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The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts

The following information constitutes a brief summary of the music program and the audition requirements and is provided by the DEN as a courtesy. Be sure to contact the school directly for further details and for all application guidelines. 

The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts offers courses of study that strongly emphasize independent artistic and intellectual vision. Our aims are to help students find and strengthen their individual creative voices, and to prepare them to effectively project those voices into the musical world of our time.

Designed by artists for artists, CalArts gives its students a greater voice in shaping their pursuits than comparable institutions. Our programs are highly challenging but also flexible enough to accommodate the individual creative interests of each student.

CalArts offers an extraordinary wealth of performance opportunities for students at all levels. In recent years, the School has typically featured more than 250 performances per year involving students and embracing instrumental performance, the work of CalArts' student composers, jazz, electronic music, free improvisation, sound installations, intermedia collaborations, and a broad array of musical cultures from across the globe.

The faculty of the Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts is comprised of innovators and leaders in a diverse array of musical fields. All of our faculty members are noted professionals working in music.

The School offers a low student-faculty ratio, small classes and individualized instruction. Every student works closely with his or her own mentor, a faculty member who serves as that student's artistic and academic advisor.

Offering advanced instruction in piano and keyboards, the piano/keyboard performance program is structured to refine performing skills, explore new techniques, and extend new artistic horizons in order to prepare versatile and resourceful professional performers. Students explore a broad spectrum of repertoire, from the Baroque to cutting-edge new music, and enjoy numerous opportunities to perform classical and contemporary music in solo recitals and as part of chamber music groups and large ensembles. The program also encourages students to expand their versatility by investigating other keyboard studies, such as harpsichord, jazz, systemic improvisation, interactive computer technology, and pedagogy.

Piano & Keyboard Faculty
A listing of piano/keyboard faculty can be found here.

Piano Program (BFA/MFA) Audition Requirements
Three works in contrasting styles (for example:  a Bach Prelude and Fugue, a Chopin etude and a George Crumb work.) The audition or recording must clearly demonstrate your level of performance and range of repertoire. Memorization of the pieces to be performed is preferred. In a live audition, expect to demonstrate your abilities in sight-reading and the identification of chords, scales and rhythmic patterns. When a live audition is not possible, you should submit evidence of ability in these musicianship skills. This evidence may take the form of letters from major teachers and/or transcripts of prior musical courses or private training.

Keyboard Collaborative Arts (MFA) Audition Requirements
Please present one major instrumental sonata (for example: a Beethoven sonata for piano and violin), three art songs in different languages (for example: songs by Schubert, Debussy and Barber) and one solo piano work. Memorization of the solo repertoire is strongly recommended. The audition will also include a sight-reading component. The auditionee is encouraged to bring their own collaborators (singers and instrumentalists) but in cases where this is not possible musicians will be provided by CalArts. Live auditions are highly recommended. If you cannot attend a live audition please use our online portfolio submission system.

Schedule a Disklavier Audition 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  to schedule a Disklavier audition.

Contact Information

  • Address: 24700 McBean Parkway Valencia, CA 91355
  • Phone: (661) 222-2778
  • Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Url: http://music.calarts.edu