This year, as everyone is adjusting to the new, virtual world we live in, we’d like to pass along some handy tips to help you create a great audition video. The first tip, however, is the most important: You do not need to hire someone to make your recording or buy expensive equipment, and no matter your situation and available technology, your audition will be fully considered for admission and scholarships

For equipment, a late model cell phone or a Zoom recorder can work well. The Dolby On app is a free download and has been found very effective in improving recorded sound from a variety of devices. We will work with you to overcome any issues or limitations you might have so that your performance, hard work, and potential will shine through in your audition.

How to create a great audition video

General handy tips for making a great recorded audition
(You'll receive more specific recording tips for your particular instrument from our studio faculty, but the tips below will be helpful for any audition.)

  • Making a good audition recording takes time and preparation, and plan ahead for your timeline. Be in the habit of recording yourself and ask your teacher to help you with the process of preparation and evaluation as needed. The more experienced you are with this, the more relaxed and confident you will be in preparing any recorded audition.
  • If you are performing any part of the audition from memory, remember to place the music stand well away from you so that it does not distract either you or the viewers.
  • It may be helpful to have another person with you to hit the start and stop button on your recorder.
  • If possible, send your recordings to a music teacher for their review before submitting it to the college for consideration.

How to set up your recording location:

  • Find a space where you like your sound as heard in your trial-run recording sessions. Remember that microphone placement can be important; too close may cause a distorted, brash sound and too far away may sound unclear. If spaces in your home are not working well for you, consider a space where you can do your work with focus and achieve a good result. Your teacher may be able to recommend a space, or consider meeting spaces or sanctuaries in houses of worship, schools or libraries nearby. 
  • Good lighting is important, and those viewing your recording need to see you clearly. Take care to avoid backlighting that is too bright or distracting. 
  • Position yourself about 6-7 feet away from the camera. Be sure that when you play viewers can observe the full range of motion of your body and instrument. For any instrument, the music stand should not obscure what your hands are doing while playing.
  • While speaking, take time to breathe well, and to be clear and deliberate. When adrenaline is flowing it is easy to rush things! It may be helpful to have a glass of water nearby during your audition as staying hydrated is important.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the links below to get answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

Preparing for your Audition

Does Lawrence have a pre-screening process?

No, Lawrence does not have a pre-screening process.

Do I need to provide my own accompanist?

An accompanist is not required.

On Campus: Vocalists auditioning on campus will be provided an accompanist. No need to send music ahead of time. As you prepare your music for your accompanist - please read carefully this document put together by our vocal department Preparing Music for Your Accompanist

Regional: Vocalists must arrange for their own accompanists. 

Do I go through the same process for a jazz audition?

The audition is slightly different. The full jazz repertoire requirements may be found under Audition Guidelines.
On-campus jazz auditions are heard in a group setting with Lawrence jazz students providing accompaniment (Jazz Jam). Regional jazz auditions are recorded separately for review by the jazz faculty and it is highly recommended that students bring and improvise to a pre-recorded accompaniment, such as the Aebersold Play-Along series.
The full jazz repertoire requirements may be found under Audition Guidelines.

How do I cancel or reschedule my audition?

Email to cancel/reschedule your audition.

What is your scale requirement?

Each studio has different requirement for the number and types of scales - see the audition guidelines. Scales should be memorized.

Ensemble Award Questions

How do I get an Ensemble Award?

Candidates for the scholarship must complete a standard conservatory audition, either here in Appleton or at one of the regional sites around the country.  The audition requirements are the same for a music major.  You may only audition for an Ensemble Award during your application timeline in your senior year of high school; that is, you cannot audition for an Ensemble Award later during your time at Lawrence.

Can I still participate in ensembles as a non-major even if I don’t receive the ensemble award?

Yes! Auditions for ensembles happen in the fall after you move to campus. Come audition!

Can I get an ensemble award for an instrument I’ve never played?

To be awarded an ensemble award, you must complete a regular audition either on campus, at a regional audition location, or by submitting a recording during your senior year of high school. It is awarded to encourage students to continue private lessons and participate in our ensembles. While we can’t say a simple yes or no, you must be at a proficient level to complete a successful ensemble award audition. Once you get to college, we encourage you to explore learning new instruments if you are interested.

Do I have to submit the extra application materials (music resume and a music teacher recommendation) that are required for music majors if I'm just interested in auditioning for an Ensemble Award? 

While music majors are required to submit a music resume (which includes music festivals attended, names of private teachers, repertoire they have been working on) and a music teacher evaluation (from an ensemble director or a private teacher), students auditioning for an Ensemble Award are not required to submit those extra materials.

However, those materials do help our faculty get to know your musical interests and background. While not required, we would encourage you to either submit those optional materials or fill out a music interest form which asks for a bit more specific music information than the application. It's a great way for us to learn more about you (and takes a bit of pressure off the audition itself).

Anything else we didn't think of?

Email us your questions at

Unboxing a Conservatory Audition Kit

Your Musical Interests

Interested in the Lawrence Conservatory? Want to hear more about it? Do you want the Lawrence Conservatory to hear more about you?

Fill out our Music Interest Form:

Music Interest Form