Can I use the same piano pieces for different college auditions for their admissions

This year I’m applying to many music colleges like New York university, John Hopkins Peabody conservatory, Berklee college of music, university of California Berkeley, etc. I don’t know my major yet but I know it’s in music like singing or piano or songwriting.

I looked at their admission auditions and they all said for pre-video they wanted 3 pieces from famous composers like Chopin Schubert, etc. non-classical universities said I have to do jazz pieces, my own composition, cover.

I don’t want to get myself overwhelmed because l’m applying to a lot of colleges and I can’t play so many piano pieces for each college because that nearly impossible if I am auditioning for this year. Can I play the same piano pieces for every college I apply to or no?

I’m also taking abrsm or RCM this year to further prove my skills in piano.

What would be your approach?

I think you will get better answers in the music forum. I’ll flag for a moderator to move.


@estemos12 your list is kind of a mixed bag. Some BM, some BA degrees, some classical and some not primarily classical etc.

I think it would help you to decide what it is you want, before applying, unless you are consciously trying to keep all options open for a few months. This would make applying easier…

You might want to read the Double Degree Dilemma essay closer to the top of this forum. It describes the different ways to study music.

You can do a BA in music (1/4-1/3 classes in music if a music major) or a BA/BS in something else and continue lessons and extracurricular performance. Within the BA or BS you can also double major or major/minor.

You can do a BM degree (2/3-3/4 classes in music), or a double degree with BA and BM (5 years). A BM can be classical or jazz or contemporary.

What kind of singing do you do? And by songwriting do you mean writing songs that you sing, in a more contemporary vein, or are you doing classical composition? What genre do you prefer for piano?

And do you have other academic interests that might lead you to major in something else and do music “on the side.”

If you want to do more contemporary or popular music (like songwriting), Berklee, USC Thornton, Belmont and Miami Frost are often mentioned. NYU too, tends to be expensive. There are many more: Denver, Columbia College Chicago, UMass Lowell, others.

Or do you want primarily classical, or jazz?

If you are multifaceted and want to continue in all these areas we can make suggestions too.

So…if you are applying to programs with different genres or focus, you would play different pieces naturally. If you apply to all classical, for example, you would follow the school recommendations but might be able to play the same pieces. Ditto if jazz or contemporary is your focus.

If you are applying to a BA program (like Berkeley) some may have auditions but most won’t so you don’t have to play anything. You can submit a music resume if appropriate with recording, music resume and music letters of recommendation.

This is from the UC Berkeley websites: “Prospective majors are asked to demonstrate a minimum standard of musical literacy in a placement test. Since we are a Department of Music rather than a School of Music, a performance audition is not required to declare the major.”

You can play the same piano piece at different schools, no problem, as long as it falls into their genre requirements.

It is not uncommon in the music school preparation phase that the amount and type of pieces required at different schools may eliminate a school or two or three … because your don’t have a wide enough repertoire. That is why students are encouraged to look often at repetoire requirements on college websites and work with an experienced teacher to help you build your repertoire early. But even with the best efforts…on occassion, a school must be dropped.

So your concerns about being “overwhelmed” by pieces for auditions is valid and common. If you add on different instruments, these concerns will only grow. Be careful not to spread yourself so thin that you can’t audition on any instrument well. I hope that you have an experienced teacher who can guide you on your strengths and best instruments in order to get acceptances. An experienced private teachers can really help in this area.