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.

Don’t see the answer to your question here? Ask the rleigh [at] (subject: Arts%20Supplement%20question) (Undergraduate Student Services Officer).

General Arts Portfolio Questions:

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. Students are never penalized for submitting or not submitting an Arts Portfolio.

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 web from your 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, and most show the student's face. No audio-only files will be accepted except for composition submissions.

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 for less than a total of ten minutes. Please focus on one category only, and one area only within that category. Refrain from submitting multiple instruments or elements from multiple general categories. Instruments within the same brass or woodwind family with different pitches are OK. Different orchestral percussion instruments in the same Arts Portfolio would be considered usual.

May I audition live as well as submit a supplement online?

We are unable to offer live auditions.

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.

Are there any repertoire requirements?

Choose pieces that best demonstrate your abilities. We review all submissions that come in complete and by the appropriate deadline.

VOCALISTS in the Western Classical subcategory are strongly encouraged to include at least one piece in English and one in another European language.

COMPOSERS have no time limit and should submit two or three original scores of contrasting style with audio files.

Is there a desired format for my music 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. Tip: Put your name in the file name of the résumé!

Are live auditions available?

We regret we are unable to offer live auditions.

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, 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 encouraged to create an Arts Portfolio.

Are you able to evaluate an instrument not taught in the Department of Music or listed on the website?


In some cases, yes. You can check with the rleigh [at] (subject: Arts%20Portfolio) (undergraduate student services officer). We regret are unable to review Indian classical music areas.

Questions about preparing videos:

How recent should my Arts Portfolio video audition be?

Arts Portfolio videos should be no older than a year from the submission deadline.

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

Not in most cases. (Exceptions: percussion or a series of wind or brass instruments in different pitches.) 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.

My piece requires accompaniment. Must I perform with a pianist?

Students may perform with an accompanist, with recorded accompaniment, or without accompaniment. If performing with prerecorded accompaniment, the recording should be played from a device with a speaker in the room with you. We are sympathetic to the fact that the sound from the latter is less that ideal, but we cannot allow overlays or other edits that manipulate the content of the performance. The speaker of your output device will be completely acceptable.


There is no advantage or disadvantage to performing in any of the ways described above.

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

Yes. Ten minutes is a suggested combined length for your performance videos. 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.