21)

The play-along track includes three choruses of accompaniment.  Please perform using the following format: 

  • Chorus 1: Melody 
  • Chorus 2 & 3: Improvised Solo 

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

Repertoire:

Trombonists should record themselves playing along with the accompaniment tracks provided (tracks to be provided at a later date). Please play “Take the Coltrane” (a 12-Bar Blues in F) and “Solar. 

“Take the Coltrane” (12-Bar Blues in F) 

“Take the Coltrane” sheet music PDF

The play-along track includes three choruses of accompaniment.  Please perform using the following format: 

  • Chorus 1: Melody 
  • Choruses 2 & 3: Improvised Solo 

“Solar 

“Solar” sheet music PDF (updated 2.22.21)

The play-along track includes three choruses of accompaniment.  Please perform using the following format: 

  • Chorus 1: Melody 
  • Chorus 2 & 3: Improvised Solo 

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

Repertoire:

Guitarists should record themselves playing along with the accompaniment tracks provided (tracks to be provided at a later date). Please play “Take the Coltrane” (a 12-Bar Blues in F) and “Solar. 

“Take the Coltrane” (12-Bar Blues in F) 

“Take the Coltrane” sheet music PDF

The play-along track includes three choruses of accompaniment.  Please perform using the following format: 

  • Chorus 1: Melody 
  • Chorus 2: Comping  
  • Chorus 3: Improvised Solo 

“Solar 

“Solar” sheet music PDF (updated 2.22.21)

The play-along track includes three choruses of accompaniment.  Please perform using the following format: 

  • Chorus 1: Melody 
  • Chorus 2: Comping  
  • Chorus 3: Improvised Solo

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

Repertoire:

Pianists should record themselves playing along with the accompaniment tracks provided (tracks to be provided at a later date). Please play “Take the Coltrane” (a 12-Bar Blues in F) and “Solar. 

“Take the Coltrane” (12-Bar Blues in F) 

“Take the Coltrane” sheet music PDF

The play-along track includes three choruses of accompaniment.  Please perform using the following format: 

  • Chorus 1: Melody 
  • Chorus 2: Comping  
  • Chorus 3: Improvised Solo 

“Solar 

“Solar” sheet music PDF (updated 2.22.21)

The play-along track includes two choruses of accompaniment.  Please perform using the following format: 

  • Chorus 1: Melody 
  • Chorus 2: Comping  
  • Chorus 3: Improvised Solo

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

Repertoire:

Bassists should record themselves playing along with the accompaniment tracks provided (tracks will be made available at a later date). Please play “Take the Coltrane” (a 12-Bar Blues in F) and “Solar. 

“Take the Coltrane” (12-Bar Blues in F) 

“Take the Coltrane” sheet music PDF

The play-along track includes three choruses

of accompaniment.  Please perform using the following format: 

  • Chorus 1: Melody 
  • Chorus 2: Walking Bass Line 
  • Chorus 3: Improvised Solo 

“Solar 

“Solar” sheet music PDF (updated 2.22.21)

The play-along track includes three choruses of accompaniment.  Please perform using the following format: 

  • Chorus 1: Melody
  • Chorus 2: Walking Bass Line 
  • Chorus 3: Improvised Solo 

Style: 

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

Repertoire: 

Drummers should record themselves playing along with the accompaniment tracks provided (tracks will be provided at a later date). Please play “Take the Coltrane” (a 12-Bar Blues in F) and “Solar. 

“Take the Coltrane” (12-Bar Blues in F) 

“Take the Coltrane” sheet music PDF

The play-along track includes three choruses of accompaniment, (piano and bass).  Please perform using the following format: 

  • Chorus 1: Half Time Swing Feel 
  • Chorus 2‘Walking’ Swing Feel 
  • Chorus 3Improvised Solo 

“Solar 

“Solar” sheet music PDF (updated 2.22.21)

The play-along track includes three choruses of accompaniment.  Please perform using the following format: 

  • Chorus 1: Half Time Swing Feel 
  • Chorus 2‘Walking’ Swing Feel 
  • Chorus 3Improvised Solo 

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

Repertoire:

Vibraphonists should record themselves playing along with the accompaniment tracks provided (tracks to be provided at a later date). Please play “Take the Coltrane” (a 12-Bar Blues in F) and “Solar. 

