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Vocal Music

What we are looking for

  • Vocal & Performance Potential – does your voice have the potential to develop to the point where you could sing professionally? Is your musical gift better than the average? Do you have the personality to be a performer?
  • Other Musical Potential – Can you succeed in some other area of musical study (composition, recording technology, teaching, music therapy, musicology, ethnomusicology, etc.)?
  • Passion about music – are you truly excited by music and/or singing? Will that make you a dedicated student who practices and strives for excellence?
  • Possibility for academic success – can you do well enough academically to be invited to stay at Ellington?
  • Cooperative attitude – can you work well with others in class and outside of class?

What to bring/how to prepare

To prepare for your audition, memorize one piece from this list:

  • Lift Every Voice and Sing
  • The Star-Spangled Banner (O, Say Can You See)
  • Caro mio ben (in Italian)
  • America (My Country, ‘Tis of Thee)
  • Climb Every Mountain
  • Amazing Grace

Students who are studying with a private voice teacher may sing a spiritual or an art song in English, Italian or German.

The audition process itself

Students auditioning for the Vocal Music Department at Duke Ellington School of the Arts will participate in individual auditions, singing without accompaniment. You will sing for at least one member of the vocal faculty who will also ask you to do some vocal exercises. We need to know the range of your voice, the quality of your musical ear, and whether your natural gifts are strong enough to succeed in our program.

During your audition for the vocal music department at DESA, you will:

  • Present a musical selection chosen from the list,
  • Be tested for musical response.

Upon completion of the initial auditions, the Vocal Music faculty will select a group of students to continue the audition process by participating in a 2-day afternoon vocal music callback class. Students are required to attend both days of the callback class in order to remain as a candidate for the Vocal Music department. Students invited for callbacks will be notified by the Admissions Office.

Have a successful audition

To present yourself in the best light possible:

  • Decide exactly what song you will present and PREPARE it (memorize it, singing in tune).
  • Say your name and answer questions clearly and completely.
  • Be ready to talk about yourself, your past musical experiences, your goals for the future. Give these ideas some thought – is Duke Ellington REALLY where you want to be? Why? Is singing your hobby or your passion?
  • Dress appropriately – look like a professional.