top of page

When auditioning for an HBCU (Historically Black College or University) vocal music program, it's essential to be well-prepared and familiar with the specific standards that these programs often uphold. Here's what you can generally expect when auditioning for an HBCU Vocal Music Program:

  1. Audition Repertoire: HBCU vocal music programs typically require applicants to perform specific vocal pieces. These selections should demonstrate your vocal range, technique, and musicality. Expect a variety of styles, languages, and time periods to be represented.

  2. Sight Singing: Many auditions include a sight-singing component. This involves singing a piece of music you haven't seen before, testing your ability to read and interpret music on the spot.

  3. Vocal Exercises: Be prepared to perform vocal exercises that assess your vocal range, pitch accuracy, control, and flexibility. These exercises often include scales, arpeggios, and other vocal warm-ups.

  4. Language Proficiency: If the audition repertoire includes songs in languages other than your native tongue, you may be asked about your pronunciation and understanding of the text. Clear diction and effective communication of the song's meaning are crucial.

  5. Interview: Some HBCU vocal music auditions include an interview with faculty or staff. This is an opportunity for you to discuss your musical background, goals, and interests in the program.

  6. Performance Etiquette: Present yourself professionally from the moment you arrive on campus. This includes appropriate attire, punctuality, and maintaining good posture and stage presence while performing.

  7. Audition Panel Feedback: After the audition, some HBCUs provide feedback to applicants. This feedback can be valuable for self-improvement, even if you're not selected for admission.

  8. Music Theory and Aural Skills: Some programs may assess your music theory knowledge and aural skills as part of the audition process. This may include written theory exams or aural tests.

  9. Preparation: Thoroughly prepare for auditions by practicing audition repertoire, vocal exercises, sight-reading, and other required components well in advance. Challenge yourself to perform in various settings and seek feedback from others.

Remember that while these audition standards provide a general framework, each HBCU may have specific expectations and guidelines. Carefully review the audition requirements provided by each institution you're applying to, and tailor your preparation to meet their unique expectations. Preparing diligently and showcasing your talents can significantly increase your chances of success when auditioning for an HBCU Vocal Music Program.

Here are some vocal music pieces that are suitable for students in various styles including classical, jazz, and standard repertoire: Please research them!


  1. "O Mio Babbino Caro" from Puccini's opera "Gianni Schicchi" (Classical)

  2. "Summertime" from Gershwin's opera "Porgy and Bess" (Jazz/Classical)

  3. "The Prayer" by David Foster and Carol Bayer Sager (Pop/Classical)

  4. "Think of Me" from Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Phantom of the Opera" (Musical Theater)


  1. "Ave Maria" by Franz Schubert (Classical)

  2. "Feeling Good" by Nina Simone (Jazz)

  3. "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen (Pop/Contemporary)

  4. "I Dreamed a Dream" from the musical "Les Misérables" (Musical Theater)


  1. "The Toreador Song" from Bizet's opera "Carmen" (Classical)

  2. "Georgia on My Mind" by Ray Charles (Jazz/Blues)

  3. "Old Man River" from the musical "Show Boat" (Musical Theater)

  4. "Can't Help Falling in Love" by Elvis Presley (Pop)


  1. "Nessun Dorma" from Puccini's opera "Turandot" (Classical)

  2. "Fly Me to the Moon" by Frank Sinatra (Jazz/Pop)

  3. "If I Loved You" from the musical "Carousel" (Musical Theater)

  4. "Yesterday" by The Beatles (Pop/Rock)

These songs represent a mix of classical, jazz, and popular genres, which can help showcase a high school student's vocal abilities and versatility. Make sure to select pieces that suit the student's vocal range and style preferences and consider working with a vocal coach to prepare for auditions and performances.

Here are some vocal music pieces that encompass jazz and blues to R&B and soul.  Depending on the vocalist's range and style, you can choose songs that resonate with them and allow them to express themselves effectively.


Soprano 1 (E above middle C; G above middle C):

  1. "Ain't Misbehavin'" by Fats Waller (Jazz)

  2. "My Funny Valentine" by Chet Baker (Jazz)

Soprano 2 (E above middle C; A below middle C):

  1. "At Last" by Etta James (R&B/Blues)

  2. "Lovely Day" by Bill Withers (R&B/Soul)

Alto 1 (D above middle C; G below middle C):

  1. "I Say a Little Prayer" by Aretha Franklin (Soul/R&B)

  2. "Don't Know Why" by Norah Jones (Jazz/Pop)

Alto 2 (D above middle C; F below middle C):

  1. "Feeling Good" by Nina Simone (Jazz/Blues)

  2. "If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keys (R&B/Soul)

Tenor 1 (F below middle C; A below middle C):

  1. "Lean on Me" by Bill Withers (R&B/Soul)

  2. "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder (Funk/R&B)

Tenor 2 (G below middle C; C below middle C):

  1. "Stand by Me" by Ben E. King (R&B/Soul)

  2. "My Girl" by The Temptations (R&B/Soul)

Bass 1 (E below middle C; A below C3):

  1. "I Can't Help It" by Michael Jackson (R&B/Pop)

  2. "Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay" by Otis Redding (R&B/Soul)

Bass 2 (D below middle C; F below C3):

  1. "Georgia on My Mind" by Ray Charles (Jazz/Blues)

  2. "Let's Stay Together" by Al Green (R&B/Soul)

bottom of page