“Take the Coltrane” (12-Bar Blues in F) 

“Take the Coltrane” sheet music PDF

The play-along track includes three choruses of accompaniment.  Please perform using the following format: 

  • Chorus 1: Melody 
  • Chorus 2: Comping  
  • Chorus 3: Improvised Solo 

“Solar 

“Solar” sheet music PDF (updated 2.22.21)

The play-along track includes three choruses of accompaniment.  Please perform using the following format: 

  • Chorus 1: Melody 
  • Chorus 2: Comping  
  • Chorus 3: Improvised Solo

PIANO

Please click here to view the full requirements for the piano Conservatory auditions.

Pianists interested in audition for Merit’s Conservatory should prepare: 

  • Solo piece(s) from the suggested repertoire (see link above) 
  • The ageappropriate scales (see link above)
  • Piano duet: this year’s selected duet repertoire will be posted on Merits website on April 5th.  You must learn both the primo and secondo parts. 

All submissions must include all three elements above.  Submissions can include separate videos for each element; however, each element must be performed in its entirety in one take.  In other words, performance videos may not be edited to splice together multiple takes of the same piece.  All videos included in the submission must have been recorded no earlier than January 1, 2021.

Please check back here on April 5th to view the piano duet repertoire.

VOICE

*Please note that students must be at least 10 years of age to register online for a Conservatory audition. If your student does not meet the age minimum but is still interested in auditioning, please contact Merit’s Voice Program Director, Melanie Lunardi at mlunardi@meritmusic.org 

 

NEW VOICE STUDENTS

Students who successfully audition into the Voice program will be placed in a Merit choral ensemble.

Please prepare the following:

Repertoire: Auditioning voice students must present two(2) pieces that follow the guidelines below:

  • Art song – English or foreign language
  • Musical Theatre
  • American Songbook/Jazz Standard
  • Pop/Contemporary
  • Selected part from a choral piece

(Note: All selections must be memorized, and may be performed with recorded accompaniment or a cappella. If you are concerned about performing your selection(s) a cappella and would like to arrange a Merit recorded accompanist track, please contact Merit’s Voice Program Director, Melanie Lunardi at mlunardi@meritmusic.org no later than Saturday, April 17th.)

 

Scales: Major scale in any key.  Please clearly state which scale is to be performed in your video submission.(Scales can be sung on solfege or on a neutral syllable.)

 Areas of Musical Interest: To conclude your video audition submission, please tell us a little bit about yourself and your musical journey. Our audition panel would like to know how long you have been singing, what you love most about it, and what styles and genres you are most interested in studying here at Merit (Classical, Musical Theater, Jazz, Pop, Folks, Blues, etc.). Finally, please describe why you think you would be a great addition to the Merit Conservatory Voice Program. We look forward to hearing your auditions!

 

RETURNING VOICE STUDENTS

All Voice students must re-audition each year to maintain their place in the program.

Please prepare the following:

Repertoire:One (1) solo piece in a style that highlights your technique and artistry (strong melody, rhythmic changes etc.)

(Note: All selections must be memorized, and may be performed with recorded accompaniment or a cappella. If you are concerned about performing your selection(s) a cappella and would like to arrange a Merit recorded accompanist track, please contact Merit’s Voice Program Director, Melanie Lunardi at mlunardi@meritmusic.org no later than Saturday, April 17th.)

Areas of Musical Interest: To conclude your video audition submission, please tell us a little bit about your time at Merit (so far!). Our audition panel would like to hear about what you found most challenging, what you found most rewarding, and what musical styles and genres you would be interested in studying at Merit next year.

 

GUITAR

Repertoire:Two contrasting solo pieces 

Students may reference the linked examples for indication of appropriate level:

Scales:Two Scales, two octaves each

See linked examples for indication of appropriate level. Scales must be memorized:

Have you registered to audition yet?

Registration for Merit's 2021/22 Conservatory auditions is now open.