Audition Insights

Audition Insights


Contact Us:
George Mason University
School of Music
4400 University Drive, MSN 3E3
Fairfax, VA 22030

School of Music:
Phone: 703-993-1380
Fax: 703-993-1394
Web site:

George Mason University is a registered All-Steinway School. 
(Read more about this here.)

Friends of Music

To visit and learn about the Friends of Music at Mason click here.

For additional information about membership, please call
or email.

Audition Tips from the School of Music Advisors

 So you want to be a music major? Great! No matter which school you want to attend, all music majors have to audition to be part of the program. However, it's not as scary as it sounds. Here are a few easy tips to help you prepare for your upcoming audition. Stay tuned throughout the audition season! 

1. Apply for an audition early - and maybe even an early audition date.


At Mason, we encourage students to apply for the date that works best for them. Most students tend to choose the latest possible date to give themselves more time to prepare. However, if you select a February date, you may be auditioning along with 100+ people. That’s a lot of people for the professors to meet and hear in one day! You have a better chance of making a good and memorable impression at an earlier audition date. Not to mention the fact that you may get more time to chat with a professor, meet current students, and get a better idea of what the school can offer you.


2. Be prepared!


Most schools will require that you perform at least two pieces as well as sight-read and play scales. Therefore, make sure you have at least two or three ready to play or sing. It's best if the pieces you prepare are varied in style so that the professors get an idea of what you're capable of performing. Show off your range and technique. Let us know that you can sing in another language. You get 15 minutes to wow us, so bring your "A" game! Also, be sure to dress the part. Evening gowns and tuxedos aren't necessary, but make sure you present yourself professionally. It makes a great impression and tells us that you're taking your audition - and your future- seriously.

3. Channel your nervousness into positive energy!


It's natural to get nervous when you audition - we know this! We understand what it's like to be in your position, so don't let your anxiety get the best of you. Before you start playing or singing, pause for a moment, take a deep breath, and then begin. If you feel your hands start to shake, use that excited energy to boost your performance. Furthermore, don't let a little mistake derail your whole audition. It's ok if your audition isn't perfect. Even professionals forget a word or miss a note now and then. Just give us the best you've got and show us how much you enjoy performing. That's what we'll remember, not the tiny mistake you made!

4. You're interviewing us too.

Don't be afraid to ask questions! Even though you're auditioning for us, you're the one who will decide where you want to go to school at the end of your college search. Ask professors what they like about the program. Ask current students which classes they enjoy and what they do on weekends. Ask the advisors about the many different degree plans. The more informed you are, the easier it will be to choose the place that's right for you!  

5. Degree Paths

You’ve probably heard over and over, “What do you plan to study in college?” Once you answer, someone will inevitably follow up with “Why?” Many people know how to answer those questions, but even more don’t. In a recent study, researchers found that 80% of college freshmen aren’t really sure of their major, even if they declare one. Of those students, at least half will switch to something else, often more than once.

For those majoring in music, most people think that their only options are to perform or teach. However, not everyone wants to do either of those! There is an increasing number of other options within the music field. Furthermore, musicians develop many skills that can be easily translated to other professions! Did you know that music is one of the most frequent majors listed by students who get into law school after graduation? Also, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, 51% of humanities majors (which includes the arts) were accepted to medical schools in 2010.

How? Most musicians are very disciplined. You know how focused you need to be to practice one phrase to perfection! Music degrees are usually designed to teach students how to analyze information and communicate effectively, in addition to teaching them how to play their instrument well and perform under pressure. These are just the sort of skills you’ll need to be a doctor or lawyer and a contributing member of society in general.

Here at Mason, we try to meet our students’ needs by providing programs that allow them to explore their interests and enjoy their education. Check out our degree program listings to see what might be of interest to you!

It’s difficult to know what you plan to do with the rest of your life at age 16 or 17. The important thing to do is to choose a major that you’ll enjoy studying. Still, be sure to do your research on what you can do with that degree. That way the next time someone asks you those dreaded questions, you’ll be ready with your answer!