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Vocal Music

What we are looking for

  • Passion – A student must have a desire for singing and the eagerness to learn the technical aspects of the art form. Students must be willing to adapt to a scientific and holistic (healthy vocal technique) approach to singing. Students must have a willingness to learn to sing in multiple languages and varying genres.
  • Vocal Potential – Students must have a clear ability to match pitch (good intonation and tonal memory), a good sense of rhythm and a suitable vocal range.
  • Performance Potential – Students must have a willingness to explore all possibilities of the art form through expression (taking chances) and vulnerability.
  • Academic Success – As Ellington is a college preparatory school we are looking for students who are able to be successful in their academics and arts classes.
  • A Cooperative Attitude – Students must be able to work well with others in and outside of class. One must be a dedicated student who practices and strives for excellence.
  • Endurance – Students must have the stamina to successfully manage the longer school day, which is 9+ hrs in addition to daily homework, daily practice and performances.

What to bring/how to prepare

To prepare for your audition, memorize one piece from this list and arrive in business casual attire.

  • Lift Every Voice and Sing (Entire 1st verse ending with “Til victory is won”)
  • The Star-Spangled Banner
  • Caro mio ben (in Italian)
  • America the Beautiful (Entire 1st verse ending with “From sea to shining sea”)
  • Climb Every Mountain
  • Amazing Grace (Entire 1st verse ending with “Blind but now I see”)
  • An Art song in English, Italian or German

The audition process

During your audition for the Vocal Music Department at DESA, you will:

  • Present a musical selection chosen from the list (sung a cappella)
  • Be tested in aural skills via vocal exercises and pitch matching

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 3-day afternoon vocal music callback class. Students are required to attend all days of the callback class in order to remain 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:

  • Dress appropriately – look like a professional (business casual)
  • Say your name clearly and answer questions completely.
  • Prepare your piece well (make sure the piece is memorized) and sing with confidence
  • Be ready to talk about yourself, your past musical experiences and your goals for the future. Give these ideas some thought.


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