We are pleased to announce the availability of up to twenty scholarships for instrumental and choral musicians. You do not need to be a music major to receive a scholarship. The scholarships are renewable. Scholarship recipients will be obliged to perform with certain instrumental ensembles; at least five scholarships will be granted to students who play with the Pep Band. Other scholarships may be granted to students who participate in other large ensembles, which include the Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Choral Society, and Chamber Singers. Even if you are an extremely talented musician, we can only award scholarships to students who are able to participate in these standard large ensembles.
EVERYONE interested in auditioning must first prepare a video audition. If you are competitive for a scholarship, we may ask to see you in person, or to do a second round by Skype/FaceTime if you’re not available when we are. Students should prepare two excerpts in contrasting styles. Each excerpt should be no longer than two minutes in length. You do not need to play scales. Audition videos will be reviewed by Professors Allen Feinstein, NU’s Director of Bands, and John Leonard, NU’s Assistant Director of Bands. In the case of Choral auditions, Prof. Joshua Jacobson will also view them. And in the case of String auditions, Prof. Evan Bennett will review them.
Video auditions should be posted on YouTube and a link should be sent to John Leonard. In the email with the link please include your name, address, and phone number. Please see the FAQ below for further information. A phone interview may also be required as part of the audition.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Do I need to be a music major to get a scholarship?
A. No. All full-time entering freshmen are eligible.
Q. Do I need to bring a letter of recommendation?
Q. Are there scholarships for concert band instruments?
A. Yes. Eligible instruments include any standard concert band instrument including, but not limited to, flute, piccolo, oboe, bassoon, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, french horn, trombone, baritone, tuba, percussion, double bass. (In the case of the Pep Band, we are also interested in Guitar and Bass Guitar. See Below)
Q. What music should I prepare for my audition or audition tape?
A. Prepare two excerpts in contrasting styles. Each excerpt should be no longer than two minutes in length. Choose two pieces that demonstrate different sides of your playing. If one is slow and expressive, choose another that is more technically challenging. If you are comfortable playing jazz, choose one jazz selection and another classical. Please don’t learn new material for your audition–play music you are comfortable with.
Q. I am a percussionist. How should I prepare my audition?
A. Percussionists should show examples of playing concert snare drum, another concert percussion instrument (mallets, timpani, etc.), and drum set. Note that generally scholarships are not awarded to percussionists who only play drum set unless they are extraordinary jazz players (All-State caliber, or have professional jazz playing experience).
Q. Are there scholarships for singers?
A. Yes. Students receiving a scholarship will be expected to sing as a member of the NU Choral Society and the NU Chamber Singers (or, if appropriate, another faculty directed vocal ensemble). VIDEO REQUIREMENTS: Please sing an accompanied art song or an aria from an opera or oratorio (or a similar work).
Q. Are there scholarships for guitarists?
A. Yes. In the case of the Pep Band, we are considering guitarists with a strong background in rock and roll, pop, funk, and jazz. You must be able to read music (both notation and chord changes) and have a strong concept of the guitarists’ role within the rhythm section, and with the various tones that are capable from the pickups, pedals, and amps available. VIDEO REQUIREMENTS: Please play two contrasting songs (I recommend songs from different decades) that demonstrate knowledge of style, comping patterns, great guitar tones, and aggressive playing. Although the ability to solo is a plus, it is of secondary interest.
Q. Are there scholarships for bass guitarists?
A. Yes. In the case of the Pep Band, we are considering bass guitarists with a strong background in rock and roll, pop, funk, and jazz. You must be able to read music (both notation and chord changes) and have a strong concept of the bass guitarists’ role within the rhythm section, and with the various tones that are capable from the pickups, pedals, and amps available. VIDEO REQUIREMENTS: Please play two contrasting songs (I recommend songs from different decades) that demonstrate impeccable time, knowledge of style, great tone, and aggressive playing. We’re looking for great rhythm section playing, not solo bass etudes.
Q. Are there scholarships for pianists?
A. Pianists should not apply for the scholarship unless they are very experienced JAZZ players. For example, if you have been selected for All-State as a jazz pianist, it is recommended that you apply. If you have no or little experience as a jazz player, it is not recommended that you apply. Demonstrated knowledge of a synthesizer and all the sounds available as it relates to pop music is a plus.
Q. Are there scholarships for violinists, violists, cellists, or upright bassists?
A. Yes. Students receiving a scholarship will be expected to perform as a member of the NU Orchestra. However, if you double on an instrument that can play in the Pep Band, Jazz Band or Wind Ensemble, you are encouraged to demonstrate that as well to increase your chances of receiving a scholarship. (For example, if you are a violinist who has played trombone with your marching band.) VIDEO REQUIREMENTS: Please select two contrasting pieces demonstrating skill and musicianship.
Q. I play several instruments. Should I audition on all of them?
A. In general, it is advisable to show all the instruments you play proficiently and to demonstrate your skills on all of them. (If you play different saxophones, it is sufficient to audition on just one).
Q. Who can I contact for more information?
A. If you have questions about the musical part of the audition, or questions about our program, and audition scheduling, email Professor John Leonard.