Music Program Admissions

Application Requirements

The Institute admits outstanding choral conductors, organists, and singers  interested in pursuing interdisciplinary study to its music programs based on the application and auditions. The following materials must be received by December 1:

  1. Completed online Institute application (for all disciplines except composition; see below). Applicants must also apply separately to the School of Music at http://apply.music.yale.edu. The ISM does not charge an application fee. 
  2. Electronic transcripts of all academic records uploaded into the application. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable, but must include your name, the name of the institution, the degree program, course-work, and your GPA. (If offered a live audition, applicants must send official paper transcripts to the School of Music). All transcripts must be in English. 
  3. Curriculum vitae (a résumé of academic, performance, and employment information). Optional: examples of involvement in liturgical, musical, or artistic activities (orders of worship, prayers, hymn texts or tunes, sermons, special events, etc.).
  4. Repertory list of major performance area.
  5. Audition recording (see recording guidelines below).
  6. A writing sample of 5-6 pages representing the best of your academic writing and thinking. A portion of a senior thesis or term papger is acceptable.
  7. A short essay (500–1,000 words) relating your goals to the mission of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. The essay should discuss your work thus far in sacred music, your vocational goals, and your interest in interdisciplinary study in collaboration with Yale Divinity School students. 
  8. Three letters of recommendation.
  9. Official TOEFL scores, if applicable (see test guidelines below).

Recording Guidelines

An audition recording is required of music candidates. All applicants should upload audio and video files directly to the application website. Audio quality must be excellent on audio and video recordings. If you are choosing between submitting audio or video files, and your video does not have high audio quality, we prefer that you submit an audio recording. Choral Conducting applicants must provide a video recording.

Organ

Pre-screening recording:

Representative works from the major areas of organ literature:

  1. A major work by Bach

  2. A Romantic work

  3. A contemporary work

Choral Conducting

Pre-screening recording:

Applicants should submit a video of at least 15 minutes that shows them conducting a large ensemble in rehearsal and in performance. Applicants who are unable to provide recent footage due to pandemic-related limitations may submit footage recorded within the past two years or new footage that shows the applicant conducting and rehearsing a small ensemble (such as a socially distanced string quartet or vocal quartet) or if no other option is available, a pianist.

Voice: Early Music, Oratorio, and Chamber Ensemble

Pre-screening recording:

Include seven selections of contrasting styles and languages from the sacred music (oratorio, mass, cantata, sacred song, etc.), opera, and art-song repertoire. Selections can be chosen from any period, including contemporary compositions. However, at least three selections should be from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. At least one aria by J.S. Bach is required. Applicants should choose selections that demonstrate their versatility as a performer.

Video files should be named to include the piece title and date it was recorded.

Auditions

Organ applicants are strongly encouraged, though not required, to perform different repertoire than they performed in the prescreening round. However, works should be selected from the same three categories (see above). In addition to performing prepared works, applicants will be asked to demonstrate sight-reading ability and other essential musical skills. Time will be allotted for conversation with faculty.

Organ auditions will be held virtually, Friday–Sunday, February 26–28, 2021.

We recognize the challenges and limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Please send any questions you might have to ism.admissions@yale.edu.

 

Choral conducting applicants who are invited to audition will be expected to demonstrate a highly developed level of comprehensive musicianship that includes an understanding of theory, aural skills, keyboard skills, harmonic dictation, and score reading. Details about the live audition will be noted in the invitation. Auditions may take place virtually, depending on the COVID-19-related factors.

Choral conducting auditions will be held Tuesday, February 23, 2021 and February 26, 2021.

We recognize the challenges and limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Please send any questions you might have to ism.admissions@yale.edu.

 

 

Voice applicants will meet with the admissions committee via Zoom for consultation lessons and interviews. Pianists will not be required for these sessions. Details about the live audition will be noted in the audition invitation letter.

Live audition material should include five pieces of contrasting styles, languages, and periods. These selections may be the same or different works from the prescreening recording. Of the five selections, prepare at least two Baroque selections (including one aria by J.S. Bach) and a third selection written prior to 1700. All works should be chosen from the same reportorial categories as above and performed from memory. Applicants will be asked to demonstrate sight-reading ability and other essential musical skills.

Voice auditions will be held virtually the week of February 22, 2021.

We recognize the challenges and limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Please send any questions you might have to ism.admissions@yale.edu.

 

Composition applicants should file the application of the Yale School of Music and contact the Institute’s Admissions Office to indicate their interest. Composition applicants must come for personal interviews with the Institute’s Admissions Committee and the School of Music composition faculty.  

Language Proficiency Tests

Students for whom English is a second language must demonstrate a level of language proficiency appropriate for study.

Applicants to the Institute with the School of Music should arrange to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) of the Educational Testing Service. More information and applications are available at www.toefl.org, or call 609.771.7670. Please use institution code #7072. Failure to use this code may result in lost scores. The Institute expects students to achieve a score of 600 (or 250 for the computer-based examination and 100 for the Internet-based examination) on the TOEFL, but will review all applications that meet the TOEFL requirements of Yale School of Music.

International Students

International students are a vital part of our community at the ISM. We welcome international applicants, and seek to offer them support throughout the application process and during their time on campus. In order to gain admission to the Institute and to obtain a visa, international students must show that they have sufficient funds to provide for their expenses while in residence as a student in the United States. Bank affidavits and certificates of finance will be required.