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Arts Portfolio FAQ

This page features Frequently Asked Questions about the Stanford Arts Portfolio process. Please read through the questions carefully. If you are unable to find an answer to your question, contact the Department of Music directly.

***UPDATE: DEC 7, 2018: The Arts Portfolio application deadline for both Restrictive Early Action and Regular Decision applications (live or recorded) has passed. We regret we are unable to accept further requests to review music materials from freshman applicants. ***

General Arts Portfolio Questions:

What is an Arts Portfolio?

An Arts Portfolio (formerly called the Arts Supplement) is a way for students to highlight their talents and accomplishments in the fine or performing arts. Stanford applicants with serious interest or background in musical performance, composition or conducting may choose to supplement their admission application with an audition in music. Audition videos, compositional media, and supporting documents must be uploaded via the SlideRoom site from Common Application. Recordings may reside on an external site such as Youtube or Vimeo, and can be submitted by posting a hyperlink to the online audition. Vocal, instrumental, and conducting files must be submitted in video format. No audio-only files will be accepted except for composition submissions.Performers may choose to audition live for most instrument and voice areas. (Jazz and Indian classical must be video.) Only one audition per applicant is permitted. (For further details, go to Live Auditions.)

How does an Arts Portfolio affect my application for admission?

An Arts Portfolio is treated as one factor among many in an undergraduate application. These materials are entirely optional and will be reviewed at the discretion of the Office of Undergraduate Admission and the arts faculty.

How many Arts Portfolios may I submit?

You may submit one Arts Portfolio. We suggest that your Arts Portfolio in Music contain two or three short, contrasting pieces. Please focus on one voice or instrument category only.

May I audition live as well as submit a supplement through SlideRoom?

Applicants are limited to one Arts Portfolio, and live auditions are Arts Portfolios. Most but not all performance categories allow for a live audition. (For details, review, “What is an Arts Portfolio?”)

What instrument areas are you able to evaluate?

For a list of voice and instrument areas we are able to evaluate, visit our Arts Portfolio page. Note that not all areas can be evaluated by live audition.

Are there any repertoire requirements?

We review all submissions that come in complete and by the appropriate deadline.

VOCALISTS should submit one piece in English, and one in another language. (Exceptions: Indian classical vocal categories, musical theater, and jazz.)

COMPOSERS have no time limit, and should submit two or three scores of contrasting style with realizations.

Is there a desired format for the musical résumé?

Not necessarily. However, résumés should be concise and have a clear organizational structure. Commonly listed items include: current and previous instructors, notable soloist opportunities, employment related to music, awards and honors, and select repertoire lists.

Is there a preference for live or recorded submissions?

No. Live and recorded auditions are given the same consideration, and are often evaluated by the same faculty. Benefits of a live audition include meeting a faculty member in person, visiting Stanford and seeing the Braun Music Center’s instruments and performance spaces (if attending auditions at Stanford), and can be especially successful for a charismatic student who excels in live performance. Benefits of a recorded audition include the ability to record multiple takes of a video, and considerable convenience.

Is the Arts Portfolio an audition to be a Music major?

No. An Arts Portfolio is an optional supplement that allows you to show a different aspect of yourself when applying to Stanford. To understand degree requirements in Music and the steps for declaring a Music major or minor, please visit the Stanford Bulletin online at

I don’t plan to major in Music. Should I still create an Arts Portfolio? Are the instructions the same for all applicants?

The instructions for creating an Arts Portfolio are the same for all applicants, regardless of what major they might choose. If you have extraordinary talent in the arts, you are welcome to create an Arts Portfolio.

Arts Supplement Recording Questions:

I play more than one instrument. Can I include multiple instruments in my video(s)?

No. You can include other performance experience in your music résumé, but we may only review one specific category per applicant. Classical and jazz submissions should be considered separate instrument or voice areas.

Am I allowed to have an accompanist? Do I need one?

You are welcome to have an accompanist in your video. However, your video should focus on you and your performance abilities, not those of your accompanist. The video should demonstrate your performance clearly, both in sound and appearance. If you would prefer to perform without an accompanist, you are not required to have one.

Is it OK if my video runs a bit longer than ten minutes?

Yes. Please be aware that the faculty may choose to review ten minutes or less of the video.

Should I submit my pieces in separate files or as one file?

You may choose to submit your pieces as separate files if you wish, and this may be more convenient. You can insert a title slide for each piece if you wish.

Arts Supplement Live Audition Questions:

Am I required to provide an accompanist? Or will one be provided for me?

Accompanists are not required. However, please note that if you want an accompanist, we can only provide accompanist for VOCALISTS auditioning at STANFORD. If you are an instrumentalist, or if you are taking part in one of our regional auditions, and want an accompanist for your audition, you will need to provide one. If you are planning on auditioning live at Stanford as a vocalist and would like to utilize the services of one of our staff accompanists, fill out our Accompanist Request Form.

I am auditioning live. Do I need to do anything at all in SlideRoom?

No—if you are auditioning live, there is nothing to do in SlideRoom, and no reason to pay the SlideRoom fee.

Don’t see the answer to your question here? Ask the Undergraduate Student Services Officer.

Last modified on: 
Friday, December 7, 2018